Cherry Audio Intros Novachord + Solovox Virtual Instruments

Cherry Audio has introduced Novachord + Solovox, a collection of virtual instruments that emulate two early electronic instrument.

Novachord is based on the revolutionary polyphonic instrument from 1939, while Solovox replicates a related monophonic keyboard instrument that was intended to provide organ-style leads.

Here’s what they shared about Novachord + Solovox:

Manufactured by the Hammond company from 1939 to 1942 and debuting at the World’s Fair, the Novachord contained 163 vacuum tubes and over 1,000 custom capacitors. Its divide-down oscillator architecture combined full 72-key polyphony with an early version of analog subtractive synthesis. The Novachord’s architecture predicted the ADSR envelope, utilized a resonant band-pass filter, and included a vibrato unit.

Despite its historical importance, the Novachord did not enjoy commercial success. Although it resembled a standard organ at a glance, the front panel controls were not well-suited to the performance techniques of organists or pianists of the period. Production stopped in 1942, with Hammond only manufacturing around 1,000 Novachords.

Nevertheless, the instrument was used for decades on many notable era recordings, such as We’ll Meet Again by Vera Lynn and Brother Bones’s Sweet Georgia Brown. It was also prominently featured in film soundtracks including the intermission for “Gone With the Wind” and in the scores of “Rebecca,” “The Maltese Falcon,” and “The Ten Commandments.” It is best remembered for its otherworldly sound as heard in horror and sci-fi genre productions such as “Cat People,” “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms,” “20 Million Miles to Earth,” and “The Gorgon.”

On television, the Novachord remained a favorite of composers including Jerry Goldsmith and Harry Lubin in their work for The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, respectively. Today, fewer than 200 Novachords exist, and it is said that only five remain in operation.

The Solovox, manufactured by Hammond between 1940 and 1950, was another classic instrument of the era. Based on the Novachord’s oscillator and divider circuits, the Solovox with its 18 vacuum tubes was a small monophonic keyboard instrument attached beneath a piano keyboard and intended to augment it with organ-type lead voices.

It consisted of two units: the three-octave mini keyboard, and a tone cabinet for the electronic sound generator, amplifier, and loudspeaker. Like the Clavioline and Ondioline, the Solovox produced a range of string, woodwind, and organ sounds and was widely used in light music from the 1940s and into the 1960s. Unfortunately, the introduction of compact transistor organs released in the 60s marked the end of the Solovox’s popularity.


  • Novachord
    • 32 polyphonic voices, synthesized not sampled
    • Three Resonators: a resonant bandpass filter network operating consecutively in low (400 Hz), mid (800 Hz), high (2000 Hz) frequency ranges
    • Deep Tone setting for the tone generator signal, with a one-pole (6dB per-octave slope) lowpass filter with a fixed frequency of 160 Hz
    • Brilliant Tone setting for the tone generator signal, with a one-pole (6dB per-octave slope) highpass filter with a fixed frequency of 2000 Hz
    • Full Tone setting controls the amplitude of the dry (no filters applied) tone generator signal
    • Tones routed in parallel to all of the filters, processed and then summed together to create a composite tone
    • Attack knob with seven Attack/Decay/Sustain envelope options, from Slow to Fast, with sustain-pedal controlled release (approximately3.5 seconds)
    • Adjustable depth vibrato with two options: Vibrato I as used in the earliest Novachord models, and Vibrato II as used in later Novachords
    • Integrated reverb effect with Room and Hall algorithms plus speaker emulation to replicate the Novachord’s built-in amp and speakers in an acoustic space
    • 56 presets covering Basses, Keys, Pads, and Strings
  • Solovox
    • Faithful virtual analog emulation of the monophonic ‘keyboard attachment’ instrument
    • Combinable Bass/Tenor/Contralto/Soprano switches to set note range in octaves, like modern synthesizer footage settings
    • First Voice and Second Voice two-pole bandpass filters with level controls and variable center frequencies of 400 Hz and 800 Hz, respectively
    • Deep Tone setting for the tone generator signal, with a one-pole (6dB per-octave slope) lowpass filter with a fixed frequency of 200 Hz
    • Brilliant Tone setting for the tone generator signal, with a one-pole (6dB per-octave slope) highpass filter with a fixed frequency of 2000 Hz
    • Full Tone setting controls the amplitude of the dry (no filters applied) tone generator signal
    • Adjustable Glide and fixed-rate Vibrato
    • Mute control to filter harmonics from the oscillator voice
    • Reverb effect with Room algorithm to replicate the standard Solovox amp and speaker combo
    • “Glowing vacuum tubes” respond to the volume setting of each filter
    • 50 presets covering Basses, Strings, Leads, and Woodwinds

Pricing and Availability:

Novachord + Solovox is available now with an intro price of $39 USD (normally $59).

20 thoughts on “Cherry Audio Intros Novachord + Solovox Virtual Instruments

  1. They meant it when they said “Golden Age!” Since it was birthed in 1939, I’ll have to decide whether or not I can use that big a block of vintage musical cheese. Its somewhat like a music box or a lute: excellent at what it does, with a limited range. Its not hard to emulate with current tools. I use 4 of Cherry Audio’s synths and they did a typically good job of bringing this one to the surface. Its just that when I hear it, I’m reminded of detergent commercials and rubber monster movies. 😛

  2. Hm, I bought a Solovox (with 2 tone cabs) on a whim at a garage sale about a million years ago, and my wife has been on me to sell it ever since. Maybe I should get to repairing it.

  3. Just a quick question… Has Cherry Audio ever released plugins that are not recreation of old analogue instruments?

    1. The answer is yes: check out their Dreamsynth and Sines software synths. While their interfaces come across as a bit cluttered, these synths are versatile, original and sound pretty damn good.

  4. I own several synths by CA. I do not like this, I do not want it, I have no idea what possessed then to create it. But that’s just me.

  5. I fear this is a bit too niche. Perhaps they should consider a copy of the PPG Wave or Prophet VS next? They’ve covered the analog polysynth space fairly well, might as well do something a bit more esoteric as a follow-up.

    This is the problem with cloning famous synths. At some point, you find yourself copying early 1980s Casio and Yamaha home keyboards because everything else has been done 5X over.

  6. The Novachord is capable of extremely etherical pads… you might be able to create this on a well specd synth – and maybe not. All this comes down to how well Cherry has done their work. Personally I want this because of the fact that I can never get a real Novachord.

  7. This is the kind of softsynth you get in a big bundle and are least excited for, but once you mess with it a bit and throw some VST effects it becomes one of your sleeper go-to’s.

  8. You think you’d love a real one, until you realize that in 2023, its a white elephant the size of the Moon. Some people are put off by softsynths, but one repair bill for an original Yamaha CS synth would probably = enough to buy a very well-endowed Mac. Then there’s the growing lack of ancient parts and techs who are able to apply them. There’s a cutoff point where your GAS hits the wall of diminishing returns.

    No dis intended, either, because I dropped large cash keeping a few beloved synths alive, so I get it. I also get a Synthex only because CA modeled one of the few that are still breathing. Whaddaya gonna do? Buy more gear, just like me.

  9. Played a bit with them both now. Very nice – vintage sound to the extreme from a distant past. Well done Cherry!! Anybody expecting a huge tone palette will not be satisfied – that’s not what these two icons do. But they both have that 30’s vibe I recognize from movies and old timers music. (I might even use them for some backing and blow the dust of my Moog Etherwave Pro and see what I can come up with.) Thanks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *