My Novation Bass Station II Review
Novation Digital Music Systems Ltd. is a British musical equipment manufacturer, founded in 1992 by Ian Jannaway and Mark Thompson.
Today the company specialises in controllers, performance synthesizers, and DJ equipments and interfaces.
My Initial Thoughts
The Novation Bass Station is truly a synth with a pedigree.
It packs in a lot of features in a small space, as we will see.
Bass Station II was made over 20 years ago, and it is still considered one of the best synths in its category, as evidenced by Novation’s decision to launch an updated, modern version of it (hence the ‘II’ in the name).
In this review, we will be taking a look at all of the most important features offered by this synth.
Starting from its more basic characteristics first, we will move on to the more advanced capabilities offered by this device.
With that in mind, let us get started.
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Feel, Specifications, Dimensions, and Integrations
This synth features the keyboard quite prominently, with 25 full-size piano keys.
These are fully velocity-sensitive and feature aftertouch as well, so that the user can express themselves fully without any hindrance.
In addition to the prominent keyboard, there is also a vast range of dials and controllers on the front panel of the device as well.
These are subdivided thematically into banks for ease of use, and they control a huge array of different parameters.
This tactile sensation of twiddling knobs has never been fully replaced by controls on a touchscreen, and their return in this synth is a welcome one.
All of the controls are really solidly built, and they call back to an earlier time in which synths were built to last, as opposed to being replaced every couple of years.
The same goes for the piano keys, which feel great when pressed, and provide appropriate feedback that makes them a joy to play.
Advanced Features and Performance
This synth offers a lot in the way of advanced features, all of which can be controlled using the various dedicated knobs, sliders, and buttons.
Firstly, there is the classic multi-mode filter, which is a staple of analog synths, and secondly, am acid filter, which provides previously unheard of (!) possibilities with sounds.
The arpeggiator in this unit is also noteworthy.
It allows for up to 32 different patterns, and has a 4 octave maximum range.
There are dedicated controls on the unit which regulate the direction of the arpeggiator, as well as a swing function.
There are two LFOs, which can be tuned to produce 4 different types of waveform.
When you combine the two, you can produce unique sounds with a lot of texture, and modulate them live using the parameters on the front panel.
Pros & Cons of Bass Station II
Great piano keys
A variety of pots and buttons
Amazing synth capabilities
Velocity-sensitive, aftertouch ready
Pots not backlit
Writing too small
Keys sit a bit too tall for my liking
Could do with more memory
My Final Thoughts
The Novation Bass Station II lives up to its fabled ancestor, and produces the same spectacular results, but updated to take advantage of the modern advances in digital technology.
It is solidly built so that it will last a lifetime with no problem, and it offers the tactile feeling that has proven indispensable even in the age of digital modeling.
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