Novation Bass Station Rack

Novation Bass Station Rack Image

The Bass Station is an incredible little synth that was an instant success when released. It is a monophonic analog bass synthesizer and was basically one of the first new analog synths to hit the music market since the 1980's. It is great at recreating classic TB-303 lines and fat Moog tones. Every control from typical analog synths can be found on this: ADSR, filter, oscillator sync modes, tuning, and LFO! And most of these can be MIDI controlled.

The Bass Station has dual-DCO's which are true analog oscillators, digitally synchronized, to generate analog but stable sawtooth and pulse waveforms (the same waveforms offered by the TB-303). They can each be tuned, mixed and synced together. The analog filter is a switchable 12 or 24dB/oct with cutoff, resonance, envelope amount, and assignable ADSR. The LFO has variable speed and delay with random, triangle or sawtooth shapes. The LFO can modulate the filter and/or PWM.

Novation Bass Station Rack Image

A very useful feature includes the built in MIDI/CV converter which allows you to control the Bass Station from an older analog synth, or you can control analog synths with MIDI through the Bass Station! All knob settings are MIDI transmit/receivable and there are 60 user patches for program storage. Another important feature is the analog input for filtering external sound sources! The Bass Station Keyboard was the original version but is a bit more limited than this classic. It is used by William Ørbit, Biosphere, Massive Attack, Orbital, Apollo 440, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Jimi Tenor, Laurent Garnier, ATB, Sneaker Pimps, Out of Logic and Underworld.

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34 Visitor comments
October 3, 2012 @ 3:31 pm
If you want an anologue synth but don't want to pay too much get this! You would have to pay a small fortune for something like this nowadays, even with the likes of the Dave Smith synths that are now about this is still very good. For a start it has lots of knobs and a switchable filter. Sort of woody sounding at 12db, dangerously wet at 24db.
I use it for electro house type leads, where it sounds great with portamento. I have had a few VAs and this is very simple and raw in comparison. I sit and program my other synths but this you just turn a few knobs and you are off.
May 24, 2012 @ 7:31 pm
These are really a headache of a synth, in a good way. Here's the deal... Almost all people who own these, end up selling them for some reason, and then, of course eventually track one down to own again. The truth, they sound nothing like any other analog. But sound more analog than alot of other stuff out there. I have owned in order; Keyboard, Rack, Keyboard, Rack, and now own the KB again!? Why? Because they are simultaneously indispensable, and overly simple. I love it, and hate it. It's not a moog, but it does sound great. Can't think of one genre it won't work in! KB is pretty rare now.
May 10, 2012 @ 9:44 am
According to two different people at Novation tech support, the original bass station and bass station rack both use DCOs. I also just discovered that there are different versions of the firmware. Latter versions allow you to expand the range of the CV instrument under midi control. Early versions do not have the full range. This explains why In the manual, it states that you can only select values of 00, 01, or 02 via the CV/Gate selector. But on page 18, these values suddenly expand to 05, to accommodate a second set of range settings.
April 30, 2012 @ 8:45 am
Kitkat: I agree, as an affordable unit it is good value, especially for the MIDI/CV capabilities.

I never found it particuarly bassy (which Novation must have acknowledged hence the release of the Super BassStation). Over-rated as it doesn't sound like a 303, which is what it purports to do.

Even following the instructions in the manual for a 303 patch don't produce a decent result. It might be cheap and a great source of analogue-ish lead and bass patches, but as an alternative to the 303 it falls short, regardless of cost.
April 25, 2012 @ 4:18 am
I've just got one off ebay for £120, I was actually just looking for a Midi-CV converter, but to get mono analog synth too, amazing :) even if the synth sounds awful (which I doubt), I was going to pay that just for a midi-cv converter... BARGAIN .. very happy :D
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Rated 3.88 (353 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • YouTube Thumbnail
    Novation Bass Station
    by xigronaus

    Manual - Read or download the complete and original owner's manual for the Bass Station Rack (in PDF format).

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 2 DCO's, each with Pulse and Sawtooth waveforms. Can be modulated by ENV2, LFO. PWM source modulated by ENV2, manually, or by an internal LFO.
  • LFO - LFO with random, triangle, and sawtooth waveforms
  • Filter - 12dB / 24dB switchable resonant low-pass filter can be modulated by ENV2 and LFO (ENV1 is for the VCA, ENV2 is for the filter), cutoff, resonance, env mod.
  • VCA - 2 ADSR envelopes with velocity depth and auto-glide, single- or multi-triggering
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - 40 presets, 60 user program
  • Control - MIDI and CV/GATE in/out
  • Date Produced - 1995
  • Resources & Credits
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