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Novation Supernova?
Old 5th March 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Novation Supernova?

So I am really turning into a Gearslut. I am looking at a Supernova, as it seems to definitely add to my anologue-like palette of the Blofeld and the Evolver. Any opinions of it? It sounds seriously capable of doing atmospheric sounds as well as doing some fairly grungy sounding bass lines. A real workhorse. BUT are there pitfalls with this instrument that I should be aware of or any programming tips? I figure I would turn to the experts here...
Old 5th March 2010
  #2
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Fordy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi operaman

If you can get one for < Β£600 I would say go for it. Personally I think it has the best keyboard action of any of my other synths.

I found the modulation matrix a pain to get my head round until one day it just finally clicked.

It's my least favorite synth out of the ones I own mainly because I find a lot of the sounds kinda samey and making something different can be a struggle.

That said it has it's own unique character and I certainly won't be selling mine any time soon.
Old 5th March 2010 | Show parent
  #3
Oli
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Oli's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think it's a decent work horse. Filters are not bad. Pretty programmable. I'd go for version 2.

That said, I did find it a little lacking in character from my brief demos.
Old 5th March 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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cryophonik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I had a SN1 (rack) for years and it was definitely a workhorse synth. I miss it and would probably pick up another one (or, preferably a SNII) if I ever found a steal on one. Very programmable, nice filters, sounds great, very versatile, reliable, and well-constructed (i.e., unlike anything currently offered by Novation).

That said, your Blofeld will overlap a bit with the SN's capabilities, so if it's a matter of wanting something really different from your current lineup, the SN might not be the best choice. OTOH, if you're just GASing for a new toy, the SN is fun one IMO.
Old 5th March 2010 | Show parent
  #5
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GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Something is wrong with SN/SN2 sounds, lack of essence.
Other than that they are fine.
Pitty.
Old 6th March 2010 | Show parent
  #6
Deleted 46dc28f
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by GYang ➑️
Something is wrong with SN/SN2 sounds, lack of essence.
I think some of the on-board effects like reverb may be to blame. My SN2 sounds dreamy through an H8000FW.heh
Old 6th March 2010 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Nut
 
bloopbleep's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by T71 ➑️
I think some of the on-board effects like reverb may be to blame. My SN2 sounds dreamy through an H8000FW.heh

I heard even a fart sounds good with H8000FWheh
Old 6th March 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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relis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Had SN2 rack. Loved it, due to the great interface and sexy look. And that distinctive character of the sound which gives it a possibility to be heard and recognised easily. But moved on from there.

When programming, it's easy to lost the sweet spot. At one point, it's there, but for the next 10 minutes you won't find usable sound.

Oscillators were ok, nice saw width option there, but the filters didn't sound expecially good. Notch filter was a joke, compared to some similar generation VAs, like Virus B. But it needs to be feed with something to give something, so it wasn't all his fault.

Nice delays, reverb is characterful but nothing special, chorus and phaser are awfull. The least one is useless.

Based on the thing I just said, one could expect awfull sounding synth, but no. It can sound huge and very, very warm.

I had the opportunity to compare Waldorf Q, Virus Classic (B), Microwave2 (a bit cheating here, I know), JP8080 and SN2 side by side, and I swear SN2 was giving the most full and warm sound of them all. Not all the time of course, but comparing similar type of sounds. It may be the least versatile one in the comparison, too. Madness of Q, digital pads of JP, Virus or MW2 aren't possible, for instance. SN really is VA that wants to be analog, without some great innovations which are making some VAs big digital synths.

And if not extensively and propperly programmed, you'll have digitally, glassy sounding VA, even though that's not bad point eather. It screams in the mix and is heard.

All in all, usefull synth.If the money is not the object, I'll buy it right away.

Here are some examples of SN2 pads, first example is SN alone, the second one SN's playing resonant strings:

http://www.b3ta.cr3ation.co.uk/data/...tifulshore.mp3

http://www.b3ta.cr3ation.co.uk/data/...42fc6_pads.mp3
Old 6th March 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
i think the sn has it's place - it's great for basslines and harsh dnb style noise.

if you're buying one now, check all the outputs - they have a habbit of failing, leading to all sorts of crackles and pops

luckily they have loads of outs to chose from, lol.
Old 7th March 2010 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Got a Supernova for 322 EU shipped. Good deal, fair deal, bad deal? It is in mint, and has the 4.1 update. LEt me know what you guys think...
Old 7th March 2010 | Show parent
  #11
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cryophonik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by operaman ➑️
Got a Supernova for 322 EU shipped. Good deal, fair deal, bad deal? It is in mint, and has the 4.1 update. LEt me know what you guys think...
I assume you mean Supernova I, not II, correct?
Old 7th March 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Yes, I meant the first version. I am stoked, but you always wonder if you got a fair deal or not... Now I am looking for an OSX editor/librarian for it to store the weird patches I hope to create hehhehheh

Edit: I WILL be programming from the front panel...So scratch the editor...
Old 8th March 2010 | Show parent
  #13
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DevonB's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by operaman ➑️
Yes, I meant the first version. I am stoked, but you always wonder if you got a fair deal or not... Now I am looking for an OSX editor/librarian for it to store the weird patches I hope to create hehhehheh

Edit: I WILL be programming from the front panel...So scratch the editor...
I was going to say, an EDITOR for the SN? Are you serious? The first thing I did when I had gotten my SNII was to edit any patch I didn't like on my first flip through, it was so easy to work with and save out.

322 Euro ain't bad. I've seen the SNI go for around $400ish in US dollars these days, so pretty decent deal. The SNI/SNII seem to 'depend ont he week' on Ebay. While I don't agree with the comparison above (I think the JP8080 sounds much richer and fuller all around than the SNII, and yes, I own both) every time I think about getting rid of the SNII because it's 'redundant', I play with it for a few minutes and promptly erase that thought out of my head. Great synth, at least the SNII is.

Devon
Old 14th March 2010 | Show parent
  #14
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Fellow SN11 fans, I have just bought one but need some help....

I am using Ableton Live 8 and I can get 3 external instruments channels running in Ableton but when I setup a 4th external instrument I can see midi data being sent to the SN11 but no audio is coming back.

Each external instrument is set to transmit midi on a unique midi channel and the SN11 is set to receive the relative midi but still no audio. I'm guessing the problem may have something to do with the settings on the SN11?

Can anyone offer any advice?

-A
Old 14th March 2010 | Show parent
  #15
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Just worked it out, some of the performance parts were auto turned to off.
Old 23rd May 2010
  #16
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brofjw's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have a new Supernova I, and I wonder if I might add to this post by asking if anyone out there knows how I can upload version 4.1 of the OS? I have the software as a MIDI file on my PC, and the instructions say I have to load it to a sequencer first and then Supernova. Is this true? I have a MIDI/USB cable. Is there an easier way to do it straight from my PC?
Old 23rd May 2010 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
How exactly do you imagine the process to be made easier than what you've described?

If you have a hardware sequencer, find a way to get that MIDI file on whatever medium it uses - floppy disk, flash card, whatever. Hook up the sequencer's MIDI out to the Supernova's MIDI in. Make sure the sequencer is sending everything to the correct output at the correct channel (if the SN only receives at 16 and you're sending at 1, it's not gonna work). Make sure the sequencer does not filter MIDI System Exclusive commands (some do).

Play back the file, and the SN should tell you in its display that it is receiving something.

If you don't have a software sequencer: Hook up USB-MIDI cable to computer. Insert the cable of the USB MIDI interface labeled MIDI OUT into the Supernova's MIDI IN. (stuff goes OUT of the computer IN to the synthesizer). On Windows, use MIDI-OX. On OS X, find an alternative.

Description for MIDI-OX:

  • Get the application at MIDI-OX Download Page (ignore the Windows installer stuff, scroll down)
  • Install it. Start the application.
  • Go to Options -> MIDI devices
  • Select the MIDI input (Generic USB MIDI Device whatever) you want to use and the MIDI output you want to use. If you have selected both, a new entry will appear in "Port Mapping".
  • Click OK. The window will close.
  • Go to Actions -> Play MIDI. A new small window will appear called MIDIBar.
  • Click on the folder icon to browse for the MIDI file.
  • Click Play.
  • The SN should tell you in its display that it is receiving something.
Things that can go wrong:

Your cat/kids/significant other yanks out the cable while it's not done sending. Uh oh. Try re-playing the MIDI file. If that fails, switch the SN off and on and hope it can recover. If it doesn't, try re-playing the MIDI file again. If it still doesn't work, you're hosed. For details, consult the manual.
Old 23rd May 2010 | Show parent
  #18
Deleted 46dc28f
Guest
...Fantastic demos. Thanks for sharing. What other synths were used on demo two?
Old 24th May 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
[QUOTE=relis;5177822]
When programming, it's easy to lost the sweet spot. At one point, it's there, but for the next 10 minutes you won't find usable sound.

key statement imo. proved by the quality of your programming results.

That is the sign of a powerful synth.

an OB8 is exactly the same. I would be interested to know if you ever find any of the key controls in this synth which get you more frequent results on the sweet spots and how diverse those sweet spots are.

nice sounds..

Old 25th May 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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shaft9000's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
in some ways it's one of the best synths, in other ways one of the worst

pros:
- outstanding UI/interface. simply the best layout of any 'big poly' synth ever made, imho.
- arpeggiator is the best on any synth I've ever used.
- fx implementation/usability beats any other synth (well, the reverb is crap though)
- most 'analog-y' digital filter in any late-90's VA. Can be almost convincing w/ overdrive cranked.
- great at FM bass, a wide variety of deep digital pads, warm ambient drones, late-90's VA muck, trance-y arps, splits and layers - basically BREAD and BUTTER as it won't 'go crazy' like a modular can, except in a few traditional ways.
- good-sounding vocoder that's easy to use

cons:
- no proper 'mod matrix', only a matrix in the Osc section. But this is not nearly as 'bad' as it may seem, as it makes patch creation faster than having to assign source/destination; this is because every section has either it's own LFO or has the usual LFO, EG, velocity, AT options already.
But you don't get proper LFO->LFO mods, cross-mod. It won't do Prophet 5. It's more like a "virtual JX-10/MKS-70" in basic sound and functionality.
- lifeless, thoroughly digital OSC sawtooth wave. imho this is achilles heel of SN2, as simple saw-based patches are not authentic or interesting at all. Pulsewave is much better, but still PWM is anemic on SN2 compared to proper VCO analog-type PWM.

here's a video I made of SN2:

Old 27th May 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Really sucks Novation didn't continue the Supernova line in the manner Access continued the Virus...

What the hell, Novation? Torched your good name with some of your more recent products...
Old 27th May 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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relis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by e6400ultra ➑️
...Fantastic demos. Thanks for sharing. What other synths were used on demo two?
Virus Classic is layered with both Supernova strings and Yamaha EX5 pad (starting 1:05).
Old 28th May 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaft9000 ➑️
in some ways it's one of the best synths, in other ways one of the worst

pros:
- outstanding UI/interface. simply the best layout of any 'big poly' synth ever made, imho.
- arpeggiator is the best on any synth I've ever used.
- fx implementation/usability beats any other synth (well, the reverb is crap though)
- most 'analog-y' digital filter in any late-90's VA. Can be almost convincing w/ overdrive cranked.
- great at FM bass, a wide variety of deep digital pads, warm ambient drones, late-90's VA muck, trance-y arps, splits and layers - basically BREAD and BUTTER as it won't 'go crazy' like a modular can, except in a few traditional ways.
- good-sounding vocoder that's easy to use

cons:
- no proper 'mod matrix', only a matrix in the Osc section. But this is not nearly as 'bad' as it may seem, as it makes patch creation faster than having to assign source/destination; this is because every section has either it's own LFO or has the usual LFO, EG, velocity, AT options already.
But you don't get proper LFO->LFO mods, cross-mod. It won't do Prophet 5. It's more like a "virtual JX-10/MKS-70" in basic sound and functionality.
- lifeless, thoroughly digital OSC sawtooth wave. imho this is achilles heel of SN2, as simple saw-based patches are not authentic or interesting at all. Pulsewave is much better, but still PWM is anemic on SN2 compared to proper VCO analog-type PWM.

here's a video I made of SN2:

Thanks for the Vid..

it looks as though it is possibly good for very tight sounding CS80 sounds.
not fully sure about that though.

Very good Pads as proven earlier and completely mental synth effect production.

Thanks

Muser

Old 30th May 2010 | Show parent
  #24
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shaft9000's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
it does some nice leads, sure.
CS-80? I should have left the "80" out when I wrote that.
A better comparison is w/ CS-10 or 15...polyAT and ribbon on CS-80 make a huge difference in playing that SN2 can't overcome.
As for sound, it's not got the beautiful 'reedy' harmonics of a CS synth w/ the filter open, but with filter closed partway who'll know the difference unless they themselves have used one many times

cool Supernova stuff:

-distorted tranny Organs sound good on SN2 - explore the FM, distortion and filter drive options!

-you can 'morph' patches by layering 2 programs in perf. mode and cross-fading them using the modwheel

-the arpeggiator is also a sequencer, and arp. memories are stored independently of programs - therefore, you can instantly "fly in" any arp you want to any program (and scroll through them while it's running) for a myriad of variations on the fly

- the OSC's have an unusual feature called 'skew' which effectively compresses the width and symmetry of the waveform - not just for pulse, but all osc waves.
this makes for some fun in itself, and in combination w/ ringmod and FM = you get sounds unique to SN2

- FM bass ftw
Old 30th May 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Deleted 46dc28f
Guest
Interesting fact about the Supernova/Nova series, they are Chris Huggett's designs. For those who don't already know, he was the founder of Oxford Synthesizer Company and designer of the OSCar and WASP synthesizers, two other unique sounding digital(well, mostly) designs.
Old 30th May 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by e6400ultra ➑️
Interesting fact about the Supernova/Nova series, they are Chris Huggett's designs. For those who don't already know, he was the founder of Oxford Synthesizer Company and designer of the OSCar and WASP synthesizers, two other unique sounding digital(well, mostly) designs.
The Novation page on Wikipedia says he was advising them while he was at Akai, and joined them later on. It makes me wonder if he had a hand in the Bass Station, that has quite a unique rasping filter.
Old 30th May 2010
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by operaman ➑️
So I am really turning into a Gearslut. I am looking at a Supernova, as it seems to definitely add to my anologue-like palette of the Blofeld and the Evolver. Any opinions of it? It sounds seriously capable of doing atmospheric sounds as well as doing some fairly grungy sounding bass lines. A real workhorse. BUT are there pitfalls with this instrument that I should be aware of or any programming tips? I figure I would turn to the experts here...
You would have to be at the end of the line to look at a Supernova 1. One of the worst synths ever. Terrible oscillators, awful reverbs / effects. Complete crap. The Supernova 2 is much better, but even then why not look at other cheap analogs like the Tetra or some other analog variants. There are a variety of softsynths that put that digital pile of garbage to shame at a fraction of the cost. You must have an enormous stockpile of every synth made to be looking at this. Don't waste your time.
Old 30th May 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by brock ➑️
You would have to be at the end of the line to look at a Supernova 1. One of the worst synths ever. Terrible oscillators, awful reverbs / effects. Complete crap. The Supernova 2 is much better, but even then why not look at other cheap analogs like the Tetra or some other analog variants. There are a variety of softsynths that put that digital pile of garbage to shame at a fraction of the cost. You must have an enormous stockpile of every synth made to be looking at this. Don't waste your time.
And this would be called your opinion. I have it, and love it, but again, as I find it pointless to own a bunch of keyboards taking up space that a computer by and large does infinitely better, I find the multipurpose use of the Supernova to be great. It has a high polyphony count, is capable of serious atmospheric sounds as well as some rich pads, and gritty nasty sounds as well. I find it to be a Swiss Army knife for my purposes.

Each to there own I suppose. If you have an SN2 and want to sell it cheap since it sucks let me know.heh
Old 31st May 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
There is something seriously wrong with a lot of plug-ins imo.

I ran some audio through NI P5 and NI guitar Rigs P5 Filer as FX for the filtering and then when I ran it through the V-Synths external ins, it was totally different in quality terms.

The only Plugs I trust so far in software are, the OPX-OB8, the impOscar and FM8. not that I have tried (everything) but...

I like many of the actual plug-in synths overall sound architecture, I just never get off on the sound though. somethings up there.. what? I know not.

The Novation Supernova desktop version has an external in if I am not mistaken.

Muser
Old 31st May 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I use mainly sample libraries as I am more into orchestrated music for TV and film. For what I need from analogue (atmospheric sounds), the Supernova does the job.
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