Update: The Kickstarter is now live! Head over there and check out Mike Bachman’s charming, capable synthesizer and if you like what you see, give it some backing. Here’s the link.
Nucleus is a desktop and Eurorack hybrid synthesizer with analog and digital oscillators and a huge modulation array now. Its designer says it’s the most powerful and flexible analog/digital hybrid desktop synthesizer on the market today which is a bold claim considering the Nucleus is not currently on the market but we all enjoy a bit of enthusiastic hype in synthesizer marketing. So what makes Nucleus interesting?
Nucleus pulls together all the usual aspects of a subtractive synthesizer but with an abundance of oscillators, tonal possibilities and modulation. It’s fair to say that this thing is packed.
Oscillator 1 has sine, saw and triangle waveforms but with pulse width modulation and a 4-stage wavefolder. The second oscillator has just a sawtooth waveform but it also has PWM along with sync, FM and Ring Modulation connections. Osc 1 and 2 have separate Glide rates. Oscillator 3 runs digital wavetables and noise and can be a swarm oscillator and has a Karplus Strong mode. In addition, there’s a one-octave sub-oscillator with a dedicated low pass filter for waveshaping from square to sine. And that’s just the oscillators.
The filter is an 8-Pole cascade OTA multi-mode filter with 6 modes, dual resonance peaks, variable band pass width and variable key tracking.
For modulation there are 3 LFOs with multiple waveshapes, trigger sync and up to 10 seconds of delay. There are 4 DAHADR envelopes so that’s Delay, Attack, Hold, Decay, Sustain and Release. While that sounds reasonable enough Nucleus lets you use pretty much anything as a source of modulation and these can be modified with maths and logic and combined to generate new sources of modulation.
All of this is sounding pretty epic so far. The intention is to have everything accessible via the front panel and the screen only acts as more details on whatever knob you’re touching. They are also hoping to release a Eurorack version although I always feel that full synthesizers work better as a desktop unit rather than stealing precious HP from your modular case.
Artisan Electronic Instruments also hope to build a polysynth version based on multiple Nucleus voice cards for a choice of 4 or 8 voices. They’ll build it into a keyboard and add effects and a sequencer. That could get really interesting.