Novation Summit Review & Hands-On Demo

In his latest Synthmania video, synthesist Paolo Di Nicolantonio takes a look the Novation Summit synthesizer.

The Novation Summit, introduced at Superbooth 2019, is a new flagship synthesizer that essentially combines two of their Peak synthesizers into a knob-filled keyboard. The Summit offers deep synthesis capabilities, a 16-voice two-part multitimbral engine and a hands-on workflow.

If you’ve used the Novation Summit, share your thoughts on it in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Novation Summit Review & Hands-On Demo

  1. So many great new synths right now, Prologue, Super 6, Moog One, Summit, Quantum, Hydrasynth – I’ve never had so much GAS!

    1. No one complains about the Hydra which is 100% digital and one voice.

      Peak is like the UDO Super 6 (albeit the peak is the kickstarter to FPGAa). Peak/Summit are FPGA based which is essentially identical to designing hardware from an engineering perspective. They also have analog filters: 24dB and 12dB, LP, HP, BP as well as many other options for routing the filters through each other.

      This is basically like asking why any other analog synth is “only > -two part multi-timbral”. Makes absolutely no sense if you know remotely anything about the instrument. Spouting fake news here, since it’s not “digital” like a computer is, in an esoteric sense.

      1. it IS digital: “Digital Heart: Named in honour of Oxford Synthesizer Company founder (and Novation guru) Chris Huggett, the oscillators are digital NCOs (Numerically Controlled Oscillators) generated by an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array)” (source: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/novation-peak )
        my guess is that novation implemented analog filters not because of the sound but because of their laziness when it comes to multitimbrality. there´s zero reason that my good old access snow has more to offer, multitimbrality-wise, than the summit.

        1. ragnhild

          You got it backwards.

          The Summit has an analog signal path, to which you can layer in digital effects if you like.

          The oscillators are FPGA digital oscillators that generate an analog signal and everything in the signal path is analog. Anyone that’s worried about the Summit being too ‘digital’ is profoundly ignorant of this synth’s design.

          With today’s technologies, there’s no inherent benefit to analog oscillators and tremendous downsides. That’s why just about every modern synth designer is making hybrid designs.

          The places where digital excels is things like oscillators, envelopers, LFOs, control and effects. The places where analog excels are mainly amplifiers, filters, distortion and mixers.

          The problem with multi-timbrality is that it adds a ton of complexity and synth designers have never done a very good job of making it easy to use. There are exceptions – things like the Novation Circuit – but multi-timbrality is a feature that just about no one uses, beyond spits and layering.

          If you want a powerful modern multi-timbral synth, though, get an Elektron Analog Four and be prepared to RTFM.

  2. This one is a big GASer for sure. With a Moog One, it says MOOG pretty loudly, but the Summit sounds less immediately identifiable, price difference respected. I think its easier & smarter to buy a pricier ‘digital’ and then add a lesser analog synth first. Between the nice range of the Summit and maybe a Brute or Minilogue, you’ll learn whether or not you need bigger analog muscle.

  3. How do you all feel about the sound difference between a VCO versus a DCO?
    I feel digital oscillators are weaker than analogue ones but the digital control is superior than voltage control regarding those analog oscillators. Analog filters usually sound better but to be honest it usually comes down to just trying them out to know for sure how they sound and feel. Any comments?

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