CatSynth Pic: Mr. Maximillion and Novation Peak

Mr. Maximillion returns, this time in a handsome portrait with a Novation Peak synthesizer.  By Charles Whiley via Facebook.  You can see Mr. Maximillion’s previous appearance here.

We were wondering what exactly an “Oxford Oscillator” is, as Novation chose to display the term prominently on the panel.  From their website:

The implementation of the FPGA opens the doors to a new type of oscillator design for Peak — The New Oxford Oscillator — the design of which stems from the analogue imperative. Peak’s raw waveforms are generated using an architecture designed and realised by Chris Huggett. It employs two waveform-generating techniques: Numerically Controlled Oscillators (NCOs) and wavetables.

The NCOs are used for the traditional subtractive-synthesis waveforms (e.g., saws, squares, pulses, and triangles).  The wavetable oscillators can morph between different source tables.   The architecture of the oscillators with traditional waveforms reminds me a bit of the Evolver from Dave Smith Instruments.  It is quite intriguing, including the fact that it is implemented on an FPGA.

NAMM 2017: Fabulous Silicon Paradigm

One of the fun things at NAMM is finding new and unexpected technologies for music. We found an intriguing example in the Paradigm synth from Fabulous Silicon.

The uniqueness of this analog synthesizer is on the inside. Its architecture is based on four Apex programmable analog chip by Anadigm Corporation. What this means is that parameter changes rather than simply changing the voltage running through a fixed circuit, the circuit itself is reorganized. Many of us working in experimental technologies at the turn of the century were familiar with FPGAs, reconfigurable digital gates, but the idea of reconfiguring analog circuits in a single chip is a step beyond our thinking from that moment. How much of that is technological or cultural I cannot say, given that compared to the turn of the century we are in the midst of a renaissance of analog electronics in music. To make this concrete for others familiar with analog modular synthesizers, consider turning a knob or switch and having the synthesizer re-patched on the fly, or even turned into a completely different set of modules in response to CV input.

The prototype was unfortunately not working at the time we visited the booth and spoke with the Paradigm’s creator Bryan Pape. But we came away quite interested in both the musical and intellectual possibilities of this “paradigm.” We look forward to seeing this instrument in action in the near future.

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