The Hammond Novachord, A Polyphonic Analog Synth From 1939, Goes Virtual


Hollow Sun has announced plans for a new virtual instrument based on the rare and amazing Hammond Novachord – a polyphonic analog synthesizer released in 1939!

The Novachord is sort of the B3 of synthesizers – a huge, unwieldy beast that sounds like nothing else.

Unlike the B3, though, the Hammond Novachord has largely been forgotten. They were expensive, few were made, and few have survived because of their complexity.

The Novachord features divide-down oscillators and individual envelopes and LFO for each note. Yeah – this thing could do 72-voice polyphony in 1939!


The Hammond Novachord Sample Library

Hollow Sun is working with Novachord owner Dan Wilson of Hideaway Studios in Bath, England, to capture the sound of this beast in all its epic glory.

Here’s what they have to say about this project:

Work has begun on this and tentative sampling sessions are beginning to reveal what lies ahead of us – textures that would not be out of place on a modern synth 70 years on in 2009 but with a strangely ‘earthy’ and ‘organic’ quality quite unlike I’ve heard before, full of flawed nuances and subtelty. The Novachord doesn’t generate sounds … it breathes them in gasps and grunts and squeals and whispers!

It’s early days. As time allows, I shall be bringing news of progress on a (hopefully) regular basis … so bookmark this Blog to watch us through our laboratory’s musty window. Dan and I aren’t quite ponsing about in white coats here (I favour a good tweed and a robust brogue!) but it feels a bit like it as Dan probes and regulates the 70 year old valves and massive capacitors with voltmeters and oscilloscopes and I work the resulting samples into an accurate representation of this incredible instrument.

No release date or pricing has been set.

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