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Hydrasynth Desktop

Hydrasynth Desktop

RRP: £99
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FM-Linear: This is for making classic FM sounds. Choose multiple FM sources, including external inputs.

The biggest draw will be the dual synthesis engine. The Deluxe is two Hydrasynths in one, with the ability layer or split (with optional crossfades). If you prefer, you can engage Single mode, which gives all 16 voices to a single layer. Bi‑timbral operation is also available if you want to sequence two completely different sounds via separate MIDI channels. And there are two stereo outputs so that you can process both layers externally — thumbs up. The 12dB and 24dB ladder filters are smooth and effective; they're accompanied by bass-compensated versions (Fat12 and Fat24) that don't sacrifice their bottom end to high resonance. And while you're unlikely to mistake the MS20 filters for the real thing, they offer worthy alternate responses. I don't know how accurate the Threeler filters are, but I liked the band-pass mode in particular; some of its cutoff and resonance combinations give strange, buzzy but interesting results. Getting around isn't as easy as it might be because there's no method of going directly to a particular location. Initially, you change patches by spinning the encoder or pressing the L/R arrows, holding Shift to jump in 10s. To speed things along you can define 32 'Favorite' patches which serve as more efficient entry points. Additionally, you can browse by name and category, but there are no User categories.Five new filter models — shape your sounds in new ways with filter models, including Steiner frequency response curves and SEM-style sweeps With 32 slots to fill, the Hydrasynth's matrix is the tool for programming the interaction with those expressive controllers. It can reach parts of the synth not always open to modulation, such as the effects, arpeggiator parameters, envelope stages and even the levels of other slots, with only a few omissions as of the current firmware (such as Glide and envelope shapes).

These are substantial instruments, weighing in at 10kg and 3.6kg respectively, with no skimping on I/O. MIDI is available over USB and a full complement of 5-pin ports. The keyboard model has a ribbon controller running almost its full length, and on both versions, every knob, button and encoder feels solid and trustworthy. The Colour Of Magic The ASM Hydrasynth’s digital filters contribute a lot of character to its sound. You can choose between serial or parallel routing. Filter 1 has 11 types to choose from. These include 12 and 24-dB-per-octave slopes, ladder and MS-20 emulation, compensated and uncompensated choices (which determine whether more resonance increases bass response), and lowpass, highpass, and vocal formant types. One standout feature is the variable drive control, which pushes the filters to a warm growl or drives the amp into distortion. Filter 2 is a sweet two-pole state-variable type. Like Oberheim’s SEM filter, it morphs smoothly between lowpass, bandpass, and highpass. Updated Step LFO — now with a maximum of 64 steps, and with the ability to adjust in semitone increments, the step LFO can be used as a step sequencer

Hydrasynth Firmware Update

If you are pondering applications for such glacial shifts, another parameter might offer clues: Freerun. Touch any key briefly, and a free-running envelope will progress through all its timed stages without further intervention. In a live situation, you can initiate complete ambient soundscapes while you nip off for a glass of sweet sherry.

Filter 1 has 12 modes inc. LPG and Formant, filter 2 is classic state-variable 12dB/octave morphing filter Unlike the Roland Jupiter-Xm, which is similarly deep but not particularly intuitive, we hardly had to reach for the manual at all when exploring the Hydrasynth. The Module Select section at the lower left is organized in terms of signal flow. Pressing a button for a module reveals the parameters on one of two LED screens (the other displays graphical information like envelope shape). Endless encoders then allow for adjustments. There’s also very little menu diving—most everything is accessible at the top level. The keyboard model features a ribbon extending the length of its 49 keys that can act as a single-voice pitch controller in Theremin mode. The ribbon can also control pitch bend or modulation alongside the standard wheels to the keyboard’s left. The desktop version is identical in functionality, but without the ribbon or wheels; I bought that one. You can also generate waveforms with the Mutators in both FM and Sync modes so you don't have to use another oscillator (unless you want to!) With the desktop version of the Hydrasynth, you get 24 touch-sensitive polytouch pads and a powerful customisable sound engine in place of a keybed. Not only is this is an excellent synth for connecting to external controllers and sequencers; it’s an all-encompassing controllable instrument in its own right.The tone generation capability is the heart of any synthesizer, and the 3 Hydrasynth oscillators are alive with potential. In Macro mode, each knob-and-button pair in the Master Control section lets you manually, simultaneously control as many as eight parameters of any module, as well as CV out, MIDI out, and mod matrix parameters. Because each patch has its own macro setup, you have 16 knobs and switches to shape your sound in real time. You also have with 13 dedicated filter and arpeggiator knobs and switches. Ashun Sound Machines introduces Hydrasynth, the eight-voice polyphonic wave-morphing synthesizer with three oscillators per voice, seemingly endless amount of modulation options, and many other unique features such as Mutators. Besides traditional analog modeling, oscillators 1 and 2 sport a Wavescanning feature, which allows you to smoothly scan through hundreds of waveshapes at will. Mutators open up potential for ever more extreme sound shaping with PWM, FM, and more. Then there are two filters: a twelve algorithm multimode, and a classic state-variable 12dB/oct, which can be routed in parallel, and in series. Hydrasynth also has a ton of effects, from Delays to Reverbs to Flangers, and much more. The new Mutator, called PhazDiff, creates a new waveform which is derived from the difference between the incoming waveform and its inverted and phase-shifted counterpart.

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