Nonlinear Labs C15 Overview & Demo At Superbooth 2024

This video, from Superbooth 2024, offers an overview and demo of the Nonlinear Labs C15 synthesizer, including new features of the synth engine.

Session Summary:

Berlin-based keyboardist Tim Sund will play live on the C15 synthesizer to give an impression of its sonic and expressive possibilities. Tim will play fresh examples of advanced sound design and also use the new features of the synth engine that are part of the upcoming firmware release.

In the second part, Stephan Schmitt, the founder of Nonlinear Labs, will join him and give some explanations about the instrument and its ongoing technical development.

11 thoughts on “Nonlinear Labs C15 Overview & Demo At Superbooth 2024

    1. Here are all the physical controls that can be mapped to hundreds of different parameters as per-patch macros (as many parameters you want, per controller, in custom-defined ranges): 4 expression/CV inputs, 4 ribbon controllers (2 usable at any given moment), aftertouch, velocity, and a “pitch bend” controller (that doesn’t have to be assigned to pitch). 95% of the parameters are also accessible via MIDI, if you really wanted a modwheel.

  1. That demo finally shows off how deep the C15 really is. The financial and personal investment involved is no small thing, but the reward is a piano-like experience, in my view. I won’t cry GAS-y tears over it, although its hard to imagine anything beating it sound-wise. Its on the opposite end from modulars, in a sense: highly focused on keys where they’re about the knobs, with similar depth possible from both.

    Am I the only one who feels as if you should sweep the table clean and start again if you suddenly had this in front of you? That pile of mini-synths kinda hides under the porch when a dog this big shows up. 😛

    1. The quality and diversity in the sounds was impressive.

      It is a synth for sound designers and performers. Those aren’t mutually exclusive statements, but you’re partially paying for an interface and a series of tools that help you reach for many different sounds.

      The Iridium is also very capable of producing many sounds but with a different interface. The performance elements are clearly biased towards the C15, though the Iridium Keyboard has polyphonic aftertouch and an extremely robust modulation matrix. Both keyboards could achieve similar sounds but I imagine a performance sound would be designed differently to take advantage of the instrument’s form.

      The interface really matters here.

    2. It’s the only hardware synthesizer I use. There are others I’m interested in (Osmose, Udo), but the huge dynamic range and ultra high definition sound in the C15 makes most other synths obsolete for me. Once you start to understand the numerous feedback paths, the C15 starts to feel like an organic environment the user can move through and manipulate. The tuning options are also super wide-ranging, for anyone interested in microtonality or spectralism

  2. Great sounding synth, absolutely awful interface. You could not pay me to own it. Yes, I get that it’s focused on the keyboard, and yes they have a companion app for iPads with a conventional GUI. But I’m just not into having a million buttons and one rotary control. When I’m designing sounds I want to be able to adjust two or three things simultaneously and try out many different modulation/adjustment combinations, whereas a design like this forces you to modify things one step at a time. The synth engine is good but there are lots of other good synth engines, I don’t think it’s really unique. In this price bracket I would prefer something like a Waldorf Q.

    1. There are sooooo many synths nowadays. You can choose the price range, number of knobs, keys, sound and so forth .
      Go for a Q if it is your thing.

  3. Frank is exactly the kind of player I was thinking about. I’ve been discarding a few lightly-used instruments so I could dig into my better tools more deeply. Most synths can cover a lot of bases, but a few like this strike me as being near the same level as that of a concert pianist’s touring instrument. Its fun to collect synths casually, but for more serious work, you have to choose between a plastic toy shovel and a real bulldozer. I wouldn’t tackle a C15, but its definitely a bulldozer.

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