Synth Site: Novation: Nova II: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Chris EDP a professional user from UK writes:
Top Marks for this bollocks machine!

I put all the knowledge from the Oscar into this beast, and not even a Minimoog can stand toe to toe with its bass power and warmth!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Apr-11-2002 at 06:41
Jurgen a hobbyist user from Germany writes:
Got mine three days ago. And all I can say is that this peice of equipment really rocks. Pros: The sound! The interfact! The effects! The outputs(6 of them)! The vocoder!

Cons: The price(cost about 2400$)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Mar-28-2002 at 06:30
Andy Bird a part-time user from New Zealand writes:
Route many other samples, guitars and synths through the Nova's filters. Nova is fantastic for live performance AND sequencing- at last someone has put good thought into the FX section and included an above-average vocoder that doesnt take up any of the other DSP's. Being able to combine external audio with the OSC's and the FX is making this synth, my second most used after my roland 2080.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jan-29-2002 at 21:36
x a professional user from United States writes:
It's interesting to see the discussion of effects and the Novation synth engine. When I first tried out a Nova I was initally wowed but thought the same thing, turn off the effects and it's not all that interesting. A Korg MS2000 sounded bigger without effects. In fact, it made me go with a microQ.

Here's where it gets interesting. It dawned on me some time later that effects are in some modern synth designs just as important as the timbres made. Applying a purist attitude about this made sense when synths didn't sound good without effects in multitimbral circumstances. But on all the Novation synths it's important to remember that any multitimbral setup allows each patch to sound exactly like it was designed, it's not like a Roland or Korg that offer several effects in a fixed order over multiple channels which at most allow you to turn thme off or adjust volume as an option.

Think about it a second. You have modest effects that work within the scheme of the Nova II design and enhance the sound. As for the raw sound test you can get very impressive results. I suspect designers decided to show what the combination of onbaord effects and synth engine could do. I agree it would have sold me earlier if some dry synth timbres were in the patch list. You have to try programming the Nova II to appreciate this. It's no different that any other synth, detune a osc, add some flavoring through the LFO, etc. You will get tasty sounds without effects.

The microQ is a different instrument from the Nova II. Too many musicians spend time trying to decide what's best. Simple answer, nothing's best. What works for you, what sounds good or feels right and sounds good are what matter. Checking out manuals - something a lot of companies have wisely put online - helps in an educated purchase.

Look at the various love/hate reviews of the Andromeda. It doesn't do much for me but I don't have to buy it and it certainly has good points. I've heard excellent music made with it so it's obviously a matter of connecting with the board.

Sure, there's some stinkers on the market but at the Novation, Access, Waldorf, Nord level they all have qualities that make them worthwhile. For all the simplicity the offer there is still a fair amount of complexity especially to my mind with the Waldorf synths. But I'd be happy to use any of these companies synths, I prefer the Nova II but it's competition is still excellent!

Sound development is about creativity. If you can't take a cheap Casio and find a way to use it that's a good time to evaluate how you think. It has become popular in post rock to use cheesy synths with losts of stomp box effects. These folks are getting great sounds out of these combinations.

That said the Nova II has an astonishingly good range. Using FM and subtractive synthesis makes for some organic yet realistic and impresionistic bell, piano and FX sounds. I think it's a good thing that synths have signature sounds. Why did we love Junos, Jupiters, Prophets, PPGs, etc. Those synths had pleasing features and in the Juno 6 I know I programed 100% of my patches with the excellent chorus on. Many sounds that are considered classic use that chorus.

Suggestion to those demoing. Get the manual out, it will explain several features that you think you understand by the very nice layout. It is a simple synth in many ways but there are modulation matrix issues, FM synthesis and things like the double saw wave - six saw waves in or out of sync each of the 3 double saws detunable with the cost of one note of polyphony and a monster sound, that isn't a bad trick. For people planning to demo and desiring to remove effects, throw in a double saw or two in a patch and see if you aren't getting impressive sounds.

A better comparison would be IMO the Virus kb or Nord Lead II. The microWave and microQ are different approaches. To my ears the microQ is harsh (in a good way) and takes a lot of effort to reign in. The Nova II appears to be refined in sound but check out some of the 303 emulations, they are far from refined, real speaker shredders. For those concerned about thin sound create a few patches without effects. The sound is there, it's just not (and this is conjecture) the nature of how Novation wants people to view patch design so they didn't bother making killer dry presets.

Most important buy what inspires you but please don't be put off by things that do not at first make sense or sound different. After all all these instruments are synthesizers, it's their job and from my experience they all do a good job of synthesizing.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-16-2001 at 11:15
J.Toppen a professional user writes:
It's better than 'Q' that's for certain, but has anybody try to turn off the FX and listen to the sounds? I found them it much less impressive than most other synths w/o fx, like Clavia NL for example, which has no FX at all and thus what you hear is what you get. You can't say that about Nova or SuperNova. Like 'Q' Nova's sounds relies on FX heavily as if 'it' was trying to 'hide' something 'undesirable' in its sound. This sort of reminds me of Roland D-50. It was first digital synth with FX and those FX helped it to hide inprefections of some of its samples. I would check NordLead or Andromeda before buying a Nova.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Aug-13-2001 at 10:21
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