Novation – UltraNova Synthesizer

Sep 10 • Articles • 3947 Views • No Comments on Novation – UltraNova Synthesizer

Novation’s UltraNova Synthesizer

UltraNova is a ‘Nova’ series analogue-modelling synthesizer with a powerful effects processor. It is a single-part synth taking the legendary Supernova II synth engine as a starting point and packing it with the latest technology. It now has brand new features including wavetable synthesis, even more powerful filters, a software editor and a revolutionary new touch-sense performance mode.

The ‘Nova’ family was born in 1998 with the Supernova, which was the first of  a series of powerful synthesisers. These quickly became industry standard ‘big-synths’ which are still used by countless artists and sound designers.

UltraNova is the latest addition to the family bringing the range right up to date with a host of new features and a more affordable price tag.

Find your sound – Instantly

UltraNova comes with 300 onboard sounds that you can select by type (bass, lead, pad, etc) and musical genre (hip hop, rock, house, etc), so performers and gigging musicians can get started straight away.

So if you need to find a bass sound for a hip-hop track quickly, select ‘bass’ under type, and ‘hip-hop’ under category, and you’re ready to go! If you want to tweak the patch you can quickly change the character of the sound with 8 encoders and for more detailed control use the large, smooth encoder.

It also comes with a software patch librarian which allows you to search for and sort patches by type and genre. As well as the 300 sounds that come with UltraNova, there is space for another 200 of your own patches onboard the hardware. The software patch librarian extends this to an almost infinite amount of space for your own sounds.


The synth engine

With 300 onboard patches you can play and perform with UltraNova straight away. But it also has a powerful synth engine derived from a classic big-synth: the Supernova II. UltraNova also has a 12 band vocoder and ships with a dynamic gooseneck microphone. UltraNova is easy to program as each part of the synth is accessed by a button which brings up all the parameters.

Creating huge new sounds is what UltraNova does best: as well 14 conventional waveforms and 36 wavetables, you have a total of 5 effects slots for each sound! UltraNova’s density & density-detune function enables you to fatten-up your patches, and the modulation capacity is enormous.

The software editor enables detailed visual editing of UltraNova on your Mac or PC.

• Up to 18 note polyphonic

• Single Part

Oscillator Section
• 3x oscillators
• 2x ring modulators
• 1x noise generator

Choose from sine, sawtooth, square, pulse, triangle and 9x saw: pulse combinations. There are also 36 wavetables and 20 digital waveforms to chose from!

Each oscillator has:
• Density & density-detune function which can detune the oscillator against itself
• Virtual sync which allows the oscillator to sync to itself
• Hardness (which is effectively an extra low pass filter on each oscillator)

Filter Section
• 14 filter-types – you can run 2 filters simultaneously

Filter types include high pass, band pass and low pass

Envelope Section
• 6x envelope generators

LFO Section
• 3x LFO’s

• 5x simultaneous effects per voice

Choose from: Distortion, Chorus/Phase, Delay, Reverb, Compressor, Gator, EQ
There are multiple effects routing options including series, parallel and 8 further different configurations
All effects are editable and each individual instance has its own settings

• 20x Modulation slots

Modulation sources:
• 6x envelopes
• 3x LFOs
• Aftertouch
• Velocity
• Key scaling/track
• Mod wheel
• Expression pedal

Can be used to modulate 66 different destinations including:
• Oscillator pitch, pulse width, wavetable index, level & sync
• Filter cutoff and resonance
• Effects parameters and send levels
• You can even modulate a modulator (envelope LFO etc…)

Vocoder Section
• 12 band vocoder, with included dynamic gooseneck microphone

• 33 Arpeggiator patterns with velocity information
• Select up, down, up&down, number of octaves, apreggiator gate-time

Chord Function
• Play in a chord, and lock it to a single note so you can play single-finger chords


Animate – Touch-sense performance

Shaping and exploring sounds with encoders and buttons is a massive part of being creative with synths. UltraNova has evolved the idea of hands-on sound-shaping, allowing you to get deeper and more creative physical control of the synth engine.

By pressing ‘Touch’ in the Animate section, you engage a mode that triggers envelopes and sound-shaping destinations by simply touching any of the touch-sensitive encoders. These destinations could be oscillator pitch, sync, hardness, filter distortion, cutoff, resonance, effects parameters, send levels – to name but a few. (By pressing ‘Tweak’ you can switch back to conventional rotary control and assign 8 of your most frequently used parameters to the encoders for instant access).

This allows you to ‘touch’ into parameters that may otherwise buried deep in the synth’s architecture, creating totally new performance options. You can assign these however wish to any of UltraNova’s 8 touch sensitive encoders, and you can touch more than one at a time.


USB-Audio Interface

UltraNova has a built in USB-Audio interface which enables you to get sound in and out of your computer in the studio or on the move.

There are 2 inputs and 4 separate outputs which can be routed however you wish. For example you can route audio to an external FX processor, a second pair of monitors or a hard disk recorder. It can also come in useful on stage if for example you need to route backing tracks from your laptop to the main mix separately from the synth, or send a click to the drummer.

UltraNova also has a SPDIF output so you can get digital recordings of UltraNova straight into your DAW. The back panel also contains MIDI in/out/thru ports to connect external MIDI equipment.

You can get control of your plug-in instruments and effects with Novation’s Automap software. This converts UltraNova’s 8 rotary encoders into software controllers, a large “Speed Dial’ encoder gives you instant control over any software parameter that your mouse/cursor is over.

“Unboxing & Setup” of UltraNova

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