Intellijel celebrates the first birthday of the Cascadia east/west coast synth with a new white version

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Intellijel Cascadia brings East and West Coast concepts together paired with a huge amount of useful utilities into a massive new hybrid semi-modular Synthesizer. 

Happy Birthday, Cascadia. The semi-modular flagship synthesizer from the Canadian company Intellijel celebrated its first birthday yesterday. The company released the synth on April 14, 2023, as a big surprise.

For its first birthday, the company is giving the synth a white version. It looks lovely and elegant. So, can we expect a black version for the second birthday in 2025? Hehe. In terms of features, everything is the same as the gray version.

Intellijel Cascadia white

Today marks the one year anniversary for the launch of Cascadia. To celebrate, we are now offering a new color option: WHITE FOG. It will begin shipping to all dealers this week and also from our webshop.

Thanks to everyone who has supported Cascadia so far! Please stay tuned for more tutorials and patch examples


Article From April 14th, 2024

The NAMM show is slowly becoming a non-event for synthesizer news. It’s sad to say, but I don’t think there have ever been so few new synth products introduced in Anaheim. Intellijel shows that you no longer need the NAMM stress to launch a new product. The company has been very active for a few weeks in releasing new modules. Very surprising for Intellijel, who have been quiet for a long time.

Now they have unpacked the giant cannon. With Cascadia, they introduce a semi-modular Synthesizer that combines the west and east coasts in one patchable instrument.

Intellijel Cascadia

Intellijel Cascadia

Visually, Cascadia is a great slick machine with tons of sliders, knobs, and patch points. The interface is packed with features. At first glance, it looks as if Intellijel had put all their knowledge for synthesis into a big Synthesizer. I get Cwejman S1 Mk2 vibes when I look at the device. Just as fascinating.

According to Intellijel, it offers a mix of classic east and west coast Synthesizer blocks. They normalized so you can immediately create your sounds in the unit, go wild and pair it with your Eurorack synth.

Cascadia consists of two precision analog VCOs with thru-zero FM with dedicated index VCA, sub-oscillator, soft/hard sync, and PWM. Oscillator 2 (B). While source A is a normal oscillator, B can also function as an LFO with four simultaneous outputs.

A 6-channel mixer follows with two patchable inputs, optional soft clipping on the mix output, and a built-in multi-algorithm noise generator. The latter probably has the same DNA as the new Fluffy module. That would be exciting.

Intellijel Cascadia

Then, you can shape the signal using a “liquid sounding” cascaded 4-pole multimode filter with eight different modes: LP1, LP2, LP4, BP2, BP4, HP4, NT2, Phazor. Drive for additional juice is onboard, and multiple FM and QM inputs with attenuators give you enough modulation options. Next, you have a west-coast-style parallel wave folder to take the waveforms in more rich harmonic fields.

On the modulation side, it hosts two digital envelopes with advanced specs. Envelope A is an east coast style ADSR / AHDSR envelope generator with hold while envelope B is a complete, multi-function generator. It offers a West Coast style AR/ASR/Cycling AR, a beat sync-able LFO, and Burst generator modes.

There is also a linear VCA with an auxiliary input and a global output mixer with an overdrive circuit and bypassable asymmetric soft clipping.

Utility Monster

Modular and semi-modular synthesis greatly benefit from utility modules as they give users various ways to route, connect, or manipulate signals in a system. Intellijel masters this area with its 1U modules, and seems like they’ve built everything they’ve ever made into Cascadia.

The utility row consists of these functions (sorry the list makes it easier as there are so many)

  • sample and hold circuit with white noise normalled to the input.
  • slew/Envelope follower.
  • attenuverter/Mixer with multiple outputs.
  • triple triangle LFO with rate control, rate input, and divided outputs.
  • triple buffered multiple.
  • ring modulator
  • precision adder.
  • signal inverter.
  • bi-polar > Unity level shifter.
  • expression level control for modulation the TRS expression input on an FX pedal.
  • VCA B / LPF (LPG) — Auxiliary VCA and 4-Pole Diode Ladder VCF combination for additional dynamics.

Did I promise too much, That’s not all, there is another set of tools. Here you find, for example, easy access to various functions like pitch or gate. There are also pedal send and return FX loop with dry/wet control, phase inverter, an output mixer with overdrive, and more.

Intellijel Cascadia

Communication With The Outside World Is Taken Care Of

There are many semi-modular synthesizers on the market. However, savings are often made on the I/O options. Often they only have a headphone output or a single mono output. Intellijel goes another way, let’s say “all-in” in the I/O. On the backside, you have an audio and MIDI side. First, on the audio part, you get

  • ¼” stereo Headphone jack.
  • ¼” balanced Output Jack.
  • ¼” balanced Input routed to a slider and output on the main panel for patching anywhere into Cascadia.
  • ¼” TS Pedal FX Send Return and ¼” TRS Expression Out.

MIDI side, you get a full MIDI to CV interface with input, out, and thru sockets. Plus, you can set all the MIDI in a dedicated app, including the pitch, gate, CC, LFO, and CLK. Further, you have a USB-C port on the right side.


First Impression

Wow, that was a surprise. Cascadia looks super nice and offers a lot of functions. I like the tidy layout and look of it which is vintage and modern at the same time. The mix of east and west coast elements is perfect in Cascadia in my opinion. It’s not cheap, but you get a lot of options. If you add all this up in modules and HP, I’m sure it will be just as expensive or even more. Very impressive release Intellijel.

Intellijel Cascadia will be available soon for $2149 USD MSRP.

More information here: Intellijel

Available for pre-order here

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  1. A very interesting synth. Its kind of an interesting take on the arp 2600 plus a wavefolder, the fx send return, an intereting lfo section, additional filter, one oscillator less. But I think it is a bit too expensive. For that kind of money I would rather go for the Pittsburgh Modular Taiga and add some interesting modules. One could add 3 rather expensive modules to the taiga and i guess it would be more interesting than this one. But still a nice one.

  2. All sound demos sounds so boring! take an example how pittsburgh machines sound. much much better. And the wood on the sides looked as it does not realy fit. Intellijel you can do that much much better.

    • I think Mylormelodies demo sounds pretty amazing, and I have not seen any other demos apart from Intellijel’s official video.

  3. You say “all-in” in the I/O? This central hub synth is designed to live on the desk in front of your modular rack, it costs 2150 USD but it doesn’t have a built-in sequencer?

      • Why!? For 2150 USD (or 1750 second-hand) I would like to have a real sequencer included. Not a “no sequencer”, not a “shitty bare-bones sequencer”, but a REAL sequencer. Recently I have bought a second-hand Elektron Analog Four MK1 for 790 EUR, it has an outstanding sequencer. The Arturia MiniBrute 2S Noir costs 459 EUR brand new, is basically the same Cascadia concept in terms of studio functionality and has a sequencer with two additional modulation lanes. Maybe, could it be, the Intellijel Cascadia is too expensive for what it is?

  4. Nothing terribly new gear aside from the poly. Can’t believe I’m saying this but at some point you have to exceed what $30 VST can do at $2200 no less!

  5. Yeah, bought it second-hand for 1750. I think it’s amazing, but I have to admit that I always use the ladder filter, because its regular filter is just too jarring by itself. I guess it’s made for acid, as it does all that squelch-y stuff terrificly, and it’s a bit of hassle to work around it. Still, it brings together all my guitar effect pedals with CV without having to delve into the nonsense that is modular, so I am happy with what it is.

    Also, who wants a shitty bare-bones sequencer on their gear? Glad they didn’t cram that in in place of more synthesis options. Just buy a decent standalone sequencer and learn it to it’s core, and you’ll never ever need one of those simplistic sequencers ever again. Not counting synths that function as a full workstation, of course.

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