Future Retro Ships Revolution R2 – XS Now In Production
The kids at Future Retro have announced that they are now shipping the Revolution R2 and have begun production on their new XS. Future-Retro believes the Revolution provides an “intuitive interface which accurately represents the principles of time and music. From ancient sundials to modern day analog clocks, time has been represented as the circle, a cycle which never ends. For time itself is nothing more than our perception of the revolution of planets as they journey through their celestial orbit. With this understanding we must conclude that music is cyclic, and should so be represented in its natural form.” Sounds to us like they’ve been hanging out with Shirley MacLaine…
The Revolution has a new oscillator design which provides better note tracking and temperature stability, as well as providing the exact same waveforms found in the original TB303. The revolution also provides the correct 3 pole filter design, gated amplifer, accent and glide circuits which are all crucial to the TB303’s sound. In addition to the original controls of the TB303, the Revolution also has a CV Modulation amount control which allows the filter’s cutoff frequency to track either the internal control voltages generated by the Revolution’s sequencer, or external control voltages may also be applied to modulate the filter. You may also notice that there is now an Accent Decay time control for varying the duration of filter and amplifier modulations by the accent circuit. This control provides everything from tight zap-like accents to much longer sweeps of the filter resulting in a very funky sound. All in all it’s one tricked out acid machine for creating everything from warm deep basses, silky smooth liquid chirps and bleeps, to the more aggressive ripping overdriven lead sounds.
A true analog synthesis has been used throughout the Revolution’s entire sound engine, and the synth also incorporates both analog and digital effects to process its sound. The new R2 unit touts an updated PC board design using a new RAM chip which extends the internal back up battery life from approximately 1.5 years on previous white faced units to now more than 10 years life span.
The Future Retro XS is a true semi-modular analog synthesizer that can be used as either a rackmount or desktop instrument thanks to its compact size. The XS is a powerful monophonic synthesizer including 46 controls with internal signal routings pre-wired in a way which allow the unit to act similar to traditional synthesizers. The unit also provides 7 inputs and 11 outputs which can be connected in various ways to override the pre-wired signal routings, and interface the unit with other instruments in a modular fashion, and even process external audio. The XS can be controlled by both MIDI and CV/Gate control signals simultaneously in a variety of ways. And can also act as a MIDI to CV/Gate converter with outputs including CV/Gate/Mod Wheel/Velocity signals for controlling other analog instruments.
The XS provides two stable wide range voltage controlled oscillators, each capable of covering a range of 0.5 Hz to 100 kHz. Oscillator A generates saw tooth, and square waveforms. Oscillator B generates sine, triangle, saw tooth, pulse width/square waveforms, and its own sub oscillator waveform which can be 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, the frequency of the main waveform. The pulse width shape of oscillator B can be set manually or modulated with an internal or external control voltage, and oscillator B can also sync its frequency to oscillator A. Each oscillator can be frequency modulated independently by both internal and external signals to create more complex waveforms. The XS also provides a white noise source, and ring modulator which can be used on the internal oscillators or an external source. Dedicated outputs are provided for the waveform select controls A, B, and C.
A dedicated LFO generates triangle, saw tooth, square, and random waveforms, to modulate internal parameters, or external circuits as well with its dedicated output. The LFO can act in a free-running mode, or sync its rate to divisions of an external MIDI clock. When synced to an external MIDI clock, the LFO can be used to generate analog clock signals at various synced rates for stepping analog sequencers or arpeggiators in time with modern sequencers. The mixer section sets the levels of the oscillator waveforms, sub oscillator waveforms, white noise source, ring modulator, or any external audio signal to be sent to the input of the filter.
The 2-pole multimode filter provides 4 filter types including low pass, band pass, high pass, and notch settings, each capable of covering a range from 5 Hz to 18 kHz. With high resonance settings the filter will self oscillate allowing it to act as an additional audio source. The cutoff frequency can be modulated by both internal and external signals. And the filterâ€™s input and output can be overdriven independently giving it unique tone characteristics. A dedicated output for the filter is also provided.
Future Retro’s Revolution R2 costs $750 and the XS will set you back $1300. More information on Future Retro Revolution and XS synths.