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Following a year of synthesiser releases that began with the A-Station, Novation has announced the introduction of a 5U rackmount version of their latest KS series Analogue Modelling synths. The launch brings Novation's liquid analogue-based sound engine and Hypersync editing to the rack or desktop in the accessible, hands-on format that defines its approach to synthesiser design.
The KS Rack features four part multi-timbrality, 16 voice polyphony and four individual audio outputs. At its heart is a sound engine designed to provide rich, dense sounds that can be tweaked and manipulated to a higher degree and in greater detail than has ever been possible before.
Control and ease of use were priorities in designing the KS Rack module. It features 33 knobs and sliders and a 2 x 20 backlit LCD, giving high visibility and fine, instinctive control over all parameters. The screen accepts full descriptions for program and parameter naming, eliminating the need for short, cryptic titles.
Complex waveform replay
As well as providing waveforms such as Sine, Tri, Saw and Square/Pulse, 24 additional complex waves are available which loop after one or more cycles. Using these complex waves, it is possible to create a vast range of timbres, from thumping sub-basses and warm electric pianos, to rippling organs and stunning drum/percussive bites. The oscillators also feature a doubling facility, which provides twin waveforms with no loss of polyphony. In addition, the oscillators may be set to unison, synchronised or set to FM mode. A Noise source delivers four separate timbres, which provide the raw sonic information for a whole range of classic electronic drum sounds and special effects.
Novation's HYPERSYNC function was a concept first developed for the A-Station module and has evolved to a high level with the KS series. HYPERSYNC allows for the creation of complex audio motion effects that are perfectly locked to the tempo of the musical piece.
A twist of the powerful HYPERSYNC edit control applies selections of musically satisfying synchronisation and effects settings, which can be edited by the user and saved as templates. HYPERSYNC eliminates the tedium of applying a large number of MIDI clock and/or tempo synchronised effects and synthesiser parameters and represents a dynamic creative tool in its own right.
Managing sounds is as easy as creating them on the KS Rack. Any of the named factory presets may be tweaked to find a new, unique sound and saved instantly into any one of 400 program locations, or 100 performance locations.
For flexibility, each program held in a performance is a complete new set of data and does not alter any of the existing programs when an edit is made. A comprehensive MIDI implementation transmits every movement of any knob, slider or button and these may be recorded in real-time by a sequencer.
A new mixer section introduces volume modulation, enabling dynamic blending of the oscillator sound sources. This provides an added dimension to sound creation that can be combined with the conventional adjustment of the static levels of the oscillator outputs.
Using a crossfade waveform from any of the LFOs as a modulation source, a complex oscillator waveform may be created. For example, a new type of kick drum sound can be synthesised by combining a special waveform from one oscillator, a sine wave from another and finally adding a special noise type from the noise source.
Integrated effects on each part With its classic Supernova, Novation set the industry standard for providing a complete set of powerful effects for each part. The KS Rack adopts this sound structure, which makes for 24 simultaneous effects and a global Vocoder. Effects include distortion, synchronised stereo chorus or phaser and reverb, together with a synchronised panner and the delay engine.
Four pattern-based arpeggiators
Four arpeggiators, with programmable mode, speed, synchronisation, sweep range and pattern selection, are stored within each program and can be recalled at the touch of a button. All four arpeggiators and both LFOs can be individually synchronised to MIDI Clock in different time signatures.
The KS Rack employs the warm filter from the KS4 and 5 keyboards and adds selectable low, band and high pass modes at 12 or 24dB slopes. The external audio input allows an audio signal to be substituted for an oscillator waveform, or to be processed automatically by the internal filter and envelope generators, without trigger signals. A 16 band Vocoder is also incorporated.
The Novation KS Rack has an S.R.P of £599.