Description

Analogue Solutions Colossus Synthesizer

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.

Appearances can be deceiving: the Colossus is not a Synthi 100 clone and circuits are all Analogue Solutions’ designs. 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.

> Scroll down for video we took of the monster in action at Synthfest, plus Tony managed to grab an interview with designer Tom Carpenter.

> Available now. Lead time on orders is currently only 2-4 weeks on payment of deposit.

> The price is £25000 excluding crating, shipping and any applicable taxes. A 25% deposit is required to get on the order list.

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.

Soundgas are proud to be acting as agents for the Colossus. 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. 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.

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.

Specification:

VCO Panel

  • 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.
  • Multiple.

Scope Panel

  • Analogue CRT oscilloscope.
  • 2x LFO (in addition to the VCOs.)
  • 4x VCA (in addition to the VCF VCAs.)
  • 4x ASR Envelopes.
  • Multiple.
  • 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!

Filter Panel

  • 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.

Sequencer Panel

  • 4x large signal level meters, backlit.
  • 64 step / 2x 32 step Analogue CV/Gate sequencer with clock generator, glide, jump, reset, CV, gate.

Touch Panel

  • 6 channel stereo audio mixer with level, pan and mute.
  • 2x Joystick Controllers.
  • 2x Touch Keyboards with digital note sequencers.

Matrices

  • 2x Broadcast quality CV and Audio Pin Matrix panels

Jack Socket Patch Panels

  • 4x minijack patch panels – providing I/O from all circuits.