SOMA Lab FLUX Prototype In Action

US Video demo shows synth with a unique theremin-like continual touchless keyboard      12/09/23

SOMA lab has posted a video of FLUX, a new synthesizer that is currently under development. Here's the details that they have provided online...

FLUX brings forth the musicality and expression of classical instruments, such as violin or vocals, enriched by new timbres and the flexibility of postmodern instruments, harnessing the power of current technology.

FLUX is a high end professional synthesizer with expressive possibilities, an innovative interface design with top quality digital-to-analog converters and analog components.

FLUX features a unique continual touchless keyboard that offers seamless control over a number of sound parameters without quantisation.

In many ways, FLUX is inspired by the Theremin, which offers the unique opportunity of controlling sound by moving your hands in the air without touching any object, all of which lends the performance a special plasticity and beauty.

Unlike the Theremin which works by virtue of the capacitive coupling of hands and antennae, FLUX is based on magnetic principles. Two magnetic bows are pressed between your fingers, and the interface is a multipolar magnetic sensor, registering the bows' positions and movements. The X coordinate of the artist's right-hand bow controls the note's pitch, while the Z coordinate controls volume. The left-hand bow's X, Y and Z coordinates control the various synthesis parameters.

Since a magnet has two poles, FLUX not only detects the bows' spatial coordinates, but also the bows' angle. This means that flipping the right-hand bow on the Y-axis changes the octave, which allows a range of six continuous octaves without transposing the keyboard. With transposition you can get a range from sub-bass all the way to ultrasonic. The left-right tilting of the right-hand bow on the X-axis controls two independent modulation parameters.

The left-hand bow controls the timbres. The timbral sensor, placed in the left part, has six poles, and independently registers positive and negative magnetic fields. This lets you change which parameters you control by flipping the bow, allowing you to control up to twelve independent sound parameters. Together with the pitch, volume and two additional tilt parameters on the right-hand bow, you have access to a total of sixteen sonic controls that you can use during performance, without ever touching the surface of the instrument.

Summing up the concept of FLUX: the most direct and immediate way to play with a large number of synthesis parameters in a musical way, creating a dynamic timbre composition. Different synthesis algorithms (engines) will be created as complete musical instruments for direct timbral control. All engines will be available in a single firmware and any engine can be launched in a fraction of a second. Presets will allow the user to save and recall the entire state of the synth including engine and all tunings.

We developed FLUX with the aim to create a modern instrument for academic music, offering powerful sonic tools such as distortion, complex FM and physical modelling of non-existent, surrealistic musical instruments. We invite modern performers and composers to use FLUX in their work.

FLUX works in monophonic, duophonic and polyphonic modes. Staccato-enabling and quantisation modes are available. The quantization function has an adjustment parameter for vibrato. FLUX has a stable, even, and clearly marked note scale. This makes FLUX much easier to learn and to intone cleanly than on the Theremin.

FLUX's synthesis is DSP-based. It features built-in spatial FX. The digital-to-analog converters and the analog circuit are based on our in-house designs using Hi-End principles.

FLUX is under development. We will inform the community about the progress.

More information:

 



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