We gave a set of the new Korg Volcas to Brooklyn-based DJ and producer Beto Cravioto and he gave us a taste of how powerful these little synths can be. He dropped by Virtue & Vice studios and improvised this track on the spot.
The guys at Novation were kind enough to send their new Bass Station II. The Bass Station II is a revival of their classic from 1993 but with modern technology; “better, faster, stronger”. Its a digitally controlled pure analog signal path with 2 main oscillators, a sub oscillator, noise generator, arpeggiator, 2 LFOs, 2 Filter types, flexible routing, and 128 slots for savable patches. First impression, taking it home, was the bass was huge! I have a 2.1 speaker system and this thing could move some air. The oscillators can create a strong dominating low end but is not sloppy. You can get down to very low tones without breaking up; it stays defined and focused.
Exploring the features, the Bass Station II offers more than what you would expect from a monophonic synth at its price point. So, I offered a challenge to myself and set off to make an entire track with just the Bass Station II’s synthesis. Though it is more voiced to create bass sounds, I discovered within it drums, leads, cymbals, swells, SFX, pads, bells, and of course solid bass. Not once did I have to use the included power supply. The USB connection worked doubly-duty on bus-power and MIDI I/O. For the main stabbing sound i wanted to stack several different patches in order to make a super tight and collect a solitary element. I opened a MIDI channel to record the line, quantize, and send it back into the Bass Station II. This freed my hands to audition sounds and perform a Low-Pass filter swell to lead into the main rhythm.
The internal clock built in is extremely stable and accurate. The arpeggiator and synced LFOs stayed in time with no drift. Novation has successfully contributed to affordable analog synthesis with the smart additions of USB-power and MIDI, advanced arpeggiator, powerful routing, the ability to make and store and trade presets, and most importantly a sound that can compete. Included in this article we have provided a link to download the Ableton Live 9 session that was used for this demo.