I recently purchased a Novation UltraNova. As I was researching I compiled specs form manufacturer web sites and placed them into a spreadsheet from other synths at this price point so I could compare the instruments side-by-side. I thought I’d pass this info on to save you time if you were in the market.
Now while I chose UltraNova, you may read this information and come to a different conclusion based on your particular priorities. For example if you have an absolute need a multi-timbral synth Venom would be of interest. If near one-for-one knob for parameter control was a high-priority Gaia becomes more interesting.
As a synthesist and controllerist, the UltraNova was a clear winner for me because of it’s analog modeling, wavetable synthesis, strong modulation matrix, aftertouch, strong effects, VST/AU editor and touch encoders.
I compiled this manually so if you find a mistake let me know. After you checkout this table, swing by my UltraNova 411 post.
|Waveforms||Square, sine, tri, sawtooth, pulse, 9x saw:pulse combinations. 20x digital waveforms, 36 Wavetalbes (w/ 9 waveforms each)||41 oscillator waves and 53 drum sounds sampled from vintage synths.||SAW, SQUARE, PULSE/PWM, TRIANGLE, SINE, NOISE, SUPER SAW|
|Modulation Matrix||20 Slots||16 Slots||No matrix, but you can select routing of modulators within signal path. Such as d-beam to pitch, volume, effects; LFO to pitch, filter amp depth|
|Modulation Destinations||66 (Includes FX Params!)||17||None|
|FM Synthesis||No (There are however some FM waveforms in wavetable)||Yes||No|
|Envelopes Per OSC||6||3||3|
|Audio Input Can Be Processed by Synth Engine||Yes||No||No|
|Computer Editor||Yes||Yes||Yes but costs an extra $99|
|Editor Runs as||VST/AU||Stand-Alone||Stand-Alone|
|Control||8 Touch Encoders, Filter/Last Param Knob, Mod & Pitch Wheel||Matrix, Mod & Pitch Wheel||Nearly 1-for-1 knob sliders, D Beam, Mod & Pitch Lever|
|Front Panel Editing Experience||LDC + Page linked knobs with touch encoder focus. More dedicated back lit buttons for selecting sub menus than Venom||Matrix + LCD||Clear signal flow on front panel with nearly 1-for-1|
|User Preset Slots||508 (4 banks of 127 Slots)||512 single, 256 Multi||64|
|Effects||Distortion (up to 2 instances),
Compressor (up to 2 instances)
, Chorus/Phase (up to 4 instances), Delay (up to 2 instances), Reverb (up to 2 instances)
, Gator, EQ, 12 band vocoder
|Global: Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser. Insert: Compression, EQ, Distortion, Bit Reduction, Decimation,||DIST, FLANGER, DELAY, REVERB, LOW BOOST|
|Audio Interface||2 in 4 out||2 in 2 out||USB Audio Streaming in from Gaia|
|Power Options||Bus Power/AC||AC||AC/Batteries|
|Ableton Integration||Automap/Stream Audio via USB||Stream Audio via USB||Stream Audio via USB|
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer