NRSynth Retro One MK2, a semi-modular Minimoog clone with Prophet core

SYNTH ANATOMY uses affiliation & partner programs (big red buttons) to finance a part of the activity. If you use these, you support the website. Thanks! 

At SFF 2023, Boutique developer NRSynth showcased the new Retro One MK2, a new semi-modular analog Synthesizer with Minimoog and Prophet core.

The SynthFest France 2023 was a wonderful event where you could meet many big brands but also many small lovely Boutique manufacturers from France. Mainly developers handcraft their instruments in small batches. We’re talking here about 20 or 30 units. So for a very tiny circle of customers.

At the event, I got to know the developer Stephen Ingrand aka NRSynth for the first time, which I have already reported on. Among other things, about the Big Ancestor, which he presented several years ago. He showcased a new MK2 version of its Retro One analog Synthesizer this year.

NRSynth Retro One MK2

NRSynth Retro One MK2

The Retro One MK2 is a special kind of Minimoog replica/clone. It has the same architecture as the modern Minimoog: three oscillators, an audio mixer, a single ladder filter, two envelopes, and LFO. But there are differences:

Unlike the original Minimoog or the Behringer Model D, NRSynth didn’t recreate the Minimoog voice 1-to-1 here. The Retro One MK2 is semi-modular, giving you more flexibility for creating new sounds.

The oscillators also have different characteristics. According to the developer, it features Prophet oscillators, which provide better tuning/stability. You can select here the oscillator waveforms with simple switches. There are fewer “instant” waveforms” available than on the Minimoog, but you can achieve the same waveforms as on the MM.

Then, you can benefit from an additional noise generator, sync for oscillators, and a sync-able sample-&-hold and multi-wave LFO. In addition, you get a solid patch matrix on the right side, which allows you to go deeper into the sound design. Velocity and aftertouch are also available. The latter can be activated using a switch on the backside.

Big Ancestor

Also on display at the booth was the Big Ancestor, a big synth that had been shown and released a few years earlier. Here is my article from 2021.

There are two versions: a replica clone of the Moog Modular or the ARP 2600, but both have neat extras.

The non-ARP 2600 interface can be seen directly. Big Ancestor’s interface is based on the classic Moog Synthesizer panel layout and is designed to bring this easy-to-use workflow to the ARP 2600 sound.

NRSynth Ancestor SynthFest 2021

An exciting feature is the ability to change the filter. In addition to the Moog and ARP 2600 filters, there will soon be an EMS VCS3 filter. Both Big Ancestor versions have other features that distinguish them from a simple clone/replica, including:

  • more octaves for the oscillators and hard sync
  • a switch-based modulation matrix
  • two ADSR envelopes instead of one
  • two filters instead of one
  • two LFOs
  • a wavefolder
  • sync-able sample & hold
  • MIDI interface with velocity

First Look Video Retro One MK2 and The Big Ancestor

First Impression

Synthesizers that I’ve known for a while but could never see and hear in real life. Finally, I could do that last week at SynthFest France 2023. Both synths are beautiful handmade instruments. They’re boutique synths made in tiny batches. You can’t compare them to Behringer or any other big brand. I am pleased that small developers also build synthesizers like that.

NRSynth Retro One MK2 is available now and is built to order. The official website says 1590€; in my video, Jean-Luc Briançon said 1700€. So not sure what price is now the correct one. The Big Ancestor is available for 2890€.

More information here: NRSynth 

Hardware Synthesizer News

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.