ASM - Hydrasynth Explorer
ASM Hydrasynth Explorer is the ultimate in power and portability, offering the powerful Hydrasynth sound engine together with battery-powered operation and the ASM Polytouch polyphonic aftertouch mid-sized keybed. The user interface is designed with the utmost attention to detail and offers a rapid workflow. This is the ultimate companion for a portable setup where a smaller footprint in needed.
Utilizing an advanced wavetable synthesis engine, three oscillators, dual Wave Mutators and two filters that can be configured in series or parallel, the tone generating capabilities are unmatched. On the performance side, the proprietary 37-note mid-sized Polytouch keybed offers polyphonic aftertouch control over each individual note, giving you the type of expressive control found only in certain vintage synths.
- 8-voice polyphonic digital wave morphing synthesizer
- Polytouch polyphonic aftertouch keyboard with 37 mid-size keys
- MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) compatibility
- Microtuning support via MIDI Tuning Standard files
- 3 oscillators per voice with 4 Mutators total
- 1 multimode filter and 1 variable/sweepable LP-BP/notch-HP filter per voice
- 640 patch storage locations with category search
- CV/gate connectivity
Hydrasynth Explorer features the ASM Polytouch 37-note mid-sized semi-weighted keybed, allowing both on/off velocity as well as full polyphonic aftertouch. d In recent years companies have been trying to find ways to give the keyboard musician more ways to better express themselves; the problem is their solution is almost never a traditional keyboard, so you have to learn a new technique to play them. The Polytouch keybed features high quality, standard sized keys so you can start playing it instantly.
Hydrasynth Explorer can be powered by its included power supply or by 8 × AA batteries (sold separately). The expected life for battery operation is around 3-4 hours depending on battery type, make and model.
Hydrasynth's 3 oscillators allow you to choose from a selection of 219 single-cycle waveforms. Unlike most wavetable synths, Hydrasynth oscillators 1 & 2 have a WaveScan mode that allows you to choose 8 waves from the bank of 219, arrange them in the order you want and then morph from one to another.
Oscillators 1 & 2 are routed into Mutators that allow you to modulate, bend and sculpt the sound using the following processes:
- FM-Linear for making classic FM sounds. Choose multiple FM sources, including external inputs.
- Wavestack creates 5 copies of the incoming sound and allows you to set a detune spread amount.
- Hard Sync gives you those classic hard sync sounds. Try hard syncing a morphing wavetable for some fun.
- Pulse Width will pulse width modulate any input sound.
- Squeeze is a different form of pulse width mod that creates a smoother sound.
- PWM-ASM divides the incoming wave into 8 slices and allows you to set how much pulse width mod will happen in each section.
- Harmonic Sweep will sweep the harmonics of the incoming sound.
- PhazDiff takes the input signal, shifts the phase and then creates a difference result with the original signal.
Mutants can also generate their own waveforms in both FM-Linear and Hard Sync modes so you do not have to 'use up' another oscillator. Of course the routing is flexible, so you can choose the other oscillators as mod sources if you like.
The 3 oscillators are fed into a mixer along with the noise generator and ring modulator. The mixer allows you to mix levels as well as pan the input source. There is a balance control that allows you to choose how much signal from each source is routed to filters 1 and 2. The filters can be set to be parallel or series for ultimate flexibility.
If oscillators and tone generators are the heart of a synthesizer, the filters are the soul. Hydrasynth has two filters that can be configured in series or parallel. The first filter has 16 different filter models, giving you myriad options for tailoring your sound. The second filter is 12dB per octave and has a continuous sweep from either low pass > band pass > high pass or low pass > notch > high pass, similar to the way the classic SEM filter worked.
Much like its sound engine, Hydrasynth's 5 LFOs are not ordinary by any means, with a step mode that allows you to create patterns with up to 64 steps. Having 5 mini step sequencers gives you an amazing amount of possibilities for further shaping your sound. Of course, there are also 10 standard LFO waveforms to choose from. The LFOs all have delay, fade in, 3 triggering modes, smoothing and start phase controls as well as a one-shot mode so that they can act as envelopes and sync to BPM.
An advanced sound engine needs plenty of modulation sources. Hydrasynth's 6-stage envelopes feature delay, attack, hold, decay, sustain and release stages. The time settings for each stage can be set in seconds or in time divisions, giving you envelopes that can play in sync with your songs. You can also loop the envelopes to create LFOs whose shapes can be voltage controlled in the modulation matrix. The envelopes have the added ability to be triggered from multiple sources.
The modulation capabilities on Hydrasynth are endless. With 32 user-definable modulation routings, you will have plenty of ways to use the 29 modulation sources and 155 modulation destinations. Almost everything in the synth engine can be a modulation destination, including the effects and arpeggiator. The mod matrix points themselves can also become modulation destinations. Modulation destinations include the CV output jacks as well as MIDI CCs.
The arpeggiator allows for standard note arpeggiations but also has a phrase arpeggio built in. Parameters like Ratchet and Chance will generate rhythmic patterns with some randomness to add life and spontaneity to your performance. You can also modulate most of the parameters in the arpeggiator, so imagine using LFOs, envelopes, polyphonic aftertouch or the ribbon controller to modify your arpeggios in real time.
CV/gate, MIDI, USB
Hydrasynth has standard MIDI and USB/MIDI interfaces but also goes deeper to allow the use of CV/gate interfaces for connecting to the modular world. It supports the standard voltages for eurorack modulars, the 1.2V per octave Buchla standard and even some Japanese Hz-per-volt standards.
The Main section of system controls is where you navigate your patches, configure system settings and see parameters relating to envelopes, waveforms and filters on the OLED screen. Init and Random buttons will allow you to initialize or randomize a complete patch or specific modules with a press & hold + module select button. Pressing the Home button returns you to navigating patches in a simple and easy way.
The Master control section is where all parameter editing, patch naming and macro performing is done. Using OLED screens, high-resolution encoders and 4 buttons, this section is designed to give you comprehensive feedback and control. Voice parameters found here give you access to play modes, analog feel, voice panning and many other features.
Macros give you deep control over the engine in live performance. The 4 assignable encoders and buttons can each be routed to 8 destinations each. Complete sound transformations can take place with the press of a button or turn of a knob.
Hydrasynth has storage for 5 banks of 128 patches each. Finding the patch you want and searching the library is made easy with the browser. Free patch manager companion software for Mac/PC allows easy moving of patches to arrange your banks as well as load in new patch libraries.
The effects chain goes beyond the typical options found in other synths with pre-effects and post-effects giving you unique ways to process your sound. The delays and reverbs were modeled on some of the most popular effects on the market, making these effects the perfect way to complete your sound – in the box.