Saturn is the third mini-synth in as many days and is a fascinating take on the Roland Jupiter-8. This one is looking a bit tastier.
Saturn (name may change)
A couple of days ago, the Pro-VS was a bit of shock and looked very odd to me. Then we had the JP-4000 which for me felt a bit more balanced in form. Now we have Saturn which appears to be in the same shell as the Pro-VS but I feel like I’m warming to the whole idea. Maybe we’re seeing the beginning of a range of fabulous sounding, entry-level budget synths that are going to fulfil Behringer’s desire for everyone to be able to afford a synth – that’s no bad thing.
Saturn is a 3-oscillator analogue polyphonic synthesizer with a multi-mode analogue filter, envelopes, LFO, arpeggiator and 16-step motion sequencer. There are 4 selectable waveforms, pulse width modulation, mono, unison and polyphonic playing modes. There’s no mention of how many voices you can run although the conversation in the Facebook comments says that it’s both “polyphonic and paraphonic”. Reading between the lines this is the way Behringer describes their Poly D where you can play each oscillator separately, to give polyphony, but that it routes through the same filter and VCA, and so has paraphonic articulation. It’s a shame it’s not 4-voice like the two previous mini-synths but then they are digital and it’s not so easy or cheap to accomplish with analogue. So, this is a fat Jupiter-style monosynth? Groovy!
It is looking like this is becoming a trend for Behringer to release funky little versions of the big synths they are working on. And Behringer does confirm that they are working on a full-sized synthesizer version of the Jupiter-8. Obviously, the size massively impacts a synthesizer in terms of tactile controls but it’s not that far off a Roland Boutique or Korg Volca and you can do a huge amount with those. At $99 I get the feeling that these are going to sell by the bucket load, and why not? If the sound’s there; if this is an analogue synthesizer with the scope of a Jupiter synthesizer then despite the restrictive controls this could be awesome.
The keyboard isn’t my favourite thing; I don’t like it much on the Modal Skulpt either, but it does give access to a load more controls and at least you’ll be able to play it without any other kit.
I do hope that Behringer develops the SynthTribe app into a fully-fledged MIDI controller and librarian VST plugin for these mini synths as that could really bridge the gap between the front panel controls and the synth engine.
I think this is a form factor we’re going to have to get used to.
- Behringer Saturn: Behringer