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Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:18 pm
by jufros
My bass guitar synth rig has been an evolving work in progress for quite some time now. I have an assortment of octave and fuzz pedals in MIDI-controlled bypass loops, the Moogerfooger Freqbox, a few interesting pedal filters including an MS-20 clone, the Eventide floor units, and then I have the AKAI MFC42 and Electrix Filter Factory in parallel loops. I use the Moog MP-201 as a MIDI controller as well as a CV controller for the Freqbox and MS-20 clone.

I really like the character of the Filter Factory and sold my Moogerfooger MF-101 LPF shortly after I acquired it. The MFC42 sounds good but it's not really wowing me right now and I think I'm finding it a little too polite.

Regardless, I'm running into the same problem with both of these filters: they don't have program memory and the MP-201 can't send enough CC messages per patch for me to get enough variety live. So, I've been looking into what my options might be for a rack-mounted filter that I can store presets on.

On paper, the Bass Station seems like it could fit the bill. I guess I'd have the option of sweeping the cutoff with a MIDI CC from the MP-201 or with one of its CV channels. The MP-201 has LFO's of its own, but it would be nice to have an additional one to modulate the cutoff when they're otherwise tied up.

The Super Bass Station looks pretty good too. How useful do you find the onboard effects and arpeggiator? I'd be able to make use of the added preset memory but that might not justify the higher price I'd pay.

How does the A-Station compare?

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:55 pm
by LesDeuxLoveOrchestra
for one thing the super bassstation is analogue and the a station is modeled.

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:00 pm
by polardark
I have both the Bass Station Rack and the Super Bass Station. Sadly, I've never tried using them for effect units. The Super adds a chorus that's fairly usable and all the parameters have higher resolution which reduces the parameter stepping effect that was so annoying on the older bass station rack. The reason why I keep both is because of the older bass station's flaws actually. The LFO waveform is pretty low resolution which makes filter sweeps more grungy in a good way.

There are a lot of digital "virtual analog" synths out there with built-in effect units that might do the trick though. The Korg MS2000 comes to mind but there are plenty of other alternatives.

I always thought the A-Station sounded a bit bland but maybe that's just me.

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:59 pm
by jufros
What's your take on the filter section of the Bass Station synths and how extensively improved is the resolution on the SBS?

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:07 pm
by polardark
I'd say the filter section is good enough and more or less identical on both units. If memory serves me, it's a standard moog style filter switchable between 24dB and 12dB

I often have trouble finding that "sweet spot" with the filter resolution on the older bass station rack because of the limitations in resolution. This is especially noticeable at high resonance settings. Don't get me wrong though. It's certainly not unusable but the newer unit is more smooth.

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:36 am
by jufros
Can you use CV to sweep the cutoff? Is this smoothness you've been talking about only apparent when turning the knobs or is the effect identical when using a MIDI CC message to sweep the filter. Thanks.

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:56 pm
by polardark
I think the difference in smooth response is both with cc and the front panel knobs.

Only the older bass station rack has CV inputs and as far as i can tell the CV input just controls the pitch of the oscillator. Not terribly useful for your requirements i suppose.

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:08 am
by jufros
That's good to know. So far, the SBS is looking like it will be significantly more useful for me. I'm officially on yet another pseudo-vintage under-appreciated but hard to find MIDI module quest. I'd still like to know if the MIDI-CV converter can convert CC messages into a 0V -> +5V CV signal.

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:45 pm
by polardark
I'd have to read the manual to remember what voltage ranges it supports. I think it might be configurable...

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:10 pm
by steveman
jufros wrote:That's good to know. So far, the SBS is looking like it will be significantly more useful for me. I'm officially on yet another pseudo-vintage under-appreciated but hard to find MIDI module quest. I'd still like to know if the MIDI-CV converter can convert CC messages into a 0V -> +5V CV signal.
The only thing it converts is pitch CV, does support pitchbend IIR. Depending on your sequencer you may be able to convert CC messages to pitchbend. Can't recall the range off the top of my head, but I'm sure 0V to 5V is well within it's range.

The Waldorf Pulse Plus has CV/gate in & out, plus an aux CV out that's configurable (can be a destination for any of the modulators). Aso has an audio input for the filter.

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:55 am
by Dane_Xoth
I have the AStation, SBs and Bs. (and Previously a KSr)


The SBs only has Chorus and Distortion fx, while the As has Reverb, delay, distort, chorus/flange and vocoder. Also he filter has a setting that switches between having the Resonance sap the bottom end.(changing the Q width iirc, called Res Normalize). The filter on the As also has an Overdrive. I believe though you cannot have both the filter and the FX.

Personally the As makes the better FX box.

Sorry i can't comment on the CV.

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:32 am
by jufros
Ok that's really interesting. Do you think the filter sounds particularly "digital"?

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:57 am
by Dane_Xoth
I'd say it's 'passibly analogish'.

When i think "that's digital sounding", i think Waldorf D-pole, Attack or my Roland S-760.

I might characterize the As filter as ranging from polite to rude, but just shy aggressive.

Re: Novation Rack Synth As Dedicated Filter?

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:55 am
by jufros
Ok cool I think I'm probably going to go with A-Station over the Super Bass Station then just for the sake of price. Am I right in assuming that neither have an envelope follower?