When we last saw the Bass Station II, Novation’s affordable analog monosynth celebrating the company’s 21st birthday, Novation still had a prototype. Some stuff on that instrument simply didn’t work – or didn’t sound the way we might expect. But there was still reason to anticipate learning more. Novation had something at the $500 street price in America, (529 € is the official price now for Europe), sporting dual filters, two oscillators with a sub oscillator (the “bass” bit), analog effects, patch save, and sequencing and arpeggiation. Even in an increasingly-crowded monosynth landscape, that’s something to note – and here, with the distinctive Bass Station personality, which, love it or hate it, doesn’t sound like anything else.

Now, Novation is shipping. The price is holding steady. And we look forward to finding out in person what the synth is like.

In the meantime, it seems Novation quietly posted sounds for us earlier this summer – missed that. Unlike our hands-on at Musikmesse, this is pre-production rather than prototype, meaning you can better trust your ears. Have a listen, and see what you think:

At top: our hands-on from Messe.

BassStation II, Hands-on: First Direct Sound Samples from Novation’s Analog Synth [Musikmesse]

Novation Bass Station II: All-Analog Sequel to a Classic Instrument, $499 Street [Video, Pics]

  • Henry

    Well, it sounds great, that’s for sure. But I do have a problem with those (as Chris Randall mentioned in one of his blog entries around last NAMM) “one trick ponies”: I can’t imagine to purchase lots of synths, of which each of them would have their admittedly unique sound and character, but where each of these machines is more or less locked within its very own intended purpose.
    On the other hand, there is of course nothing greater than having all these synths with all the knobs and keys to play and twist. I won’t ever have the same, even with the smartest MIDI controller setup ever…
    But for what it’s worth, it still feels like a strong limitation to me – as opposed to synths like the Ultra- or MiniNova, or some software synths setup.

    • mountebank

      I’m not sure that was his point. My interpretation was’nt that he had a problem with synths that are ‘one trick ponies’ it was more that he bemoned the backward/safe thinking of manufacturers who just raid the back catalogue to put out ‘retro’ cash cows. There is not a lot of forward thinking going into these decisions. I personally do not have a problem with ANY musical instrument as they are all useful in the righthands. I would like to some other demos of the Bass station 2 as they all seem to be rock out! I have a K Station that has bags of grit but is quite able to produce very beautiful textures too.

    • Henry

      Oh, that wasn’t what I meant. I understand, Peter did not moan about the one trick pony thing. Chris did so. And in some way I haven’t got a problem with that either. Most of these machines – also the ones you mention – are great in what they do.
      But I do agree with you about that “retro” strategy of some manufacturers these days. But there is obviously a lot of business in it…

      On a separate note, I would still prefer a simple mono synth like this over many iPad software synths, even though they’d on paper be superior in terms of features and flexibility. But there are no knobs on a touchscreen…

    • Peter Kirn

      I understand Chris’ point, though. And there’s definitely a point where you don’t want *another* monosynth. I think it means it is important to consider versatility – even if these are pretty affordable devices as synths go.

  • Dave O Mahony

    My first mono (my first synth actually) was a Korg Prophecy about 2 years after they were released. Took me that long to save up the £1000 needed for it and a Boss DR-660, both used of course. Im so glad analog monos are back! I couldnt have dreamed of it back then – analog for half the price of digital?

    The computer is great if I need romplers, heck even the iPad is going from strength to strength – but I am SO delighted that I can pick up a Minibrute, Minitaur, MS20, TT303 or a BassStation2 for around the price of Omnisphere and a few fx… (hopefully my American cousin can snag me a $500 one and not the $708 equivalent I will have to pay over here in Euros)

  • abluesky

    sounds great