Synth Site: Novation: Supernova II: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.9 out of 5
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Cliff Hall a part-time user from USA writes:
Obligitory Opening Props: 'My SN2 keyboard kicks major ass, period. 'Nuf said.'

Pros (imho): Every single knob (and man, there are a shitload of them) sends midi. This is a beef i have with other boards. Gimme more knobs and let me record them without digging thru menus and jumping through hoops like a trained circus animal.

Effects on every channel. The effects available are your workhorses: chorus, phaser, delay, distrortion, verb, etc. Its not like having 8 TC Native Fireworx units, but I don't have the cash to have outboard effects on every mixer channel, so i consider it a reasonable compromise.

A very accessable vocoder. Ever since I was a kid and picked up the Alan Parsons Project's Tales of Mystery and Imagination, I've wanted to vocode. I've tried it on a number of instruments including the Access Virus, Nord Modular, and even an old Sequential Circuits Pro 1, and personally I think the SN2's is the easiest to use and puts more power in your hands to actually experiment rather than read manuals and scratch your head. It even has a spectrum analysis mode, which is quite useful once you figure out how to use it. the problem is it doesn't show you the actual bands, its just columns of moving data, a little blue fireplace. But if you take a few minutes to run some known frequencies through it, you see where they come out on the display, and you figure out the bands. Then, it becomes terribly useful, because when vocoding, the first thing you want to know is where in the spectrum the energy lives in your source. That helps you to choose an appropriate sound to vocode with.

Weighted Keyboard with great tactile feedback and tunable aftertouch. I have an Ensoniq EPS that I've kept around for years as a MIDI Master keyboard, for the same reason. Many popular and expensive keyboards (take the Nord Lead, for instance) cut corners in this department, and justifiably so. Electronica producers tend to be software tweakers, sans chops. To be fair, count me in that number, however I do like to find my phrases at the keyboard, and add my expressiveness there if possible. My girlfriend was trained for 9 years at the piano and feels right at home on the SN2.

Oscillator Routing. You can hook anything to anything in this baby. True, the definitive sound of some synths comes from the constraints imposed by its architecture, but I myself value the freedom of being able to construct anything I want over having someone hear my track and go 'oh, wow, he has an SNII!'

Arps on every channel. Not that I use this much but I do experiment with it a bit. I've always appreciated the spectacular use of interlocked arps that is virtually the cornerstone of Orbital's sound, and I see that it is possible here.

Operating System. Not since the Ensoniq EPS have I come across an operating system I liked so much. People always bitch and whine about having to dig through menus, and I don't particularly care for it myself. The SN2 overcomes most of the pain associated with this by exposing almost everything as a knob and allowing you to briefly interrupt the context of where you are in the menu system by grabbing a knob or hitting a menu button, doing your stuff and then returning you to your original context. Unless you have a full pc screen for your OS, you're stuck with drilling down through the menus. at least the SN2's make sense. Plus, backing up and upgrading the OS is a simple enough deal using cubase or any midi sequencer. The last upgrade gave us a 'Double Saw' that makes one oscillator do the work of two, and could saw thru a redwood... :)

I could go on and on about this machine, but suffice it to say the opening statement sums it up nicely. Notice I haven't even touched on sound quality. It has great sound quality and if you build your own programs, you can make it do whatever you want. Everybody has different ideas in this department, so go to a Sam Ass near you and listen to one if you're interested. What I've covered is those things you don't find out till you get the bad boy home and start tweakin'. That's the *wrong* time to find out that the built in programs rock but making new ones is next to impossible.

-=cliff>

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-May-02-2004 at 12:01
a part-time user writes:
Supernova is cool, but i still like the regular Nova better due to the small footprint and desktop style. Its easier to work with that way.

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Mar-16-2004 at 14:30
Wraith a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I record techno music and this synth gives me the darkness for which I yearn, plus the brightness that sharpens the sounds razor-edge. It took me a while to learn how to phatten up the bass tones, but after I finished toying with all the presets and started making patches on my own, I realized that this little baby can get phat-as-hell!!! I mean, it's no Korg mono/poly or anything, but wow! I like it! It's better than the access synths because it can go into a rack and not have to be on top. The SNII is great for pads and stabs sounding as well as weird noises that sound like a turtle gargeling motor oil. I use channel outputs 7 and 8 as an effects processor, running them thru the aux sends / returns on my mixer and it works out well. The phaser/dist combo really livens up cymbals.

If you buy this guy and learn how to program the patches from scratch, you'll love it. I'll have to agree that the presets aren't the best, but anyone who uses the presets is a lazy moron anyways...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Oct-27-2003 at 06:50
Thomas Emil Hansen a hobbyist user from Denmark writes:
BTW, some people (including myself) comment that this synth is not nearly crunchy enough. That it's too damn slick and smooth. Maybe that's true. However, it's still a killer synth that does its job and more too. Just don't expect it to do everything for you. No synth has ever done that, and no synth ever will.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Sep-01-2003 at 09:50
Thomas Emil Hansen a hobbyist user from Denmark writes:
Pros:

- Excellent, brilliant sound!

- This baby can do a lot of different stuff (analogue and FM).

- Multitimbral effects!

- Very easy editing with loads of knobs.

Cons:

- Looks a little cheap IMHO (but it's still sturdy built!)

- The routing matrix is scattered all over the menus. It takes some time to figure which source modulates which parameter.

- Manual stinks!

- Not as dirty as some might fancy. For my part I miss features like digital aliasing and bit crunchers.

No doubt the Supernovas (and the Nova) are among the best synths ever - and especially for the money!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Aug-30-2003 at 16:03
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