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In-depth Feature:  Novation K-Station
Nick B writes: .

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LFOs
The K has two LFOs. Waveforms are TRI, SAW, SQUARE and S/H. I would like to have seen SINE but I guess you can’t have everything. Generally speaking LFO 1 will modulate the Oscillators pitch and LFO 2 the filter and pulse-width. Both LFO’s will sync to MIDI clock with an extensive range of divisions from 32nd triplets through to 12 bars - through the LFO menu options. When set to internal clock, the LFO speed control has a good range; from 0 – 1Khz with a fade in of up to 5secs.

Envelopes
Through intelligent layout of the front panel Novation make the Ks two ADSR envelopes quick and easy to edit. The rotary pots control env 2 (MOD) and can modulate pulse-width, filter, pitch and frequency mod plus FM mod functions. Envelope 1 (sliders) controls the amplitude and operates as you would expect. A minor niggle, I did find setting a long release time a bit hit or miss with a fine line between not long enough and way toooo long. That and the Additional parameters available via the menu cover: overall VCA level, velocity -> amplitude, FM velocity, FM attack and decay and external input routing.

Effects
The K is greatly enhanced by the effects section. There are 7 simultaneous effects with individual depth (send) via a rotary pot.

  • Delay
    Useful stereo delay with time syncable to MIDI clock. Times of up to 2 bars via MIDI sync. Delay blend controllable from the mod wheel.
  • Reverb
    Several algorithms: Chamber, Small Room, Large Room, Small Hall, Large Hall and Grand Hall. Reverb times up to a whopping 8-10 secs for those Vangelis moments. Quite bright and splashy, but a useful enhancement.
  • Chorus/ Phaser
    You’ll find a little of this on a lot of the presets. From subtle thickening to whacky metallic tones with fully syncable mod speed, it’ll fatten up most sounds.
  • EQ
    Shelfing eq with cut and boost set around the centre frequency. At extreme settings it can operate like a Hi-pass filter though without resonance. EQ frequency can be modulated with yet another syncable LFO the same divisions as the standard LFOs.
  • Distortion
    I like this one – it’s not the most flexible overdrive unit but it can give some unusual tones when combined with the filter and oscillator intervals.
  • Panning At is most basic, used to position the sound in the stereo field but you can also modulate the position using the menu to give to control over mod depth, rate, sync (from 32ndT to 12bars) and initial position.
  • Vocoder A nice extra that has become a regular feature of Novation products. It’s a 12 band algorithm which is sufficient for all but the most articulate voices. The vocoder works by taking an external input (modulator) to er, modulate the carrier (K-Station synth).

The sync of the modulators appears to be locked to speed of the arpeggiator (when it’s not set to external sync) so it’s easy to set up quite complex internal rhythmic patches. The rotary pot controls the mix between the two. When fully clockwise you get the carrier only, at 12 o’clock only the vocoded signal and fully counter-clockwise only the modulator signal. It’s a handy extra in a synth of this price and certainly justifies its inclusion. (listen)

The effects are very easy to add and subtract so you can get to the real nitty- gritty of a sound then enhance to taste. Blending and mixing the effects is as much a part of the performance aspect to this synth as the real-time synth parameter tweaking can be.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • Mp3 Demo 1@ Novationmusic.com
  • K-Station PDF Brochure
  • Price @ zZounds.com
  • Mp3 Demo 2@ Novationmusic.com
  • K-Station user reviews @ Synth Site

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