UDO Super 6 Binaural Synthesizer First Look

U.D.O. Audio synth designer George Hearn dropped by Sonic State to give a studio demo of the his new Super 6 Binaural Synthesizer – a synth design that offers 12 voice, or a mode that offers 6 binaural stereo voices.

In the video, Hearn gives an in-depth preview of the new synth design and talks to Sonic Lab synth guru Nick Batt about some of the synth’s unique features.

Video Summary:

U.D.O. Audio are just down the road from us in Bristol, we’ve been hoping to get them in to show the new Super 6 Synthesizer – a 12 voice (FPGA oscillators) Binaural synthesizer, with analog VCF and VCA with a stereo audio patch and some interesting new concepts in stereo imaging. Each voice has 2 oscillators, including wavetables, plus high speed and keyboard tracking LFO. Binaural mode halves the voice count to 6, but the stereo width and movement is really lovely to behold.

Designer George Hearn came over to show us as the first batch of cases are in production and they put the last few pieces of the firmware together for release early next year

38 thoughts on “UDO Super 6 Binaural Synthesizer First Look

  1. Feels like the classic British problem of design by checklist which has Things Everyone Likes from 7 different synths but doesn’t quite work, sort of like this Turkey Dinner in a Can: https://www.delish.com/uk/food-news/a30118962/christmas-dinner-in-a-tin-game-tinner/

    This isn’t limited to synths, I’m thinking back to 8 bit home computers in the 80s from the UK which were awesome in many respects but had difficulty finding a big market outside the UK because something about the design didn’t connect with people in other countries. Still, sounds promising and I look forward to hearing the final version.

  2. Lovely synth, but the binaural tag still makes absolutely no sense on a synthesizer. I get it though, calling it stereo doesn’t quite sound as exciting (even though it is!).

    1. It’s not “binaural” as in “Neumann KU 100 Dummy Head Binaural Stereo Microphone.” From listening to the video, there are two oscillators and two filter per voice, and the filters are designed so that the harmonics are panned between left and right. So instead of a single voice being panned left or right, it’s the harmonics of that voice. Very lush.

        1. What I’m really waiting for is for them to demonstrate the synth capabilities of the device. Insanely lush stereo aside, it sounded a bit on the “same old, same old” for its sound. Like they mentioned, a lot of the sounds were “reminiscent” of a late-90s synth.

          I would love to see a Eurorack filter, though.

      1. A binaural beat is an auditory illusion perceived when two different pure-tone sine waves, both with frequencies lower than 1500 Hz, with less than a 40 Hz difference between them, are presented to a listener dichotically (one through each ear).
        …so its actually a dichotic synth. The effect witnessed by the listener is binaural not the synth.

    2. You’re not understanding the capabilities of this synth.

      Most synths that are stereo take a singe voice and let you pan it left or right and then throw a little chorus or reverb on it.

      The Super 6 lets you have two independent voices for the left and right channel, and modulate the left/right voices in different ways. At the most basic level, two actual voices will sound a lot more like two voices than a single voice with a little chorus on it.

      But think about modulating the two channels in different ways, and all sorts of interesting stereo/binaural effects should be possible. This is something that they should eventually make a dedicated demo for, because its something that’s unique and something that people don’t seem to understand yet.

  3. Bit steep price for a newcommer; 2095,- euro. Matrixbrute was arround 1895,- when it came out… Can it beat that or other synths from above 2000,- euro?

    1. The Matrixbrute feels and sounds like a Brute. For me that’s far from a good thing.
      Wouldn’t even buy one under 1000,- Also I don’t even understand why you would compare the two.

        1. either you’ve never spent any time with one or you merely talking out of your ass. Maybe both. The MB is a phenomenal synth, but I do agree its a bad comparison with this thing. Totally different animal.

        2. please, if by chance some crazed lunatic gives you a matrixbrute for free, please get in touch with me and I’ll “look after it” for you.

    2. The Matrixbrute is not polyphonic. Yes there are tricks to get 3 or even 4 notes out of the thing, but they are kludges.

      This is true 12-voice polyphonic, or 6 “binaural” voices.

      There’s really no comparison, these two synths are very different.

  4. How truly Binaural is it really? It sounds just like regular stereo FX to me. I thought that binaural is a way of capturing sound at its source through positioning of mics at ear level or is something that only used to approximate 5.1 or ambisonics into a stereo mix?

    1. The word Binaural just means “using both your ears”. What the word applies to gives it meaning. In this case, it’s seems to be marketing the stereo harmonics – which I assume there is an app for somewhere anyway.

  5. I like his point of view concerning the non-LCD display as the limitation. intuitiveness from what you are able to control on view. I spend too much time menu-diving on my Elektron Analog four. (though it is not very deep, it is still a “flow-stopper”)

    1. I even find it in my new car. My old car, I could turn on the fan or change the sound balance by tapping a button without looking. Now I have to take my eyes off the road and navigate a fancy touch screen interface.

      Cool story I know, but bottom line, George’s analogy with the UI of a cockpit is a good one. A synth for performers should have an interface like a cockpit: you can very quickly and confidently do what you need to do almost without looking.

      1. Yeah, I can’t stand new cars. They’ve moved everything around from where it was ‘standard’ when we had mechanical controls. Climate controls and seat warmers are the worst.

  6. It’s good to see more people making electronic instruments these days, but this one is not for me. Seems more like an instrument for keyboard players than for sound explorers. I miss the experimental potential, in the demos it sounds rather tame and conventional. I was hoping for a bit more wildness when I heard it would be binaural.

    1. The market needs more instruments that are actually meant to be played. Performance is the area where a dedicated keyboard (as opposed to a plugin or a module) can shine. The best instruments allow you to create a sound by combining the settings on the instrument (and devices further down the signal chain) with your playing. Not sure if this is the keyboard to do that much better than the competition though.

      1. In my opinion, the market needs more innovators like Vlad Kreimer, Jörg Schaaf or Tom Erbe instead of yet another keyboard. But that’s just my personal point of view, based on my taste. I totally get why others might be interested in something more „classic“ though. It’s okay to have both options.

        1. Dacci Pucci —> I’ll help you,
          1)- first google Dichotic audio / listening. i.e. binaural (two-eared listening)
          2)- After that, look for orchestral placement and spacing. why? because it helps to understand effect of instrument within a given space, to an audiences experience of the “whole” collective noise or tone. Change the position of the violins to be at the back and non-dominant, suddenly the whole feel can completely change of a commonly heard masterpiece. Placement is crucial for most performances. Also with sound design (not song design but SOUND shaping) it is an exciting concept to bend the placement around the ears or have the same sound morph independently in each ear. I think a synth is the only tool that can pull this off without sounding horrible TBH.
          3)- Then google which synths could do that, then,
          4)- please come back and list those synths here.

          I hope that helps

    1. I am usually one to agree, but the ease of use, cool new features, immensely great sounding engine, everything about this synth is perfect. All is laid out and easy to use with no ugly screen. It can be super simple, but can get complex pretty quickly….I just hope they implement all waveforms on that super high rate LFO. I would love to see a module version for $1,999.

  7. This sounds absolutely huge, thick, warm set in a very large panoramic soundscape. Doesn’t sounds narrow at all like other hybrids. At some point in this video, I felt like being listening back to the 80 s Tangs : “Hyperborea”. Despite of the “Clinical/Hospital” layout design (just my own point of view) having this kind of mix of PPG+Jupiter in one gear : Take my money George !!!

    1. Binaural is the wrong term, as the synth does not have two ears, dichotic is the correct term, as it is 2 signals independent on the stereo plain…do we tell them about their error?
      I like the ASMR ref. attack-sustain-middle-relief LOL JK

  8. Love it. It might not be for everyone, but it’s good to see the expansion of the feature set and some new ideas (as with with hydra) come to the market, as opposed to get another analog synth iteration.

  9. Love it. It might not be for everyone, but it’s good to see the expansion of the feature set and some new ideas (as with with hydra) come to the market, as opposed to yet another analog synth iteration.

  10. I love that the designer, despite having spent the last 2+ years slaving over every detail of this synth from concept to engineering to production, still likes to just play it and get lost in the sound. This says a lot about how unique and satisfying its tone is.

    But when polysynths have an exceptionally beautiful voice character as this one does, and the keyboard is limited to 4 octaves (instead of 5), it makes me very sad. I have an OB-6 which I like very much, but every time I play it I curse the design choice to limit it to 49 keys. Hydrasynth is another recent example of that terrible choice (perhaps even moreso, since its poly aftertouch would make it an ideal controller if it only had that extra octave).

    I love the sound of the Super 6, and I like its design and panel layout, but for this to be an instrument I can truly connect with I need the 5 octaves. I can see the panel layout resemblance to Roland Jupiter synths, but if UDO are truly fans of this gear they should have respected the size as well.

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