Isla Instruments Caladan is a new hybrid analog/digital 8-part multitimbral poly synth inspired by the FutureSonus Parva.
In the middle of summer, when things are quieter in the synth world, Isla Instrumenten announced the Caladan. A hybrid, multi-timbral Synthesizer based on the concept of the Futuresonus Parva.
Good news from Isla: the Caladan is available now for pre-order. Plus the complete feature set is now official.
Caladan Feature Set
According to Isla Instruments, Caladan is an expandable 8-part analog/digital multi-timbral desktop Synthesizer module boasting multiple synth engines by way of voice cards. It shares much of its DNA with our S2400 desktop sampler and the Futuresonus Parva MPE Synthesizer, released in 2015.
The engine is pretty wild. Without any voice cards installed, Caladan is a 32-voice (target) digital Synthesizer with both synthesis and Soundfont (.sfz2) and SFZ multisample formats playback ability. They also plan to add a host to run Linux VST, LV2, and CLAP plugins, possibly multiple. You get:
- 3 Digitally-controlled analog oscillators per voice with multiple waves, PWM, and hard sync
- 2x configurable voltage-controlled filters per voice (24dB/12dB Oct lowpass or highpass modes, 12dB bandpass mode) and filter FM
- 4x ADSR envelopes per voice with exponential + linear modes and loop function
- 4x multi wave LFOs per voice with stepped LFOs, free-running/key-sync and polyphonic aftertouch
The analog part comes into play via cards with up to 8 voices. But the cards can also be digital or hybrid. Plus, the API will be open-sourced, allowing third-party developers to create own voices for it. Isla Instruments says that the unit will be shipped with an improved version of the original Parva voice card. But there will be more voices: dual OPL3 4OP FM card with analog filters, SEM/OB-X, Minimoog, SH-101, string machine, and more.
Further, it will have full MPE support.
On the backside, you get eight stereo output busses, main & sub-mix outputs, 5-pin DIN in/out/thru, USB host and devices ports, and four independent CV/gate inputs.
The user interface will have RGB-led rings, enabling simultaneous viewing of parameters across different voices/cards per knob. For visual feedback, that’s a great addition. The enclosure will be made of high-quality steel/aluminum enclosure, comparable in build/looks to the S2400.
The Pro Synth Network videocast had a live show with the developers today. There is an extra discount, the code was announced in the show.
Isla Instruments Caladan is available now for pre-order in two different versions: $949 with two cards and $1149 with four cards. One is the improved Parva voice card.
They estimate Caladan to be shippable by July 2024. Important: the price is an early bird offer intended to help finance the development and move the project forward. This looks like a very exciting hybrid Synthesizer project.
Article From June 30, 2023
Analog polyphonic synthesizers were popular in the ’80s. Juno, Jupiter, CS-80, PolySix… to name a few. In recent years the enthusiasm for analog synthesis has returned. First in heaps of monophonic synths, and later with new affordable polyphonic instruments.
One of those who caught this new trend of the 2010s was FuturSonus with the Parv, an exciting Boutique digitally-controlled multi-timbral poly analog Synthesizer. However, the business and project failed after only a few batches. Isla Instruments, the developers of the SP2400 drum machine, now want to revive the Parva operation concept under the name Caladan.
Isla Instruments Caladan
Ok, it’s not official that they want to revive the concept of the FutureSonus synth, but the new Caladan has an interface with many similarities. The knob layout in rows and several displays to the left are strongly reminiscent of the Parva. It’s basically a digital front panel with all the controls powered by a matrix format.
Caladan’s core is, however, different but interface. It’s like an all-in-one box. It features a polyphonic SoundFont engine allowing you to playback multi-sampled instruments. But that’s only a tiny part. The most exciting thing is the possibility of upgrading the synth with new voices. Inside the synth, you get eight expansion slots that can be filled with different analog or digital synth voice cards.
According to Isla Instruments, they will develop voice cards with the OPL3, SID, SEM, SH-101, Minimoog, Pro-1, and more. Every synth voice is realized on expansion cards and all are operable by a common UI. And another great news, they open this platform to third-party developers.
The backside of the first Caladan design looks also very promising. You get USB hosts, as well as individual voice outputs.
Currently, there is no sound demo of the synth. Caladan is currently in development but in the early stages. Isla Instruments published a video about its interface on YouTube in April
A very exciting Synthesizer project. Especially the idea of offering synth voice cards that can be exchanged is very interesting. I look forward to more information.
Isla Instruments Caladan availability and price TBA. Caladan is full in development, and more information will follow when there is more available.
More information here: Isla Instruments