Categorized | Hardware

Novation Bass Station II analog synth review

Hey what’s good fam?

Back with another Novation product review, this time I’m checking out the Bass Station II

Let’s get into it!

So what is the Bass Station II?

Bass-Station-II-Overview2It’s a 25 key, fully analog monophonic synthesizer based on their class Bass Station synth, with new features and tools that make it useful in today’s contemporary setup.

You get two filter types, step sequencer, arpeggiator, as well as the ability to save and recall your patches.

There’s MIDI I/O as well as USB for control, and even external input for processing external audio sources.

The synth can also be powered via USB or by the DC power adapter.

So basically it’s a powerful, compact, analog synthesizer with plenty of options to keep you connected.

Quick Specs

  • main features: 2vco, acid and classic style filters, 2 envelopes, 2 lfos, distortion and filter mod fx, step sequencer, arpeggiator, patch storage
  • hardware: 25 synth action keybed with assignable aftertouch, MIDI I/O, USB, 1/4″ input, 1/4″ output, headphone out, DC power input
  • price: $499.99
  • product page: http://global.novationmusic.com/hardware-synths/bass-station-ii/specifications

So how does it sound?

Reel to Reel Tape RecorderWith the name Bass Station, you would assume it was only capable of creating low end bass sounds, which is totally not the case.

It can do bass for sure, but it also does leads, effects, and even some percussive tones.

I was a little worried that it would be a bit too “electronic” or “hyped” for my tastes, but I found I can get some nice deep low end sub bass just as easily as I can get crazy modulated leads and effects.

I would bet a polyphonic synth such as this (hint hint…anyone listening?) could do some really nice pads, as the sound definitely has a nice character, being able to switch between the filter types really gives it a nice variety

Overall it has a really good sound, I was definitely impressed with how deep the bass could get, especially when adding the sub oscillator, which I sometimes use on it’s own for a nice clean bass tone.

However, there’s a lot of options in terms of how you can manipulate and modulate your sound that allows you to really get some crazy stuff going on, especially when you add in the step sequencer/arp.

So what’s the bottom line?

There are lots of options out there for affordable analog synths these days, each with their own character and feature-set. I feel what gives the Bass Station II it’s own character apart from the sound is the ability to quickly store and recall your patches.

Sure I love turning and twisting knobs on the fly as much as the next person, but sometimes you find a patch you want to keep. Would I miss it if it wasn’t there? Probably not, but having the options definitely opens up some different possibilities.

4subsI give the Bass Station II a 4 out of 5 subs, it’s a very compact analog synth capable of big sounds with plenty of variety between bass, leads, and effects.

I would have loved to see the synth size extended a tad bit to make room for dedicated oscillator controls instead of having to switch between the two, same with the envelope.

The build quality is fine, it’s not super rugged metal but I don’t feel like the knobs are going to break on me personally and I love how smooth the big filter knob is.

I am, however, not a fan of the pitch and mod wheels, they feel flimsy to me, maybe it’s the size of them or how freely they move, but as someone that has used an Ultra Nova, I have to say those style of wheels would be perfect on a synth like this.

I understand you can’t have everything in an entry level synth and it’s more of a perosnal preference than anything.

But hey, maybe they will put more keys, knobs, and chunky mod/pitch wheels on the polyphonic analog synth that I daydream about hope they make one day!

I would also like if the various knobs had led indicators around them to show where the setting is in the saved patch, you basically have to turn the knob to find out, same with the switches. The preset navigation would also be a bit smoother if you could cycle all the way through, so if I get to 127 and I want to go to 5, I can just keep going up and it will start over at 1 or from 1 back through 127 and on down, right now you stop at either end, another small preference but would be super useful in my opinion. Maybe a firmware update can allow this :)

Seriously, all wishful thinking aside, this is a nice synth that can give you some super low bass as well as silky smooth or aggressive leads.

Go on over and check out all the info and history on it:

Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!

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10 Responses to “Novation Bass Station II analog synth review”

  1. Baki Ronin says:

    Not bad at all. I love how you ended the segment too. Dope. I’m still leaning towards a synth that size or a little bigger since i don’t own one yet. Whats your favorite small(25-49keys)synth that you would recommend for a first buy?

    • saintjoe says:

      Thanks for the comment. It really depends on the sound you’re looking for, you have this, the ultra nova, the minibrute, microbrute, etc. But it depends on the type of sounds and features you want.

  2. nello says:

    A bit off topic though, but “Altus” review any time soon? Would love to see it.

  3. Hindsite says:

    Nice review. The little section at the end I find particularly interesting. It would be cool seeing the workflow explained further, sampling external synth audio into maschine. By the looks of the comments on youtube I’m not alone in this request :) Anyway keep up the good work!

  4. JohnnyP702 says:

    I’m not sure how to get this thing started. I have no sound in standalone. It does not show up in Maschine 2.0 and although acknowledged as an input device in Pro Tools, you can’t load it.

    • saintjoe says:

      The Bass Station II is not a plugin, you need to run the audio cables into your interface/mixer in order to hear it. It will show up as a midi input device if you have the USB connected, that’s it. Do you have the power adapter plugged in?

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