Trax Retrowave R-1 MIDI-Controlled Analog Synthesizer Review

trax-retrowaveThe Trax Retrowave R-1 is a MIDI-controlled analog synthesizer module that features true analog oscillators, filter, sample and hold, noise generator and VCA.

This video, via reader Sebastian Negulescu, aka Attila The Fun,  is ‘a rather long and detailed review/overview of the British Trax Retrowave R-1 analog mono synthesizer’:

“I made this review,” explains Negulescu, “because the synth is not well known and I know it took a long time for me to decide to buy it or not.”


  • True analogue oscillators, filter, sample and hold, noise generator and VCA
  • 1 x Logarithmic Voltage-Controlled Oscillator, with square, ramp, triangle and sine outputs, and PWM control of square wave. Square wave shape can be manually set to give pulse waveforms. The comprehensive range of frequency modulation sources includes 2 x LFO, Sample & Hold, ADSR contour, and external input. Switchable keyboard pitch range (normal, +1 octave and -1 octave), plus tuning control and pitch bend control.
  • 1 x 24dB/octave, 4-pole Lowpass Filter, log response. Plenty of modulation inputs including ADSR sweep (for the typical filter automatic “wah” effect each time a note is played), LFO 2 (for repeat wah, bubbling effects, etc.), Sample & Hold, MIDI Velocity and external input. Self-oscillation feature means that the filter can be used as an extra playable oscillator if required. Switchable keyboard tracking feature.
  • 2 x Triangle and Square Wave Low Frequency Oscillators, with frequency and wave shape controls (much like those on the Korg MS-10 and MS-20), for vibrato and extreme modulation effects. Adjustable to give ramp, sawtooth, and pulse outputs in addition to the triangle and square waves.
  • 1 x Built-in MIDI to CV Unit, with 5V gate and velocity output, 1V/octave CV response (can also drive external analogue gear). Fully variable glide (portamento) control, giving mild to extreme swoops of pitch when playing the keyboard, or when receiving external MIDI note information.
  • 1 x Sample & Hold
  • 1 x White Noise Generator
  • 1 x ADSR Envelope Generator, drives VCA and VCF, with HIGH and LOW range switch. Bright yellow LED monitor and bypass switch for easy set-up. Useful ADSR repeat feature, driven by LFO 1.
  • 1 x Linear Voltage-Controlled Amplifier with built-in germanium diode overdrive stage, for massive distortion effects.

The Trax Retrowave R-1 is available for 325.00 GBP.

If you’ve used the Retrowave R-1, leave a comment and share your thoughts on it!

10 thoughts on “Trax Retrowave R-1 MIDI-Controlled Analog Synthesizer Review

    1. I don’t think you understand economies of scale. This is a VERY small manufacturer – every part will cost them considerably more than for any of the bigger players. This is actually very good value considering that.

        1. Yes but theres many more variables than that. An 18 person company like Arturia needs to sell 15k+ to hit those price points, pay operation expenses, salaries etc.. and have a chance at being profitable at the end of the year (or 2 or 3 years). This guy in his garage can sell 200 and do ok for himself. Whether they can sell 200 or more is the question, if the product differentiates itself it can be a success.

  1. Having had synths for 30 years , one oscillator is enough for me most the time. The tb 303 most strongest sounding synth ? how many oscillators? Sh101 etc.
    Interesting peoples opinions on synths makes me wonder how many they have owned and used?
    This looks and sounds great

    1. While I agree with you, to be fair… lots of single OSC synths like the 101 let you blend the source waves to taste whereas this one is a 303 style one-at-a-time selector.

      This synth offers a lot more sound shaping possibilities than a 101 though!

  2. Man there are a lot of interesting ~$500 analog monos in the world today. Since many of them are from smaller makers like this one, it’s not like you can go to your favorite shop (physical or digital) and browse them all. Would love to see them all in a single place for next year’s tax return. wink wink nudge nudge @synthhead

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