ASM updates Hydrasynth to firmware 1.5 with many new features: five new filters, distortion effect, modulation improvements & more.
Last year in September, Ashun Sound Machines came out of nowhere and presented the Hydrasynth, an extremely beautiful sounding digital Synthesizer with modern technologies. It offers a powerful wave morphing synthesis engine paired with a polyphonic aftertouch keyboard. There are no newcomers to the synth industry behind this development. Among others Glen Darcy, ex product developer/manager at Arturia and Dominic Au formerly active at Novation.
That people with a lot of know-how are at work can be seen in the design but also in the engine. Even if there is little to criticize about the instrument, the Hydrasynth is constantly being further developed and improved. Firmware Update 1.5 is now available, which again includes many new features.
The new Hydrasynth 1.5 firmware features five new filter models for the filter 1 section: LP Stn12, ASM’s version of a popular 12dB low-pass filter; LP 1 Pole, a gentle 6dB low-pass filter; and LP 8 Pole, a steep 48dB low-pass filter; alongside BP Stn12, a popular 12dB band-pass filter with dual 6dB slopes; and HP Stn12, a popular 12dB high-pass filter expanding its total to 16 filter models. I’m not surprised by some of these new filter types. Consider Glen Darcy was part of the Arturia Brute Synthesizer series based on the Steiner Parker filter. Nice to see it now as an inspired filter in the Hydrasynth. These bring some new dirty characters in the synth.
Also, the filter 2 section has been upgraded. This offers now the ability to switch between LP/BP/HP (low-pass/band-pass/high-pass) or LP/NOTCH/HP (low-part. Further, it comes with microtonal scale support that opens up a brave new world of musical expression beyond the 12 tones most prevalent in Western music to allow composition and performances from any culture or harmonic discipline with 32 custom scales loadable using MIDI Tuning Standard files.
In firmware 1.5, the Hydrasynth envelopes can now be triggered from as many as four sources, including LFOs, keyboard, ribbon, CV inputs, and pedal expression input, whereas previously they were all triggered by the keyboard only. Also, the LFOs have been upgraded to allow up to 64 steps when set to step mode, with a new SemiLock feature to quantize those steps for pitch control of the oscillator
Effect Improvements & New Module
The PRE-FX and POST-FX modules both benefit from the addition of a new stereo Distortion effect, with controls for Drive, Tone, Asymmetry, and the Overdrive curve, as well as the output level.
LATCH mode moves things onwards and upwards, allowing users to press a key and have that key stay holding for as long as the LATCH button itself is enabled — ideal for ambient and generative patches. The new Hydrasynth firmware 1.5 updates also includes a new save system state allowing users to boot up their Hydrasynth with a patch of choice.
- shorter timing options in Vega mode
- additional (Buchla®) 1.2V per octave support via the CV outputs
- the option of selecting MIDI CC mode or NRPN modes, making automation in DAWs that do not support NRPNs possible
- user-assignable ribbon controller can now send NRPN or pitch bend data.