So I went in to my local music store two weeks ago with the intent of buying a midi controller, and I left with a Bass Station 2 . After spending some time with it I thought I would relay my thoughts.

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Here is a quick primer on the synth, from the Novation website,

“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.”

I have to say, I love this thing so far, so easy to program, its the reason why I love the Juno 106 as well, I can sit at it for ten minutes, and be able to program the sound that I am looking for, this was much more difficult with my Mopho Keyboard that I had for a few months, but that might be limited to my admittedly intermediate level of synthesis knowledge.

Immediate Physical observations – 

– Plastic build, but it doesnt feel cheap, my unit is pretty solid and lightweight
– Cheap switches, definitely cutting costs there
– Great knobs, Found them a little too resistant at first but have noticed they got easier to turn as I broke them in
– All Buttons are good except Octave, found them a little stiff, but they might need some breaking in
– Cool glowing Pitch and Mod wheels
– Love the sliders on the envelopes, they are a little wiggly, and flimsy, but I just really like programming envelopes with sliders, it just makes sense to me

The Sound

Big beefy low end! I can coax some real nice basses out of this thing, the envelopes aren’t as snappy as lets say my Juno 106 or Waldorf Pulse but they are up there.  But this thing is definitely capable of much more than just bass sounds, fantastic for plucks and leads as well. My only complaint about the sound is that it lacks character, but I usually run it through some guitar pedals or post processing in Cubase and it gives it a little more edge.

Extras

A suprisingly really fun and useful arpeggiator, and aftertouch are welcome extras at this price point ($550 CDN)

Rating – 8/10

Summary – Definitely a keeper! Easy to use, killer arp, BIG sound,  points lost on build quality, and lack of unique character.

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