Casper Bastl Softpop SP2, an organic-sounding analog experimental synth that musically bridges the gap between melody and noise.
Shortly before Christmas I reported on a trailer for a new Synthesizer release from Bastl Instruments and Casper Electronics. A collaboration that often resulted in very unique music products. More precisely, they announced the successor to the Softpop, a portable synthesizer with a very organic sound.
Above all known for its smooth transitions from soft bubbling sounds to aggressive noisescapes. Today the Casper Bastl Softpop SP2 was unveiled.
Softpop is the culmination of a near decade-long creative partnership between Casper Electronics and Bastl Instruments and brings together the strengths and quirky design stylings of lead engineers Peter Edwards and Václav Peloušek. We feel it’s our best work to date and a product of pure passion for innovative synthesis, music-making, and experimentation.
Casper Bastl Softpop2
The Casper Bastl Softpop2 is a completely new development in- and outside. More sliders, big Eurorack compatible patch bay, sequencer, and more. The core of the Softpop2 is a mixture of unique analog, semi-modular synthesis (triangle-core oscillator with PWM, pingable filter with POP cross-modulation…) and advanced, unusual digital control.
Like the original Softpop, the concept and interplay with the controls is inspired by the iconic Benjolin designed by Dutch synth genius Rob Hordijk. At each point the small, experimental Synthesizer was drilled out and expanded. The difference in how you can interact with the engine is particularly big. The patch matrix with 37 points now has Eurorack sockets and no longer uses mini cables, for example.
In addition to MIDI, you can now play the Softpop2 with a creative feature-dense sequencer. It is powered by 8-step loops of notes, gates, and slides aka patterns (8 per banK) can be played and chained in any order.
You can make them more musical using 8 scales of user-definable quantization, 8 playback modes, and 8 performance FX. You can independently chain and loop them. There is also a scale chaining option with which you can build chord progressions.
Drones & Effects Processor
Softpop SP2 is not only suitable for melodic content. There is a switch for the VCA that turns it in a drone Synthesizer. Alternatively, you can use it as a crazy effects processor thanks to the external audio inputs. Here the audio signal goes through the filter, VCA, and overdrive that gives your sound a crunchy, dirty timbre. With the sequencer and envelope follower, you can add movement to your processed signals as well.
The results ranged from stepped modulation, auto-wah style effects, modulated overdrive, resonant or feedback distortion, and more. Eurorack compatibility, analog sync, and MIDI connectivity make the SP2 a mighty collaborator when combined with other instruments.
Further, Bastl Instruments and Casper Electronics attached great importance to mobility. USB power makes Softpop SP2 ideal for mobile setups. You don’t have to download a manual to learn the most important key combinations. They are simple and clever shown directly on enclosure
One of the highlights of the Softpop2 is the intelligent designed circuit that promotes creative patching. This allows you to move between both melody and noise content very smoothly. It can create rich basslines, angelic chord progressing, distorted beats… with ease.
But its circuit also gives you plenty of room for everything between resonating feedback effects, organic bleep and blops, water droplets, and more. As you know it from Softpop 1 but in a richer, deeper way.
Softpop has always been a very experimental, unique Synthesizer. An instrument that showed analog synthesis from a completely, unusual side. I am happy to see that Casper Bastl is continuing the concept by making it more playable and sonically rich.
Casper Bastl Softpop SP2 is available now for pre-order for 561,50€ (incl. tax) / $599 USD. Shipping starts in February 2022.
More information here: Bastl Instruments
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