A funny thing has happened this year: just as multi-core computers are making software more powerful, DSP has gotten easier and cheaper. Result: new hardware that behaves like software. Look no further than long-time software-only, analog emulation house Arturia, who have unveiled a new hardware synth called Origin that builds on the legacy of their soft synths.

The Origin builds in the components of Arturia’s emulation of the Moog modular, minimoog, ARP 2600, Prophet VS, and CS-80, now in hardware form, but allows you to mix and match modules via an on-screen, plug-in-like interface. Now, of course, you can already mix and match all kinds of synthesis methods in software, but Arturia claims that the Analog Devices TigerSHARC DSP chips in the Origin allow greater audio fidelity and performance than even high-end dual-core CPUs. That certainly seems likely; even as CPUs become faster, they’re still rarely as efficient as dedicated DSP. The big question to me is, have Arturia — new to the DSP game — sufficiently molded their instruments to the new hardware? We’ll just have to wait to hear the results.

Arturia Origin

Quick specs:

  1. 500 presets, plus preset compatibility with “most” of Arturia’s software presets
  2. 32-voice polyphony
  3. True Analog Engine (as found in Arturia’s software); up to 24/96 audio

  4. Plug-in support: hardware integrates with plug-ins on your machine (Mac/PC)
  5. Lots of I/O: 2 audio ins, 10 audio outs. Digital: SPDIF out, USB 2.0, MIDI in/out/thru
  6. FX: Phaser, Chorus, Delay, FX Reverbs, Distortion, Param Eq, Compressor, Bitcrusher
  7. 16/32 step sequencer
  8. Modulation control: Macro, Advanced LFO, modulation modes, Advanced Joystick modes

Arturia’s going to have a lot of competition, from software running on Core Duo laptops to new virtual analog hardware like the Waldorf gear. It’ll be interesting to watch this one shake out.

In the meantime, Arturia hasn’t stopped doing software:

Jupiter 8-V

  1. 32 voice polyphony – 2 oscillators per voice; 18 osc total, 2 LFOs, 2 filters, 2 envelopes
  2. FX: Dual Delay, Phaser, Flanger, modulation via any audio source
  3. VST / AU / RTAS Mac/PC

  4. 400 presets

As usual, Arturia isn’t just emulating; they’ve added twists like X/Y digital effects, an advanced “Galaxy” modulation section, easy MIDI assignment, and a step sequencer. The downside here: the “TAE” engine Arturia can sacrifice accuracy in the name of versatility; I’d really like to see an obsessive model of the Jupiter. We’ll know once we test it — especially once Jupiter lovers pull it apart.

(Bad news on the Jupiter is that apparently they’re using a hardware key aka dongle for copy protection.)

  • peter

    thats one hell of a dongle

  • cdmr

    if the price is right i will buy the origin in a heartbeat. Their minimoog emulation is incredible but my ibook can never keep up. 32 voices without draining any cpu power, plus a physical interface would be a god send.

  • Paolo

    price?

  • julien

    3000 euros

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Thanks, Julien, though I really hope you're wrong. Suddenly this becomes a pretty pricey affair.

    We'll have to do a pricing and availability roundup at the end of NAMM so we can figure this all out; information has been a little sketchy.

  • http://mediaovermatter.com Josh Jancourtz

    At the Arturia NAMM booth I was told the Origin will be priced around $2500 (street) and ship in September.

  • http://www.effect69.com effect69

    Bring on the Jupiter8 I love it…

    cheers,

  • http://www.peterpressure.com peter pressure

    Looks pretty slick,

    2500$ is about right…

  • Nickster

    Arturia's use of dongles is a deal-breaker for me. I've been tempted by their products but I don't like to give large sums of money to companies that treat me like a criminal.

  • The Associate

    Wow. I like it. I own APR 2600V but have been using hardware more in recent times, so this appeals to me big time.

    If I were Arturia, I would seriously focus on making this thing as reliable as possible as a stand alone unit first. People who are used to plugins etc. are used to a few start-up troubles – which I think would be completely out of the question for a piece of hardware. Especially at $2500.

    There are a lot of wild synths in this price range – Access Virus, Nord Lead 3, Radikal Technologies Spektralis, Kurzwiel 2600, Roland XT, hell, you could almost buy a MachineDrum AND a MonoMachine for the price of this unit!

    Looks great so far.

    A.

  • http://myspace.com/mikehuckaby mike huckaby

    im seriously thinking about getting this as well. This is like REAKTOR as hardware. No one seems to have one yet. Out of all the videos on youtube, not one single private user has made a video or reviewed it.

    Perhaps no one can afford it. The street price is $2500. But like i said, this is like Reaktor as hardware. This is dam near as endless as REAKTOR

    ( minus sampling capabilities )