Novation UltraNova Synthesizer

Novation today introduced a new keyboard synthesizer, the Novation UltraNova.

Description:

The UltraNova is a ‘Nova’ series analogue-modelling synthesizer with a powerful effects processor. It is a single-part synth taking the legendary Supernova II synth engine as a starting point and packing it with the latest technology. It now has brand new features including wavetable synthesis, even more powerful filters, a software editor and a revolutionary new touch-sense performance mode.

The Novation UltraNova will list for $850 and retail closer to $700.

Check out the details below and let me know what you think of the Novation UltraNova!

Key Features of the Novation UltraNova:

  • Brand new Nova-series synth engine based on Supernova II:
    • Single part with up to 18 voices, 14 filter types, 36 wavetables, 5 effect slots
    • Patch Browse enables you to browse 300 sounds by type & genre
  • Touch-sense controls enable totally new sound-shaping & performance:
    • Trigger envelopes/LFOs/filters/FX by just touching the encoders
    • Large rotary control instantly allows you fine control of any parameter
  • Totally gig-able with 37 full sized keys, a vocoder, and loads of controls:
    • Voice optimized 12 band vocoder with gooseneck mic
    • High quality key bed with aftertouch for expressive playing styles
  • Software plug-in editor and Patch Librarian for full visual editing:
    • Plug-in editor allows you to view and edit in with software
    • Software Patch Librarian a organise, store and share unlimited patches
  • Built-in 2 in 4 out USB audio interface and it can be bus powered:
    • UltraNova can be used to stream audio to and from a host computer
    • Stereo main (analogue & SPDIF) and aux outputs, and MIDI in/out/thru ports

These videos go into further detail on the Novation UltraNova’s features and interface:

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=DDF0C2A082D25251

54 thoughts on “Novation UltraNova Synthesizer

  1. Looks like a really good modern synth! I was waiting for Novation to deliver the "Supernova next step" and it looks like they did! But only monotimbral? And only 3 octaves? Come on Novation! Make a 61 and 88 key version, give it two or four part layering/splitting/multitimbrality, user programmable arpegio/stepseq patterns through the software editor and we have the supersynth of the new decade! (Oh! and separate Osc1/Osc2/Osc3/RM/Noise mixers for each filter input).
    But even if you don't, i'll still buy it! IMO Novation have the best VA emulation software ever, at any price range (i have three Novation synths).

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  2. Looks a little underwhelming, IMO. Has significantly fewer knobs/sliders than either the X-Station or the SLmkII lines. Touch-sensitivity is nice for real-time tweaks, but programming new sounds or controlling anything complex on this is likely to be a pain.

    For $700 in the controller + analog-modeling department, feels to me like I'd still get more bang-for-my-buck picking up an X-Station (or an SLmkII) plus a copy of something like NI Massive on the side.

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  3. The touch feature looks like it would be a huge pain UNLESS you were using it live. And even then it would still be less than ideal. Minus the touch sensitivity gimmick, this is just an R3 in disguise. The audio interface… useless. My crappy Digitech RP255 guitar multieffects pedal has a USB interface. Pretty soon we'll see them in stoves and can openers.

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  4. "Touch-sensitivity is nice for real-time tweaks"
    it seems like when you touch the knobs the corresponding parameter spits out its MAX value…how can this be useful in any occasion is beyond my understanding

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  5. I guess this is aimed at the Korg line of "my first synth" of products or the Roland Gaia synth.

    I wish they would have just made another supernova. That shit was crazy! I like crazy.

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  6. It's gotta be multitimbral or otherwise it's lame. I hope they change that before shipping. Or they should come out with a multitimbral rack module.

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  7. I actually kind of like this.

    I think Novation is going with the less is more philosophy – getting you a synth that sounds good and offers a lot of potential, but cutting out the stuff that 80% of the people never figure out how to use. I'd guess that most keyboard players never use their synths as multitimbral modules.

    Not as cool a synth for the power users, but it looks like it would be very easy to use.

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  8. I don't see why I would get this instead of the X-Station. On the other hand, maybe this means the X-Station will go down in price making it easier for me to finally get it.

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  9. it's crap like al-most everything in these days. so i would stil go for buy a novation nova laptop/supernova II. metal chassis in these days could sound better then the machine itself.

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  10. Yeah that part looks silly, it might as well just be a button. I was referring to the touch-sensitive features that the SL line has, where just tapping a knob brings up its name and value on the LCD so you can quickly understand what's mapped to what. I'm assuming they'll make it possible to configure the Ultra's touch sensitivity in a similar way.

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  11. the Novation UltraNova is limited to mono so it seems to me that buying a used supernova woulld be much more powerful than this version. use your Akai miniak, korg R3 or microkorgs to control the supernova and forget the added keyboard, unless you gotta have blue.

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  12. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  13. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  14. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  15. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  16. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  17. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  18. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  19. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  20. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  21. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  22. OLD ISN'T NEW – I was really impressed with the Basstation (the real hardware version) and the Supernova/Nova synths and would really have liked to see what Novation could have developed thats new technology as far as the sound engine. The Supernova is one of the top VA's, or just a top synth in general and the Basstation was analog greatness both of which I still own, but I expected something greater than a repack by novation.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  23. Obviously most of the posters here know little to nothing about modern music production. I loved the X-Station but there were some unflattering things about it. There was a lot of digital noise on the pre-amps, the patch browser not modern, and the synth was super digital and abrasive(although I've got some bangin' tracks with it), there wan't a 37-key version, and there were some bugs with the LFO controls. Also, like any other synth that doesn't have a PC based patch editor, you often loose your patches and this can force you to scrap good tracks all to often(Which is why I use like software instruments). I do wish that this synth was laid out more like the X-Station but the UltraNova's synth is way beefier, has a vocoder, and has 37 keys… its defiantly a trade off but its a worthy one. The synth is laid out with multiple, easily accessible pages so it editing params will almost be as nice as having all of the extra controls. If your good with a synth, that really doesn't matter if you have an extra MIDI controller you can map specific controls to. It also has Auto-map, which I would not want to live without. Having an on-board soundcard may seam like just an extra "gimic" to you but it's indispensable if you use a laptop. I have a nice firewire soundcard too but when your out and about, Its a pain in the ass to hook up a Firewire soundcard when all you need is a headphone and monitor out. I do with that the encoders did not have detents and had LED-rings, but detentes actually work better for a lot of applications(like cycling through wave forms) and they have the detentless encoder. I would have to play around with it to be able to tell make an opinion on that though. You can't even compare this to the MiniAK, R3 or micro-Korg… those synths are ghetto. The R3 is OK but its super digital sounding, only has 2 oscillators, 4 param encoders and you can't read the LCD at an angle. having a stereo audio input also allows you to hook up another tabletop synth into this and run that into your DAW via SPDIF.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  24. Obviously most of the posters here know little to nothing about modern music production. I loved the X-Station but there were some unflattering things about it. There was a lot of digital noise on the pre-amps, the patch browser not modern, and the synth was super digital and abrasive(although I've got some bangin' tracks with it), there wan't a 37-key version, and there were some bugs with the LFO controls. Also, like any other synth that doesn't have a PC based patch editor, you often loose your patches and this can force you to scrap good tracks all to often(Which is why I use like software instruments). I do wish that this synth was laid out more like the X-Station but the UltraNova's synth is way beefier, has a vocoder, and has 37 keys… its defiantly a trade off but its a worthy one. The synth is laid out with multiple, easily accessible pages so it editing params will almost be as nice as having all of the extra controls. If your good with a synth, that really doesn't matter if you have an extra MIDI controller you can map specific controls to. It also has Auto-map, which I would not want to live without. Having an on-board soundcard may seam like just an extra "gimic" to you but it's indispensable if you use a laptop. I have a nice firewire soundcard too but when your out and about, Its a pain in the ass to hook up a Firewire soundcard when all you need is a headphone and monitor out. I do with that the encoders did not have detents and had LED-rings, but detentes actually work better for a lot of applications(like cycling through wave forms) and they have the detentless encoder. I would have to play around with it to be able to tell make an opinion on that though. You can't even compare this to the MiniAK, R3 or micro-Korg… those synths are ghetto. The R3 is OK but its super digital sounding, only has 2 oscillators, 4 param encoders and you can't read the LCD at an angle. having a stereo audio input also allows you to hook up another tabletop synth into this and run that into your DAW via SPDIF.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  25. Obviously most of the posters here know little to nothing about modern music production. I loved the X-Station but there were some unflattering things about it. There was a lot of digital noise on the pre-amps, the patch browser not modern, and the synth was super digital and abrasive(although I've got some bangin' tracks with it), there wan't a 37-key version, and there were some bugs with the LFO controls. Also, like any other synth that doesn't have a PC based patch editor, you often loose your patches and this can force you to scrap good tracks all to often(Which is why I use like software instruments). I do wish that this synth was laid out more like the X-Station but the UltraNova's synth is way beefier, has a vocoder, and has 37 keys… its defiantly a trade off but its a worthy one. The synth is laid out with multiple, easily accessible pages so it editing params will almost be as nice as having all of the extra controls. If your good with a synth, that really doesn't matter if you have an extra MIDI controller you can map specific controls to. It also has Auto-map, which I would not want to live without. Having an on-board soundcard may seam like just an extra "gimic" to you but it's indispensable if you use a laptop. I have a nice firewire soundcard too but when your out and about, Its a pain in the ass to hook up a Firewire soundcard when all you need is a headphone and monitor out. I do with that the encoders did not have detents and had LED-rings, but detentes actually work better for a lot of applications(like cycling through wave forms) and they have the detentless encoder. I would have to play around with it to be able to tell make an opinion on that though. You can't even compare this to the MiniAK, R3 or micro-Korg… those synths are ghetto. The R3 is OK but its super digital sounding, only has 2 oscillators, 4 param encoders and you can't read the LCD at an angle. having a stereo audio input also allows you to hook up another tabletop synth into this and run that into your DAW via SPDIF.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  26. Obviously most of the posters here know little to nothing about modern music production. I loved the X-Station but there were some unflattering things about it. There was a lot of digital noise on the pre-amps, the patch browser not modern, and the synth was super digital and abrasive(although I've got some bangin' tracks with it), there wan't a 37-key version, and there were some bugs with the LFO controls. Also, like any other synth that doesn't have a PC based patch editor, you often loose your patches and this can force you to scrap good tracks all to often(Which is why I use like software instruments). I do wish that this synth was laid out more like the X-Station but the UltraNova's synth is way beefier, has a vocoder, and has 37 keys… its defiantly a trade off but its a worthy one. The synth is laid out with multiple, easily accessible pages so it editing params will almost be as nice as having all of the extra controls. If your good with a synth, that really doesn't matter if you have an extra MIDI controller you can map specific controls to. It also has Auto-map, which I would not want to live without. Having an on-board soundcard may seam like just an extra "gimic" to you but it's indispensable if you use a laptop. I have a nice firewire soundcard too but when your out and about, Its a pain in the ass to hook up a Firewire soundcard when all you need is a headphone and monitor out. I do with that the encoders did not have detents and had LED-rings, but detentes actually work better for a lot of applications(like cycling through wave forms) and they have the detentless encoder. I would have to play around with it to be able to tell make an opinion on that though. You can't even compare this to the MiniAK, R3 or micro-Korg… those synths are ghetto. The R3 is OK but its super digital sounding, only has 2 oscillators, 4 param encoders and you can't read the LCD at an angle. having a stereo audio input also allows you to hook up another tabletop synth into this and run that into your DAW via SPDIF.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  27. Obviously most of the posters here know little to nothing about modern music production. I loved the X-Station but there were some unflattering things about it. There was a lot of digital noise on the pre-amps, the patch browser not modern, and the synth was super digital and abrasive(although I've got some bangin' tracks with it), there wan't a 37-key version, and there were some bugs with the LFO controls. Also, like any other synth that doesn't have a PC based patch editor, you often loose your patches and this can force you to scrap good tracks all to often(Which is why I use like software instruments). I do wish that this synth was laid out more like the X-Station but the UltraNova's synth is way beefier, has a vocoder, and has 37 keys… its defiantly a trade off but its a worthy one. The synth is laid out with multiple, easily accessible pages so it editing params will almost be as nice as having all of the extra controls. If your good with a synth, that really doesn't matter if you have an extra MIDI controller you can map specific controls to. It also has Auto-map, which I would not want to live without. Having an on-board soundcard may seam like just an extra "gimic" to you but it's indispensable if you use a laptop. I have a nice firewire soundcard too but when your out and about, Its a pain in the ass to hook up a Firewire soundcard when all you need is a headphone and monitor out. I do with that the encoders did not have detents and had LED-rings, but detentes actually work better for a lot of applications(like cycling through wave forms) and they have the detentless encoder. I would have to play around with it to be able to tell make an opinion on that though. You can't even compare this to the MiniAK, R3 or micro-Korg… those synths are ghetto. The R3 is OK but its super digital sounding, only has 2 oscillators, 4 param encoders and you can't read the LCD at an angle. having a stereo audio input also allows you to hook up another tabletop synth into this and run that into your DAW via SPDIF.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  28. Obviously most of the posters here know little to nothing about modern music production. I loved the X-Station but there were some unflattering things about it. There was a lot of digital noise on the pre-amps, the patch browser not modern, and the synth was super digital and abrasive(although I've got some bangin' tracks with it), there wan't a 37-key version, and there were some bugs with the LFO controls. Also, like any other synth that doesn't have a PC based patch editor, you often loose your patches and this can force you to scrap good tracks all to often(Which is why I use like software instruments). I do wish that this synth was laid out more like the X-Station but the UltraNova's synth is way beefier, has a vocoder, and has 37 keys… its defiantly a trade off but its a worthy one. The synth is laid out with multiple, easily accessible pages so it editing params will almost be as nice as having all of the extra controls. If your good with a synth, that really doesn't matter if you have an extra MIDI controller you can map specific controls to. It also has Auto-map, which I would not want to live without. Having an on-board soundcard may seam like just an extra "gimic" to you but it's indispensable if you use a laptop. I have a nice firewire soundcard too but when your out and about, Its a pain in the ass to hook up a Firewire soundcard when all you need is a headphone and monitor out. I do with that the encoders did not have detents and had LED-rings, but detentes actually work better for a lot of applications(like cycling through wave forms) and they have the detentless encoder. I would have to play around with it to be able to tell make an opinion on that though. You can't even compare this to the MiniAK, R3 or micro-Korg… those synths are ghetto. The R3 is OK but its super digital sounding, only has 2 oscillators, 4 param encoders and you can't read the LCD at an angle. having a stereo audio input also allows you to hook up another tabletop synth into this and run that into your DAW via SPDIF.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  29. It's not mono just mono-part. It's got like 18 polyphony which makes it even worse that they didn't put in layering and sequencing but then only my micron has that and it crashed like 2 months ago. I'll probably replace it with this some day

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  30. It's not mono just mono-part. It's got like 18 polyphony which makes it even worse that they didn't put in layering and sequencing but then only my micron has that and it crashed like 2 months ago. I'll probably replace it with this some day

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  31. It's not mono just mono-part. It's got like 18 polyphony which makes it even worse that they didn't put in layering and sequencing but then only my micron has that and it crashed like 2 months ago. I'll probably replace it with this some day

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  32. It's not mono just mono-part. It's got like 18 polyphony which makes it even worse that they didn't put in layering and sequencing but then only my micron has that and it crashed like 2 months ago. I'll probably replace it with this some day

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  33. It's not mono just mono-part. It's got like 18 polyphony which makes it even worse that they didn't put in layering and sequencing but then only my micron has that and it crashed like 2 months ago. I'll probably replace it with this some day

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  34. It's not mono just mono-part. It's got like 18 polyphony which makes it even worse that they didn't put in layering and sequencing but then only my micron has that and it crashed like 2 months ago. I'll probably replace it with this some day

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  35. "Obviously most of the posters here know little to nothing about modern music production"

    You know nothing about any of the posters here, so never assume. You however, have quite some way to go when it comes to grace and humility.

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  36. The multi-function rotary encoders are a massive turn off for me. I far far prefer a knob or button for every function – i like my oscillators to be where the oscillators are, envelopes to be instantly accessible in their entirety, never mind filters, lfo's, modulation options, ring mod, fm and anything else a modern VA can throw in.

    My old Alesis Ion came in at about the same price as this, and despite some questionable component choices, is just brilliant when it comes to programming sounds from scratch. Same goes for the Nord Lead. Neither are loaded with bells and whistles in terms of FX, but the cost/power/useability of both these synths is just stunning. Unlike many of Novation's previous forays, particularly the Supernova to which there seems to be some effort to draw comparison, the Ultranova seems to me like it's designed for people who don't want to go beyond tweaking presets, or a first synth for people interested in portability but not necessarily that interested in synths.

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  37. A blight upon the legend that is the Nova series. Look forward to picking one up in a year though, when they are all over Ebay for £200. :o)

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  38. This has one big advantage over the R3 — AFTERTOUCH.

    Why the heck do Korg, Roland, and Akai/Alesis leave aftertouch off their keyboard VA synths? It's especially frustrating when you consider the synth engines in these machines *do* support channel AT but the keyboards don't (and Alesis trick you with actually having the AT action but no electronics). It's a huge step backwards.

    Poly aftertouch seems like a distant dream these days, if Novation were to step into the shoes that Ensoniq filled I think we'd have a new generation of expressive synths. I can't for the life of me figure out why track pads, mod wheels, joysticks (and now these gimmicky touch sensitive knobs) got to be so popular when you have to take one hand off the keyboard to use them…

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  39. You guys are all missing the point. Sure it could be knob laden and have separate knobs for each parameter, but knobs considerably add to the price. I agree they should have made the “synth of the decade” but regardless it’s still perfectly fine for synthesis. You can have 18 oscillators if you want. That’s fat. Youre not gonna get the sounds this thing can make from the Gaia or r3. Besides, just press the Oscillator button and all you’re oscillators are there. Maybe if you took the time to learn about it instead f judging it based on what your first impressions are. It’s no JP-8000 or anything, but again consider price, plus te sounds sound like they came off Komplete. It’s great!

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  40. I have to say, after owning the ultranova for a few months now, I am completely unimpressed! I have around 20 hardware synths of various vintage along with numerous sw synths. I am completely disappointed with the sounds produced so far. I will fully admit, I like to play instruments, not program them…although I know how. Most factory presets are junk but the ultranova factory sounds are worse. They tout this as having the same sound engine as the supernova. I made the mistake of buying this over a used supernova. The depth and power of the sounds (factory to factory presets) don't compare in the least.

    The specs are great and the live control is nice, but I sincerely hope this synth has more to it. I'm not saying all of this to slam Novation. I just want them to deliver! I'm looking forward to new versions and sounds coming in the future. Oh, and the Chucky sound pack? Don't bother!

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  41. Hello, I buy my Ultranova last week, and is a very disappointing synth… sound very like a software plugin, maybe like Massive or Sylenth, Is not warm or analog, is very digital and cold, all presets have a tons of reverb and delay, maybe to mask the real little TINY sound. As a midi controller is very nice, more than my old SLMkII, and as USB audio interface is basic and standard. If you cut the keyboard and audio interface you have a little monotimbral digital synth at the price of the Blofeld, a really monster VA multitimbral synth… Ultranova is very frustrating…

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  42. this this sounds awesome, smooth silky, elegant. It makes trash like a n xstation look stupid……..sad to see so many rookies talking shit about a sweet (way better than entry level) synth…blows away the mopho kybrd. enjoy it or dont its serious

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  43. hello i live in sweden but can’t find any one hoe sells it if you can send one or give a link i would realy
    APPRECIATE it

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