Spectral Audio Neptune II

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
User avatar
micahjonhughes
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 703
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:27 pm
Location: Chicago

Post by micahjonhughes » Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:51 pm

Crazy is good as long as the sound quality is there. I'm sure that in no time I'll be able to dial in basic bleeps, basses and leads. I'm excited about having true analog in a modern synth. I considered the evolver but decided that it really wasn't me, too much digital in with the analog. I'm much happier having my synths and effects separate. I'm not into over processed analogs as I feel the processing destroys the analog sound and defeats the purpose of using analog synths.

One of the great things about music gear is that if you don't like something, it is fairly easy to resell. However, I anticipate that I'll be keeping the Neptune, I don't think I can do better for the price.

User avatar
micahjonhughes
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 703
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:27 pm
Location: Chicago

Post by micahjonhughes » Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:09 pm

I received the Neptune II yesterday. The sound is good. The build a little light but typical of modern gear.

However, I had a funny problem with it. The third osc. turned off each time I stop my sequencer. I'm guessing that Sonar (my sequencer) sends an all notes off and zeros the controllers when the stop button is pushed. This switched the osc off.

I can feel that I may become dependent of the built in distortion. It would have been nice to have the distortion placed either before or after the VCA. Since everything is analog, it would be interesting to add some patch points, the technical manual addressed the points. However, I'm not sure the effort would be result in too many usable additions.

User avatar
synth3tik
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:23 am
Gear: Pro One/Prophet 2002+/Prophet 08SE/Cat/M1/Poly6/Jupiter6/JD-990/SidStation/SE-1X/Microwave II/Matrix 6R/S3000/S612/Source
Band: Batteries Aren't Food/J.a.F.a
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Post by synth3tik » Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:25 am

Spectral Audio is a rather small company, therefor it is rather hard to find tons of stuff on their products. I was able to play a Neptune I, the II has incorporated bug fixes and other things that are assessable as DIY for Neptune I users. I really like the pricing of Spectral Audio, seems to be a lot more reasonable then quite a lot of others.

User avatar
micahjonhughes
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 703
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:27 pm
Location: Chicago

Post by micahjonhughes » Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:03 am

I'm really impressed by the amount of synth you get for the money. The Neptune is completely analog as far as I can tell; oscillators, filter, ring mod, noise and envelopes. As it lacks all effects except distortion/fuzz is may not impress those that are into the wild effect laden sounds like those that can be made on an Evolver. However, if you are in the mood for a more vintage setup in a modern synth, the Neptune is a good way to go. My only complain is that it does need a few mods to be perfect and the filter will not oscillate.

User avatar
Don Solaris
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 131
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:30 pm
Gear: I got almost everything you would ever want.
Contact:

Post by Don Solaris » Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:13 am

Filter oscillates like crazy!

I think you have a problem with the unit somewhere.

User avatar
micahjonhughes
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 703
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:27 pm
Location: Chicago

Post by micahjonhughes » Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:56 pm

Well, one less thing to complain about; the filter oscillates just fine. It tracks and everything. I don't know what I did wrong in my last test. How hard can turning up the resonance be?

The more I use the synth, the more I like it. From comments in this thread I was worried about the bass response. The worries were unfounded. It may have a different frequency response from a vintage synth but it does have a nice full sound.

User avatar
sizzlemeister
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 219
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:44 pm

Post by sizzlemeister » Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:51 pm

Don't forget all of the velocity settings and other things you set via MIDI - those will vastly affect the sound depending on how you have it set up. FWIW, I changed the priority to last note and disabled dynamic filter, AT to cutoff, and filter velocity. That way the parameter changes respond in the most predictable manner.

Again, the filter mod depth is way sensitive and don't be afraid to go negative with it. Sometimes you HAVE to go negative to get the darker, squelchy results you're after.

I love the full frequency response, it's a very different tonal palette than more typical synths.

Dogboy73
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 191
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:35 pm
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Spectral Audio Neptune II

Post by Dogboy73 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:55 pm

I've had one of these for a year or so now. I've had plenty of good sounds out of it & it's nice to have a brand new real analogue mono synth in my arsenal. Always had a problem or two with it though. At first I thought it was me not really knowing what the f**k I was doing. But recently I was contacted by someone having an identical issue, which prompted me to seek out other Neptune 2 users & see if they had similar issues. The problem seems to be with the MIDI>CV converter, which appears to be a little unsure of itself!

Neptune 2 users check out my Yahoo! Group;
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Nept2/

User avatar
meatballfulton
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6036
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:29 pm
Gear: Logic Pro X

Re: Spectral Audio Neptune II

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:28 pm

Dogboy73 wrote:The problem seems to be with the MIDI>CV converter, which appears to be a little unsure of itself!
MIDI/CV conversion in general is a bit of black magic, I have owned a number of synths with MIDI/CV converters and each had it's own little quirks to deal with.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

Dogboy73
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 191
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:35 pm
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Spectral Audio Neptune II

Post by Dogboy73 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:26 pm

meatballfulton wrote:
Dogboy73 wrote:The problem seems to be with the MIDI>CV converter, which appears to be a little unsure of itself!
MIDI/CV conversion in general is a bit of black magic, I have owned a number of synths with MIDI/CV converters and each had it's own little quirks to deal with.
This seems to be the case. Both myself & the other user that contacted me have spoken to Spectral Audio about this. They've not been a huge amount of help so far. Although I have to say they are very good at responding & I take my hat of to them for the Neptune 2 even with problems. It's a great synth. I love it even though it has issues.

Dogboy73
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 191
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:35 pm
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Spectral Audio Neptune II

Post by Dogboy73 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:00 pm

A 'fix' for the MIDI response on the Neptune 2's MIDI > CV converter has recently gone up on the Spectral Audio support pages. I've spoken to one user who has tried this & it does seem to help the issue but maybe doesn't completely fix it. Unfortunately the user decided to sell his Neptune 2 before he had a chance to fully experiment with the modification.


http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Nept2/

Dogboy73
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 191
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:35 pm
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Spectral Audio Neptune II

Post by Dogboy73 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:43 pm

I've uploaded a few more Neptune 2 vids to YouTube;

[youtube][/youtube]

[youtube][/youtube]

[youtube][/youtube]

User avatar
StepLogik
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:16 am
Gear: Gauntlets of Ogre Power, Vorpal Sword, Chain Mail +3, Ring of Invisibility, Staff of the Magi, Boots of Speed
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Spectral Audio Neptune II

Post by StepLogik » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:21 pm

^ that's a fine sounding synth :)

User avatar
StepLogik
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:16 am
Gear: Gauntlets of Ogre Power, Vorpal Sword, Chain Mail +3, Ring of Invisibility, Staff of the Magi, Boots of Speed
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Spectral Audio Neptune II

Post by StepLogik » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:26 pm

meatballfulton wrote:MIDI/CV conversion in general is a bit of black magic, I have owned a number of synths with MIDI/CV converters and each had it's own little quirks to deal with.
Get a Kenton :)

But yeah, it is definitely an arcane art. MIDI is a very low resolution protocol, and so if you use decent DAC's for generating the CV's (say, 16 bit resolution and fast settling time) then you've got some scaling to do. Even if you use 14-bit midi controllers (2 bytes) then you've still got some scaling issues. Furthermore, if you are receiving streams of MIDI CC's then you want to try and "smooth" out the data (either before or after the DAC) so that you get smooth voltage curves.

Dogboy73
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 191
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:35 pm
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Spectral Audio Neptune II

Post by Dogboy73 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:48 am

StepLogik wrote:
meatballfulton wrote:MIDI/CV conversion in general is a bit of black magic, I have owned a number of synths with MIDI/CV converters and each had it's own little quirks to deal with.
Get a Kenton :) But yeah, it is definitely an arcane art. MIDI is a very low resolution protocol, and so if you use decent DAC's for generating the CV's (say, 16 bit resolution and fast settling time) then you've got some scaling to do. Even if you use 14-bit midi controllers (2 bytes) then you've still got some scaling issues. Furthermore, if you are receiving streams of MIDI CC's then you want to try and "smooth" out the data (either before or after the DAC) so that you get smooth voltage curves.
I've recently ordered an Oberheim SEM (MIDI>CV version), which apparently has CV outputs for note/gate. It will be interesting to try triggering the Neptune 2 from the CV outputs on the SEM. But I think another problem with my Neptune 2 is that it doesn't seem to store the program change settings (or the selected MIDI channel). The program change commands set things like note priority, aftertouch to filter cut off, not retrig etc. I think what I'll have to do is set up a small MIDI sequence to send the program changes to the Neptune 2 before I do anything else! Not ideal but it will have to do.

Post Reply