Just played with a Novation BS2...

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Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Andy_X69 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:54 am

I just wanted to give a few impressions about the sound.

Its very deep and bassy, you can certainly tell its real analogue... its very smooth though, and although there's distortion and filter FM and that kind of thing, the basic tone is very rounded and polite (typical of Novation). Its not very raw, and even the filter overdrive is a bit tame.

It does sound more "synthy" than most analogs, too. You know how real analog sometimes sounds a bit more 'natural' or 'like an acoustic instrument' than a digital? Well, the BS2 may have the heft of analog but it clearly sounds synthetic... maybe it was just me playing with the resonance too much but hey.

One thing I did really like about it is that the resonance doesn't attenuate the bass as much as many other synths.

The synth has lots of flexibility and capability (although mod routings are a touch limited but there are plenty of functions in the synth engine).

Whilst pretty much any synth can do any genre, I think the BS2's sound character predisposes it to synth-pop, house, acid and techno (particularly the latter three). That said, I emphasize that the flexibility of the synth means it shouldn't be seen as 'genre-limited' (I make industrial and I see no reason a BS2 can't make sounds for that genre).

I think the BS2 will sell very well. Its a great value way to get an accessible, flexible analog monosynth with all the modern conveniences. The sound has weight/heft, and although it has a rather polite/rounded/smooth tone one can roughen things up with the built-in effects. It sounds very synthetic/'techno-y' and clearly has a character suited for synthpop/house/acid (with substantial bass remaining even when the filter res is cranked), but it can do pretty much any analog mono task.

So yeah, I had a pleasant time with the synth. Will I get one? Probably not since I don't need one, but I certainly think its a great product.
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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Bitexion » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:21 pm

It's pretty much the filters that clone the Moog ladder design that attenuate the bass as you turn up the resonance.
Many other analog filters don't lose the bass even if you turn up resonance alot.

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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Alphacode » Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:07 pm

I think i mentioned already that i got one and having tested a Moog sub-flutty, korg ms20 pico and and Dsi muffo i can say one thing , the moog is not capable of doing anything the Bs can't do and sound very close to it (almost always distorted) for twice more money, the korg is just a big white noise with cheap woobly knobs, and the Dsi is just 'synth-plastic-fantastic' sounding overall c**p.

Now after 2 months , i LOVE this synth more than i ever loved any synth, and i had over 50 synths ( a voyager old school amongst others, so no casios here)

I will do a demo to show how flexible it is, and i just not agree with one thing the reviewer said,.. this synth has no limitations whatsoever, above that amount of features you can have only modular...
Last edited by Alphacode on Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Jabberwalky » Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:26 pm

Alphacode wrote:Dsi muffo
:lol:

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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Andy_X69 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:07 am

Alphacode wrote: I will do a demo to show how flexible it is, and i just not agree with one thing the reviewer said,.. this synth has no limitations whatsoever, above that amount of features you can have only modular...
If you read my review carefully, all I said about "limitations" is that the modulation routings are limited.

The synth is still very flexible, due to the variety of parameters it has (like LFO slew etc).
Bitexion wrote:It's pretty much the filters that clone the Moog ladder design that attenuate the bass as you turn up the resonance.
Many other analog filters don't lose the bass even if you turn up resonance alot.
You're absolutely right. But tons of analog filters out there are Moog-based. And even most VA filter models are like this too.

CEM chips? Bass-attenuating resonance. Roland SH2? Bass-attenuating resonance. Alesis A6? The 24db filter attenuates the bass when you crank the resonance. Access Virus? Bass-attenuating resonance. Waldorf Pulse and Pulse 2? Yep. etc.

As such, filters which don't have bass-attenuating resonance (e.g. the Minibrute, or the BS2) should have this feature pointed out and complimented since... well... its nice!
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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:04 pm

BS2 question: I don't see any control for key tracking of the filter? Seems like a notable omission if true.
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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Alphacode » Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:40 pm

Andy_X69 wrote:
Alphacode wrote: I will do a demo to show how flexible it is, and i just not agree with one thing the reviewer said,.. this synth has no limitations whatsoever, above that amount of features you can have only modular...
If you read my review carefully, all I said about "limitations" is that the modulation routings are limited.


Well what else could you modulate here ,beside the VCA and maybe resonance i don't see anything else that would be worth modulating :)

Andy_X69 wrote: As such, filters which don't have bass-attenuating resonance (e.g. the Minibrute, or the BS2) should have this feature pointed out and complimented since... well... its nice!
I do agree.. this is very nice , BUT obviously anyone looking for a Moog sounding filter.. look elsewhere as it does have a very specific character.(which is great)

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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Carey M » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:29 am

Alphacode wrote:the moog is not capable of doing anything the Bs can't do and sound very close to it (almost always distorted) for twice more money,
The little Moog is "almost always distorted" only if the programmer so chooses. That said, it's certainly not the most capable monosynth out there, the Moog filter is probably its biggest selling point.

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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Alphacode » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:25 pm

Carey M wrote:
Alphacode wrote:the moog is not capable of doing anything the Bs can't do and sound very close to it (almost always distorted) for twice more money,
The little Moog is "almost always distorted" only if the programmer so chooses. That said, it's certainly not the most capable monosynth out there, the Moog filter is probably its biggest selling point.
I can't agree with that with all respect to you as i see you have one but i spend 2 hrs with the Sub in the shop and even if the Osc levels are half way the filter is still a bit crunchy (like in the BS2), noting like the Voyager, Rogue or Prodigy filter... And i wrote to Moog a couple of weeks ago and they told me that the sub does not have the typical Moog filter, the overdrive circuit makes it a bit different ,and i get it as they don't want all their synths to sound exactly the same that would not make sense...

''it's certainly not the most capable monosynth out there''

We all know that with Moog you pay for the name, the hype and hand made production only,,, there is nothing else that justifies their prices ( tiny Sub fatty cost almost the same as a 4 octave polyphonic DSI x4 !)

I still like Moogs anyway ;)

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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Blue Monster 65 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:48 pm

meatballfulton wrote:BS2 question: I don't see any control for key tracking of the filter? Seems like a notable omission if true.
As I remember (I've already sold my BSII), it has envelope triggering, but not tracking as such.
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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by smcumber » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:43 pm

Since there is a bit of misinformation going on here, I just got a BSII in the mail on Monday and I'd thought I'd clarify about the key tracking on the filter:

- Key Tracking on the filter seems to permanently be set at 100%; i.e. the higher the MIDI note you play or send it the more the filter cutoff increases. This is quite apparent even in the limited 2-octave range on the keyboard, and very obvious when you switch octaves or play with an external MIDI controller.

- There is no control to adjust this as far as I can tell. There is no knob, button, or slider, and I couldn't find any mention of it in the manual. I am hoping they can address it in the future in a firmware, so at the very least it could be shut off.

That being said, sometimes limitations like this foster creativity, and having played with the BSII all week I think it's a truly awesome synth for the price (and controller as well, with the super-easy and intuitive arp/sequencer).

I think people are overlooking some of the wild, slowly modulating, and unconventional sounds you can get out of it - most of what I've seen on the internet are people running it direct into a computer, making typical classic (albeit somewhat mild) synth sounds. Some awesome stuff:

- You have two LFO's that go from mega-slow to way into the audio range, both of which have 4 waveforms, can positively or negatively modulate any parameter they affect, and can be keysync'ed and delayed (keysyncing the sawtooth LFO is particularly great, at slow speeds you can get great descending or ascending pitch effects).

- You can positively or negatively modulate the pitch with envelope, and the two oscillators have separate controls (!!) for this (the same is true for the LFO modulating pitch or PWM on the osc's). For example, Osc 1 can be positively affected by +20, and simultaneously osc 2 by -35, so they separate in pitch and then come together, but at different rates.

- Osc 1 can be used to modulate the filter (like the "poly-mod" on the prophet 5)

- The Overdrive and Distortion can be used in moderate amounts to very subtly affect the different waveforms and add character to the modulation.

- Oscillator sync

- Ring Modulator between osc 1 and 2

- The LCD screen is surprisingly useful - having a precise instantaneous readout of your parameters allows you get really accurate, and there is no response lag in the knobs.

I think it's easy to see how these things in combination can be really be used to create a lot of different crazy sounds (not even to mention the multimode filter at 12 or 24db, noise source, 2 envelopes, etc.). On paper it would seem that something like the Mopho has more modulation possibilities, but I've worked with a Tetra (essentially the same as a Mopho desktop) a lot before and I can tell you that working with a BSII is 10x faster, and the Tetra is a much bigger pain in the a*s (I can't speak for the Mopho keyboard, though these pots are definitely way nicer than Dave Smith pots).

Maybe when I'm feeling less lazy I'll upload some sounds I've made to soundcloud.







I'll write some extended thoughts on it once I've spent more time with it.

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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by cl516 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:10 pm

Lots of interesting info in this thread, but not so sure how much I agree with. I own a Subphatty that sits above my Voyager and BS2. All 3 synths can get soft fluffy and gentle. Subphatty drive circuit and BS2 drive is obviously rougher than Voyager. Subphatty and BS2 can indeed get similar territory, but BS2 has ringmod, and Subphatty has the looping envelopes as well as high rate LFO.

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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by meatballfulton » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:25 am

Found this in the SoundOn Sound review:
Having examined photos of the panel (we all do this, right?), some of you will have noticed that the filter lacks variable keyboard tracking. I queried this with Novation and discovered that, regrettably, this was one of the controls that fell by the wayside. I'm told the Classic filter includes built-in 100 percent tracking and the Acid filter has a pre-programmed 50 percent, therefore the former would be the best choice for matching higher notes to increased brightness. Although there's no room for a knob, I'm holding out hope that Novation could include filter tracking as a purely MIDI control in a future update.
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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by meatballfulton » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:36 am

Oh yeah, I know Novation has yet to do an editor/VST for this but does it come with any bundled software? I saw one (bit only one) mention of Ableton Live Lite coming in the box.
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Re: Just played with a Novation BS2...

Post by Jabberwalky » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:39 am

Can anyone comment on the actual keybed? Is the aftertouch a usable pressure feel? I felt the Minibrute was too touchy, and my Eps16+ is very hard.

Also, has anyone tried messing with the VCA limiter? How does that affect the sound and distortion?

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