My Novation Bass Station II Review


About Novation

Co​​​​mpany Details

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.

Novation Website


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.

Check the Price on Amazon

Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth
33 Reviews
Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth
  • This analog Synth is a brand new version of...
  • Ships with 64 factory Patches and a further...
  • Pattern-based step sequencer and and two...

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.

It features two main oscillators which can be fully tuned, as well as a sub-oscillator that allows for an even greater bass sound, as its name may suggest.

There are also ring and noise modulators in addition to the two main analogue oscillators, plus two different types of analog filter.

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

Benefits

Great piano keys

A variety of pots and buttons

Amazing synth capabilities

Velocity-sensitive, aftertouch ready

Drawbacks

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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