New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by The Elf »

System 8 definitely has the flavour of old Roland synths. I ditched my real JP8 in frustration at having to tune the thing every session. I don't miss my JP8 one bit with the S8 around. Personally I long since forgot about using the Jupiter model per se, since the S8 raw waveforms are identical to the JP8 model, from what I can tell, yet I can enjoy the benefits of the full synthesis capabilities of the S8 native engine. It has one or two quirks - only recently I discovered that you can't apply pitch envelope to only one of the oscillators; not a big deal, but it has a few restrictions like that.

Pity about some of the hardware design choices (4-octave keyboard, external PSU, no aftertouch, plastic case), but it is what it is. For me it's all about the sound.

Peak has a smooth, creamy character more reminiscent of vintage Oberheim to my ears. It certainly treads a path close to my old Xpander. I've turned to it more and more as time has gone on. The fact that each voice has three oscillators is a huge part of the appeal for me - you can create some truly gob-smacking pads and string patches that drip with fat like the Christmas turkey. You can create 'super' versions of waves for each oscillator - and even virtual sync without taking up a second oscillator... and then there's that mod matrix. Peak really is a synth powerhouse. Only the Summit is now going to pry it from my hands.

So if you definitely want that Roland sound the S8 is it. If you want a superb-sounding polysynth that walks its own path, then Peak will not disappoint.
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by Eddy Deegan »

The Elf wrote:I think Hydrasynth and Summit would compliment each other really well.

At least that's my plan!

I can confirm that they do ;)

Also... polyphonic aftertouch. I've never had the pleasure before and it's WONDERFUL!

I've not tried sending polyAT to the Summit yet but according to the manual it should respond to it (might have to set some modulation routing up depending if the default patches respond meaningfully to it or not) but I'm planning to do that tomorrow.
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

I hate you, hate you, hate you.... :bouncy:
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by IAA »

.....it looks lovely, I couldn’t work out the firmware update, which I think was intended to boost low end or make it more “analogy” is that right and did it need it given it’s a digital synth and wears it proud?..? :crazy:
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by The Elf »

Eddy Deegan wrote:polyphonic aftertouch. I've never had the pleasure before and it's WONDERFUL!

It's very hard to go back once you've had it. Channel afterouch is a clumsy lump hammer by comparison.

I have a collection of patches dedicated to PAT in my Peak. I like to create weird 'guitar synth'-like tones with my PAT controllers and Peak. A lot of my current musical output really relies on these highly expressive sounds. It is soooooo addictive!

I decided to forgo a Summit. If it had been blessed with a PAT keyboard it would be in my sweaty hands by now, but the more I thought about it my current PAT controllers and the Peak make more sense. I'd really like those parallel filters, but hey-ho.

I also have my eyes on a Hydra. It's another of those 'nearly-synths'. I love how it sounds, and I love the programming system, but it's missing an octave of keyboard (something that also pains me about the Osmose I have on order) and yet the modular version removes some of the joy of the programming interface. Horrible compromises all! :lol:
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by Eddy Deegan »

IAA wrote:.....it looks lovely, I couldn’t work out the firmware update, which I think was intended to boost low end or make it more “analogy” is that right and did it need it given it’s a digital synth and wears it proud?..? :crazy:

It's definitely a very digital synth, but it is capable of making some warm tones. Mine arrived with the update installed so I can't compare it to the original version.

Like many wavetable synths, a lot of the patches are quite 'crisp' in tonality, and there are a lot of weird patches in it but just meandering through the various controls and trying a few things out I can see it has significant potential.

I wouldn't use it as the primary synth in a setup but it makes the perfect companion to the other devices in my collection. I also very much like the ribbon strip running the length of the keybed.

If it had a 5+ octave keybed it would certainly benefit from it, but the keys are full size and when using it with other synths I don't find the shorter keybed that much of a limitation.

It's going to take a while to get to know properly, that;s for sure!
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by IAA »

Thanks Eddy for that. I’d really be interested in your take as you explore it, partly because I think you have a Kronos which I find programming wave tables on it a real inspiration drain :headbang: ,so tend to use Arturia’s pigments. I do like wave tables and we seem spoilt don’t we at the mo?

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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by Eddy Deegan »

I do have a Kronos, and Pigments too, but I never really got into wavetable synthesis even though I think it's a very cool idea.

That's changing rapidly with the Hydrasynth, because the Hydrasynth makes it a doddle. I've spent a lot of time tonight playing with it and by golly I wish all synths were as well thought out as this thing is.

Having the signal flow, from oscillators to post-FX laid out on the top panel works incredibly well:

Image

Accessing just about anything only requires a press of the button in the Module Select section and the associated parameters immediately map (in pages of 8) to the Master Control section where they can be viewed and changed with the buttons and rotary controls.

It's so obvious, but so friendly.

I've not even glanced at the manual yet, and I've had no problem navigating around it, finding interesting ways to tweak the presets and come up with interesting sounds.

The Mutant functions associated with Oscillators 1 and 2 are superb, implementing a variety of extremely interesting wave-shaping methods. I was able to morph a sine wave into something that sounded not dissimilar to a duduk using a single mutant in the form of linear-FM applying a triangle wave to the sine, with a bunch of feedback set and a wet/dry mix between the two modulated by polyAT.

I wasn't even trying to do that, I was just experimenting with stuff. It took less than 30 seconds, but then I spent 10 minutes playing that sound on the board because it was beautiful.

The external power supply is small and light, has a short cable and there is an octave missing from the keyboard but I don't care about any of those things because of the sheer creativity that pours out of it when I start touching things.

One of the presets is a nice little analogue-y synthesized drum pattern, and when I looked at it all the oscillators are set to 0 volume in the mixer. Looking further, osc 1 is the bass drum, osc 2 is the 'snare' carved out of noise and osc 3 is a 'woodblock' of sorts.

The rhythm is created by 3 of the 5 LFOs modulating stuff all over the place, and I am not sure but I think the other 2 may be modulating the snare and woodblock LFOs to vary the rhythm such that they are not just monotonously repeating at a constant rate.

I've now made more lovely sounding patches in the last 2 hours than I have on any other synth in the last 2 years and I get the strong impression I'm only scratching the surface so far.

It's so usable, and absolutely brilliant. All synths should be designed with as much thought.

I could go on, and on, and on... but I do need to get some sleep.

The Hydrasynth is a keeper. Well done ASM :clap:
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by IAA »

Wow, that’s my kind of endorsement- now where did I put my wallet???... :bouncy:
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by The Elf »

Eddy Deegan wrote:The external power supply is small and light, has a short cable

If I get one this will be the first thing to be sorted by my engineer. I'll let you know when it happens.
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by Eddy Deegan »

The Elf wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:The external power supply is small and light, has a short cable

If I get one this will be the first thing to be sorted by my engineer. I'll let you know when it happens.

If they can figure out how to make it an internal supply then I'd be interested to know the details.

When I first booted mine up and flipped through the presets my initial thought was 'this is quite interesting', and it made some nice noises but it didn't "wow" me instantly, with the exception of the polyAT part.

Once I started exploring the modules though, everything changed and I found myself scrolling through waveforms in the oscillators and chancing across one interesting combination after another.

I spent all night playing with it progressively falling in love, and I've not even explored the wavescan mode yet (where you can assign 8 waveforms to an oscillator then morph between them using an LFO or any other modulation source in the modulation matrix (which has 32 src/dest/amount slots).

The more I use it the more I like it and there is no question that this unit has found its 'forever home'.

I recommend borrowing/trialling one and spending a little time to get to know it. Just poking around on one in a shop, for example, would unlikely be the best introduction to it.

Hypothetically if I had to choose between the Hydrasynth and the Summit, I'd keep the Hydra. No plans to lose either, I hasten to add!

If pushed for anything to pick on, it "only" has 5 x 128 patch slots. That would be more than enough for pretty much any other synth I own barring the Kronos, but given how ridiculously easy it is to make lovely sounding patches, a few more would have been nice but really, who's complaining?

This is the one synth I'll be regularly using the librarian/editor software for on the DAW PC.

So, yes, I love it. That isn't to say everyone will or would, but for me it's really nailed something special, which is a playable synth that is powerful, easy to program and sounds great.

I'd like to do a more thought-out and structured user review of it once I've had some time to get to know it better. Sadly I'll be away from it for most of the month (though on the not-sadly front I'll have my Yoshimi-Pi with me!) but I want to dive a little deeper before drafting something up.
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Re: New polysynth from ASM - the Hydrasynth (and it has poly aftertouch)

Post by resistorman »

The more time I spend with my Hydrasynth module, the more I love it. It feels great with the LinnStrument. I’ve programmed a few patches from scratch using only a part of its capabilities and the sound quality and textures are beyond almost every synth I’ve owned before.
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Just buy the Hydrasynth already :lol:
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