The UDO Super 6 Binaural Synthesizer – A Future Classic?

In his latest video, synthesist Matt Johnson (Jamiroquai) takes a look at the new UDO Super 6 Binaural Synthesizer, which he calls ‘a future classic’.

The Super 6 can be used as a standard polyphonic synth, but also has an Binaural mode, where you have a stereo synthesis audio path and the ability to do various types of modulation between the channels. The result is different than sticking a chorus and reverb on the end of a mono channel because the synthesis process is different.

In the video, Johnson shares his thoughts on the new Super 6, and shares custom patches that he’s developed for the new synth.

63 thoughts on “The UDO Super 6 Binaural Synthesizer – A Future Classic?

  1. With Matt on the keys everything sounds nice…ofc the Udo sounds nice as well…in my concerns i think the question should be…’how do i become a great player like Matt?’ :p

  2. I really hope they will make a desktop version, I don’t care even if it will be the same price as long as its blue 🙂
    I never had a keyboard synth and i don’t see myself buying one.

    1. You are right, 2500,- euro is over the top imo…shouldnt be over the 2000,-.
      Now it’s specialy accessable to those grumpy bastards that sitting on youtube streams showing off their studios packed full with expensive new and vintage synths.

      Excluded Matt…he’s a nice guy.

    2. Thinking the same. It’s rather similar to a Peak (FPGA), which you get much cheaper. And a lot of people (including me) have already got one (or Summit). They might have trouble competing with Novation, I guess

  3. Why don’t you guys just say you can’t afford it? LOL! Is Benz a commercial failure because I can’t afford it? I think not.

    1. I agree that “I can’t afford it” is really most people’s complaint about the synth. Or rather, it’s my complaint about my income. But it’s not correct to look at Mercedes and draw a parallel because our synth market is very small. How many people buy new cars every year? It’s a massive market so there’s room to make several high end products. I wish the UDO team all the very best, but tight margins, a complex UK export situation and world problems may conspire against a roaring success. There’s a financial reason the big manufacturers release humdrum products with low spec components. Viability. The bulk synth market is bedroom producers with a grand to spare, once every 6 months. Even that is a hotly competed space. UDO are competing with the niche status brands. Selling to the small group of fortunate Moog One purchasers. It’s a tough task.

      1. Im not jalouse at people with more income than i. But i recognise those who are greedy grabbers/ show offs and still not satisfied.
        This synthesizer is made of very high qualitiy parts… if i may believe the manufacturer. But maybe its just marketing to ask more than reasonable.
        Personaly i don’t need to be jalouse because there is a lot of nice stuff available below the 2000 euro on the market. It’s a nice synthesizer. But i wont buy it. Because it’s overpriced imo.

      2. I use to be of the thought of more synths = more fun….but I end up only using a few and much of it goes to waste when someone else could enjoy them. I think it is better to have only a few synths that really speak to you. Very rarely do any modern synths do that for me….this is one of them. I won’t be getting it anytime soon due to having more synths than I am years old…but in a couple of years when I move out of the U.S. I plan on selling 90% of them and that will open up a spot for 1 or 2 nicer synths that I will really enjoy.

    2. The example with cars is not working, but thanks for trying.

      It is overpriced as you can get new Moogs and Dave Smith synthesizers for less…and those are normally the brands we refer as the high-end brands “cars”.

      1. Actually you confirm my example. I was talking specifically about price and not brand. I’m sure there are thousands of musicians who can afford this and will buy it. It’s a big world.

        1. Actually, the one place your example of using cars does work, is that no matter what car you drive or what synth you own… nobody else actually gives a hot damn! lol Never once has a listener left a dance floor or turned off a song because they didn’t enjoy the filters on the synth used, or had some moral issue with the brand of guitar strings the band has.

          If you want this synth, buy it. If someone else doesn’t feel it’s worth the money, STFU about it, because nobody cares what car you drive. And if somebody simply can’t afford it, then seriously stfu because if you hadn’t noticed, the world is wracked with a pandemic and people are sick, out of work, and hungry, and ANYTHING they could get their hands on to make art with will be the conduit to something far more musical to say than any privileged and flawed bs argument you are making. The conditions of the world today will produce astonishing art for years to come. The cost of the instruments involved will be completely irrelevant. In fact, conditions almost necessitate that the most amazing art of the next decade will come from the very bottom end of the hardware market.

      2. Both MOOG and DSI unfortunately have problems with quality. I’d not refer to them as hi-end quality synths. Brand price, of course, but not quality.

        1. I don’t know what you based on, Moog and DSI prices are not expesnive considering what you get and the quality is usually good.
          It’s not high end becouse “high end” is a made up word that doesn’t say much.
          High price tag don’t necessarily mean quality, I have seen more problem on expensive gear then on popular budget products.

        2. That’s strange of you to say. Have you owned either? I own both Moog and DSI synths, and they are among the best built instruments I have. Most would agree the build quality of both brands is quite good.

    3. Probably not a good analogy, Mercedes Benz is an established high end brand with a long history of world wide reputation.

    4. “You can’t afford it” is such a lame knee jerk argument. It assumes that anything you CAN afford you will also necessarily LIKE. In truth, people who can afford anything they want tend to be far more discerning than everyone else. That’s why stuff that is more expensive NEEDS to delivery on the quality, or it fails.

  4. There comes a time in most men’s lives when they need to contemplate looser cuts on their shirts. 😉

    With that out of the way, this sounds great. The price tag doesn’t especially put me off. If you adjust for inflation this is only a bit more expensive than the Juno-106 was in 1985 dollars, but the capability is so much more (sync, FM, more waveform options, more comprehensive envelopes, etc). Don’t get me wrong; I love cheap gear but sometimes you want a piece that’s designed up to a goal rather than down to a price point.

  5. I’m less concerned about the price and more disappointed in the design feature choices made for an otherwise brilliant synth. George Hearn, the creator of UDO is a brilliant and genuinely pleasant fellow, however his explanation of an omission of a screen, any kind of screen simply does not make sense. I have heard this from others as well, “I stare at a computer screen all day, I wanted this to be a players instrument”. What does one have anything to do with the other? Do you remove or omit an automobile’s instrument cluster because you want the driver to really enjoy the driving experience?

    A screen for a sophisticated instrument such as this would have been a must for me. I don’t have to bloody stare at it all day, only when the most vital of parameters and settings need adjusting. I found myself working in the blind on this synth and synths that make similar choices, especially for sound design for which this synth is brilliant.

    1. strongly disagree with the need for a screen, but i think that speaks to preferences in how one interacts with synths. Screens often mean the synth comes with menus to dive through – for me, this a massive creativity killer and one of the reasons i vastly prefer softsynths. the immediacy of a hardware instrument is one of the biggest appeals, and screens often take away from that. the Udo clearly references things like the Juno 106 (and so on) that don’t have screens necessary for fully functionality. I don’t really see how a screen with value read-outs is necessary to make sense of the parameters when the positions of the controls should convey all that at a glance. ultimately i do think it’s about preferences for interaction, so this isn’t to say your desire is illegitimate, just that it doesn’t at all match up with the intentions behind this synth (as far as i can tell)

      1. As strongly as I disagree with you, for reasons you have so eloquently pointed to in soft synths, and thus the omission of a screen in hardware synths for me is a missed opportunity, I respect your cordial and intelligent reasoning.

        The integration of a screen is another tool, it needn’t be a menu diving abyss. I will concede that UDO is a brilliant sounding synths however due to the aforementioned personal preference, it is not in my list. Yet I hope they are greatly successful.

        Cheers!

      2. Disagree because on this synth it would be no menu diving.

        I agree that its personal preference, i like the opposite of what you like here.
        when revisiting a patch the one button per function interface is a pain because it will constantly will be out of sink with the whole patch and you don’t no the exact patch value, the usual encoder modes don’t make up for that. For me that is a creativity killer. For use in live situation it would also be beter to have assignable endless encoders.

        They can add all the military grade encoders on this synth that they want its still a interface design from the stone age. Some times i get tempted to buy an instrument like this when its sounds amazing but i always hate the workflow and return it. That is really a shame because i mis out on some great sounding instruments but it shows you how important a interface is for instruments. Going the extra mile on interface design can payoff hug for a company.

    2. I can’t stand screens on synths. I’m generally OK with a little character LCD.

      Screens belong on deep, digital synths and workstations with samples and sequencers. This is an instrument and I applaud the decision to not include a screen.

      (That being said, I strongly dislike its shorty keyboard – polysynths with beautiful voices need 61).

  6. I can certainly hear the depth it will emit, but it still feels like a 2020 higher-end version of a Juno-106. I don’t expect every synth to be a starship, but this feels almost like a vanity project. I could forgive the lack of a display, but a pricey poly should reach just a bit further in its capabilities. Again, its a nice synth and if Matt can’t make one sound good, it IS the fault of the gear.

    1. Form the manual:
      “Every parameter you see on the Super 6’s top raised panel plus the delay’s time parameter and feedback parameter is assignable as a modulation destination with the exception of the PWM / SWM parameter in the DDS Modulator section and anything that is controlled by either a toggle switch or a rotary switch”

      Complex enough?

  7. I’ve had one for 2 1/2 weeks now. Been playing synths since 1992. All I can say to the naysayers is try one if you can, before dismissing it. It’s everything I hoped it would be and more. I’ve been playing it every day and not once found myself thinking ‘I wish it had a screen’. It’s all about the hands on. The overall sound quality, build quality and user interface experience are phenomenal. I can’t really say any more than that as I need to get back to playing it. 🙂 Two days ago I loaded it full of Prophet VS waves. It’s not a future classic, it’s a current classic.

    1. Thanks for your comment – hearing experiences from people who have actually.. experienced.. the UDO renders all the speculative comments kind of pointless.

      Of course, it still may not suit some, but better to test that out rather just imagine..

      I don’t have many synths so may have this done as my first modern one.. once I’ve saved up!

  8. i glanced at the responses and didnt see mention of this.. i might have missed it tho

    so can anyone tell me the potential of this synth for “binaural beats” phenomena, aka hemi-sync type brainwave synchronization via two channels of offset frequencies which are “harmonized” by the brain causing an entrainment of the left and right hemispheres of the brain??

    im wondering if that effect requires headphones or if a stereo PA system would work too?

    1. This will do hemi sync with headphones or on a P A if you are centered properly in the audio field.
      It is not tunable to specific binaural frequencies for brainwave entrainment.
      On this synth, you can set different waveforms for each channel, Left or Right.

  9. It’s a great sounding synth, but I still don’t get why they call this ‘Binaural’. It has a stereo signal path, but that makes it stereo, not binaural which is a specific type of filtered stereo signal. Does this actually have a binaural filter in the signal path?

    1. binaural is not a filter. maybe you meant the conversation of binaural audio from speaker to headphones?
      It’s a gimmick name but it can be suitable for some of the features,

    2. I think it’s because “binaural” when talking about the 3D sounding recording technique works because of phase differences, delay differences, filtering differences between each left and right channels, such that the brain can localise a sound in 3D space.

      The source paths on the Super 6 have similar functionality, not statically controllable to create static sound positions though.. just in a kind of LFO-controlleable way.

      “Stereo” doesn’t say much at all – it could just mean it had a stereo output like so many cheap Casio or Yamaha PSRs might have boasted back in the 80s.

    3. They call it ‘binaural’ because it has a ‘binaural’ mode, where you can use independent synth engines for the left and right channels.

      This is completely different than most synths, which use a monophonic synth voice to generate the sound, and then add effects like chorus and reverb at the end to create a stereo effect.

      These capabilities are discussed on the UDO sight and have been covered in most of the videos with the designer.

  10. When has high pricing ever kept a synth from becoming a classic though? Fairlight CMI cost as much as a house and is unquestionably a classic.

      1. The article headline asks if UDO is going to be a future classic, not if it’s going to be a commercial success. Many classic synths and drum machines were commercial failures.

    1. It’s definitely a take on the controls of a Roland. That has been discussed by the designer.. Not a sonic take on them though.

      1. .. and I have a feeling the physical design was by a well-known synth designer who’s been in the industry for decades. I can’t remember his name, nor what else he has designed.

  11. Nice sounds yes. But lots of new synths have nice sounds. Not sure about the Binaural aspect, with Matt would demo sounds with some examples of Binuaral vs Non-Binaural. For me, I’m looking more for how I can interact with the sound and be more expressive as a result of gestural motions, and the keyboard technique I’ve been trained on since my youth. In other words, the Osmose from Expressive E offers SO much more than just another nice sounding synth, which I already own plenty of! Hope UDO does well with this however!

    1. From a talk I listened to about this synth, it can all be controlled by the new era of expressive controllers. Just the built-in keyboard doesn’t have those extra features.

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