Novation Bass Station II Analog Synthesizer
Bass Station II is an analogue mono-synth based on the classic original Bass Station but re-worked for the 21st century. It has two filters, two oscillators plus a third sub-oscillator, patch save and a fully analogue effects section. Add a step sequencer, arpeggiator, full sized keys and a powerful modulation section and you have the makings of a synth that is built for bass, but capable of so much more.
The Synth Engine
Oscillators: Bass Station II is built on three analogue oscillators and a noise generator. There are two fully independent oscillators plus a sub oscillator (which is the critical component in creating rich, analogue bass sounds). Oscillators One and Two are switchable between sine, sawtooth, square and variable pulse width, and Oscillator Three - the sub osc - can be set to one or two octaves below Oscillator One. It can be square, sine or narrow pulse width, delivering the characteristically ‘fat’ bass tone.
Filters: You can select between two discrete filters - ‘Acid’ or ‘Classic’ - each with a built in overdrive for pushing filter tones from dry, to warm, to nasty! The ‘Classic’ Bass Station filter can be switched between low pass, high pass and band pass at 12 or 24dB slopes. The ‘Acid’ filter is based on a diode ladder filter design that delivers a characteristically 303-esque sound that is designed to squelch!
Bass Station II has two effects (not including the filter overdrive). Analogue distortion drives circuit components to add new frequencies to the sound. Bass Station II’s Distortion function can add gentle warmth, filthy granularity and anything in between. The second effect is ‘Osc Filter Mod’ which creates a distinctive FM-type sound by using Oscillator Two to modulate the filter frequency. This is very good at crunchy, sound-mulching effects that substantially fatten up bass and lead patches.
There are two envelope generators and two low frequency oscillators (LFOs). The first envelope is an ADSR amp envelope and the second is a mod envelope that can be used to modulate filter frequency, oscillator pitch and osc pulse width. LFO One is dedicated to pitch modulation whereas LFO is used to modulate osc pulse width and filter frequency. Although it looks like there are four LFO waveforms, the ‘LFO Slew’ function can be used freely to sculpt LFOs into smoother wave-shapes creating many more LFO possibilities.
Arpeggiator and step sequencer
Bass Station II’s Arpeggiator and Step Sequencer are killer performance and production tools. The Arp can be directed to run through 32 different rhythmic patterns in different directions with a switchable octave range. You can also engage the Step Sequencer. Up to four sequences can be played in – with legato and rests – and played back using any one of the 32 rhythmic patterns. As well as getting ideas down quickly and programming performance sequences, this is a brilliant way to preview patches while you are editing them.
This just scratches the surface of the synth engine. Bass Station II is a powerful little synth with a lot more than first meets the eye. There are many more oscillator, envelope, LFO and modulation functions that are too numerous to detail here. The best way to experience Bass Station II is to get hands-on!