John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by clusterchord » Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:16 am

speaking of digital, what i really want is a new Neuron with more HP, dammit. or a Kyma with keyboard a and a killer subset of the best "playable" algos. and knobby interface.

modelling of old stuff is getting long in the tooth.. not implying that Solaris is just about that , but speakin generally of the whole market.. .. bottom line, phuk CEM, phuk SSM.. if you want those just get the real thing. so ill beg to differ with scope4live . a nice "stand-in" is all you will ever get with a model. a real CEM synth will blast it away in space.
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by seamonkey » Fri Dec 26, 2008 2:41 pm

clusterchord wrote:
modelling of old stuff is getting long in the tooth.. not implying that Solaris is just about that , but speakin generally of the whole market.. .. bottom line, phuk CEM, phuk SSM.. if you want those just get the real thing. so ill beg to differ with scope4live . a nice "stand-in" is all you will ever get with a model. a real CEM synth will blast it away in space.
I have to agree with you about VA modelling getting a bit old. I believe Solaris, while it has many of the components which allow it do analogue modelling, also allows you to use those components to make completely different sounds. These modelled components(CEM, SSM) exhibit certain characteristics which don't have to be used to mimic an analogue instrument from the past. IMO you can use those characteristics to create completely new sounds, so to me that is an advantage I'm very excited about.
IMO John is not about living in the past, of course he can't forget his part in vintage synthesizer history, but, he chooses to move forward, using his experience and knowledge to bring a new sound pallette and synth design into the 21st century.

It's my understanding CEM chips are becoming harder and harder to find, so, as much as I'd like to invest in a vintage synth it doesn't make sense to me. They are an investment which have the potential to become expensive when repairs and parts are needed. I have limited resources so I'd rather invest in a synthesizer which I think is on the cutting edge of synthesis design which allows me to produce either analogue sounds, digital, wavetable, soundscapes, etc.
I feel comfortable with my choice, especially when people like Hans Zimmer and Howard Scarr(who is doing some of the presets) are excited about it's creation.

I wish everyone would hold off on forming any opinions on the sound of Solaris until this is released and we can hear it in use by Solaris owners.
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by carbon111 » Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:28 pm

The bottom line is the Solaris sounds fantastic regardless of whether you use the analog emulated elements or not.

The vector capability added to the wavetable capability (including user wavetables!) as well as the rotors and extremely flexible mod routing and simultaneous parallel audio paths is what makes it appealing to me, though it wouldn't be appealing at all wthout the sound. That's still John's bottom line and always has been.

I liked the SSM filter on ths Solaris not because it was an exact emulation of some bygone synth's but because it's a jaw-droppingly good sounding filter! Period!

When I program this, the sounds will be wholly mine and wholly unique due to the myriad programming elements provided. People need to wait to play this thing before passing judgement or pontificating on how bad it is do do things a certain way or all the "hype" there is when there's precious little information out there in the first place.

I have endeavored to pass along my impressions of the Solaris the few times I've been lucky enough to play it in a truthful, thoughtful manner. It won't be for everyone but for me, yes, it is the best thing since sliced bread and I'm going to say so. :lol:
Best Regards, James
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by urgetoplay » Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:00 pm

Thanks for the files Scope.. 8)
Carbon's right, as he's the only person here with any significant time with the Solaris (albeit a prototype) perhaps we should wait before passing any judgements either pro or con.
FWIW I have plenty of cem chip based synths, a few ssm examples, a couple of unique digitals like the Neuron keyboard; I still feel the Solaris has a sonic place in my studio.
When the Solaris arrives I'll post a few comparison files.
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by tallowwaters » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:36 pm

Hey, we went a whole week until somebody started bitching about a synth they never played. Not bad.
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by pricklyrobot » Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:01 pm

I guess it shouldn't be surprising that synth enthusiasts tend to be, more so than other gear-hounds, technology fetishists. When we're not busy moaning about how the new stuff doesn't sound as good as the old, we're lamenting the lack of truly cutting-edge products.

But maybe the reason certain things (like filter types) get used over and over, isn't due to so much to nostalgia or lack of imagination, but to the fact that they're the types that have proved the most musically useful over the years. You can make new filters (or whatever) that are mathematically or technology awesome, but if they aren't intuitive to operate and they don't sound good to fairly large numbers of people, then they aren't going to stick around.
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by Joey » Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:41 am

I'm with seamonkey on this one... the emulations are a great thing because they are another step to creating a new sound

the virus TI has a moog filter emulation, and sure you can use it to make your basses and leads sound more like moogs, but thats boring

now using it with the saturation on wave/grain/formant table sounds brings a whole new palette

or even running the prophet 08 through the moog filter emulation...

i'm excited to hear what the solaris can bring to the table with those emulations in terms of new sounds, stuff that the old synths couldnt come up with
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by gd » Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:20 pm

I am just greatful that the boutique synth makers are here and putting out new gear. It can only make for better and more sound options for us. I am eagerly awaiting my chance to demo the Solaris as I did the P08.
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by scope4live » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:27 am

Joey wrote: i'm excited to hear what the solaris can bring to the table with those emulations in terms of new sounds, stuff that the old synths couldnt come up with
Exactly.
I already have real analogs in my rig in the form of 3 and 4U. My MC3000 controls those along w/ Giga/Kontackt and Scope Mixer w/ hardware effects.
For polyphonic work there's no difference from the hardware CEM's sound since the OscPolyGlide was added.
JBowen has been involved with Curtis designed synths for decades, and even designed the PolyMod sections on the Prophet V.
Analog die hards will cling to their hardware, rightly so too. Monophonic abilities are the only aspects left for that justification, and I agree, as that's why I still keep mine. Buy polyphonicially speaking hardware Solaris offers much more than analog poly synths or I would still be dragging them to my gig.
Picture the old TX816. A truly powerful beast I used live for years until 2005. I heard the NI FM synth and passed on it, although FM8 does sound much better now, I still couldn't justify replacing the rack of 8. It's rack ability and sound kept it alive since 1985. But I put together an 8 Operator Modular Synth from the Scope DSP cards that had better control and sound, hence no more TX816.
So when I actually play and hear something equal or better, I keep using it. But once I actually " HEAR & PLAY " something better, I have no regrets retiring the old beasts.
I still wait for the day that someone can replace the powerful analog circuit card sounds of my Monophonic beasts, but that still hasn't happened. Once it does, they too will recieve proper burial in a studio.
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by 23 » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:43 am

I've been pretty excited about the Solaris for awhile.
One of those pieces where I considered investing in one, then moved away from the idea.
Then thought about it again....
then moved away from the idea again.

Synths that just keep on rehashing old concepts don't interest me for the most part (granted FR has nailed me twice on their concepts of how old tech can be laid out).
What hits me on the Solaris was that though it didn't necessarily bring out any radically new ideas, what it did do is put numerous methods under one roof and ensure that it was all accompanied by deep modulation capabilities and plenty of hands on direct access. The end result is something that is very very different. (I'd say the same for the V-GT...excluding AP Synthesis, there's really nothing new to the thing, it's really just what the parts are and how they are assembled that makes for something radically new).

All in all, I'm more interested in what hasn't been possible in the past....
anyone obsessed with the past needs to just invest the time and money into things made in the past and call it a day.

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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by carbon111 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:36 am

23 wrote:Synths that just keep on rehashing old concepts don't interest me...
Good. I think you'll find the Solaris a breath of fresh air. :mrgreen:
Best Regards, James
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by Syn303 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:22 pm

23 wrote:I've been pretty excited about the Solaris for awhile.
One of those pieces where I considered investing in one, then moved away from the idea.
Then thought about it again....
then moved away from the idea again.

anyone obsessed with the past needs to just invest the time and money into things made in the past and call it a day.

you needn't bother getting a Solaris, 23. You can't even program or handle your 303, let alone a Solaris.
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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by 23 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 2:19 pm

Syn303 wrote:
23 wrote:I've been pretty excited about the Solaris for awhile.
One of those pieces where I considered investing in one, then moved away from the idea.
Then thought about it again....
then moved away from the idea again.

anyone obsessed with the past needs to just invest the time and money into things made in the past and call it a day.

you needn't bother getting a Solaris, 23. You can't even program or handle your 303, let alone a Solaris.

Whoa, not liking a things sequencer or timbral limitations is a far cry from not being able to handle....
actually, maybe it's not...
more than 9 times out of 10 I turn to more in depth things.
Even when I venture off to side affairs and decide to keep it simple, and do that ol acid thing....the darn things limitations often prove more than I feel like dealing with.

I love the 303 man...
but it's limited.

Solaris is a lot more up my general alley. :wink:

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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by johnb » Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:21 pm

Hi All,
Nice to see the discussion here - I was notified about the question on this forum as to whether or not the CEM oscs will have hard sync (they will), and saw this thread.

Because the Creamware (now Sonic Core) Scope DSP platform has been relatively obscure for the last 10 years (!), there's not a lot of users out there who have played with the Solaris plug-in. Since I introduced it back in 2003, it has gone through lots and lots of changes/improvements/updates, both from what I wanted to add and what some of my users requested. Even though it has a number of emulation modules in it (Minimoog and CEM filters, CEM Oscs, Waldorf Wavetables), I don't think anyone has commented on how the plug-in handled 'exact' emulations of the old analog, as much as how big a variety of sounds it could produce. If you had a version of it, you would know how 'untypical' some of the sounds are (mostly from the French beta tester, Benoist Guitton, who really pushes the extremes).

Now I am bringing the essence of this plug-in to a hardware platform. (This is something I had in the most remote corner of my mind when I released the plug-in, but I never really thought it could happen!) The hardware version has newer emulations of the specific modules, and is running at a decent rate for good fidelity (96 kHz), so I suspect it will generally sound better than the plug-in to most people. What has been interesting for me is to see the questions about the hardware functions from those unfamiliar with the plug-in. Because it has had for some time a lot of the functions I'm being asked about, I forget sometimes that it's going to be such an unknown to most.

The synth does have a fairly wide variety of routings and such, and it will take some time to develop a full set of preset sounds to show off all of what it can do, so I do hope that people can reserve judgment, at least until we have the synth out in the hands of the initial users.

I know it won't be for everyone - that's OK by me, I don't expect it to "take the world by storm" or whatever....I see it as an alternative creative tool out there amongst many - I learned long ago musician's tastes are highly subjective!

Cheers,
John Bowen

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Re: John Bowen Solaris Synthesizer, heard of it?

Post by Alex Hamilton » Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:51 am

Thanks very much for taking the time to contribute, John. Best of luck with it!

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