Nonlinear Labs C15, new spring update expands sound design features

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Nonlinear Labs has published the C15 spring update expanding the sound design features with new functionalities, parameters, and more.

The C15 from the Berlin company Nonlinear Labs is a fascinating albeit polarizing Synthesizer in the music tech world. That’s because it doesn’t have much of what you expect or know from a modern Synthesizer. Not a trillion LFOs, no sequencer.. even no MIDI (2021). However, after many requests, this can be retrofitted externally.

Nonlinear Labs, led by ex-Native Instruments founder Stefan Schmit, is pursuing a special path with this phase modulation/comb filtering/feedback hardware Synthesizer. They see it as an expressive instrument for human players. Comparable to an acoustic instrument with which one interacts in a very hands-on way.

Nonlinear Labs C15 Spring Update

The developers took a lot of criticism seriously and also made the C15 more attractive for electronic musicians or sound designers (MIDI, constantly growing engine…). With the new Spring Update, the C15 continues to grow.

Nonlinear Labs C15 Spring Update

The new spring update brings some neat new features to the C15 Synthesizer. Especially those that make new sounds possible.

Once updated, you can now modulate almost all parameters of the synth using the macro controls. The developers increased the modulation targets from 95 to 185 and extended the ranges of 17 parameters. Another new interesting addition is a loop function on envelope C. It can now behave like a polyphonic LFO synced to the key and can be influenced by velocity and key tracking. Plus, you can control the decay time of envelope C by velocity.

Then, there is a possibility to bypass the feedback mix gate. The sound effect group has also been updated. Single sounds can now also use a second effect group (in total 10 effects). Both effect groups can be operated in parallel or serial mode. This opens the door to many more complex sounds.

On the split sound side, the feedback routing has been extended so that the output signal from one part can be an input signal for the other part.

The user interface on display has also received a small makeover. Nonlinear Labs has redesigned the GUI of the preset search function to display all search results in a single list. Also search and sorting criteria have been extended, says the developers. C15 users can expect significant improvements here.

Further, you can switch the two physical ribbons between two pairs of virtual ribbons, giving fast access to up to four macro controls.

A solid update for the C15 that expands it in terms of sound design and expressiveness.

The Nonlinear Labs C15 spring update is available as a free download for existing users.

More information here: Nonlinear Labs 

Hardware Synthesizer News


  1. Offered as a players’ instrument this should have had a poly-aftertouch keyboard from day one.
    Having to take a hand off the keyboard to access the ribbon strips is a bit of a restiction.
    Pedals are great and I’ve used them extensively for expressive morphing of synth parameters. However, they can tricky to play with subtlety even when seated and very tricky when stood up.
    I highly suspect a revision with Fatar’s new poly-at keybed will be released in the near future.
    The synth sounds great, really great. MIDI and LFOs are very welcome and definitely make it more appealing.
    Since the C15’s release the Hydrasynth has emerged as strong competition:
    All digital too, poly-at, similar but more knobular interface, and priced so ridiculously low for the tech and build quality as only a Chinese produced instrument could manage.

      • The DX7 interface could be considered awful
        The C15, though I’ve not tried it, looks mildly frustrating.
        If each button were a knob then it would probably be fantastic.
        Having to press then find the master knob isn’t a deal breaker.
        It’s just an interface you have to learn to play 🙂

        • What do you mean “could be awful” ? The DX7 is almost universally regarded as the worst most unfriendly and impenetrable synth interface in the world.
          The C15 ranks alongside it as appalling in concept, appearance and ergonomics. This synth will never be popular no matter what tweaks are made to the firmware.

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