Novation Peak

Good to see Novation back in the game producing “new” synths.

It’s certainly interesting.
I wonder what the difference between DCO and NCO is in practical application.

They said its an FPGA that outputs bitstreams at 24MHz. Sounds like an efficient way to save a “real” DAC. That said, it’s not a DCO synth (at least if you understand DCO in the technically incorrect way its used in the synth world). It doesn’t generate control signals for some analog circuitry that creates the waveforms - like its done on a classic “DCO”. Instead it creates the entire waveform digitally and outputs it as a high frequency bitstream that’s then filtered down into an analog waveform. So its a bit like the shruthis we all love- except that the output waveform is in a different “format” and probably a little more hi-fi.

At least that’s how I understood the video.

Sounds like it’s effectively using a 1-bit DAC which they’ve rebranded as “NCO” because it sounds more “analogue”.

That’s a cool technique… I always wanted to do something like that but never got into FPGAs. This “brute force” approach to anti-aliasing is also used in the Intellijel Shapeshifter.

These days most of the audio “DACs” are almost entirely digital parts that upsample the signal, play it at 1-bit, and low-pass filter it.

Sound like a really fancy Shruthi XT.

The effects are nice:

They’re apparently running everything including the effects on a single FPGA which is pretty impressive.

Yeah, it does sound fancy, but I was mostly reminded of the shruthi when I read about it, which got me thinking that it sounded a lot like a wavetable/digital oscillator, that they tried to re-brand into something less “evil” (Much like t2k noted).

I don’t mind digital oscillators or wavetables, but I found it funny that it sounded like it was essentially a digital oscillator, with the old NCO trick applied to it(although I may have gotten it wrong). I like the sound of it, but I doubt I can afford it.

Modal’s 001 and 002 use the NCO approach and it does sound good.

I tend to see this Peak as a better and cheaper 002 replacement. I had an 001 but the synth engine wasn’t quite powerful enough for me. It is if you can be bothered to use the animator, but I found it tiresome and the web UI didn’t help.

I think I’ll get the Peak when it comes out.