Novation Bass Station II Updated For Aphex Twin Day, Avril 14

If the Novation Bass Station II‘s analog synth engine wasn’t enough to make you say ‘Come To Daddy‘, the latest firmware update just might.

On Aphex Twin DayAvril 14Novation has released a free firmware update for Bass Station II that adds five new features. Novation says that all the new features were developed in response to user feedback and requests, including input from Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin.

Richard D James

Here’s what they have to say about the five new features:

AFX Mode

Electronic music legend Richard James, aka Aphex Twin, has already played an instrumental part in the Bass Station II story, having provided guidance for the implementation of the micro-tuning added with Firmware v2.5. His conceptual contribution to v4.14 is even more profound.

Letting his imagination run riot, James envisioned the decidedly radical notion of having a discrete set of synthesis parameters assigned to each note of Bass Station II, either variations on a ‘seed’ patch, or disparate sounds designed to constitute a chimeric whole. Although this sort of thing could already be kludged using very fast program change messages, having multiple sounds active at the same time would clearly be a far more creative and efficient system.

AFX Mode is the realisation of James’ out-there concept.

Put simply, it lets you modify your Bass Station II patch on a key-by-key basis. Use it to introduce subtle changes to a sound as you play up and down the keyboard; divide the keyboard into multiple zones (one per key if you like!), each playing its own sound; or create entire drum kits in a single preset for triggering manually or via the Arpeggiator. It’s a truly inspiring feature that really does open up a whole new world of sound design and performance possibilities.

Fixed duration envelopes

Aiding in the programming of drum sounds and plucks especially, the sustain segments of Bass Station II’s envelopes can now be set to a fixed length, moving on to the release stage regardless of when the key or trigger is actually released after playing a note. When fixed duration envelopes are enabled, the decay stage is taken out of play, and the Decay slider instead sets the duration of the Sustain stage.

Extended sub-oscillator control

With Firmware v4.14, Bass Station II’s sub-oscillator, slaved to the pitch of Oscillator 1, can be detuned using the Coarse and Fine controls. Now you can set the sub to any non-octave tracking interval you like, and knock it out of tune – subtly or dramatically – for creative effect.

Oscillator glide diverge

Prior to Firmware v4.14, both of Bass Station II’s oscillators could only be set to the same Glide time, but now you can slow down the Glide time of Oscillator 2 relative to Oscillator 1 by a variable amount, causing the two to diverge for interesting portamento effects. Just the thing for adding thickness and character to basslines, pads and leads, and certainly not a function you’ll find on many other hardware or software synths.

Envelope retrigger count

The Firmware v2.5 update added envelope retriggering, and now, to help with drum synthesis, the number of times the envelopes retrigger can be adjusted.

Firmware v4.14 is a free update for all Bass Station II users, available via the Components content manager for Mac and PC. For more information about Novation’s Bass Station II, see the Novation website.

22 thoughts on “Novation Bass Station II Updated For Aphex Twin Day, Avril 14

  1. Those are some really interesting features!

    I didn’t know there was an Aphex Twin Day. Hopefully on Rabid Bat Day manufacturers will also release great new firmware updates.

  2. As if the BS2 wasn’t already the best value under at least a grand. Now it’s juat over the top bonkers what you get for your money.

    1. Novation is brilliant to be partnering with somebody like Aphex Twin to do updates like this. They’re coming up with features that are hard to find on synths at any price, and making an already good synth into a great synth.

      It also proves that you can do something original and powerful and well-built and still make it affordable.

      The Bass Station II goes for $100 more than Behringer’s knockoff synths, but is a complete synth, is well built, and completely runs circles around them in terms of capabilities.

      The BS2 is next on my buy list.

      Would love to see what features AFX would add to the Circuit. I’d like to see chromatic sample playing and some randomization like you see in Electron sequencers.

  3. “On Aphex Twin Day – Avril 14”

    Kinda messed up that Aphex Twin Day is overtaking Avril Lavign Day… 🙁

  4. Had plenty of them and love this synth. Wish they made a desktop version though as i already have enough keys and only so much space.

  5. It’s fantastic that Novation are continuing to improve a synthesizer model that has been out for years. Hopefully they’ll learn from these feature suggestions and consider adding them to other synthesizer models in the future. Compared to my X-Station 61, which has seen practically zero improvements over its lifetime 🙁

    1. Part of this has to be dependent on the hardware being able to support major updates.

      Nowadays, memory space for firmware costs next to nothing, but that’s a pretty recent thing. The X-Station is 15 years old – and I don’t remember any gear getting major firmware upgrades back then.

      On some of those old synths, if you needed to update them, you had to swap out chips!

  6. what?!?!? wow!?!! this is ace!!!
    man oh man, i used to have the first Bass Station. Bought it for $250 about 7 years ago,
    and stupidly fukn sold it a couple of years later, thinking my new synth would be able to
    do what the BS could.
    And…it fukn couldn’t!!!
    So, at some point, as BS2 is wanted as a dedicated deep bass synth.
    Fakn impressive lads. Fakn!

  7. It’s refreshing and heartwarming that such a humble guy would take the time to give back to the musical comminity. Just judging from that photograph, is all.

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