Polynorth is Skagmo Electronics’ first polyphonic hybrid Synthesizer that offers a completely analog filter section combined with a powerful 32-bit digital core.
Not a new one from Korg, Roland… but one deep instrument from a small synth lab. The firmware will be not open-source but offers a good amount of features. What exactly the synth will contain in the final version is not yet known. However, it is known that it three oscillators per voice, 18 in total including a flexible voice allocation system. It allows you to set up the oscillators and filter to use when a note is pressed.
The type of synthesis or which oscillators will be installed here is not yet. Known is that it will offer a flexible internal signal routing like a modular synth and advanced modulation options like FM… On the interface, you can see “Sampler” so it may be possible to load own samples or so.
According to the developer, it also features ADSR envelopes, LFOs, and step sequencers. These can be mapped to any possible destination. Presets can be saved in the memory of the device.
The interface of the prototype looks very compact with three sections (sampler, synth & mod), 6 knobs and buttons for scrolling, play/stop and reverse. Also, it includes a step sequencer with 16 illuminated switches.
What The Developer Says
I’ve always wanted to build an analog polyphonic synthesizer, but they often end up being very large and complex because the size of the electronics pretty much scales linearly with the number of voices. In many ways I think the filters are the hardest part of a digital synthesizer to get to “sound analog”, so I figured out a good compromise would be to keep the filters analog and do all the rest with a microcontroller. Most digital architecture also has some important benefits:
- Flexible internal signal routing like a modular synth, but without a ton of patch leads
- More advanced modulation options (FM)
- Patch store/recall (including the routing)
- Much smaller size
I stumbled upon the SSI2144 filter, which is a modern remake of the classic SSM2044. It’s very similar in many ways, but in a much more compact package and with better dynamic range, so a 6 voice synth could be made pretty compact. This is what kicked off the project.
Skagmo Electronics Polynorth availability & Price: TBA
More information here: Skagmo Electronics