Novation A-Station discussion

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Novation A-Station discussion

Post by sacredcow » Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:57 am

So, I just ordered one of these and I'd like to know what other forum members seem to think about them. What are its strengths/weaknesses? How is the vocoder? Are there any special tricks or useful hidden features I might not find at my own? Would it be very easy to use the a-station's knobs to control other gear like a typical knob bank? Also, are the engines of the a-station and k-station any different?
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Re: Novation A-Station discussion

Post by Dano » Fri Jun 22, 2007 5:30 am

IMO the A-Station does good basses and some Oberheim-ish sounds. There are some really good demos of the presets at synthmania.com

You can set the oscillators to not re-start in the same phase on each note - On some patches it sounds better and on other patches I prefer the phase to reset with each note - It's just something that I try both ways on each patch to decide which way I like better. Sometimes using just two note unison along with a little more unison detune gives a patch that satisfying extra phatness you might be looking for while still allowing 4 note polyphony. There is also filter overdrive/distortion that can make a good difference in some patches. Also make sure you have the latest OS (2.1.something - It's available at the Novation website.)

The A and K engines are the same, you just have to change the device ID in the sysex in order for patches to be compatible.

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Post by crystalmsc » Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:14 am

the K is just the keyboard version of the A which is supposed to have the same engine inside. some people like the vocoder, but pity that the great looking x-stn didn't have that and even can't process external sounds through the filter, so the A is even still looks tempting to me too. I like Novation since the BSR and DSR, but can only tell from my x-stn experience which is a bit development from the a. so, it supposed to be some great engine goin. the filter is not as nice as the earlier BSR, but still serviceable, but I like the beefy/warm/liquid sounding osc of this engine.
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Post by metrosonus » Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:17 pm

No offense,just curious :) did you have your own opinion before you bought it? I can't seem to quite get why people buy things, then say "hey I just spent 900$!!! can you tell me anything good about this synth cause I dont know.." :D

Vstation was my first VA. You can get some good digital sounding basses out of it, some suprisingly good organs.. it's loads of fun to play with distrortion on. overall though, it's just not something I used after I had gotten to know it. I think maybe its because it sounds flat when you turn off the effects.. Id unno.

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Post by t.o.t.s. » Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:36 pm

I had an A-Station and liked it's sounds quite a bit. It has a very "cutting" tone to it that reminds me a bit of a Virus. It's a pretty flexible synth. I will have to say though, I didn't have the A-Station long before I decided to find a K-Station. The A-Station interface can be quite cryptic despite the number of knobs and buttons on it. It's not my only synth and I really need stuff that's more immediate so I traded it in towards the K. If you have time to get used to the interface I imagine that it wouldn't bother you too much but I have a tendency not to like racked synths anyway so it may just be me. I LOVE the k-station though.
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Post by EddieJ » Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:43 pm

I liked the A station when I had it. I wanted something in more of a desktop unit, which is why I don't have it anymore.
As a knob box, it will suck. Novation uses a totally different set of CC's than nearly every other synth manufacturer. For example, filter cutoff is CC 74 on a Yamaha, Korg, or Roland. On a Novation, I think it's 101.
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Post by oberheim » Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:25 pm

I really like my A-Station, you can get some lovely pads and lead sounds out of it. The Arps ok if you like trancey rave stuff and the vocoder can be fun for processing vocals and drum beats. The only downside is programming it, but as luck would have it the latest version of midiQuest (10) has a A-Station editor template - so looks like i'll be getting an upgrade then :D

Have fun with your A-Station, and check the Novation site for any system updates too!
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Post by Computer Controlled » Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:28 pm

I have one as well. And i love it. Some people say Novation's sound is thin, but i don't think so. Program it right, and you can get some nice hefty sounds out of it. Sounds far more Analogue than my microQ does. The arp is good, if not a bit limited. Where else can you find a 3 Osc 8 voice polyphonic synth with 2 LFOs and effects for under $200? Osc Sync, Ring Mod, limited FM capabilities. No Sub Osc, but you can cheat and just use a 2nd or 3rd Osc as a sub. No mixing of Waveforms either, unfortunately. But maybe that's just a monosynth thing? Good for processing external gear as well. Haven't tried using the Vocoder for that yet though. I did mess about with it using my headphones as a mic. Sounded pleasantly intelligible! I've not programmed it though, just using the presets. Pretty snappy envelopes as well, for being software. No multi-mode filter, just 12/24 dB. Overall, well worth the money!

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Post by Diametro » Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:10 pm

I bought an X-Station ... liked it ... but thought it DID sound a little thin ... so I got an A-Station to beef up the sound and for its vocoder (which IS very smootth sounding, IMO) ...

You're going to hate the screeen (two digits) ... but fortunately for me, the X-Station can control all th A-Station paramters ... or use the knobs ...

I'll admit, by a little it's my least used synth station ... but when I do use it, I'm usually pleased with the results, and it does add a different flavor to my music ...

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The A-Station is above the X-Station ...
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Post by sacredcow » Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:34 pm

I still don't exactly get how there can be so much hate on the a-station's programming with all those knobs... That's one of the main reasons I bought it. Can someone explain that a bit more?

@metrosonus, not really. I can't play any gear before buying, so I just go for stuff that looks good on paper, essentially. I knew I wanted a polyphonic VA with knobs. I was considering an an200, but the a-station pretty much kills it spec-wise. The 3rd osc and the vocoder were the main selling points to me. I only paid $225 though and I can easily sell it back if I'm dissatisfied.
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Post by Diametro » Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:32 pm

The problem is the "have to look it up everytime" two-digit "display" and the fiddly "shift" switch and fussy number keys that make using it such a drag ... (I know I was not thinking it would be that sucky ... )


For me, though, it didn't/doesn't matter because I already had the best controller for the A-Station ...

I'm not sure I'd like it nearly nearly as much on its own (the A-Station, that is ... ) ...

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Post by Computer Controlled » Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:44 pm

Oh, you got the nice silver faced unit!

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Post by sacredcow » Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:46 pm

Diametro wrote:The problem is the "have to look it up everytime" two-digit "display" and the fiddly "shift" switch and fussy number keys that make using it such a drag ... (I know I was not thinking it would be that sucky ... )


For me, though, it didn't/doesn't matter because I already had the best controller for the A-Station ...

I'm not sure I'd like it nearly nearly as much on its own (the A-Station, that is ... ) ...

Image

Do you have a rack of modules already?
I've owned a few, but none at the moment. As it's only 5" deep, it shouldn't be hard to set up somewhere. I guess that maybe I'll eventually develop a better handle on programming the thing if I don't have external controllers to work with? Either way, I'm sure it's far better than my kawai k4 (subtractive rompler with membrane button single param data slider editing.).
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Post by toonelind » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:44 pm

display is a drag, but it is less prone to clipping than the rest of ks range. perfect for ambient soundscapes and bell type sounds.
also the knobs seem to work better. i bought my ks4 at the same time with my friend, who got a-station. i've replaced two knobs already and i transport it with flight case. he hasn't lost any knobs and traports it in a simple cardboard box.

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Re: Novation A-Station discussion

Post by yellowfever » Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:53 pm

sacredcow wrote:So, I just ordered one of these and I'd like to know what other forum members seem to think about them. What are its strengths/weaknesses? How is the vocoder? Are there any special tricks or useful hidden features I might not find at my own? Would it be very easy to use the a-station's knobs to control other gear like a typical knob bank? Also, are the engines of the a-station and k-station any different?
I have 2 of the little beauties, 1 silver, 1 blue. Why 2? It isn't multi-timbral, which is its only drawback and I want to use them in a 16 track midi sequencer arrangement. Other than that, great for hard basslines, pads, bells, leads, the arp is awesome - a great all rounder. Well worth what you paid. Enjoy.

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