I’m now the proud owner of the Novation UltraNova synthesizer. I’m already creating some custom patches for it so stay tuned for some updates on Patchlab. I'm also considering building some larger sound sets so signup for the Newsletter and check "UltraNova" if you might be interestd.
I did a lot of research before buying the UltraNova and played all the synths in this price range so I’ll be sharing some info in this regard. To start with, I’ve put together this UltraNova 411 mindmap. This will save you time if you are looking for info to help you decide if this synth is right for you, or if you are looking for resources on the instrument. In a future post I’ll do a comparison to other synths in this class.
Nick at Sonic State and Stephen Fortner with Keyboard Magazine really spiked my interest in this synthizer so I’ve included links to their reviews in the map.
A lot of branches are clickable and some are expandable so click around.
View Full Sized Map on Mindmeister | Download ClicKable PDF
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer
7 responses to “Novation UltraNova Synthesizer 411”
Yes, it’s a super expressive synth for the price.
I can’t touch pricier synths now, but the multiple fx
and basic waves have enabled me to write a few Inspired patches on the UltraNova that I can’t get on similarly priced keys. I consider myself very lucky.
could you compare it to akai miniak/micron?
I think sound wise they not far apart.
Sounds interesting indeed! You could do this with an additional controller, but I guess having everything in one “box” makes it a lot more convenient for live performances. Thanks for the in depth info!
Here is a cool Ultranova feature – using touch encoders to toggle the fucntion of another modulation source. For example, you can program a patch so by default aftertouch does nothing. While touching encoder 1, aftertouch routes to pitch for OSC 1,2,3. While touching encoder 2, aftertouch controls filter cutoff. Awesome!
My first inclination was to compare to Blofeld as well, but Blofeld Keyboard is in a different class both price and feature wise. It has a bigger sonic range with FM, Comb filters, more wavetables with more waves, custom wavetables, and non-volatile sample RAM. That being said, Blofeld is harder to use when it comes to patch management and computer integration as this is implemented though syssex and third party editors. So comparing apples to apples (as in synths with kebyoards in the $699 and under range) I’d say competitors are Venom and Gaia.
I own both Blofeld and UltraNova now and can say that what makes UltraNova unique are the performance features. I’m finding them to be very complimentary really. The tweak/touch encoder system is where it really shines. The 300 or so factory patches (with of course a handful of each patch type) have only scratched the surface. Analog modeling with wavetable with a mod matrix with 66 targets including FX params has a lot to offer for creating new sounds not represented in the factory banks.
They have built some nice elements into the architecture to accommodate the tweak/touch system. For example, since you can modulate delay time, they have a “Delay Slew” parameter which allows you to modulate between harsh and smooth transition for delay times. A few other nice features are oscillator density and detune which allow you to produce thick sounds without eating polyphony.
The VST/AU editor is great. I’m already doing things like Ableton Live dummy clip automation to drive deep params within the UltraNova.
I see it as a great starter synth that’s deep enough for synthesist types with awesome performance capabilities. For me it is also a nice addition to Ableton based controllerism rig.
I tried it myself not long ago… and found it a synth with good potential, but uninspiring sound, but of course this is all very subjective. The comparison to the blofeld comes quite automatic, how do you think they compare?