Sonic LAB: NYX2 Synthesizer - Dark and Ambient

US Desktop analogue from Dreadbox      17/10/19
    MP4 17:0 mins    

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Another power-up from the folks at Dreadbox, this time NYX becomes NYX 2, taking on the new desktop form of the Erebus MK3, which we also reviewed. Dreadbox have moved over to pick and place/ surface mount manufacture process from their original through hole hand-built methods. This is to keep up with demand.

NYX 2 offers the same twin VCO, Split VCF (2x 2-pole filters), VCA, LFO and three Modulators structure, though the reverb which was such a big feature of the NYX sound is still there, though the algorithm which was originally from Crazy Tubes Circuits has been replaced with Dreadbox’s own that allows for more parameters, including the interesting pre-delay modulation found in the Hypnosis (though slight different). And also  sadly  still mono....

The 30-point patch-bay adds plenty of well, patching. And adds some useful points - level of each oscillator, and the Reverb Modulator out, but not dry/wet out or level, which I would have liked to have seen.

Okay so the sound: oscillators sound good, plenty of low frequency content and also buzz - with PWM on the Square wave of Osc 1 having a nice rip to it. (Osc 1 has SQ and Saw, Osc 2 Tri and Saw).

Nice to see there’s +/- 1 Octave tuning per osc too (an improvement). NYX2 like it predecessor can be played paraphonically, though the modulators will always re-trigger, there is a DIP switch to set it to unison mode at the rear. Only thing I found was that the Glide control (per VCO) was not logarithmic - meaning a little is often too much, not enough detail at minimal settings.

The filter has the same flexible routing, with Norm=series 4 pole resonance, Split VCO 1> Filter 1, VCO 2 > Filter 2, VCA - bypassing the filter, and Half - both VCOs to filter 2 only. There are LP, BP and HP modes, plus PAR - parallel.

The filter does sound good, with nice musical harmonics when the resonance is cranked - particularly lovely into epic reverbs - which the NYX2 does well. It's possible to have two VCo pitches, plus two filter resonance peak notes using the separation control between the filters - though the filter does not track the keyboard in volt/octave style.

Modulators - with a Rise/Fall/Hold these are a big improvement over the NYX - wth range is way better, they now go slow enough for long evolutions and fast enough for some useful LFO functions (both can be set to LFO mode)- filter routings are switchable: 1, 1/2 (one to each filter), 1+2 (summed) and Off. 

About that Reverb -  with the Size and Feedback controls, you can essentially leave it running for minutes - it's perhaps not so good at the shorter verbs - would be nice to have some more roomy settings, but I suppose the heart of NYX 2 is for epic. If I had to say how it sounded compared to the NYX, I would say that the original was perhaps a tad more refined, though it had less control. Not much in it.

It's hard not to lose yourself in the NYX 2, the quality of the sounds means if you lean towards the ambient noodling school of synthesis,  you’ll probably be in heaven. I’ve certainly enjoyed getting to know it and suspect there’s still plenty to discover. Another quality instrument from Dreadbox.

NYX 2 is priced at around £469 (street) $599

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