Sonic LAB: Take Five Portable, Powerful, Polyphonic
We take a look 26/02/22
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Sequential's new poly synth with an analog heart - the Take 5 offers us the chance for proper analog VCOs and analog VCFs (Prophet 5 type) in a five voice compact form. It's also relatively reasonably priced at around £1090/$1499.
To save space, the pitch and mod wheels are set on the top panel with a 44 key F to C keybed with aftertouch. The build feels pretty good with nicely firm and consistent knobs, rotary encoders and backlit switches.
At the heart of the Take 5 are the 2 VCOs per voice - with sine through saw through square and PW wave. Each is tunable +/- 2 octaves and 7 semitones, with Osc 1 having a -1octave Sub oscillator. Sync and FM 2>1 is also possible.
Then we have the 24dB low pass resonance filter - it's Prophet Five style, with full trackable resonance and a drive control - this is subtle but does alter the resonance and smudge the filter can offer. There are no other filter modes.
2 LFOs - one global, two per voice - the display helpfully labels mono and poly sources in the mod matrix (16 slots) though there are limited CV pathways - no VCO wave mod in poly for cascading modulation sadly.
There is no delay or single cycle mode for the LFOs - if you want a gradual mod depth, you'll need to use a couple of mod slots - one to modify the depth of the LFO mod via the Aux envelope.
Two envelopes with flexible routing - ADSR with as delay setting (no looping though) you can run Env 1 to Filter, Env 2 to VCA, or env 1 as Aux mod envelope and env2 a Filter and Amp or Aux and Env 2 filter, gate to VCA.
It's enough to get quite a lot going on, though doesn't beat having three envs.
FX are of the type found in the REV2 and are OK the mod effects in slot 1 are true stereo - voice panning will remain intact in the effected signal, but the reverb is mono send, stereo return - and is also OK. Capable of some very long washes to keep the ambient fiends happy, but no shimmer or modulated verbs. Though you can modulate most of the FX parameters to add extra movement.
There's a basic 64 step sequencer with no parameter recording and an arpeggiator too. Memories are arranged in two banks Factory (read only) and USER 128 writable locations - a little on the light side for something that is so programmable.
Essentially the Take 5 gives you analog poly goodness with the Sequential badge at a reasonable price given the pedigree. The compact size and general tweakability makes it a fun synth to use, capable of thundering bass as well as lovely pads - albeit limited to 5 voices.
For those who crave an analog poly, this will certainly give you that, and the tag line of "Portable, Powerful, Polyphonic" is pretty accurate. Though if you do want more synthesis the Rev 2 is also worth considering at around £225 more for the 8 voice version (though with DCOs)