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Novation Bass Station Rack
Overall Rating
Submitted: June 14th, 2003
by gothicindustial
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Sound Quality
This is the most important category IMHO. I like the sound of the Bass Station. In fact, I initially bought a Bass Station keyboard and sold it, but missed it enough to buy the rackmount version. The NBS is a monophonic analog synth, so you can't expect realistic emulations of traditional instruments. This synth is best suited to sounding analog and crazy. Its oscillators have a sweet tone to them. They are stronger sounding than those on an Access Virus, but weaker (yet prettier) than the DCO's on a Waldorf Pulse. The filter is Roland-y, and can produce a nice acidic squelch with high resonance settings. The filter is also quite well suited to producing powerful kick drums when self oscillating and swept with an envelope. The fact that the filter is switchable between 2-pole and 4-pole operation is a plus, as it make the NBS more verstile. For bass sounds, the NBS is ok (it was good enough for Radiohead!), but not as powerful as you would expect of a synth with Bass as its first name. I like it a lot for sustaining melodic leads and for blippy arpeggio paterns though. As I said, the osc's have a sweet tone to them, especially when run through some chorus and distortion! Aftertouch is not supported as far as I know, but velocity can be routed to VCA envelope or VCF envelope. The Bass Station is great for electronic music in general, and is very effective for me in synthpop/EBM/Industrial. It could be used by anyone who needs some analog in their life though. Pop-punk/emo, rock (RADIOHEAD!!!), jazz, rap, etc...
The knobs on mine are a little loose now, but it is a few years old and I bought it used. I don't know how well it was treated before I got my grubby hands on it. I don't gig, I'm a bedroom warrior with a fun home studio... If I was going to gig, I would never only have the NBS because it's a rack and it's monophonic, so I would need to have another keyboard to slave it to. I'm not concerned that it will need repairs any time soon.
General Comments
This is my 2nd NBS, so it's pretty obvious that I enjoy having one around. If I could, I'd upgrade to a Super Bass Station for the added sub ocs, analog distortion and chorus. The keyboard version is cool as well, but I have a soft spot for short keyboards. I've been playing a few years now, and I've owned a decent amount of synths. I currently have the Bass Station, a Waldorf Pulse, an Akai Ax-60, an Access Virus KB, and an Emu ESI-2000. I like the sound of the Bass Station, especially for the price I paid. There isn't anything about it that I hate; it's a good synth. It has a simple architecture and only 2 osc's, and therefore can't produce some of the more complex synth sounds that the big polysynths can, but for monophonic bass and especially leads, it's great.
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