John Bowen Synth Design

  • 4 Oscillators, each with several types available:
    MultiMode, WaveTable, CEM, WAV (sample playback),
    VS (single cycle waves), Mini
  • 4 Filters, each with selectable Inputs. Filter types are:
  • MultiMode Lowpass, 24, 18, 12, 6 dB, Highpass 24, 18, 12, 6 dB, Bandpass 24 dB, Comb (2 types), State Variable 12 dB LP, HP, BP, & BR,SSM Lowpass 24 dB , Mini (Ladder) Lowpass 24 dB, Vocal Formant
  • 2 Vector Mixers, 2 Rotors (special 4-step waveshape sequences),
    2 AM sections (includes Ring Mod)
  • 6 DADSRs, 1 8-stage loopable envelope
  • 4 free LFOs, 1 Vibrato LFO. Each LFO features delayed start,
    fade in and fade out times, key sync and Phase control
  • Phaser, Chorus/Flanger, Phaser, Delay, 3-band EQ effects
> See full Solaris specifications here
> Home > Solaris Features

Solaris - Features

If you were to have a synthesizer custom-designed for you, would you want it to have the oscillators from a MiniMoog or a Prophet 5? Or to re-visit another synthesizer favorites from yesteryear, perhaps you would like to have oscillators with all the waveforms from the Prophet VS that gave its sounds such a distinctive edge? How about re-living those unique wavetable sweeps that came from the esoteric old PPG Wave and Waldorf Microwaves? Would you rather depend on sample playback capability for a wide range of sounds or as a concession to newer technology, choose the double saw waveshape available on some of the current virtual analog synthesizers?

With the versatility of the Solaris synthesizer, you don't have to limit yourself to just one kind of these oscillators. Yes, you can have them all. In fact, each Solaris program has four (!) oscillators that you can set to any of these types.

And which was your favorite filter?

Now, what would be your preference in filters for your custom synthesizer? Do you favor the Minimoog ladder filter, the older Prophet 5 series with the SSM filter chip or the later version 3.x models that used the more common CEM chip? Maybe you prefer the two-pole state variable filter (SVF) found in the earlier Oberheim synthesizers or take a walk on the wild side with a comb filter?

With Solaris, you can now mix and match...

With the Solaris synthesizer, your dream synthesizer won't be limited to just a single type of oscillator wired into a single type of filter. Instead, you have accurate computer models of all of these vintage synthesizer components available and then you can mix and match among them simply and freely. Do you want to have the sounds of a vintage Prophet 5, Rev. 3 or go for a completely unique Prophet 5 with the CEM oscillators but the earlier SSM filters? How about trying out completely different, unheard of combinations like the digital waveforms from a Prophet VS routed through that Oberheim state variable filter or the digital PPG wavetable sweeps feeding into those warm MiniMoog filters? With the Solaris synthesizer, you really can have it your way.

Series and parallel routings

You can also try different routing configurations too! You can have one oscillator feeding up to four different filter types simultaneously in parallel and then mix the filtered results back together afterward. Or do it the other way around and put the mixer in front of the filters and feed them a dynamic mix of up to four different oscillator types. You can even chain together multiple filters in series (i.e., cascaded), one after another. Now you can hear what it sounds like to set a MiniMoog filter into self-oscillation and then filter it with another MiniMoog (or a different) filter. On a Solaris synthesizer, your creativity and imagination are unbounded.


You can also add more life to these oscillators, filters, mixers and amplifiers with modulation. There are four Low Frequency Oscillators (LFOs &emdash; which can extend up into audio frequencies) plus one LFO dedicated to the oscillators as a Vibrato LFO, six envelope generators with five stages (Delay, Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release) and a Looping Envelope Generator (with eight stages). There is also a step sequencer with four rows of sixteen steps. For performance controls, there are two wheels (pitch and modulation), a joystick, a dual-zone ribbon controller and a 61-key weighted, (monophonic) after-touch sensitive keyboard. These can be assigned to modulate a wide variety of destinations throughout the Solaris synthesizer's modules.

Now insert effect(s)

The Solaris synthesizer has chorus/flanger, phaser, delay, and 3-band EQ as selectable effects. A flexible assignment system is in place to allow a variety of FX routings. Parallel routings of the four selectable effects blocks are available with the programmable output page. 

Rotors? When did rotors enter the synth vernacular?

We all know that an oscillator basically takes a waveshape and cycles it continuously. The more complex the waveshape used, the more interesting the resulting cycles will sound. Now select four sound sources (including the external inputs and all the oscillator types mentioned previously) and play these repeatedly in a looped sequence one after the other. This is what a rotor is and Solaris has two of these as additional sound sources that can then be further mixed, filtered and modulated. Still can't imagine what a rotor sounds like? Check out this example: WeirdRotor1Poly

AM? Solaris has radio tuners built-in?

Not quite though we are talking about Amplitude Modulation in both cases. There are two of these audio-rate modulation sections available in Solaris, combining together a carrier and a modulator sound sources for ring modulator and other clangorous types of effects.

Vector Mixers

As you would expect from someone like the company's namesake who was integrally involved with legendary synthesizers like the Prophet VS and the Korg Wavestation, the Solaris has to include a Vector Mixer — there are actually two. These allow you to create a dynamic mix of up to four sound sources where the individual contributions can be preset and/or modulated along the x and y axes via modulation sources like the LFOs, the envelope generators, the looping envelope generators, the step sequencer,the built-in joystick, the ribbon controller, etc..


Congratulations, if you've read all the way down to this part of the Web page. By now, you should have a decent idea of the feature-set available with the Solaris synthesizer. Of course, the whole is substantially more than the sum of the features that we have described so far and the best way to find out just what the Solaris synthesizer is capable of, is to get your hands on one!

Of course, there is so much more to know more about the Solaris synthesizer. Be sure to read the overview of the Solaris synthesizer. Or take a glance through the specifications for Solaris and then check out some audio demonstrations of what Solaris sounds like. Lastly, if you still have unanswered questions about the Solaris synthesizer, be sure to check out the page of frequently asked questions(FAQ).