The original Bass Station would now be old enough to drink. But the new Bass Station II (which, in a typical marketing twist, Novation would like to remind you can also do leads) is improved, expanded, and more connected. And with a street price of US$499, the competition for affordable synths has gotten just plain ridiculous – in a way that can only benefit the synth consumer.

Now, the Bass Station II has two filters, two oscillators and a sub-oscillator, patch save capability, and analog effects. It also looks playable, with a step-sequencer, arpeggiator, onboard modulation, and MIDI and USB.

And this does qualify as “analog,” with an analog signal path and analog filters, even with a switchable diode filter modeled on the 303 for what Novation describes as “acid” and “squelchy” sounds.


  • “All-new design,” says Novation, modeled on the original and with a “pure analog audio signal path.”
  • Two filters: “Classic” (from the original), and 303-style “Acid.”
  • 64 presets, 64 user patch locations.
  • Analog distortion, filter modulation, filter overdrive/crunch.
  • Modulation: 2 ADSR envelopes, 2 LFOs, pulse width modulation, switchable LFO waveforms: triangle, sawtooth, square and sample & hold.
  • Programmable step sequencer, arpeggiator.

And you get lots of hands-on controls for the synth, always a welcome feature.

This is yet another entry from OSCar and Wasp creator Chris Huggett, who contributed to some legendary synth designs and has continued to work with Novation. I hope we get to talk to Chris soon, in fact.

In the meantime, a video, below.

This ships in June ($629.99 MSRP / $499.99 at dealers), making 2013 continue to be an absurdly good year for affordable monosynths. And Messe hasn’t even started yet.

And some images:



Hope to get sound samples from Novation soon. I’ll be seeing them tomorrow at Messe, as well.

  • sharp

    ha, I was literally just playing on the basstation 1 as this came in. good news! hopefully the knbos are bit easier to grab that the mega-minis on the original. also sub-oscillator will come in handy!

  • Virtual Flannel

    I’m buying a new analog mono soon!! Still room for the Mini MS 20 and Sub Phatty, but this pretty much put the Mini Brute out of the picture. I only say this because every review I’ve heard on the Arturia MB says it sounds like trash and these are opinions I trust. Now there is something else(better) at the lower end of the price range. Can’t wait to hear more of the Bass Station 2!

    • just passing

      Every time I think it might be quite nice to build synths for a living, I remember that I’d have to try and sell them to people like you. I can’t express how completely that puts me off.

    • Jens Ulrik Jørgensen

      I Know you say that you can’t express it, but would you care to try?

  • JJ Black

    Now *that’s* a handsome looking little machine. Bravo, Novation.

    • goettel

      Agreed, especially compared to the plastic-y look (and feel?) of the Minibrute and the aweful yellow of the Mopho.

  • Rory O’Connor

    This is a great looking synth, but without the multimode filter and cv to midi converter, I like my bass station rack more. Still, a tempting acquisition at 499!

  • Marco Raaphorst

    that knobless midicon looks cool!

  • Jeff Cross

    I’m pretty thrilled about this. Some part of me would love to build a little studio around the sub-$1k analog synths on the market. Anyone wish that they’d added CV out? I was sort of shocked and happy to see CV support on the Akai Max49 and Arturia MiniBrute.

  • wndfrm

    unfortunately the video left me with “we didn’t make anything really interesting between 1995 and 2013” :)

  • bloodynails

    I cannot stand the trend of using blue LEDs for the pitch and mod wheels. Please stop that. Thanks.

    • synapticflow

      don’t sweat the little things in life. at least it doesn’t have mini keys.

    • bloodynails

      I know it sounds shallow but blue LEDs really do bother me, as they do many many others, and it’s not for superficial reasons. Blue LEDs have at least 20 times the luminous intensity of old-fashioned red and green indicators and have been proven to cause eyestrain, headaches, and disturbed sleep by experts in relevant fields.

    • synapticflow

      yeah i get you. i’ve heard about the blue LED health concerns.

    • Jason Chatzilias

      I was gonna mention this very thing. Blue parts of the light spectrum halt natural melatonin production at certain times of the day.

    • Gaige Clark

      Its funny what if these blue lights contribute to mania because they cause less melatonin LOL. Then it causes more musicians to make music without sleeping and then impulsively buying more of novations products.

    • bloodynails

      the funny thing is I would have preferred the mini keys like on microkorg. different strokes…

    • tripodii

      You can turn them off, silly

    • Radiophobic

      Trend or not, blue was part of the original color scheme.

    • Jorn

      Easy fix: electrical tape.

  • bughouse

    rackmount please

  • lukematthewsutton

    Reckon I’ll take the money I was going to spend on a x0xb0x and get this; assuming it gives good acid-squiggle

  • heinrichz

    Nice entry level synth and they finally seem to be getting the the price point right to be competitive with software synths. Great to see full size keys as well !

  • Geräuschwerk

    Damn, this or a handcrafted X0xb0x, hard decision to make…

    • Spinkterbrain

      Hands down….This is way more bang for buck ! X0xbox can’t touch it !

  • Spinkterbrain

    This looks very nice. A few minor flaws like a shared adsr for both envelopes, occasional shared buttons. Nothing’s ever perfect though. A good contender for the Korg MS 20 Mini at this price. Really good to see real synths arriving….Bravo. (I also agree with the guy who can’t stand the blue led’s on the mod wheels. Not necessary)

  • Jorn

    $500 is really nice.
    I wish they wouldn’t have modeled the filters after the 303 though, just because there are enough 303-sounding things available already.

    • goettel

      I think the ‘classic’ one is modelled after the SH-101, not the 303. It also doesn’t have the required 18db/octave-(ish) slope of the 303.

  • goettel

    “Two filters: “Classic” (from the original)”.

    No, it isn’t – the original didn’t have HP and BP options.

  • make4christ

    I think this offers some great options with every thing that is now coming out that is analog. I don’t know much about analog so I can’t speak about it being digitally controlled oscillators in comparison to voltage controlled but to the people who don’t think the minibrute can compare I say think again. There is a lot you can do with this synth if you know what your doing. This synth features the ability to be extremely harsh and I think that was a bad sales pitch to emphasize that but I’ve been learning synthesis with it and although it will certainly make lush warm tones having a delay is a paramount in bringing this synth’s sounds to the level of epic. If you listen to a lot of synth based music you’ll see that effects are huge. Crystal Castles’ -the plague has a simple reverb or echo on a synth sound that makes it epic for an example. So I would say yes this novation synth will certainly have it’s own pluses I personally didn’t like the shared controls and the shift button and keyboard press combo to access LFO control. The minibrute is a TANK in it’s body construction. The top panel and front panel that goes across the bottom under the keys are at least a quarter inch thick metal, no joke. The panel on the bottom where you would remove it to access the guts is thinner but still solid. The only flaw I noticed is the mod and pitch bend wheels were a little angled but they weren’t loose or show any lack of solid control. It definitely has it’s own sound and I think the wave mixing is a lot more versatile than only one wave form per oscillator. You get four at once not including the sub oscillator. It’s only -12dB compared to the bass station 2 -24dB but I’ll be getting a nice pair of headphones just to hear the bass as my speakers and earbuds can’t pick it up if that’s saying anything. It’s going to be preferences and I can see that having a year to add to what arturia did, which until now I’ve never known you could get true analog for such a price