Parva is a new synthesizer that combines the old-school warmth of analog synthesis with the convenience of modern-day digital control.
Created by Austin, Texas startup Futuresonus, Parva is a next-generation polyphonic analog synthesizer that combines an all-analog signal chain with the modern-day convenience of digital control, all in a nicely bundled tabletop package.
“I designed Parva from the ground up with the intention of producing a completely new synth while still maintaining the character of the classics from the ‘70s and ‘80s,” explained founder Brad Ferguson.
From the oscillators and wave-shapers to the voltage-controlled filters (VCF) and snappy OTA-based voltage-controlled amplifiers, Parva’s signal path is 100% analog. The system itself is built upon a modular voice card architecture. Each of these cards are actually a full-featured synth in its own right, comprised of three oscillators, two VCFs, four envelope generators, and four low-frequency oscillators (LFOs). Users can configure their synth with anywhere between one to eight voice cards, which will provide either monophonic or polyphonic sounds, respectively. These voice cards are based on an ATxmega64A1U MCU, while the main board is powered by both an ATxmega64A1U and AT90USB1287.
Parva’s eight voices all feature three digitally-controlled analog oscillators, producing sawtooth, triangle, and PWM waveforms with extremely accurate pitch and rock-solid tuning stability. A pair of two-pole state-variable filters can be configured for a 12dB or 24dB low-pass or high-pass response, or split for bandpass filtering. Additionally, four four-stage envelope generators and four multi-waveform low-frequency oscillators feed a flexible modulation matrix, giving way to virtually limitless sound design options.
What’s nice is that Parva’s digital controls allow users to save and recall patches instantaneously, change parameters via MIDI, and route LFOs and envelopes to more than 40 destinations in the modulation matrix — all without the hassle of cables.
According to its creators, this is believed to the first analog synthesizer to feature a USB master port, which enables users to connect any class-compliant USB MIDI keyboard directly, without the need for a computer. Standard MIDI DIN in and out connections, a typical USB port, individual outputs for each voice, and a stereo headphone jack are also included. The instrument’s front panel was crafted to provide users with direct access to the most commonly used parameters with high-quality potentiometers. Beyond that, every control section is equipped with its own OLED displays to show additional options, making it super easy to dial in the perfect patch. For enhanced readability, parameter zoom enlarges the active setting automatically as the user turns a knob.
“From the aluminum enclosure to the custom-machined aluminum knobs on sturdy panel-mounted pots, Parva was designed with working musicians in mind, and built to last,” Ferguson adds.
Interested in one of your own? Head over to its official Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking $50,000. Shipment is expected to begin in August 2015.