Free Update Adds Paraphony, Microtuning To Novation Bass Station II

Novation let us know about a free firmware update firmware update for the Bass Station II that adds paraphonic performance options and more.

Novation has developed a reputation for updating its gear, especially with their regular updates to the Circuit. The Bass Station II v2.5 firmware brings new features to a synth introduced 5 years ago, adding filter tracking, a paraphonic mode, microtuning, oscillator drift and new preset Soundpacks.

You can preview the new features in the videos below:

Here’s what they have to say about the updates:

Paraphonic mode

Bass Station II is now a paraphonic monosynth, because you can control the pitches of each of the two oscillators separately in its single-voice architecture. Play two notes at a time rather than just one and get interesting interactions through the Ring and Filter Mod.

Filter tracking

Filter tracking was one of the most requested features. The filter includes variable keyboard tracking in Bass Station II v2.5 – the best for matching higher notes to increased brightness.

Envelope retriggering

Bass Station II’s secret sound-design weapon is envelope retriggering. It’s now possible to configure your envelopes to retrigger once the decay stage has ended, opening up a whole range of new possibilities.

Oscillator error

Oscillator error introduces a small and adjustable random detune on each note-on event. This can be used to generate some very beautiful, subtle (or not) musical dissonance, very much in the same way that vintage synths do (because of the looser tolerance of their electronic components). Paraphonic mode makes it as dramatic as possible.

Microtuning editing

Completely control the frequency triggered by each key press, giving your scales another dimension.

New presets

Two new Soundpacks are in Components: Silver and Sinevibes. Silver’s presets explore the v2.5 features and inspire new tracks and sound design. Sinevibes, designed by Sinevibes’ founder Artemij Pavlov, gives 101 classic Bass Station II presets.

Warm greetings to you all

Bass Station II can now support a custom message display at start-up.

The update is available now at the Novation site.

In addition to the firmware update – they’re giving away a Bass Station II 25th Anniversary Edition via the Synth Owners Facebook group.

17 thoughts on “Free Update Adds Paraphony, Microtuning To Novation Bass Station II

  1. What an excellent and thoughtful set of enhancements which create excitement for current owners and potential new buyers. Got me looking at buying this again.

  2. Thanks – and respect! – to Novation. this is indeed like getting a brand new synth (on top of what was already a wonderful machine). Have been loving the updates to Circuit and now this – brilliant.

  3. Awesome news!

    It’s great to see a few companies continuing to update older products. I’ve been fortunate to see several of my synths get massive free updates over the last few years. Kudos to Novation, but also Elektron (massive Analog Four updates) & Moog (massive Minitaur update).

    People like to diss ‘digital’, but it’s the fact that all these synths have a smart mix of digital and analog components that makes it even possible to add new features like this.

    I’m looking forward to trying the Bass Station II update – especially the oscillator error option and the paraphonic mode!

    1. 100% agreed. I should also point out that the Kronos has had major updates since being introduced in 2011, but those situations seem few and far between from the larger manufacturers. DSI/Sequential did some great updates to the Prophet 12 and Pro 2 especially.

      Re: digital control – I totally agree. There is a difference between digital control and a digital signal path, though sometimes when things are too tightly quantized it can make even an analog synth sound too sterile. The early DCO synths back in the day are a good example. I’ve done the update and I am really grateful for the Osc. Error control and the paraphonic option. The filter scaling is nice too; especially when going for certain old school sounds.

      I think that, considering the size and the panel space for controls, etc. that the BSII is now pretty much a perfect compact mono synth. I’m in love with it all over again.

  4. Wow and I had my BS II boxed and ready to sell, but me thinks I’ll it back out and try this firmware update. Just brought new life to this synth and less money in my bank account. Oh well.

  5. Excellent microtuning implementation here! Has 8 user writable tuning presets, all full keyboard, plus a read-only preset 0 that is equal temperament. Changing the tuning table can be done live while playing, and you can even morph between tunings with a programmable gliss time. Tuning presets are programmed using MIDI Tuning Standard type 08-02 messages, the 3 byte ones supporting 0.006 cent resolution (although the unit discards the bottom 6 bits and has an actual resolution of 0.39 cents). Single note tuning changes use the real-time variant, supporting continuous live tuning changes per note. Also supports the RPN tuning change message.

    It seems though to upgrade your machine you have to use a program that runs only in the Chrome browser’s WebMIDI and you have to sign in to either Google or Facebook to be allowed to run it. That sucks for those who avoid Big Brother and won’t use either service. Not exactly a free update to owners if you have to pay with your privacy.

    1. Their desktop client always removes this restriction. They usually update the desktop app very closely to putting the updates out on the web. So just to be clear, if you want to avoid BB you can do so.

  6. that’s pretty amazing update. novation and their updates, great outlook. lovely sounding synth.
    a catch mode option for controls would be great too

  7. Let’s take an amazing instrument and instead of making customers / users have to pay an upgrade to a new model, just update the perfectly working one and make it even better!!!!!

    Well done, Novation!!!

    I get to play with all sorts of synthesizers all the time…. classic to unreleased and I have to say that the Bass Station II is still a top choice!

  8. I just updated and it’s amazing!! Do the update!!

    If you don’t yet own a BSII, then get one and do the update!

    I’ve been saying for years that it’s the best value in a mono synth for under a grand, and really for much more. I’d say to get a feature set that compares to this, you really have to look to the next level in mono synths like the Sub 37, Pro 2, or Matrixbrute to notice a serious boost in features. It’s a plastic body but it still feels pretty tough and at least it’s lightweight. One of the best parts is that you can power it via usb. so now if you hate short, easy to lose DC adapters, go get a ten foot usb cable and an iPhone charger. Power it from your Kronos, or from a USB phone battery pack.

    I would recommend to bass players wanting bass keys, or to any keyboard player starting out looking for a mono synth, to start with one of these, and then, if they find they need a specific sound (like the Moog) to then branch out from there. They also make a dope gig bag for it.

    I guess you can tell that I love mine.

    Greetings from Toronto.

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