After a tease and a countdown, we can now reveal the product that IK Multimedia has managed to keep a secret to release at Superbooth. It’s called UNO and it’s a “true-analogue, ultra-portable monophonic synthesizer”.
+++ Update +++ See below for a first sound demo from Day One of Superbooth18!
It’s an analogue synthesizer “powered by Soundmachines”, a fellow Italian synthesizer company with a lot of their own new releases at Superbooth this year. With an all-analogue signal path, 2 VCOs, noise generator, multimode filter and voltage controlled amplifier. The independent VCOs have saw and triangle waveforms and a square wave with pulse width modulation. The 2-pole OTA based sweepable resonant filter has low, high and bandpass modes with overdrive. The LFO has 7 waveforms including random and sample-and-hold that can be directed to pitch, filter, amp and waveshapes.
The 2 oscillators can be tuned separately in order to take it from monophonic to intervals and detuning. And at the end of the chain is a delay and other effects called things like Dive and Scoop as well as vibrato, tremolo and wah.
It comes with 100 presets which all come with pre-programmed arpeggiations and sequences for added fun! That does kind of mean that these are digitally controlled oscillators and that there’s a lot more than just an analogue signal path going on under the hood. But that’s all good for this sort of synth.
They squeezed in a 2-octave keyboard, with support for pre-defined scales and arpeggiator. It also acts as the step controls for the sequencer. You can record in realtime or step-by-step and store up to 100 patterns.
The box itself is very interesting and appears, to me at least, to be wearing its influences on its sleeve. There’s a look of the Korg Volca about it, the membrane buttons throwback to 80’s synths, the matrix style editor selection is a bit microKORG and it also looks a bit like the Novation Nocturn or LaunchControl. But none of that is a bad thing.
The lack of dedicated knobs for everything is slightly disappointing – they’ve got a knob for filter, one for tempo and one for volume. The other 4 knobs are assigned to the matrix where you select a bank of 4 parameters to edit. Otherwise, the top panel is well laid out, clearly labelled buttons, and a data display. It’s not stunning but it’s very tidy and undaunting.
UNO can battery powered but it doesn’t have a little speaker unlike some other synths of this type. It has an external input for routing other devices through that you can control via the MIDI ports. Or connect it to your computer via USB. There’s no CV or anything like that. But it’s completely stand alone and can run itself and more in a little desktop setup.
Priced at €199 it’s a little bit more than the Korg Volca but sits well in that entry level, monosynth-with-bags-of-features easy-to-use and affordable category. Should be available in July.
- UNO webpage.