The Colossus from Analogue Solutions is an astonishing achievement in synth design, with an ethos drawn from the golden era of analogue synthesis. Hear it in action and watch Tony's interview with Tom about this remarkable instrument.
Get in touch to discuss price, preordering and delivery of this remarkable (but somewhat large) instrument.
The Colossus from Analogue Solutions is an astonishing achievement in synth design, with an ethos drawn from the golden era of analogue synthesis. It delivers far more than just the ultimate in analogue modular synth firepower and desirability: it is art, architecture, and exquisite craftsmanship.
Scroll down for video we took of the monster in action at Synthfest, plus Tony managed to grab an interview with designer Tom Carpenter.
Aesthetic and ergonomic design inspiration is drawn from the fabled EMS Synthi 100, however, no circuit from the Synthi has been cloned or copied. AS have drawn on favourite circuit designs from their 25 year history of synth-building and incorporated aspects of Polymath, Telemark and Vostok in the Colossus.
Tom Carpenter at Analogue Solutions has realised a lifelong dream and created what may well turn out to be the synth of the decade: the aptly-titled ‘Colossus’. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the fabled and legendary EMS Synthi 100, this stunning synth is a staggering technical achievement of towering proportions.
Superlatives abound when referring to this analogue behemoth which, in spite of the obvious design and layout references, Tom stresses is not a re-creation of the EMS, but a design drawn from his many years’ experience and Analogue Solutions pedigree. The design and spec is of epic scale and includes: 12 VCO, 2 LFOs (so possible total of 16 LFOs using VCOs); 8 Filters with serial VCAs; Sample & Hold; twin patch matrix panels, joysticks, spring reverbs, ring modulators, 32 step analogue sequencers. No midi or usb: this is an analogue monster that makes my beloved Synthi AKS seem a little underwhelming. It now sits firmly at the top of my Christmas wish-list.
This is a once in a generation (semicentennial?) opportunity to buy not only an instrument that is of epic ambition, but that is also an astonishing feat of engineering and craftsmanship. In the grand tradition of synthesizer pioneers, Tom Carpenter has brought the Colossus into being through sheer force of will: a testament to his passion and vision. Like Peter Zinovieff with EMS, only an enthusiast-led company would dare to strap on such wings and stand on the precipice of commercial endeavour with such an undertaking. The Colossus is built to a specification and hang the expense; the price is ‘around £25,000’ plus taxes, shipping etc. Only ‘around 200’ are expected to be produced. We applaud Tom and the team at Analogue Solutions – this is a new chapter in the history of glorious British synthesizer design.
Soundgas are proud to be acting as agents for the Colossus, so if you are interested in finding out more or preordering one (delivery begins in 2020), please get in touch.
From Analogue Solutions:
All the voice and modulation circuits are of course 100% analogue. We purposely steered away from digital, it doesn’t have MIDI or USB (there are plenty of MIDI converter boxes out there should you need that facility). This wasn’t designed to be the solution to your modern digital studio but rather a serious analogue power house of sound. There are of course digital elements to the sequencer control – that is unavoidable – even classic analogue sequencers like the ARP sequencer using digital logic chips. In fact the Synthi 100 features a digital sequencer.
This synth is purely for those who want it just as it was in the 1970s – but new with parts still in production.
Colossus is large scale, featuring large knobs that control metal shaft potentiometers. VCOs have multi-turn verniers. The two enormous pin matrix panels dominate the horizontal panels – these are incredibly expensive Swiss made broadcast quality signal routers – 1 for CV and 1 for Audio.
There are two spring reverbs, touch keyboards, step sequencers, moving coil meters, joysticks and so much more. An immense expanse of jack sockets for additional patching within or without the system.
There are no gimmicks – this is pure synthesiser. A huge sound enclosed in a solid metal case wrapped in solid hardwood. No expense has been spared to bring this incredible machine to life.
Synthesisers like this only come around once in a decade, or possibly a generation.
12 x Analogue VCO (/LFO)s.
Four waveforms, Pulse Width, Sync, Sub Osc. Ability to go down to low frequencies. Precision control using high quality multi-turn vernier dials.
Sample and Hold Generator.
Random Voltage Generator.
2x White/Pink Noise Generators.
Analogue CRT oscilloscope.
2x LFO (in addition to the VCOs.)
4x VCA (in addition to the VCF VCAs.)
4x ASR Envelopes.
VCOs can be used as LFOs. So Colossus has in fact a potential total of 16 LFOs!
Each of the 8 VCFs have VCAs hard wired inline, so these plus the individual VCAs means there are in fact a total of 12 VCAs!
4x Multimode filters – Low, Band and High pass 12dB filters.
Each with serial VCAs.
4x Low Pass filter – 24dB transistor ladder filters.
Each with serial VCAs.
(8 VCF/VCA combinations in total.)
2x Analogue mechanical Spring Reverbs. Each one features a triple spring tank.
2x Ring Modulators.
2 Voltage Slew Generators.
4x ADSR with repeat and hold-repeat feature.
4x large signal level meters, backlit.
64 step / 2x 32 step Analogue CV/Gate sequencer with clock generator, glide, jump, reset, CV, gate.
6 channel stereo audio mixer with level, pan and mute.
2x Joystick Controllers.
2x Touch Keyboards with digital note sequencers.
2x Broadcast quality CV and Audio Pin Matrix panels
Jack Socket Patch Panels
4x minijack patch panels – providing I/O from all circuits.
Outside of UK it would need to be crated on a pallet, then freighted.
Crate & packing cost estimated at £350 exc. tax. (for UK orders collection is possible – delivery: maybe).
Shipping depends on destination. Typically around £950 to USA. Less for Mainland Europe.
If you aren’t too far from Calais there maybe other options.
Brand new synth!
For sales in UK/EU the price will include 20% VAT. VAT-free sales are possible to businesses and individuals in the EU (outside the UK) with a valid VAT Number - please get in touch if you wish to buy this way.
Switchable voltage for use anywhere in the world - it will be set up ready for you to use before we ship.
We saw, touched and generally drooled over the Colossus at Synthfest this year. We managed to stop long enough to get some video…
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We had a fantastic time t #synthfestuk in Sheffield - caught up with friends old and new and generally nerded out on gear. Thanks to all at @soundonsoundmag for creating and organising such a great show. . And synth hats off to Tom Carpenter of @analogue_solutions for creating the monumental show-stopper #Colossus - a truly staggering achievement of epic proportions. . Dear Santa...
Tony interviews Tom Carpenter about the Colossus at Synthfest 2019
We all had a gas at Synthfest 2019 in Sheffield. This is our report including video of the mighty Colossus in action plus an interview with...
PUBLISHED: 9th Oct 2019
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