Select Page

Is 2013 The Year Of The Analogue Synthesizer Renaissance?

Is 2013 The Year Of The Analogue Synthesizer Renaissance?

We’re barely a quarter of the way into 2013, and the analogue synthesizer is making its presence felt once again…

2013 - The Year of the Analogue Synthesizer

Once upon a time, the analogue synthesizer was simply ‘the synthesizer’. Analogue technology was the only means of generating synthesized sound. Then, in the 80s, digital synthesis arrived, and provided a far more stable and reliable means of generating synth tones- not no mention an easier means of connecting synth equipment (MIDI).

However, sonically, digital synths just didn’t have the same warmth, power, or charismatic unpredictability of their analogue counterparts. As a result, in the early ‘90s, the market for vintage analogue synthesizers exploded.

In the meantime, ‘virtual analogue synths’ such as those from Nord, Korg and Novation, appeared, and software synthesizers evolved, to provide analogue style synthesis but with the benefits of digital synthesis.

Year of the analogue synthesizer - Novation Bass Station VST

Despite this, the demand for true analogue synths has never gone away, but it has always been reserved for those with deep pockets.

It seems that 2013 is the year that this is set to change, however.

It’s only April, and we’ve already seen 2 major suppliers release 5 analogue synth products. Each exploits the advantages of analogue tone, and digital convenience, and all are under £500! Interested? Me too!

Here’s some of the treats that could making the earth move (literally) in your musical life soon…

Novation Bass Station II

Year of the Analogue Synthesizer - Bass Station II

The Focusrite – Novation team have been very busy this year already, but the new Bass Station II is undoubtedly the star so far. Well, to me at least.

The original Bass Station was one of the products that brought UK brand Novation to the masses. Responding to the demand for analogue synthesizers in the early ‘90s, the Bass Station was a 2-octive synth capable of far more than ‘Bass’.

The Bass Station II updates this concept. It’s an entirely analogue monosynth, with 2 oscillators and a sub oscillator, and even an analogue effects section.

The amount of control has expanded hugely since the original model. A more traditional, fader-based envelope control is equipped, and crucially adds more modulation control, and the ability to save patches. Plus, the ability to connect to a computer via USB and MIDI makes integration into a studio a breeze.

Korg MS-20 Mini

Year of the Analogue Synthesizer - Korg MS20 Mini

The MS-20 is one of the most popular analogue synthesizers ever made. When Korg announced the Korg MS-20 Mini, the synth world cheered.

Essentially, this is exactly the same design as the original, but smaller. So, you get the same, semi-modular design with patchable routing on the front panel, packed into a case that is significantly smaller.

Oh, and the MS-20 Mini has a USB connection and MIDI connections, too. And all for less than £500… 😀

Korg Volca range

Year of the Analogue Synthesizer - Korg Volca Range

Korg have been at the forefront of the analogue synthesizer renaissance since it launched the tiny, Stylophone-on-steroids that is the Monotron. This single oscillator synth was entirely analogue, with a real MS-20 filter.

Year of the Analogue Synthesizer - Korg Volca Keys

The Volca range extends this concept. There are three units in the range, each based on analogue synthesizer technology…

The Volca Keys is a 3-voice analogue synth with a simple built-in loop sequencer. It allows users to create 16-step loops via the 27-key interface. Plus, a plethora of hands-on controls provide the means to tweak sounds in real-time. The filter in this little beauty is derived from the Korg miniKORG700s, lending its some bona fide vintage DNA.

Year of the Analogue Synthesizer - Korg Volca Bass

The Volca Bass is a 3-oscillator bass synth that follows this template. The Volca Beats is an analogue drum machine, at its heart. However, unlike that featured on the Monotribe, it also has a PCM sound engine, massively expanding the sonic potential.

All devices feature a sync jack and MIDI in, which means that these can easily hooked up to each other or into your DAW.

Year of the Analogue Synthesizer - Korg Volca Beats

If you’ve ever had a fetish for an analogue synthesizer, then 2013 is the year that they suddenly became within reach…

Call our customer service team (01925 582420) or stores for more information or availability on any of the above. Alternatively, you can pre-order via our online store.

About The Author


Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.