ASM Hydrasynth Gets Major Free Update; Here’s What’s New

Ashun Sound Machines (ASM) let us know that they’ve released a major firmware update for their Hydrasynth line.

The free version 2.0 update adds new synthesis capabilities, new performance options, expanded patch memory and more, and is compatible with the entire Hydrasynth line.

Here’s what’s new in Hydrasynth 2.0:

  • ASM’s major (2.0) firmware update adds three more memory banks to the Hydrasynth keyboard, desktop, and Explorer models, matching the Deluxe’s existing eight banks for a total of 1,024 patches.
  • Each Hydrasynth oscillator — OSC 1, OSC 2, and OSC 3 — now includes a new BitRedux (bit reduction) parameter that allows users to choose between OFF, 16, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 bits.
  • More modulation options – a new modulation source called VoiceMod (voice modulator) allows users to offset values for each voice that can then be applied in the Mod Matrix to vary chosen parameters per voice. D
  • All five envelopes — ENV 1 through to ENV 5 — and LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) — LFO 1 through to LFO 5 — have new Quantize options, so users can quantize their outputs to achieve unique stepping effects. It is also now possible to choose to advance through the steps with each new note on with the LFOs in Step mode, meaning users can play through the steps one by one with each new note press.
  • Bypass each of the (Pre-FX, Post-FX, Delay, and/or Reverb) effects globally in the system page — to record a dry signal without having to edit each patch.
  • Choose how the sustain pedal operates. The three options available are: Sustain — traditional sustain (as it has always worked), Sostenuto — press and hold a single note while playing notes above it, and Mod Only — disables the sustain function, allowing users to then route it in the Mod Matrix.
  • Other added features and functions, to include: Arp range expanded to six octaves; new Arp Step Offset parameter; Bank selection from browser window; ability to randomize all steps in LFO Step mode; new display Dim, On/Off options; Glissando mode added to Glide options; fine control for more subtle options offered by Vibrato; and Local On/Off status recalled (with in-screen reminder).

As ASM CEO Glen Darcey duly concludes: “

Hydrasynth firmware 2.0 is a huge update. ASM CEO Glen Darcey suggest downloading the manual update to find out more about the features, adding “There are some good tips and tricks on each of the new features and functions in there.”

Owners of any Hydrasynth can download the latest (2.0) firmware update for free, along with the Owner’s Manual addendum.

Here’s an introduction to Hydrasynth 2.0 from ASM CEO Glen Darcey:

Hydrasynth 2.0 VoiceMod (voice modulator) feature overview:

Hydrasynth 2.0 LFO Step advance mode, with Product Specialist Ken Pierce:

Hydrasynth 2.0 LFO/Envelope Quantize feature overview:


Here’s a performance demo, by ASM Senior Product & Design Manager Dominic Au, focusing on new features in 2.0:

You can learn more about the Hydrasynth line at the ASM site:

7 thoughts on “ASM Hydrasynth Gets Major Free Update; Here’s What’s New

  1. Great strategy to improve and existing (and fabulous) synth. The desktop and explorer are two of the best deals out there. The Hydrasynth has modular level complexity. Sometimes I think it’s too complex, and I think “Oh, wait now I can do [insert cool thing here].”

  2. well, *finally* someone is doing something new and different to a synth. crazy! I’m starting to want this thing again; the BIG one too. I’ll get in rev 2 hardware, or a c15. still haven’t decided yet.

  3. I just recently picked up a Hydrasynth keyboard for AUD$1500 near new at a second hand dealer in Melbourne, and have yet to get around to setting it up, so this new update is a bonus. Thanks ASM!!

  4. It’s a pity more synths don’t implement midi sostenuto (Midi CC66). It’s really useful for messing about — hold down a chord or drone with sostenuto, and then get two hands free, e.g. one for noodling and one for twisting knobs.

    1. Why not … both?

      Also I note that it’s just great to have multiple polyphonic aftertouch keyboard synths in current production, including: ASM HydraSynth, Waldorf Iridium keyboard … and B company’s upcoming UB-XA, which may be a cheap-ish clone of a polysynth from 1980, but it adds at least two major features (MIDI and poly AT) which were not present in the original. Personally I’m happy to see both digital and analog polysynths with polyphonic aftertouch.

      One thing I’d like to try is hooking a HydraSynth up to a Sequential Rev2 (or P’08), since the Rev2 accepts polyphonic aftertouch via MIDI.

  5. I didn’t see in the article what Mac OS this update requires. I seem to remember when it came out a year ago, it required at least Ventura, beyond my Monterey, which I wasn’t about to upgrade to, as it hadn’t gotten much support from developers at that point, which was a big disappointment. How about including that type of info in the update writeup to make sure users know whether their OS supports the upgrade?

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