The Tonestar series from Studio Electronics was first inspired by the ARP 2600. The Tonestar 2600 is a complete synthesizer voice and was released in the middle of 2016. It wasn’t aiming to emulate the classic 2600, it wanted to provide the best possible imagining of it. It brings together the best ideas of ARP, Oberheim and Moog and melds them together into the Tonestar. The new Tonestar 8106 wraps it up in a filter designed with the best ideas of Roland, from the Jupiter 8 to the Juno 106 – hence the name.
The VCO and VCA/Envelopes come straight from the Tonestar 2600, so with the 8106 it’s all about the filter. It’s a 6db/oct high-pass filter followed by a four pole 24dB voltage controlled low-pass, a recreation of the Roland IR3109 module – the magic component in those Jupiter and Juno filters. My man at SE’s UK distributor tells me that it has a “brighter and more punchy tone than the 2600”, that it’s “very Roland”. “It features the 6dB high-pass filter for rolling off excessive bass, this control also has the little boost bump when set flat, just like the Juno did.” In his view it’s a little different to the Juno because the Tonestar’s VCO is far more alive sounding than the Juno DCO.
The module itself is 32hp wide. It’s semi-modular in nature having many normalled connections, but also gives you 21 patch points along with 27 knobs and 6 switches. So you know you’re always going to get good sound coming out and there’s plenty of room to push it with your own sonic ambitions.
The Tonestar 2600 got glowing reviews last year. With an arguably more creative and certainly beefier filter, I think the Tonestar 8106 is just the ticket for someone looking for a superior voice with a hearty dollop of Roland.
The Tonestar 8106 will be available mid-February for £509 inc VAT or $529 before tax out in the larger world. There’s also a Modstar 8106 filter version coming along in March for £249. More information on the Studio Electronics website.