Novation Posts 1.1b1 Public Beta for UltraNova Synthesizer Firmware and Editor

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Novation just posted a 1.1b1 public beta for the UltraNova hardware synthesizer. While only a point release – there are a lot of great new features and some fixes. Links to the update are at the bottom of the post.

Note, according to a Novation rep on the forumThe update is not immediately reversible, however if you were experiencing any problems we would be able to help you out!” I just upgraded and for me it’s been a very solid and the features do improve the user experience quite a bit. I had one case where a patch I created on the last OS had started experiencing minor clicking artifacts. I set my sample rate to 48 and the problem went away (even if I go back to 44.1).

There are some notable features such as the added display to show the big knob Control Lock assignment.

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“An asterisk is now displayed next to the patch number to show that the patch has unsaved changes. …When editing it is fairly easy to lose your edits by navigating away from the patch. Now, if you do navigate away by mistake, you can press the Compare button to revert your edits”.

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“A compressor with fixed settings has been added before the input to the modulator for the vocoder: this improves the overall sound.” All the vocoder patches sound way better!

This beta also shows that Novation hasn’t forgotten about us UltraNova users and continues to support this great synth. I personally hope this also signals an even bigger update with enhancements note in this update – like Tap Tempo and Tweak encoder “toggle”. 

What’s New

Below is a list of what’s new copied from their public beta forum. Lots of great features above-and-beyond the few I mentioned.

Firmware Updated to version 1.1.03

  • Added display to show the big knob Control Lock assignment.
  • When editing it is fairly easy to lose your edits by navigating away from the patch. Now, if you do navigate away by mistake, you can press the Compare button to revert your edits
  • Pressing any of the synth menu buttons a second time will return to the main patch menu.
  • An asterisk is now displayed next to the patch number to show that the patch has unsaved changes.
  • Arpeggiator now outputs notes via MIDI and USB. This is a setting within the global menu.
  • Delay, EQ and distortion are now full stereo effects. Many more of the factory Vocoder patches will now maintain stereo width.
  • A compressor with fixed settings has been added before the input to the modulator for the vocoder: this improves the overall sound.
  • Fixed Octave button LEDs becoming out of sync with Octave setting.
  • Fixed bug preventing envelope decaying to zero in some cases
  • Fixed long release times did not allow the envelope re-trigger to work correctly.
  • Fixed issue when very long envelope release was combined with touch trigger envelope: touch now gates properly. 
  • Fixed an issue with the release of a touch envelope during the release stage of a voice that prevented the proper operation of touch trigger.
  • Fixed an issue with chord function when triggering notes if a patch was set to poly2 voice mode.
  • Improved anti-aliasing filter on sine wave: as a result all patches that used this, in particular bass patches, sounds cleaner.
  • Improved smoothness when modulating filter to avoid unwanted artefacts.
  • Improved interpolation between legato mono voices with different velocities.
  • Improved Mono Auto-glide legato portamento consistency
  • Improved oscillator level modulation from LFO sources.
  • Improved LCD layout for audio menu to make headphone level control more obvious.

Plugin Editor Updates

  • Added Touch on and off as an on-screen automatable parameters.
  • Added Ultranova Editor as an AU insert FX. Logic users are recommended to use this.
  • Added further selection options in the Mod table.
  • Editor now installs RTAS to 32 bit directory when running Windows 7 64
  • Fixed value mismatch when syncing certain parameters.
  • Fixed Editor not updating synth parameters when instantiated while in Automap mode.
  • Fixed not being able to automate using hardware in Ableton Live.
  • Improved CPU usage when changing patches.
  • Improved mouse sensitive on stepping parameters.

Known issues

  • Metering will not display when using the AU FX editor when mod wheel, aftertouch, expression, velocity, and keyboard is in the Mod table.
  • 32 bit plug-ins crashes 32 bit bridge when running under 64 bit. Users are advised to use 64 bit version of the plug-ins.
  • Mac VST version of the editor in Ableton Live only: Touch parameters not configurable as automatable parameter if the hardware is connected. Users are advised to configure the parameter first without the hardware connected or use the AU version of the plug-in instead.
    Librarian:
  • Grabbed patches folder now cannot be dragged to from other banks/folders.
  • Fixed not being able to drag hardware banks to the 'My Patches' folder
  • Improved time when creating a new user banks on a Mac
  • Fixed Librarian 'busy' status when double clicking patch when there is no hardware connected.
  • Fixed not being about to drag and drop in OSX Lion
  • Fixed parameters with patch A07
  • Fixed glitch on patch C031
    Known issues:
  • Copy and paste a bank from hardware to a computer folder will be blank in some situations.
  • Patch cannot be drag from bank to bank at the same position
  • Graphic icon for folder and bank may not appear if Librarian is in icon view.
    Driver
  • Updated Novation USB driver to version 2.3 for Mac and Windows.

Links

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html

UltraNova Synthesizer Tip & Example Patch: How to Latch Notes to Create Drones

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I’ve seen some questions on the UltraNova forum asking if it’s possible to sustain a note indefinitely to create drones even though there is no “hold” parameter. It is indeed possible and can be done by using the Gator effect. Here is how it works.

  1. Insert the Gator effect into a free slot
  2. Turn on the effect
  3. Set the algorithm to “Mono 16” and turn all steps to full on
  4. Press the “Latch Button”

Now when you press a key, the note will sound indefinitely. If you want to toggle this in real-time, use the “Effects” menu system on the UltraNova and navigate to the “Gator” and turn the knob above “GLatch”. Turn it on and off, then press the “Lock” key. Now the Touched/Filter knob will toggle between a droning not and a note that follows the amp envelope.

Click here to download a sysex patch I created called “Latch Note MM” that illustrates the concept and can be used as a base patch for drones. I mapped a few modulators to make the patch a little more interesting. Use the UltraNova editor to load the patch.

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Happy droning!

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

https://modulatethis.com/
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com

Video: Automating Novation UltraNova (Mininova) Synthesizer Parameters with Dummy Clips in Ableton Live

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Update: These same technique work with the Mininova.

Since May I’ve been working with the Novation UltraNova. The synth engine and touch encoders make this a fantastic performance synth. I especially love the VST/AU Editor which I’ve been using not only to tweak and create patches but also as a controllerism bridge between Ableton Live and the UltraNova hardware.

Checkout this video I just published on YouTube “Automating Novation UltraNovaSynth Parameters with Ableton Live Dummy Clips” (Watch embedded video in HD). Note the techniques shown in this video could be applied to other hardware synthesizers with plugin interfaces.

The video illustrates how you can use Ableton Live automation envelopes to modulate parameters on the Novation UltraNova. In the video I connect the UltraNova via USB and then configure Live's MIDI ports to see it as a controller. I then insert the UltraNova plugin editor (VST in my case as I'm on Windows) into a MIDI track. I press the "Configure" button on the device which allows me to add UltraNova parameters to the device simply by turning a knob in the editor interface.

Once this is completed you can create a dummy MIDI clip in an empty clip slot and draw modulation envelops for the parameters mapped.

The video really shows off how quickly the UltraNova video editor display updates the interface when being modulated. This and other UltraNova tips area available on http://www.modulatethis.com/synth-ultranova.

If you want a more detailed explanation of configuring the UltraNova for use in Live, checkout this post from May which I just updated with more info on recording and transmitting automation – “How to Configure Ableton Live to Work with Novation UltraNova”.

Links

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

https://modulatethis.com/
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html