MATRIXSYNTH: John Bowen Solaris | Epic, Enormous & Expensive

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

John Bowen Solaris | Epic, Enormous & Expensive

video upload by Espen Kraft

"A flagship synth from 2011, the John Bowen Solaris is both vintage and modern at the same time. It's all digital, but it can mimic both old analogs as well as the 80s hybrid synthesizers and more.

Check out the synth here:

The idea to use a Compact Flash card to store patches, presets, Wav-files and even the OS is a great concept in my opinion. Yes, it means you can loose everything if not careful, but as long as you have a backup of the card you can put it into another Solaris and boot it up to reveal YOUR Solaris.
Using the CF card does not mean the Solaris boots the OS from the card, you flash the Solaris from the card when there's a new OS update you want to install into the synth.
You do need to have the CF card present to have your presets and patches available though.

The demo song was made to showcase what I feel is the best part of the Solaris, the ability to mimic the classic hybrid synths like the Prophet VS, the PPG, and also synths like the Yamaha FS1R which uses formant shaping. The drum loop that comes up at the end is also out of the Solaris as you can create patches based off your own Wav-files.
The first part of the demo song is all recorded by hand, with a free flowing tempo. I also play an arpeggiated part on top of this.
The second part is recorded to tempo.
Some of the patches are part of this Solaris' preset bank, while some of the sounds are either edited presets or my own makings.
External FX used in the demo track: Valhalla VintageVerb, GFI Specular Tempus.
The demo track has been mixed and mastered using my well documented workflow and gear."

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