September 24, 2023

The concept of an acoustic synthesizer may sound like an oxymoron, nevertheless it’s precisely the form of surprising ideas that Korg Berlin was created to pursue. This impartial, R&D-focused division was cofounded in 2020 by Maximilian Relaxation and Tatsuya Takahashi, the person behind the Volcas, Minilogue and numerous different fashionable classics. However it has remained fairly quiet since its inception. That modified this week at Superbooth the place the staff confirmed off its first prototype the Acoustic Synthesis_phase5. 

In contrast to a conventional synth that makes use of oscillators, the phase5 makes use of tuned steel forks. These forks are specifically designed to supply particular basic notes and overtones. And because the core sound technology right here is an acoustic resonator, it has sure qualities a standard synth doesn’t. As an illustration it should suggestions like a guitar when held close to an amp and ring when struck on its facet. Takahashi instructed Fess Grandiose of Reverb, “we’re making an attempt to sort of seize this rawness of devices, whereas being on the similar time, controllable like a synthesizer.”

So that is the “acoustic” half: steel tines that ring, resonate and decay, virtually like a Fender Rhodes. The synth half comes from the magnets contained in the phase5 that permit it to maintain simply the elemental notice, or the elemental and the overtones, or simply the overtones. The overtones will also be modulated with an LFO making a sound that may solely be described as a sea sick bell. 

Basically the sound it generates within the quick demo video above is sort of distinctive. It does have a ringing, vaguely Rhodes-like high quality to it. However it additionally sort of seems like what you may count on of a singing bowl patch on a ’90s sample-based synth. It is a contact otherworldly. 

Proper now the phase5 is only a prototype and it is more likely to keep that means. Proper now Korg Berlin is just gauging curiosity within the know-how. And if it looks as if there is a marketplace for this form of unusual hybrid acoustic synth, then it should discover methods to develop it additional right into a completed product.