MATRIXSYNTH: John Bowen Solaris V2.0 Update Released

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

John Bowen Solaris V2.0 Update Released

John Bowen

Above is a quick video from John Bowen on the new Phase Mod Oscillator posted back in March. You might remember mention of it in this post from February. The update is now available. Some details via the John Bowen Synth Design forum (pic via this previous post):

"I am very happy to announce the release of v2.0 Operating System for the Solaris!

I wanted to post a huge 'Thank You' to Jim Hewes, who has been laboring for almost 4 years on the Solaris OS. Jim has fixed more than 80 bugs, and added at least a dozen of features that I have requested. During this last year, not only did he completely re-work the entire SysEx code (replacing a bare-bones NRPN system) to allow for MIDI access to all of the now over 7300+ parameters (!), but has been working overtime to get a reasonable 4-part Multimode structure working. I think you will all agree what he has done is managed to save the Solaris from early abandonment to bring it forward as a still viable current instrument. What other hardware synth has been able to do that which came out 10 years ago?

I would also like to thank Hrast for coding the new Phase Mod oscillator type, and Sonic Core for providing the code for the CZ waveshape set. You can view Hrast's work under the name Hrastprogrammer and his wonderful software synth Transiztow:

The biggest structural change is that each Multi Preset now is actually 4 layers deep, making it four times the size of a previous preset. All older presets will load as 4-part Multi Presets. Loading an older preset file automatically converts it into the new Multi Preset format. The new Multi Preset will populate Part 1 with all the parameters, including the Master FX, Output settings, Performance knob assignments, stored joystick position, SamplePool, arpeggiator settings, Assign switches, and BPM. As before, when the Preset LED is on, you are in Preset Mode. Touching any parameter knob will immediately jump out of Preset Mode and put the Solaris into Edit Mode. When in edit mode, the bottom line of the center display will display the current selected parameter, which now includes the part number as P1, P2, etc.

New Oscillator Type: PhaseMod (PhsMod)

In addition to all of the new Multimode features, a 7th Oscillator Type has been added. This features both “DX7-style FM” (otherwise known as Phase Modulation or PM) and Phase Distortion (PD, from the Casio family of CZ synths). The waveshapes provided are as follows: For PM – Sine, Morphing Saw (Morph1), Morphing Square (Morph2) For PD – CZSaw, CZSquare, CZPulse, CZSawPulse, CZReso1, CZReso2, and CZReso3.

For Phase Modulation, use PMod as the mod destination. For Phase Distortion, use the Shape knob and destination. (You can have both types of modulation going on, of course.) On the oscillator’s page 2, you will find Sync and Quant(ization) parameters. For the PhaseMod Type, the only sync value is Gate. For certain PM sounds, you need to ‘lock’ the start of the phase to make sure you have a consistent attack to the sound, or you don’t want to have phase cancellation with stacked oscillators. Gate works with the Phase setting, to restart the phase at a specific point for every note-on event.

Quantize reduces the bit resolution of the PhaseMod oscillator. The range is 0-31 (with 31 = 1 bit). Results are very subtle until you are in the 27-30 range.”

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