Novation Summit Synthesizer Features Dual Peak Synth Engines

At an event ahead of Superbooth 2019, Novation today introduced the Summit – a new flagship synthesiser that essentially combines two of their Peak synthesizers into a knob-filled keyboard. It offers deep synthesis capabilities, a 16-voice two-part multitimbral engine and a hands-on workflow.

Here’s what Novation has to about their new synth keyboard:

Summit is like two Peaks in one instrument, enabling two completely independent patches to be split or layered across the keyboard, or switched between on the fly.

But that’s by no means the end of the story: the addition of dual filters, greatly extended front panel controls, audio input and, of course, the same premium-quality five-octave keyboard introduced with our SL MkIII MIDI controller, put Summit in a creative league of its own.

At the heart of Summit is the digital New Oxford Oscillator, three of which are employed by every one of its 16 voices. They’re hosted on the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) chip, which not only helps to generate authentic analogue waveforms at incredibly high resolution (24MHz), but also facilitates FM and wavetable synthesis for rich, complex and highly textural raw tones.

The FPGA feeds into a true stereo analogue signal path, comprising dual 12dB/octave filters (switchable between six paired combinations of low-pass, high-pass and band-pass modes), analogue VCAs and three stages of distortion (pre- and post-filter, and post-VCA). It’s the union of flawless analogue-emulating oscillators with genuine analogue filtering and saturation that make Summit sound so fabulously warm and fat.

Summit also boasts a wealth of modulation sources and assignment options, three stunning effects, audio input for routing external sources into those effects (while still using the other multitimbral part as a synth), and an auxiliary output. And the front panel expands greatly on Peak’s layout with the addition of dedicated controls for FM, all LFOs, effects and more.

Quite simply the best sounding, most versatile synth Novation has ever made, Summit gives the serious producer or performer everything they need to design and play stunning basses, leads, arps, pads, effects, soundbeds and beyond.

See the Novation site for more information.

48 thoughts on “Novation Summit Synthesizer Features Dual Peak Synth Engines

    1. Thy could have called it Twin Peaks but then David Lynch would have sent Bob after them! And he’s not very nice!

  1. The most of modern wavetable synths have high resolution generators. After a couple of MHz the is no difference. Just a marketing trick. Well, we all know Peak never became a bomb. I wish they made multi-voice bass station instead.

    1. High resolution makes a big difference when you do audio rate modulation. It seems like the Peak oscillators offer the benefits of wave tables without the downsides or artifacts, (which are characteristic of older designs though).

          1. Aliasing is result of parasitic frequencies of wavetable transformation. It is sound frequency. Unrelated to hi res generators. Take Prophet 12. It has hi res (several MHz) generators as well. Same aliasing. It has not relation to wavetable flaws. FPGA is just marketing trick for people who have no engineer knowledge. Just buy Peak man.

            1. That’s not quite right. The Prophet 12 has dsp oscillators that run at audio rate (i.e. khz not mhz). They are much more prone to alias because of that, esp when applying fm or sync.

    2. For sure the Bass Station engine would have been wildly popular but my ears can’t take the harsh sound of the Peak.

  2. This could be the synth of the year, in my book. The Peak is a great sounding synth and this is double the fun.

    It also looks like this addresses my wish list for the Peak – more of a one-knob-per-feature interface, more polyphony and adding layering and splits. I actually thought they’d just do a keyboard version of the Peak, but this is a big step up.

  3. As I read the specs above, I wondered to myself- “How many comments will it be before someone craps on this thing?”

    A thing they haven’t even heard.

    Three. The answer was three.

  4. “the addition of dual filters,”
    Is it dual filter?
    I haven’t seen high resolution images of it, but I saw only one cut-off knob. And the german brochure that leaked, the mentioning of dual filter related to the BassStation 2.

    1. Yep, dual filters. You can vary the width between them to make dormant type sounds, run them in parallel or sequential, use them to make a notch filter, etc.

      1. Checked out the image and specs on the website (it wasn’t up when I wrote my comment).
        Unfortunately it isn’t a full featured dual filter set-up… It splits the poles of a “single” filter (like the Oberheim Matrix 12). I’m unsure what how that will affect the resonance (peak) of the filters, and there doesn’t seem to be individual control of the resonance of each filter. And the activation of the twin filter modes are hidden under “more”, so it isn’t a on panel feature.

    1. No price mentioned and you complain about price. Classic.

      I’d expect this to be right in Line with other flagship polys.

      1. Could be right in line with other flagship polys… but which ones? The thing is, this synth is a Digital/Analog hybrid, with the very important part of the oscillators being played by a piece of software. I don’t think there’s an equivalent to that yet in that price range. There’s roland System 8, but it’s fully VA. There’s the Prologue, but it has both digital and analogue oscillators. There’s the Quantum, but if they’re going for that price point, they’re not going to sell very many. I’ll be interested to see what price point they’re going for with this.

        1. It’s worth mentioning that the KORG Prologue digital oscillators alias horribly at the top end.

          Furthermore its analogue oscillators sound out of tune against the digital oscillator (which is of course perfectly in tune), so they warble at the top end of the keyboard.

          Both of these problems resulted in my KORG Prologue being sent back.

          Overall, digital oscillators provide for much more stable tuning (which then enables FM) and the FPGA is running at 3 orders of magnitude faster than your normal CPU-based chip (24MHz vs 96kHz) which is a massive difference and should eliminate all aliasing even when using FM on a Wave Table.

        2. The oscillators are FPGA based. Just because an instrument has digital waveform generation doesn’t mean it’s inferior to an analog circuit. That’s a bizarre idea that took hold early this decade and has led to the release of hundreds of derivative subtractive synths which rehash the same sonic territory. The next decade is going to see a resurgence of interest in clever digital signal paths (you’re already seeing this exploration happening in the modular market – just watch Mutable Instruments for a clue where the mainstream is going).

  5. The resolution of these oscillators is an order of magnitude higher than any DSP-chip synth meaning you can go into unexplored territory with the FM/Wavetables and the reverb diffusion quality is unmatched anywhere.. again because of the FPGA architecture.

    1. I’d agree that 4 would have been better and more competitive towards intruments like Nord Lead.

  6. Novation instruments always look so plastic, but the sound of the Peak i like!

    If they made it in grovebox form 4-part multitimbral i would buy it for sure but that is because these big loggie syths with all these buttons being constantly out of sync with a new loaded patch are just not for me.

  7. Looks beautiful but alas too big, maybe there’ll be a desktop version. Or I’ll just have to get Peak and that’ll be my summit.

  8. Novation should also create a model between this summit and peak, one with a keyboard. Because the lack of that i chose for prophet rev2.

  9. Looks like a top flight instrument. I was too kind of hoping for a polyphonic bass station but that’s okay. They’ve still made a really nice synth.

  10. I would prefer 8 voice fully multitimbral (each voice with a different preset, to use in split or multi timbral, or to have a mono lead with two presets layered, a mono bass, a four voice poly and still free voice for arpeggio or similar) than this 16 voice synth with just 1 split (or two layers). It’s not useful to me. In many scenarios you just need few voices for synth parts, you are not playing “pianos” or strings/pads (with 8 voices chords!) all the time.
    Even an 8 voice four part multitimbral with four independent outs is far better synth than this to me…
    Anyway, multitimbrality was the main limit of the peak, for me this is not a solution!
    Still a very powerful excellent synth, but not an elegant solution: I always feel that I have tons of oscillators and filters that I will not use, a real waste of resouces, with this architecture.

    1. Would just like to point something, the number of notes in the chords one play, and the polyphony needed isn’t necessarily the same thing. Depending on the envelope (how a sound rings out), a note might continue sounding after one play the next chord. With a synth that just covers the amount of notes needed to play the chord, the ringing of other notes will be cut, could at some cases sound chopped, in other cases it will just reduce the harmonic content thus affect the overall sound. In an ideal world, I would be looking for at least double the polyphony of the chords.
      The same effect is of course true for monophonic lines, where on a monophonic synth, the notes do get cut. On a piano, that would only happen if the same note is repeated, on a guitar it will depend it the next note uses the same string.

      But I agree that it would have been nice if they made it go to at least 8 parts, that would open up for 4-note chords with MPE beings played. If it was still 16 voice, one could allocate voices as one would need them.
      Personally I would probably never use more than a single split (still full MPE by multitimbrality I would probably use) on something like the summit. On a Elektron styled sequenced instrument though I could see my self having need for at least 10 voices for building a complete track on a single unit, so they are underpowered as well, unfortunately.

      1. These polyphony considerations are true. But we have 40+ years of music history made with real mono synths, where bass, leads and arps were made with a single voice retriggered ( or legato and all the possible synth world variations). Also many acoustic instruments (wind mainly) are mono.
        As I wrote, good polyphony is relevant for “piano” type patches (patches intended to be played in a piano style not piano sounds). Organ type sounds by definition do not have sustain (unless produced with reverb).
        Real piano simulations sounds better with at least 32 notes poly (but higher values are today standard). This is specifically related with the harmonic character of piano and the interaction of the strings….this may be true for some specific synth sounds but my opinion is that retrigger the first voice played when you play the last avaiable (maybe n°8) works better with synth sounds: normally a synth line is just a part of a composition of various tracks, piano is very often a “solo” instrument. This means to me that synth lines have to find their space in the mix and so some limit is not bad, piano have much more space to fill, and subtle articulations of the overall harmonic content can be appreciated.
        My comment is only intended to point that such huge amount of raw power will not used in an efficent way.

        1. “This is specifically related with the harmonic character of piano and the interaction of the strings” Polyphony doesn’t produce that effect, string resonance modeling is needed for that, or some really complex sample triggering.

          A synth can do more than just organ sounds. And for some of those sounds, if the voice count isn’t a least double the number of simultaneously played not, the ringing of previous notes will be cut, thus reducing the “lushness” of the sound.

          Piano is hardly a solo instrument, today, and has never really been, it has been used with orchestras since the start.
          And I’ve heard many songs where synths have been dominant, some even used as a solo instrument.
          In setting up the envelope, it is possible to decide for how long notes will ring out, so having more voices than needed for some mixes is not an issue, in such a way that the sounds will automatically have a long ring-out time. Then you need to learn to program the synth.

          Well this synth also offer unison modes, those quickly eat in to the voice count.
          I guess they used two identical FPGA chips inside, thus doubling up on the polyphony. If they could have made it 12 voice for less money, they might have gone for that instead.
          It isn’t a fact that 8 voices is all one could ever need on a 2 part synth, with unison. I would say that would be in the low end.

          Personally I would have been more interested in an 8 voice with two fully featured filters per voice over this semi-dual filter architecture 16 voice. But I would not have been all that interested at this pricepoint.

  11. I’ve got a BS2 and love it. I’ve tried the Peak and think it sounds very 2 dimensional. I hope they have improved the stereo field for the Summit.

  12. Often, incremental releases built on a previous architecture just barely entice me.
    The Summit does entice me greatly though. It really addresses the limitations of Peak(which is really not terribly limited anyway). Audio input routing is the big sell for me. The dual filter seems like a big bonus feature. Even if not fully independent, still very very useful.

  13. 1. Please shave off $300 and put it in a rack size mountable box.
    2. Fix the Sysex spaghetti cluterred format to all NRPN’s and open up the sysex spec.

  14. I was considering the Peak after being pleasantly surprised by the Mylar Melodies demo on YouTube. I had basically ignored Novation for many years. And then the Summit comes along looking pretty good. Novation has come a long way since the Supernova, etc. I don’t think anyone back then could have predicted a 16-voice mostly analog poly from Novation.

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