VS-1 Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer Combines Vintage Sound & Modern Design

Abstrakt Instruments has launched a Kickstarter to fund production of their VS-1 polyphonic analog synthesizer.

The VS-1 combines vintage analog sound with modern features. They say it’s ‘designed for those that find modern synths over-perfected’.

Based on the discrete analog design of the iconic Oberheim OB-X, the VS-1 utilizes many of the same design trade-offs, including a signal path comprised of discrete transistors, op-amps, & 3080 OTA’s utilizing through-hole components.

Eeach voice consists of two analog VCO’s and a 12dB OTA Filter (LP/BP/HP) and VCA.

  •  VCO’s Two discrete VCO’s per voice with saw and pulse waves. Pulse width can be adjusted from 0% to 100%. VCO1 can be modulated by VCO2 (crossmod) and VCO2 can by hard-synced to the frequency of VCO1. VCO’s can also be modulated by two analog LFO’s, two digital LFO’s per-voice, and a DADSR 5-stage envelope generator.
  •  Noise Analog white & pink noise.
  •  Portamento Analog polyphonic portamento gives a natural clustering effect between voices as the analog components are never perfectly matched. Although this requires many additional components it has been included – another example of small imperfections that impart character. In addition, digital portamento with both fixed rate and fixed time modes is also included.
  •  12dB OTA Filter The classic resonant 12dB multimode filter is the desert island filter, simply awesome in a polyphonic synth. The classic OB-X had a fixed lowpass mode, the OB-R has lowpass, bandpass & highpass modes.
  •  Panning VCA’s Each voice retains the classic 3080 OTA VCA but also includes a stereo panning VCA that can be modulated by several sources. The spread control make it easy to pan voices across the stereo field.
  •  Envelope Generators Each voice has a dedicated analog ADSR for the filter and VCA. In addition there is a global five-stage DADSR with (20) modulation destinations.
  •  Analog LFO’s Two global analog LFO’s with triangle, square and S&H waveforms can be sent to VCO1 frequency and pulse width, VCO2 frequency and pulse width, and filter cutoff.
  •  Digital LFO’s Two LFO’s per voice with triangle, sawtooth, reverse sawtooth, square, and random waves with (20) destinations.  LFO’s also have dedicated attack-decay envelopes and can be free-running or synced to the arpeggiator, sequencer, or MIDI clock for tempo-synced effects.

Audio Demos:

Pricing and Availability

Production of the VS-1 is being funded via a Kickstarter campaign. The VS-1 is available to backers as a DIY kit for $999 USD or preassembled starting at $2,795.

19 thoughts on “VS-1 Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer Combines Vintage Sound & Modern Design

  1. Awesome! Glad to see this as I dearly miss my OB-X I sold a couple of years ago. Whatever happened to Jacob Brashears’ clone he’d introduced a few years back at NAMM…I think it was called the Relic 6 or something? That looked pretty promising too at the time…

    1. I do too, but I just watched the YouTube demo. While it may not be inspiring is plenty good enough to hear the character of the synth. And I was happy to hear “Subdivisions” in the middle 🙂

  2. For the price, the kit looks amazing. I looked at the BOM – it spells out the source for everything, but I wish they could have added a couple hundred bucks and included all the non-Digikey parts. Buying this means I will have to pay shipping on a bunch of small parts orders from small-time parts suppliers who may or may not have what I need next month.

    Still it’s REALLY tempting 🙂

  3. For all of you Behringer haters, I hate to say it*, but the forthcoming Behringer UB-Xa is going to eat this things lunch as far as features and price are concerned.

    *I actually don’t hate to say it. I like what Behringer is doing.

    1. I like what Behringer is doing in general, but almost everything they have brought out in the synth market so far has a long list of stupid, yet-to-be-resolved firmware issues. I’m excited for the UB-Xa’s existence but I absolutely will not be an early adopter.

      Also: this is clearly inspired by the OB-X, which is different from the OB-Xa (the foundation of the UB-Xa). Yes they have similarities but the OB-X is generally the more desirable synth.

        1. “Generally more desirable” may be a slight misnomer. Sorry. But have a gander at this GS thread – a few posts in, somebody links to all the similar threads on GS… https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-and-electronic-music-production/1102674-oberhein-obx-obxa-ob8-would-you-buy.html

          The general consensus is that the OB-X has the sweetest tone, but not as aggressive as the OB-Xa. Neither are particularly reliable nowadays, but the Xa is a bit better in that department (though irrelevant for a brand-new synth). They both sound lovely, but there are significant differences in sound

          Years ago I had a chance to try both – first the OB-X, then the Xa. I thought the OB-X had a deeper, sweeter sound. The Xa also sounds great but its filters had a harshness when you crank the resonance, something that I wasn’t looking for at the time. YMMV of course!

      1. “I like what Behringer is doing in general, but almost everything they have brought out in the synth market so far has a long list of stupid, yet-to-be-resolved firmware issues” < Are you able to give any examples or is this old man gibberish?

        1. Andreas, “old man gibberish” isn’t very polite. We’re all sharing opinions here, so that’s uncalled for. I have numerous new Behringer products and I’m happy mostly, but I’m cautious to just accept their first analog polysynth when they seem to be rushing products out with incomplete or buggy firmware.

          Off the top of my head here are some current problems. They are throroughly discussed on Gearslutz:
          MS-1 portamento issue (fastest glide is far too slow)
          MS-1 sync issue (doesn’t accept clock pulses from RD-8)
          RD-8 sync issue (doesn’t reliably sync to external MIDI)
          RD-8 MIDI note triggers are unreliable
          Pro-1 gate issue (may have been resolved with latest firmware but not mentioned in release notes)
          Model D pitch bend range issue
          Pro-1 pitch bend (doesn’t work after key is released)

  4. If you really want to go that deep into classic Oberheim territory, you’re probably a very serious buyer who knows WHY. Its not mere GAS. I’d lean towards an OB-6 myself, but if $2,795 is the assembled 4-voice price, you know what you’re getting into. Abstrakt have gone down to the bone with that solid design. It sure sounds like the OBs I’ve played.

  5. This is real sound of OB. OB6 sounds completely different, modern. I like OB6 sounds but it is not sound like vintage. I hope they will be produce this one.

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