Sonic LAB: Dreadbox Nymphes - 6 Voice Analog Poly

US Like a 106 , sorta      06/01/22

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Dreadbox Nymphes was unveiled at Superbooth in September and is now heading out to customers and retailers, which is no mean feat given the difficulty in the component supply chain. The Nymphes is a synth built to be available and to a budget. Even so, a 6 voice (VCO) analog poly at £500 is a pretty impressive achievement.

We have posted a little sample pack using the Decent Sampler format on our Patreon, if you'd care to access it


Its a solid metal case, with small faders, knobs and a menu matrix for control. It has a single VCO with  a morphable SAW, SQUARE (PW too) and TRI wave, Sub OSC and noise which feeds into a Lowpass 4 Pole resonant filter plus Hi Pass Filter. Then we have two envelopes - hardwired to VCF and VCA only.

Two LFOS - LFO 1 is poly (i per voice) LFO 2 mono. both have a variable waveform, TRI, through SAW + RAMP, SQUARE and RAND. They have a Low, High, Track, BPM range settings and can get  into audio range.

There's also a basic Reverb algorithm, though if your hoping for Typhon or NYX quality you will be disappointed. 

Due to cost savings, the output is mono and also the UI uses a lot of shift and mode switching which can be a little confusing. However, the unit is programmable and all functions are available via the front panel.

The good news is that it does sound pretty tasty, the Oscillators are decent, the filter is very Roland like, adding to the overall ballpark of a Juno 106 in tone - though they aren't going for a 1:1 clone obviously.

One of the really cool features is the voice modes - 6 voice unison with OSC de-tune is massive! Add to that the ability to store up to 7 chord interval settings (a modulation destination) per preset of which there are 49,   and you can really create some large and interesting sounds. Unison-4, Duo-phonic (3 Osc per voice), Tri-phonic (2 per voice) and mono, complete the set.

Modulation is fixed for LFO 1 (osc pitch and Filter Freq) but you can route  LFO 2, ,Mod Wheel, Velocity and After-touch to pretty much any (and all)  front panel controls, making for a much more flexible voice than a regular 106. Sadly you cant access the Reverb parameters in the mod matrix.

Another omission is the ability to save and recall patches over SYSEX or some other kind of dump, but we suspect this will be implemented in future firmware (or should be).

Bottom line is that it does sound pretty good, its got that uniquely Dreadbox oscillator thing together with more than a nod to the Juno 106 and when you consider that not only is it pretty reasonably priced (for analog) but its also available, its a real contender for your synth budget.

Dreadbox Nymphes is available now priced at £459, $600, €600


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