Black Corporation has announced that the XERXES is getting the MK2 treatment, and enough chips were found to build a limited run of 100. But, it’s for a price.
The Elka Synthex inspired synthesizer is an 8-voice analogue polysynth with two digitally controlled oscillators and a multi-mode filter. There’s also a pink and white noise generator, oscillator sync and a rather nice Drift control and detuning. There are two envelopes, two LFOs and a finally gooey analogue BBD chorus with 3 modes.
The oscillators can produce triangle, saw, square and pulse waveforms. The sync and drift can produce some nice variations and phase shifting. Cross and Ring modulation can create all sorts of interestingly complex sounds. While it looks like a very straightforward synth, it has many layers in which to play.
The analogue filter offers low, high, and band pass modes switchable between 12dB and 24dB per octave. It has a dedicated ADSR, LFO, velocity and aftertouch mapping. It is all expressively MPE compatible.
Mk2 brings in an updated VCA section, adds balanced stereo output, and allows high-quality audio over USB. The new outputs take full advantage of the stereo chorusing effect. You’ll find that many more less exciting things have had themselves tweaked under the hood. Lastly, Black Corporation has also gone for a much darker look which I have to say is rather nice.
The semiconductor shortage and many other factors have taken a toll on the pricing. Originally the Mk1 was available for $2,999. That’s now gone up to $4,499, which is very alarming. To preorder, you need to put down $1,499 and pay the $3,000 balance before it ships in October. These are highly desirable and exclusive synthesizers, and I don’t doubt they will sell.