We saw the extraordinarily dark and cool Space Bee SB01 at Superbooth earlier in the year. Now Superlative has it ready for production and are looking for preorders on Kickstarter from people interested in “the sound of the past, crafted for the future”.
Space Bee SB01
The SB01 is designed as a homage to the classic Roland SH-101. It’s based on the same 3340 VCO and follows the layout and topography pretty much identically. It is beautifully and stylishly designed that gives it a futuristic edge and premium allure. At any other time the arrival of the SB01 would have been hailed as an absolute triumph and people would have paid whatever they asked to get their hands on one. But we live in a time of Behringer’s mission to resurrect classic synthesizers and offer them to the synth community at stunning prices. And so with that in mind the Space Bee has to offer something more than the sound and look of the SH-101 because the MS-1/MS-101 has that all sown up.
The look is extraordinary and that alone should get it some attention. It’s wonderfully slim, flat and milled out of aluminium, unlike the super-chunky and authentically plastic MS-101. Inside somewhere they’ve packed a rechargeable battery and claim that this is the first rechargeable analog synthesizer and I’ve got no reason to doubt them. They say it will last 16 hours on a single charge.
They’ve added a very flexible sequencer which works by step entering notes, slides and rests up to 256 steps. Patterns can be saved and chained on-the-fly with a “JUMP” button to kick in the new pattern straight away. It has two channels, one for the internal synth and a separate one you can route out the back to other instruments. There’s also a decent arpeggiator with random play.
Other enhancements include replacing the Roland pitchbend/mod wheel with a natty little joystick. Superlative has also gone full keytar on it with a grip that offers 3-axis accelerometer control to encourage your to really rock out with it.
Slightly in the downside, they decided not to use the triangle waveform present in the 3340 oscillator but not used by Roland, whereas Behringer did which I think gives you some other possibilities.
The Kickstarter starts today with units limited to just 300. 100 “Super Early Bee” synths are up for grabs for $899 and 100 “Early Bee” for $949 and then 100 regulars for $999. It’s an interesting price. It’s a bit less than a second-hand SH-101 but almost 3 times the price of the Behringer MS-101. It’s undoubtedly a different class of product and at the time of writing with 50 sold on the first day they’ve got to sell another 50 or so over the next month to meet their goal. Shouldn’t be a problem.