Nektar buck the trend of producing hardware controllers today with the news that they have released their first virtual instrument in the form of Bolt. They call it a harmonics synthesizer which has its roots in additive synthesis, but with a specific technique used to dial in harmonics. Indeed Bolt has no filter, as the harmonic content can be so controlled.
The new form of synthesis is based on a concept by Professor Dr. Udo Zoelzer of Helmut Schmidt University (HSU) in Hamburg, Germany – a scientist with decades of experience in digital signal processing. He came up with the technology to synthesize voices originally, but once Nektar heard what it could do, they pushed to develop it into a full-blown synthesis engine together with the professor.
Interestingly Bolt has no traditional filter, but it also can sound very organic and expressive. The basic timbre of Bolt is controlled by the Harmonics knob on each oscillator, combined with the roll off and switchable odd/even harmonic switches. Tas well as the two ADSR envelopes with multiple routings, there are also three Ultra High Frequency LFOs which as well as working in the traditional way, can go into high audio rates.
Finally four dedicated FX processors offer EQ, Chorus, Delay and Reverb.
We've had our hands on this for a couple of days and have to say the sonic character is impressive and actually supports the inevitable "Unique Sonic Character!" marketing hyperbole. Words like deep, organic, driven come to mind. Certainly something quite different from the current crop of analog models and wavetable synths.
Bolt is available now for Mac and Windows with VST2.4/3, and AU formats priced at $69 introductory price, rising to $99
• Unique new Harmonics Synthesis
• 4 oscillators (2 main, 2 sub)
• White noise generator per oscillator
• Unison Voice Double: Stack up to 4 instances
• Frequency modulation (FM)
• X-Mod: cross-modulation
• Overdrive stage for each oscillator
• ADSR envelope per oscillator
• 1 Modulation envelope generator
• 3 LFOs (13 waveforms & MIDI sync)
• 4 modulation targets per source (LFO 1-3, Mod EG)
• 4 FX processors: EQ, Chorus, Delay & Reverb
• Support for multiple sample rates
• Automatic 2-stage protection limiter
• Up to 16 voice polyphony
• Poly and mono modes
• 500+ Factory and Artist patches included