Synth Firmware, Software, and Hardware Release Round-up
August has been an eventful month for synth enthusiasts with a host of new firmware updates, software releases, and hardware projects getting announced or released. Here’s a round-up of the most notable ones in each category.
3rd Wave OS Version 1.5
By Groove Synthesis
Groove Synthesis has released the latest firmware update for their 3rd Wave Synthesizer. Version 1.5 of the 3rd Wave OS adds support for MIDI MPE controllers as well as an option for free running analog oscillators in the MISC menu. The latter is settable per patch and users now have the option to make the waveforms not reset when they start a new note when using the analog waveform mode. Other new additions include a new poly unison mode, new shortcut buttons, a new option in the GLOBAL menu to send MIDI program change messages, and new options for longer LFO sync times. The update also makes improvements to the LED brightness settings and fixes some bugs while improving performance. The latest 3rd Wave OS version is available as a free download from the official website where users can also find the Version 1.5 manual addendum.
Zaps Firmware V.1.1
By Plankton Electronics
Zaps, the percussion-line-synth voice designed for creating organic percussive sequences that can mutate over time has a new firmware update that brings it to version 1.1. New additions include randomize template modes for quickly creating bass drums, snares, and percussion sounds as well as simultaneous control of both oscillators for melodic lines. Also new is a new trigger delay setting for proper slot changes with most sequencers and a new screen saver. The update is available from GitHub and the second batch of pre-orders for ZAPS is available from the Plankton Electronics website (https://www.planktonelectronics.com/store/zaps/).
Super Ninja Entertainment Synth
AudioKit has released the Super Ninja Entertainment Synth (Super NESYNTH) for iPhone and iPad. It uses “real” synthesis to offer users more than 2,500 samples from actual video game console sound chips. Super NESYNTH features a real synth engine, including Pulse Width Modulation, a fun free-running step sequencer, and over 400 presets. Users can easily record their own melodies and sounds before exporting with no other apps needed. The app can be used with a MIDI keyboard or iOS MIDI host and can run as an audio unit (AUV3) in iPad Logic, Garageband, and more. Super NESYNTH is available now at an introductory price of $2.99 which is a discount from the regular price of $14.99.
New from Arturia is the Acid V, which it describes as a “corrosive bassline machine.” Acid V draws inspiration from the Roland TB-303, but it’s not just a clone. Instead, Arturia has deliberately incorporated fresh and experimental features that allow for explosive sonic reactions. It features a 2-octave range sub-oscillator and vibrato that goes from slow detune to audio rate, 14 algorithms for distortion, and the type of fast, musical advanced sequencer that 303 fans could only dream about. The transmutation feature allows for the creation of fresh patterns in one click and Acid V also offers musical scales specially curated with modern styles in mind. It even has detailed analog fine-tuning options for users who want to get their hands dirty emulating the specific pitchy, drifty, noisy quirks that make genuine vintage units so endearing. An expertly crafted selection of more than 150 presets rounds out the package and offers everything from classic bass synth lines to experimental modulated tones. Acid V is priced at $199, but users can take advantage of an intro price of $99 until September 14, 2023.
Sequential has released a desktop module of the Trigon-6, which is the last analog polyphonic synthesizer that Dave Smith helped develop before he passed away. It features the same massive sound and hands-on sonic controls as the Keyboard version and has the same pure analog signal path with discrete oscillators and filters. It is the same six-voice polyphonic instrument as the keyboard version, but now with a smaller form factor. According to Sequential, users can also use the poly chain feature and link two Trigon-6s together for a twelve-voice synth. To view the full specifications or to locate a dealer in your area check out the official website.