Hydronium is a semi-modular analogue synthesizer that’s available for both the desktop and Eurorack either pre-assembled or in kit form. Rare Waves products are designed by Eric Archer out of Texas and are responsible for the Grendel range of synthesizers.
Checking out the demo video (below- set it running while you read the article because the sound is phenomenal) it’s clear that they were going for some kind of TB-303 vibe and they certainly nailed it. However Rave Waves stress that this is not a clone, it’s its own thing with a new design and some extended possibilities.
The sound is generated from a single VCO with pulse and sawtooth waves, through a resonant 12dB low-pass filter with a simple decay based envelope in trigger or gate mode. There’s a glide control for putting some slide in there and Dynamics for adding an accent. There’s also a useful effects loop that patches between the filter and VCA for helpful things like distortion.
It can be played by CV or MIDI and they’ve opted for a proper MIDI socket rather than the trendy minijack-to-MIDI socket we find on so many things these days. The MIDI implementation provides velocity control of the envelope and amps the mod wheel to the decay time.
The desktop version comes in a rather nondescript box but you do get a choice of yellow, blue or black. The Eurorack version puts all the patch sockets over on the left of the front panel making it quite wide at 28hp and you can choose between yellow or black.
It sounds excellent! Such a great demo in the video.
The kit version comes with over 200 parts (all SMD are preinstalled) and you’d probably need to give it a day. At $225 for the Euro kit and $255 for the tabletop version, it’s a good saving over the $359 and $389 assembled price.
- Rare Waves webpage.
- Rare Waves Hydronium kit: Rare Waves