John Bowen Synth Design Solaris

John Bowen Synth Design Solaris

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Solaris, Digital Synth from John Bowen Synth Design.

2 user reviews
Public price: $4,099 VAT
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John Bowen Synth Design Solaris tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: John Bowen Synth Design
  • Model: Solaris
  • Category: Digital Synths
  • Added in our database on: 03/28/2007

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John Bowen Synth Design Solaris user reviews

Average Score:4.0( 4/5 based on 2 reviews )
 1 user review50 %
 1 user review50 %

kalaspace's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)"Solaris, cardboard?"

John Bowen Synth Design Solaris
The characteristics are published everywhere,
as usual I put a few good and bad surprises.
+ Button Assignment 1 and 2 to modulate, it allows additional controls
+ Fx bypass button
-no spread stereo unison!
-no stack for unison (like the Andromeda) :(
-no hard sync on minimoog waves, waldorf, prophet vs some mm1 whose jaws (supersaw), morphs, noise. :(
-etapes envelopes limited to 20 seconds or less (it seems long, but exp mode, it's very limited on dynamically evolving pad): /
~ Boot lasts 30 seconds

With the Andromeda A6, it is often referenced.


Good ergonomics is marred by bugs or delays that waste time
-désactivation legato when naming or renaming a preset (obligation to reboot to re-obtain the legato)
VCAS -volume of losing their proportion in some cases partially identified (vac boost and gain on several at the same time)
-coup of unexpected madness of CSOs that can emit random keys (1 shot preset save go back to another preset ok)
-boot can plant (a little after 1:10 loan)
-lenteur on scrolling presets or banks
-l'atteinte frequency thousand hertz is the eq is super long (init to make a personal ca)
-not reboot envelopes release if too long (super sucks for pads)

Making quite a lead with legato or wishing to play often unexpectedly
I find myself in a "ban" name my patches, so that,
storage of 54 releases patches on the private forum after 1 month of use took me half a day.
Given the space available 127 * 127, it is quite easy to create a monumental mess.


The ability to modulate anything by anything is not everything!
First must sound modules! Out, I find that this level, there is a catch.

I took the time to
.tester every single filters, in parallel, in series, etc.
.comparer the tilt and filters with Andromeda and diva
.Create simple presets, compared with Andromeda and diva
.Create advanced presets, compared with Andromeda and diva

The findings that emerge are
.the Solaris is the "digital" / surgical synthesizer I've ever heard in my life, the sound is straight as an arrow and as a sterile laboratory.
.the Filters solaris sound drier than a barren desert, their resonance produces an engine noise compared to those of the Andromeda singing naturally
the harmonic excitation difference is so blatant that it is highly visible spectrum and without zoom (2 * 20 seconds of sound displayed on a 27 inch)!
.la Modeling allows the solaris obtaining a "heat", but with this sterile side is like comparing a microwave oven (solaris digital) in a stone oven (andromeda analog)
Aurally speaking, it was more like to get burned uncomfortably as being petted by the suns rays.
Unable to get a sound "vintage" at best I would speak of mindset / vintage approach, but the comparison on simple stabs, sound is ultra modern / right despite efforts / torture.
.sur Advanced sounds (piano, electric guitar), the Solaris has a capacity to produires but his honesty generates a lack of life, as for example a piano sound like a bomtempi beside a piano andromeda
the size of the modulation matrix gives more control to the sound, but this one is not good natively it does not help a lot.
.the Surgical side of solaris leaves entitled to any element of surprise coming brighten synthesis results
.the Arduous negotiations to make his living, style, etc. often lead to horrible compromise including the post eq becomes a binding ingredient,
This symptom is typical of digital synthesizers (or vsti va) and its non-living complex modulation matrix to "compensate" the solaris going as far in this "concept" the.
.The "Concept" coupled to certain previous figures limits (polyphony monotimbralité, number of routings possible modules and not so high!) Features and defects identified here and hereinafter above,
generate a barrier to versatility. For example manipulation available for a chorus effect / voice on the pads actually turn out very difficult, exploration often reveals aesthetic restrictions
For this example this is explained by the use of jaws almost mandatory to have a proper beginning of "mass" instant and filters that sound better (in short the combs because the vocals are super bad Confuse).
.the Tilt without filters have a sound muffled and lacks bass, most presets must be a + 6dB boost on bass and mimima + 3dB on acute> 6kHz
Is the anti aliasing algorithms that must currently have around with filters to round one pole?

These findings are supported by the fact that ergonomics solaris enables efficient exploration, so fast, for example, assign the cutoff and resonance scanner joystick and filters, router preconfigured mixers, etc.
eg sensitivity setting joystick to fly extensively or finely, etc.
Basically it's like to fly over planet with a satellite zoom centimeter ready to find valuable materials
(Here the problem is that the precious materials are rare, contrary to what could signal the landscape seen from afar)

Realism sounds
-acoustiques: organs, guitars, violins, timpani ok; choirs to see; non pianos;
-synthétiques: vintage model with static filters ok; with non-modulated filters;


I am (almost) the only one with this opinion, which seem to run abreast of everything that has been written on the Internet against.
Is the failure to be among those who waited to have it?
I shared these impressions with several owners over any communication channel confused (verbal, telephone, text message)
attempted to obtain advice as to whether I was not missing out on something, etc.
For now, no evidence was presented personally convincing me.

I expected to find an active community on the private forum,
obviously the 300 potential owners, I would say that the ladle 10 active participants.

After multiple extensive studies, the user presets unfortunately seem to correspond to the best compromise available on the machine,
and there is no point in reinventing the wheel ...

For the probabilities of evolution of Solaris, complete silence ...

Exploration continues, I remain open to any suggestion or attempted reasoning
because at the moment,
has not surprised by the results of synthesis,
joins an effect apprehension generated by the Chinese puzzle necessary to obtain low likelihood of a satisfactory outcome,
nihilise pleased that the simple rescue work fueled by a hope that one wonders whether it is from the high price of the beast or passion.

CO5MA's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)"Analog After All"

John Bowen Synth Design Solaris
For technical specifications, refer to the documentation available on the website of John Bowen, through the thorough test of Synthwalker. And francophones, thank Francis AudioKeys have fully translated in French literature: a paper essential to understand all the possibilities of this magnificent machine.

At my feelings, I would say that nothing is missing from this synth but I will try to develop along this notice.


So there is using a pure delight. Used to be the most important information grouped under the same screen (PolyEvolver, Andromeda ...), I had to get used to the multi-vision screen. And after a week of use, the verdict is: it is an absolute pleasure! The oscillators together, the LFO also filters here, the effects there. It is said that John Bowen has certainly flattened the term "synthesizer" and brick by brick, with its incredible experience in the field, put everything in a new order. And this order - which seems strange at first use - managed a crazy gamble to rhyme with Intuitive Logic.

This weekend, recreating the sounds of the Solaris Andromeda and CS-80, I had the impression of being in the kitchen and have drawers perfectly arranged with one hand utensils, other spices, spices ... It feels a blast to create a patch for all is an unstoppable clarity!

For me, at the ergonomics there is only one thing missing to make it absolutely perfect and it is about the OS therefore possible (or so the feature already exists and I zapped. .): this would be the dynamic selection. Example: I select the Oscillator 1 and the other displays in which the oscillator is used one would show values: LFO, Envelope, FX, etc. ... It's not much, but the ergonomics at that time would be perfect. It could be disengaged at the OS enabled.


This may be a first in any case it is definitely for me out of this synth sounds of all kinds and this without using sample (although it is possible to import samples). I speak in terms of "pure synthesis and hard!"

I hallucinated on sounds Timpanis a sound realism (!), Organ of flutes, strings, brass ... Moreover there is a demo on Soundcloud (covering acoustic tones) , produced by Ken and is totally Elhart bluffante! Here it is:

So YES, it is possible (and this is a first for me) hope acoustic sounds very acrobatic! Although for me it's not what I'm looking through the Solaris, it demonstrates its power, greater ease in nearly all soundscapes.

And the rest ... Matters: pads crazy, complex layers, scalable. I even heard sounds that seem to be the domain of unpublished or rarely heard. For example, "Rotors" which allow a shape morphing between four sources of your choice (yes, live Modularity!) As four oscilloscope (but it can also be one tilt, filter, LFO .... short, madness and all delusions are allowed! Beware ears and monitors. Certain delusions can be noisy!) can quickly create ethereal sounds, unpublished unexpected.

Then the number of oscillators, filters and variations available cover almost every imaginable and unimaginable ... sonic fields.

This weekend (first past the Solaris), I tried to reproduce sounds from my Andromeda and my CS-80. Result this time I was no longer cook (like my earlier metaphor), but a scientist who came to encapsulate his "clone", almost 99%. Incredible. Of course, this requires some programming knowledge but also analysis (what is formed that original sound, etc ...) but Solaris is absolutely perfect for this: you sail among the real-time controllers, we tweak, we smile as close to the original sound and the pleasure is huge! We enjoy and that's rare. From my own experience, only the CS-80 and PolyEvolver bring me so much pleasure to program. But Solaris, compared to PolyEvolver and I do mean that in terms of programming, has the most significant, largely due to the presence of dedicated section for screens.

But then you say, apart from the fact that Solaris is versatile because of its architecture, what are the other features? Well this is another addition in my opinion its sonic presence, these opportunities will come very very close to ... analog (at the stake!! Heretic!!). Heresy or not, it is true and we have confirmed in the months and years to come. Another demo to listen, that of Alexg on Soundcloud that shows how he was able to approach the Jupiter-8 or OB-8.

The expression is very good, excellent workmanship keyboard with aftertouch impeccable, excellent response. Everything about this keyboard exudes quality. The pots, knobs, joystick (excellent), the ribbon displays with perfect legibility. And the machine is superb! Wood sides, beautiful triangular shape (rising high enough) profile which provides a good deal of clarity.


So here, you'll understand that Solaris is exemplary. An instrument that we love, with whom we feel a form of complicity (like I feel with the CS-80). Because if you have a delirium in the head, a soundscape where you would get the Solaris can take you there. Of course, you must know in advance which route to take. But technically, the Solaris CAN get you there. And if the turning of (million) possibilities it offers, you get lost on the way, know admire the view anyway because it will introduce you an amazing place.

The tiny flat that I could make, it's a little too academic side of the first bank of its (one just signed by John Bowen) in which I am slightly annoyed. But you can anyway not blame him: you have on hand HIS baby, a new generation of synth ("The New Frontier" by Synthwalker: can not find a better title!). Miss it more and more a Sound Designer genius admit that it would be too much for one person!

Over the banks, the madness sets in and we discover the power of the beast, and - again - its versatility outsized.

The possibilities seem endless and I have not even been playing around with importing samples ... Something tells me that the next few nights will be short.

For 13 years, my studio is called the Solaris Studio (in honor of the Mysterious Cities of Gold of my childhood). It has never been so aptly named since the arrival of this ma-gni-fi-that instrument.

I just finished acknowledging the outstanding work, exemplary, exceptional John Bowen. THANK YOU.

John Bowen Synth Design Solaris news

A 3rd run of Solaris available for pre-order

A 3rd run of Solaris available for pre-order

Published on 10/16/13
John Bowen is now accepting pre-orders for the third run of 50 Solaris digital synthesizers.

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