Solaris Synthesizer Gets Major Firmware Upgrade

John Bowen Synth Design has released a major firmware update for their Solaris synthesizer.

The new v2.0 Multimode OS for the Solaris features 4-part Multimode and a new Phase Mod/Phase Distortion Oscillator Type.

“This has been many years in development,” notes Bowen. “I am eternally grateful to Jim Hewes for the thousands of hours he has dedicated to improving the Solaris operating system. Special thanks as well to Holger Drenkelfort at Sonic Core (for the phase distortion models from Scope) and Hrastprogrammer for coding the new Phase Mod/Phase Distortion oscillator type.”

Here’s what Bowen has to say about the new Solaris v2.0:

“Changes to Presets

The biggest structural change is that each Multi Preset now is actually 4 layers deep, making it four times the size of a previous preset. All older presets will load as 4-part Multi Presets. Loading an older preset file automatically converts it into the new Multi Preset format. The new Multi Preset will populate Part 1 with all the parameters, including the Master FX, Output settings, Performance knob assignments, stored joystick position, SamplePool, arpeggiator settings, Assign switches, and BPM. As before, when the Preset LED is on, you are in Preset Mode. Touching any parameter knob will immediately jump out of Preset Mode and put the Solaris into Edit Mode. When in edit mode, the bottom line of the center display will display the current selected parameter, which now includes the part number as P1, P2, etc.

New Oscillator Type: PhaseMod (PhsMod)

In addition to all of the new Multimode features, a 7th Oscillator Type has been added. This features both “DX7-style FM” (otherwise known as Phase Modulation or PM) and Phase Distortion (PD, from the Casio family of CZ synths). The waveshapes provided are as follows: For PM – Sine, Morphing Saw (Morph1), Morphing Square (Morph2) For PD – CZSaw, CZSquare, CZPulse, CZSawPulse, CZReso1, CZReso2, and CZReso3.

For Phase Modulation, use PMod as the mod destination. For Phase Distortion, use the Shape knob and destination. (You can have both types of modulation going on, of course.) On the oscillator’s page 2, you will find Sync and Quant(ization) parameters. For the PhaseMod Type, the only sync value is Gate. For certain PM sounds, you need to ‘lock’ the start of the phase to make sure you have a consistent attack to the sound, or you don’t want to have phase cancellation with stacked oscillators. Gate works with the Phase setting, to restart the phase at a specific point for every note-on event.

Quantize reduces the bit resolution of the PhaseMod oscillator. The range is 0-31 (with 31 = 1 bit). Results are very subtle until you are in the 27-30 range.”

PhaseMod Oscillator Demo:

Details are available at the John Bowen site.

2 thoughts on “Solaris Synthesizer Gets Major Firmware Upgrade

  1. A Solaris is so massive in every way, an update including PD is almost funny. God plays one of these. Making it 4-part means He’ll need His kid to help Him fully implement it. Its like the Schmidt, but hella more capable. (I know, different beasts, but still…)

    The JD-Xi is a great synth, but the Solaris farts them out for brunch. I don’t drool over it. My mouth goes dry just reading the specs. I’d love to see a Solaris Jr., but it seems about as likely as a Moog Two. Bowen is one of the quietly revered Synth Gods, like Moog, Kakehashi or Dave Smith.

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