Vector is a new digital Synthesizer with 16 voices with which Orbits can be moved through a virtual space to generate overtone rich sounds.
It took a little longer but now there is a big step forward. Already in 2019, I report about the Vector, a new desktop digital Synthesizer from two young developers from Prague and Edinburgh. Firmware 2.0 was released recently and it will bring back the synth to the focus. At first glance, Vector looks like a hardware version of the fantastic Moog Animoog app. However, there is a different engine inside.
Vector as the name suggests is a vector synthesis-based Synthesizer that is built around the concept of the orbiter. More precisely, it features four corners each equipped with two overtone generators, overtone blend, filter, and resonance controls. In total 8 OG, 4 blend parameters, and 4 filters. From classic to complex waveforms are possible here.
Instead of using waveshapers, folders .. to edit the timbres, it uses vector synthesis which is merged with the Orbiter system. The 4 oscillators or overtone generators can be mixed/morphed manually with your finger on the touchscreen or with the help of the orbiter/warp system that is placed in a virtual space.
Here you have two orbs (blue and green) where the blue follows a given path determined by the warp and the green orbits around it in a circular motion. This can be adjusted in the size and speed plus synchronized to the master tempo When you play a note, all four corners play simultaneously and the final mix point of their outputs is determined by the green orb’s position. So the latter determines the sound that comes out of the synth.
The corner matrix has been available since firmware 2.0 with which the signal path can be customized: overtone generators routing, how should the filter be used, etc. Classic modulators like numerous LFOs… do not exist here. This work is done by the Orbiter/warp system that sets the parameters deep in motion. How long the sound is, whether it is a pad, bass, perc, etc. is determined by a simple ADSR envelope that can be set on the left with the potentiometer.
There is also a very playable arpeggiator and a few decent effects onboard including reverb, delay, chorus, and overdrive.
Inside Vector you can find an ARM® Cortex ™ -A53 real-time Linux based system that offers a stereo output via two mono jacks, a headphone output, an ethernet port for firmware updates, USB device & host connection, and MIDI over TRS in/out ports. Is is operated via a 7 “capacitive touchscreen and 25 rotary encoders.
I like the USB host port very much, more synthesizers should have that today. It’s a shame that there are no real MIDI jacks, the housing would be big enough for that.
Vector Firmware 2.0 Features
- Corners completely reworked – now they all generate sound simultaneously
- Polyphony increased from 10 to 16 voices
- New Corner Matrix which allows for a more versatile configuration of filters – now they can be placed anywhere in the corner processing pipeline
- Improved orbiter shapes, including a brand-new ADSR shape
- Extended overtone patterns, more pronounced blend mechanism
- Brand-new manual with more detailed information (online, PDF and print)
- Improved overdrive
- New “Undo” function of the randomizer
- More streamlined LCD screen interface and USB update mechanism
- Mechanical switch positions are no longer stored in presets
- Increased encoder sampling rate (removes glitching when turned fast)
- Increased touch interface sampling rate (touch responsiveness is now synced with the graphics at 60fps)
- Removed LCD flashing on power-up
- New set of factory presets matching the upgraded synthesis engine
- Many other quality of life tweaks and some bugfixes
I got the opportunity to take a closer look at Vector and to show you what the synthesizer can do and what it sounds like. Even if the development isn’t finished yet, I already like Vector very much. It sounds very digital, that’s for sure. However, it is a fresh take and something new for the synthesizer market, not a clone or so. Here is a first sound demo.
Vector Synth is available now for 23890 CZK (887€) and the second batch is shipping now.
More information here: Vectorsynth