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Thick Analog Tones From Roland’s New System-500

We first got wind of Roland’s System-1M modular synth at this year’s Musikmesse, and even saw some demo prototypes of the System5500, but we haven’t heard anything about the latter until now. Roland is notorious for slowly teasing us with details regarding upcoming gear releases, so it’s definitely been a long time coming. Based on the iconic System-100M, the brand new 500 series has received a major overhaul, fitting in a sleek and sexy Eurorack format. However, while the AIRA series (including TR-8 and System-100M) are digitally modelled on analog gear, the 500 series is, in fact, fully analog. For the initial launch, we’re looking at five modules, including the 512 dual VCO, 521 dual VCF, 530 dual VCA, 540 Envelope/LFO, and 572 Phase shifter/Delay/LFO. It’s a lot of gear, but the tones you can get from a proper analog modular system are truly unreal. Scroll down for detailed explanations of each module.

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System-500 512

For starters, we have the 512 dual VCO; as the name tells us, consists of two voltage-controlled oscilators, each of which can be set to pulse, triangle, and sawtooth waveforms. Pulse width can be manipulated by panel control or even CV modulation. The oscillators’ frequencies can also be synced with each other in one of two modes (weak or strong) to acheive a classic ‘sync’ sound.

For full specs and more info, visit the 512 product page.

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System-500 521

Second in the series is the 521 dual VCF module, featuring two separate low-pass filters, each with its own frequency cutoff and resonance controls. Each filter also includes a high-pass filter with a fixed frequency (although there are two switchable cutoff points)

For full specs and more info, visit the 521 product page.

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System-500 530

The 530 dual VCA module handles the amplification in your signal chain; each amp mixes three audio sources, and each source has three CV controls available. Finally, the 530 has an enormously useful switch to select between linear and exponential response settings.

Amplification duties are taken care of with the 530 dual VCA module, with each amp mixing three audio signals and three CV controls for each signal. The 530 also features a selector switch for linear or exponential response modes.

For full specs and more info, visit the 530 product page.

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System-500 540

The 540 is the next step in the signal chain, featuring a dual envelope generator and LFO, featuring two independent sets of ADSR controls. The sections can be triggered internally, externally, or even manually (separately for each envelope), and the output can even be inverted.

For full specs and more info, visit the 540 product page.

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System-500 572

Last, but certainly not least, we arrive at the 572, which features a five-stage phase shifter, analog delay, a control voltage gate decay, and an LFO. The phase shifter includes frequency and resonance controls, and the delay section allows you to set the delay time and feedback. Both the delay and phase shifter allow for modulation via the internal LFO or even external CV signals. Finally, the unit features dry/wet controls, which can be controlled on the front panel, or, (you guessed it) CV control.

For full specs and more info, visit the 572 product page.

 

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SYR-E84 Eurorack Case

Now that we’ve gone over all five module units, it’s important to remember that we’re going to need a nice rack to put them in. Well, I suppose you could have them sprawled out across the room, but what fun is that? The best option seems to be the SYR-E84 Eurorack case, a rugged and portable rack with a high-current power supply. Although it’s truly perfect for mobile producers or live electronic music performers, we’re fairly certain that SYR-E84 find its way into the hands of producers of all ability levels.

From more information and full specifications on the SYR-E84 check out the product page.

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Battle of the Clones: Behringer Announces Their Take On The ARP Odyssey Synth

behringer ARPLast week, Behringer teased on their Facebook page that they will be releasing an authentic ARP Odyssey synthesizer, the synthesizer that helped define ’80s electronic pop, but with a unique 3-mode VCF circuitry (that replicates all MK I to III versions) plus full Midi/USB implementation, priced around $500 USD.

However, just last February, Korg announced that it was going to recreate the same synthesizer by releasing its own “Korg ARP Odyssey”. Korg also revealed that ARP co-founder David Friend was joining Korg as their chief advisor on the new Odyssey. “David Friend established ARP Instruments, Inc. along with Alan Robert Pearlman and is a past president of ARP Instruments, Inc. He was also the lead designer of the original Odyssey in addition to designing or co-designing many other products”, Korg’s press release explained.

KORG ARP ODYSSEY Prototype

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original ARP Odyssey was released in 1972 and came to define a certain crossover style incorporating electronic pop, jazz and progressive rock. It was favored by artists such as Jethro Tull, Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd and more recently, Todd Terje. ARP ceased production of the Odyssey in 1981.