Novation Peak Synthesizer: Everything You Need to Know

The Novation Peak is an 8 voice, polyphonic desktop synthesizer. Peak’s sound generation was inspired by the idea to create an analog polyphonic version of the Bass Station II, but with the flexibility that comes from digital control. Peak features unique oscillator technology dubbed: “The Oxford Oscillator.”

The Oxford Oscillator is a numerically controlled oscillator on an FPGA chip that oversamples at 24MHz (24m times per second). This allows Peak to generate pure waveforms at all frequencies, free from digital artifacts. This makes Peak’s NCOs indistinguishable from a traditional analog oscillator.

 

Analog Soul with Digital Convenience

The multimode analog filter is based on the Bass Station II, but with increased resonance and adjustable keytracking. This means that you have precise digital control over your oscillators at the start, but with the added character that comes from analog filters on the way out.

On a conventional digital wavetable-based synthesizer, the waveforms are band limited before being stored in the table. This is to avoid unwanted aliasing. With the New Oxford Oscillator design there is no need for band limiting. The extreme oversampling means that the aliasing problem is pushed way out of the audible frequency spectrum, enabling Peak to utilize mathematically pure waveforms.

Linear FM (frequency modulation) is also featured, with all three oscillators available as FM paths in both analogue and wavetable modes, and thus capable of cross-modulating each other in a recursive loop.

Features and Highlights

Peak features polyphonic aftertouch which allows for each voice to respond to key/pad pressure independently of the others, for per-note pitchbend, modulation of LFO depth, etc.

Peak is extremely well equipped when it comes to distortion – more so than the average polysynth. Each voice has its own independent pre-filter and post-filter distortion. Then there’s a separate global distortion applied to the master output. This gives you multiple options when sculpting your sound.

Peak’s modulation system puts the most frequently used assignments (LFO to filter cutoff, for example) right at your fingertips in the main controls. A further 16 routings can be made per patch in the Modulation Matrix, with two sources and one destination per routing or ‘mod slot’. This allows for unique and expressive sound design with a wealth of possibilities.

Workflow and Compatibility

The two animate buttons are available as mod sources and are used to switch a mod slot on when pressed for highly expressive sound manipulation on the fly.

Peak features MIDI In, Out, and Thru ports for connectivity of a MIDI controller for performance, or communication with any of your existing MIDI controlled hardware.

Peak accepts modulation signals from analog modular systems, including Eurorack, via a 3.5mm CV input jack. Any mod source ranging from -5V to +5V can be fed in and employed via the Modulation Matrix and is alias-free at frequencies of up to 1kHz.

The Novation Ecosystem

Peak takes advantage of the same patch management tool as the Novation Circuit called Components. Components is where you will find all of the latest updates for Peak including firmware updates and a librarian tool for managing your sound patches.

A great compliment to Peak is the Novation Launchpad Pro. There are a couple of advantages to using the Launchpad Pro when compared to other MIDI controllers. Launchpad Pro can send polyphonic aftertouch, which Peak also utilizes, and you can use the Launchpad Pro Scale Mode to keep all of the pads in key with whichever root note and scale you select.

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Frankie Deleon Jr.
Frankie started his musical endeavors at the age of 12 when he decided to pick up the guitar and take music seriously. Along the way he picked up drums, bass and recording at 15 before playing guitar for his first Pop Rock band, Cheap Shots, in high school. After a few years of jamming out with friends, he later joined the San Diego metalcore band The Hallowed at the age of 18 while taking on the role of guitarist, which later evolved into his current band, Voidlines. He is currently in college to earn his degree in Business Marketing and Music Composition in hopes of using his experiences in the music scene to apply his degrees in the business side of the music industry.