MATRIXSYNTH: The John Bowen Interview | Legendary Synth and Sound Specialist, New Solaris OS, Demos, & Prototype

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The John Bowen Interview | Legendary Synth and Sound Specialist, New Solaris OS, Demos, & Prototype

video upload by Espen Kraft

"John Bowen is the man behind those Sequential factory synth preset sounds heard on so many classic tracks. The Prophet 5, Prophet VS, Six-Trak etc.
He later worked on the Korg Wavestation, Korg Oasys, the Creamware DSP plugin synths and finally his own hardware synth, the Solaris.
You've heard his sounds more times than you know.

In this interview you can hear how it all started, all the funny stories, and what happened in California in the 70s, at Sequential Circuits in the 80s and at Korg in the 90s. And more."

You can find v2.0.3 update details here:

The following are a couple of videos featuring the Solaris, the first featuring on the John Bowen site.
video upload by synthhaft

"Improvisation with a 'Noodle'-Sound, done with the SOLARIS.
One Sound, one take, no external fx."

And one more with a Nonlinear Labs C15 and Waldorf Quantum:

video upload by

And last but definitely not least, some pics of the Solaris prototype via the John Bowen Synth Design forum where you'll find additional pics:

"I came across some of the old Solaris prototype photos, and I thought people might enjoy seeing them!

We introduced the Solaris at the Frankfurt Musik Messe at the end of March 2007. The original design features 2 rows of knobs below the Envelope section, so that you could easily adjust filter and amp envelopes without having to select them individually. (Note there are only 3 EG select buttons, as the idea was to select them in pairs.)

The wood sides were more rounded, as you can see these were quite nice, but a bit too expensive for production. The graphics of the front panel featured a design from my childhood friend, John Heisch (viewable on the left side). Also, the original silk screen for the front panel was not to my liking, so I requested an 'emergency' job from Axel Hartmann to revise the graphics look for the show (which he did just 2 weeks prior to the show!).

We went through 5 prototype stages, arriving at the production version you know now. It was quite the journey!"

1 comment:

  1. That Nonlinear Labs C15 looks like a Waldorf Quantum. I have not watched the video at this moment as I am currently watching a Cuckoo video. Nice melodies but the fellow is not big on lyrics.


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