Peak is an 8-voice desktop polyphonic synthesizer with three New Oxford Oscillators for each voice. The oscillators sound completely analogue by being high-quality NCOs (Numerically-Controlled Oscilla... Click To Read More About This Product
Peak is an 8-voice desktop polyphonic synthesizer with three New Oxford Oscillators for each voice. The oscillators sound completely analogue by being high-quality NCOs (Numerically-Controlled Oscillators), but gain the flexibility of the digital domain with 17 digital wavetables. They can also become a linear FM source using either the analogue-sounding NCOs or digital wavetables – so are able to cross-modulate in an recursive loop.
The synth has a resonant multi-mode analog filter for each voice, and three distortion points for each voice – pre-filter, post-filter and global – in an analogue signal chain. Peak is capable of receiving polyphonic aftertouch, which puts expression right at your fingertips. Reverb, delay and chorus effects are at one's disposal, and there is also an on-board arpeggiator.
The modulation system puts a 16-slot modulation matrix and 16 direct assignments in the main controls, cleverly arranged for intuitive patch design and sound editing. There are three ADSR envelopes and two LFOs for each voice, and more elaborate movements and secondary ‘via’ assignments are made just a few menu button presses away. In addition, two animate buttons give live performers instant one-touch transformation of patches.
Peak connects to modular systems via a CV modulation input, and has MIDI I/O on five-pin DIN ports, so other MIDI gear can be connected. Via USB, Peak can be plugged into Mac or PC, where unlimited patches can be kept using the Components software. Track Select buttons jump between banks of eight tracks/channels, and the bottom row of buttons map to Mute, Solo or Record Arm. The top two rows of rotaries, meanwhile, are freely MIDI mappable – yours to assign as you see fit!
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Reviewed by 1 customer
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Comments about Novation Peak 8-Voice Desktop Synth:
First and foremost ... it sounds great! One reviewer said it has "girth" and I agree. I tried to judge it by the YouTube videos and ended up getting the Deepmind 12D instead ... big mistake! I then got the Peak and compared them both side to side for about 2 weeks ... but it didn't take more than a few minutes to hear how Peak sounded superior in every way (just the opposite of how I judged them on YouTube).... and MUCH more flexible in the Oscillator department. I was afraid of the Peak sounding too harsh compared to Deepmind ... but hearing them both in person it was clear to me that Peak simply had a broader pallette of sounds, some of which were, to my ears, harsh ... but it is easy to avoid such sounds on Peak. Deepmind, on the other hand, sounded, to my ears, thin (i.e. little girth).. and there was also some hard-to-describe aspect of the Deepmind's sound that made it sound more like a softsynth than hardware. Yes, I could make it sound more robust, but it took a lot more effort to do this than it took to get Peak to sound smooth. And with Deepmind's very limited oscillator section, many sounds that I wanted did not seem possible on Deepmind.
The high number of dedicated controls and clean logical layout of controls is another major feature of this synth (and another area were it is superior to Deepmind). I didn't realize how important this was to me until I started playing around with it. Most of my prior experience has been with soft synth's (Diva, Falcon, Omnisphere) ... this is sooo much more fun! Also, a great way to learn synthesis.
The only thing I wish it had is a software package to control it and manage patches (like Deepmind has .. which is great). Using software on a desktop PC or tablet to control Peak features that require some menu-diving (e.g. mod matrix setup) would be a major improvement. But relatively speaking this is a minor short-coming compared to all the areas where Peak really excels.