Page 1 of 1

John Bowen Solaris

Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:32 am
I was taking a look at the Solaris demos and sounds very interesting. Thinking about adding my name to the waiting list. I would like some feedback from anyone out there that owns one of does it compare to the other synths in your set up?

Re: John Bowen Solaris

Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:52 pm
by CurtisChip

I got one not so long ago and I love it! though like anything synth wise it depends what you're looking for.
For me I was looking for something that had more programming potential than other synths on the market and something that had a deep sound contrast to my other synths. poly wise I have a Chroma, Memorymoog+, Voyetra Eight, Pro VS, OB4VS, Obie Matrix 12 and a few others, I wasn't looking for an analogue vintage synth type of emulation more so sound exploration and texture synthesis, I have created some patches that are simply not possible on any other single synth, it's a bit like a frankensynth a mix of Matrix 12, Waldorf Microwave, Pro VS and a few other classics.

Its very modular in its design so it has great signal routing options you can even reroute a mixer output back into itself, which is quite nice for beefing up, it has great control options too, touch strip (which has some options on how it functions), two buttons, wheels, five assignable pots, joystick vector control and sadly mono AT :-|

The OS is still being worked on so more features to come, the FX are very basic at the moment but they will be updated.
there are few annoyances but its pluses make up for those.

John Bowen is very approachable and a very fine chap and each Solaris contains some of his blood sweat and tears :D


Re: John Bowen Solaris

Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:25 pm
by Z
I got mine a few years ago. Pretty much what CurtisChip already said. It's very modular in design allowing you to use any combination of oscillators (emulations of MiniMoog & CEM oscillators, Prophet VS waves, PPG/Waldorf Wavetables, .WAV samples and more) with filters (traditional LP, HP, BP, BR, comb along with formant and emulations of MiniMoog, SSM and Oberheim). Plenty of EGs and LFOs to modulate anything with anything.

Plus there's also the Solaris' "Rotor" feature which cycles through 4 waveforms at rates of sub-sonic to well into audio range creating a new timbre.

Lots of performance controls. In addition to left-hand wheels velocity & after touch, you have an X/Y joystick and ribbon controller.

"Compared to my other synths?", you ask. As a single parent, I don't get a lot of time to play with my toys. When I do have time, I prefer instruments with more immediacy like my CP-70 electric grand, JD-800, JD-XA, Jupiter 8 & 6.

The Solaris is a joy to play and rewarding to program. There's not much of a learning curve, but I do find myself referring to the manual for some things. It's laid out very logically and with multiple LCD screens it's easy to jump back and forth from editing filter to EG to LFO settings. If a synth this powerful only had one screen, you'd have to jump around "pages" to get to what you need.

CONS: Basic effects (as already mentioned) and not multi-timbral in a sound module/workstation sense. $4k price tag.

PROS: For $4k, you get a helluva synth. Cheaper than buying a MiniMoog, Prophet 5, Prophet VS and PPG Wave - all of which the Solaris could emulate.

If you like to program and you've got the extra cabbage and time to wait for the next production run - DO IT!

Re: John Bowen Solaris

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:07 am
Thanks for the feedback guys. I'll definitely be putting my name on the list.

Re: John Bowen Solaris

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:21 am
by synthparts
I've seen used ones pop up for $3500 or less so you might keep a look out for them if you really want one.

Re: John Bowen Solaris

Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:21 pm
by Mprod
its an amazing programmers synth. By far the best interface for a synth this complex and flexible. It sounds precise but also warm, full, lively. I hope the discussed analog slop function will be implemented at some time as well as the multi timbrality. There are some bugs (I can live with) but development has finally caught up after a few slow years.
It does reward time spent and although it has a great interface it's -because of its vast possibilities- not as immediate or one knob per function as simpler synths like the Juno or voyager. Also the build quality is good but not great like the voyager. It would have been way more expensive of course. Read the music radar and sos review I think they nailed the pro's and con's pretty good.