We show you 6 different things you (probably) didn’t know about the Novation Peak, run through the sounds and provide a general overview as to why this could be the greatest polyphonic synth ever made with our Novation Peak Guide
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ll be getting excited about the new Novation Peak 8-voice, polyphonic analogue synthesizer that has been announced. This synthesizer calls upon Novation’s rich history of producing some of the most widely used, cutting edge synths and results in an absolute powerhouse capable of providing a world of sounds in the live and studio setting.
This poly desktop synth is not only an extremely powerful instrument, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun to play too.
So chances are if you’re reading this blog you already know a little bit about the Novation Peak’s main features, so we asked UK product Specialist at Novation Mark Lowes to show us some of the cool lesser-known features within the Novation Peak, give us a general guide to the cool sounds on offer and show us some things you (probably) didn’t know it was capable of via a few quick videos. Thanks to Mark for shooting the video for us!
Part 1. What is the Novation Peak all about?
In the first part of this video series, Mark shows us exactly what the Novation peak can do and gives us a guide as to what you can really do with this great synth.
As you can see the Novation peak is a brand new 8 voice polyphonic synthesizer, maximising both analogue and digital technology. Mark shows us that the digital “brain” behind Peak is run by an FPGA processor which gives us certain advantages and ultimate flexibility when using it at the centre point of this synth.
The processor is generating traditional waveforms at 24 mega Hertz which means together with the analogue technology we've used, we get a warm rich texture from this synth. Within the oscillator section, we have three numerically controlled oscillators with selectable pitch range, coarse and fine adjustment. We also get to see how the Novation Peak utilises four selectable waveforms: Sine, Triangle, Saw and Square Wave.
Continuing as to what else is digital about the synth, the LFO section is also looked after by the FPGA processor meaning that we get LFOs expanded well into the audio range with both low and high settings.
there's also a huge amount of features in the envelope section as we have three ADSR envelopes. One amp envelope and two modulation envelopes also being handled by the processor. This results in super snappy envelopes - ideal for sculpting those percussive type sounds.
Novation Peak has a beautiful sounding digital effects section featuring a stunning reverb, delay and digital chorus, all of which can be bypassed fully to allow dry signal to pass - perfect for external processing within your DAW for example.
There’s more to the Novation Peak than just digital sounds as it contains a 100% analogue multi-mode filter. A filter is really what gives a synth its character. This filter used on Peak is similar to the one used on the Novation Bass Station II Synthesizer however this one is tuned with increased resonance and key tracking. Coupled with three stages of analogue distortion including both pre and post filter distortion. The analogue power of Peak gives us true grit and an overall thunderous sound to the unit.
We also get to see how Mark utilises the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) processor technology to generate a truly analogue sounding oscillator and combining that with 100% analogue filter, the three stages of analogue distortion has given us the evolution of the polysynth.
Part 2. The sounds of the Novation Peak
We’ve read all about it and Mark has given us a complete guide to the Novation Peak, but more importantly: what does it sound like?
Listen below to all the great sounds on offer within this great new synthesizer. Whether you like 80s style synth pop, love the industrial moodiness of Nine Inch Nails or want to create your very own version of the Stranger Things Soundtrack, you’ll find some amazing sounds on offer here.
Part 3. 6 things you (Probably) don’t know about Novation Peak
So after watching those videos on the Novation peak, hopefully you’ve got a better understanding of how the Peak sounds. However, if you’re already a fan of the Novation Peak, chances are you’ve watched a load of video content about it. So we asked mark to go through some of the lesser known features within the Peak, allowing us a closer look at what its really capable of. Here's 6 things you might not know about the Peak.
Four selectable waveforms per oscillator
In the video above, Mark shows us how each of the new Oxford Oscillators designed by Chris Huggett has four selectable waveforms. In addition to this, each oscillator has a "More" setting turning this oscillator into a wave table oscillator.
Once selected we can enter the oscillator menu settings and select the desired wave table.
17 different wave tables
There are 17 different wave tables offering a plethora of sound designing possibilities.
We can use a shaping function on each oscillator to blend through the wave table, too! Using wave shaping on a more traditional wave forms can be used to generate a double saw on the Sawtooth waveform too - a pretty neat trick. When used on a square wave we can introduce Pulse Width, too.
The shape amount can also be modulated by other areas of the synth, and in this example video Mark is using "LFO 1".
As you can see, with wave tables and wave shaping we have something in Peak that is simply not achievable with a regular pure analogue synth - this is an entirely unique feature.
Add variations to your Oscillators
Peak's new oscillators sound indistinguishable from analogue and we can also dial in a very analogue feel to them, much like vintage analogue polysynths. "Diverge" applies very small pitch variations to the oscillators this will give each voice its own tuning characteristics while oscillator "Drift" will add a very slight detune to the three oscillators. This emulates the oscillator drift with traditional analogue synths. Listen to how it sounds with both "Diverge" and "Drift" applied.
Detailed digital effects section
Peak has a detailed digital effects section with a stunning reverb digital delay and chorus. We also get a deep effects menu to really customise and shape effects. For example, there are three reverb types selectable on the front panel but if we feel we want a reverb size somewhere in between these values we can dial it in within the effects menu.
Custom effects routing
In addition to tailoring the way we want the effect sounding, we can also change the routing of the effects, from parallel to delay into reverb into chorus, or delay to chorus to reverb, reverb into delay and chorus etc. In fact there are seven different effects routing options to choose from and sculpt your perfect sound.
Linear FM synthesis
Peak has a deep modulation matrix featuring 16 mod slots with two sources per destination, including the ability to connect your modular system to peak as an additional source of modulation. However, Peak is also capable of linear FM synthesis. Once in the modulation matrix choose which oscillator routing you wish. In this video, Mark uses Oscillator 3 signal to modulate Oscillator 1 and we can now start to hear these distinguishable FM metallicy-type sounds!
Check out the Novation Peak over at PMT Online today. We also offer a range of easy finance options, allowing you to get hold of your brand new peak with less up front investment! Now is the time to get your order in for this highly regarded (and fast selling) synth, before they're all gone. Call a member of our team on 0151 448 2089 to reserve yours today.