I’ve got a Bass Station II, it’s a superb little keyboard. And I remember playing with the original Bass Station in the racks at the Turnkey music shop where I used to work in the 1990’s. It’s a solid generator of low frequency focused sound and I can’t believe that was 25 years ago. To celebrate this milestone Novation has released a firmware update to the still current Bass Station II monosynth.
Bass Station II v2.5
The 2.5 firmware aims to add some of the most requested features. The first is the evolution to paraphonic. This means that you can now control the pitch of each oscillator separately within its single-voice architecture. This gives you the ability to play two notes at once – which is pretty darn awesome for a monosynth. It also gives some interesting interactions through the Ring and Filter modulation.
Secondly, we have variable keyboard tracking on the filter which allows the cutoff to track the notes being played and gives better matching of higher notes to brightness.
Thirdly, the envelope can now be retriggered once the decay stage has ended.
Next up is “Oscillator Error” which introduces a small and adjustable random detune on each note-on event. It causes a nice bit of dissonance and a more vintage feel.
Lastly, there’s microtuning to get in between those notes.
They’ve also added two new banks of presets Silver and Sinevibes. Silver’s presets explore the v2.5 features and inspire new tracks and sound design. Sinevibes, designed by Sinevibes’ founder Artemij Pavlov, gives 101 classic Bass Station II presets.
But probably most importantly is that you can now add a custom message to display at startup.
That’s a pretty comprehensive update to a keyboard that Novation don’t really have any obligation to improve. So, thanks for that! The update is done via the Components management software and is free to all users. They are also running a competition to win a special 25th anniversary black version of the Bass Station II. Check the website for more details.