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The Cherry Audio Novachord + Solovox bundle emulates two early electronic instruments that were precursors of modern synthesizers. Novachord is based on the revolutionary polyphonic instrument from 1939, while Solovox replicates a related monophonic keyboard instrument intended to provide organ-style leads. These exceedingly rare instruments set standards for tone generation and synthesis techniques that continue to influence today’s electronic instruments.

Features of the Novachord include 32 polyphonic voices, synthesized not sampled. It also features three resonators—a resonant bandpass filter network operating consecutively in low (400 Hz), mid (800 Hz) and high (2000 Hz) frequency ranges.

There’s a Deep Tone setting for the tone generator signal, with a one-pole (6dB per-octave slope) lowpass filter with a fixed frequency of 160 Hz. There’s also a Brilliant Tone setting for the tone generator signal, with a one-pole (6dB per-octave slope) highpass filter with a fixed frequency of 2000 Hz. The Full Tone setting controls the amplitude of the dry (no filters applied) tone generator signal. Tones routed in parallel to all of the filters, processed and then summed together to create a composite tone. It features an Attack knob with seven Attack/Decay/Sustain envelope options, from Slow to Fast, with sustain-pedal controlled release (approximately 3.5 seconds).

The Depth controlled vibrato has two options: Vibrato I as used in the earliest Novachord models, and Vibrato II as used in later Novachords. The Reverb effect has Room and Hall algorithms to emulate the standard Novachord amp and speaker combo. The Novachord also features 56 presets covering Basses, Keys, Pads, and Strings.
Features of the Solovox include combinable Bass/Tenor/Contralto/Soprano switches to set note range in octaves, like modern synthesizer footage settings. It also features First Voice and Second Voice two-pole bandpass filters with level controls and variable center frequencies of 400 Hz and 800 Hz, respectively. Other features include Deep Tone setting for the tone generator signal, with a one-pole (6dB per-octave slope) lowpass filter with a fixed frequency of 200 Hz, and Brilliant Tone setting with a one-pole (6dB per-octave slope) highpass filter with a fixed frequency of 2000 Hz. A Full Tone setting controls the amplitude of the dry (no filters applied) tone generator signal. There’s Reverb effect with Room algorithm to replicate the standard Solovox amp and speaker combo, and glowing vacuum tubes that respond to the volume setting of each filter. There are also 50 presets covering basses, strings, leads, and woodwinds, by Director of Sound Design James Terris.

Manufactured by the Hammond company from 1939 to 1942 and debuting at the World’s Fair, the Novachord contained 163 vacuum tubes and over 1,000 custom capacitors. Its divide-down oscillator architecture combined full 72-key polyphony with an early version of analog subtractive synthesis. The Novachord’s architecture predicted the ADSR envelope, utilized a resonant band-pass filter, and included a vibrato unit. These now-familiar methods resemble designs adopted decades later in Moog and ARP polyphonic synthesizers.

The Solovox, manufactured by Hammond between 1940 and 1950, was another classic instrument of the era. Based on the Novachord’s oscillator and divider circuits, the 18 vacuum-tube Solovox was a small monophonic keyboard instrument attached beneath a piano keyboard and intended to augment it with organ-type lead voices. It consisted of two units: the three-octave mini keyboard, and a tone cabinet for the electronic sound generator, amplifier, and loudspeaker. Like the Clavioline and Ondioline, the Solovox produced a range of string, woodwind, and organ sounds and was widely used in light music from the 1940s and into the 1960s.

Due to their unique place in the history of electronic instruments, award-winning developer and DSP designer Mark Barton presented Cherry Audio with the prospect of teaming up to revive these instruments and their unique mystical sounds. Armed with his expertise in circuit-modeling, Cherry Audio set forth to recreate these classic masterpieces using virtual synthesis and no sampling.

The Novachord interface is a magnificent recreation of the original, replete with the white Plakson and black Bakelite keys, teardrop rotary levers, and cherry wood. With Solovox, Cherry Audio went a step further, including responsive vacuum tubes that light up and respond to settings. With additional touches such as over 100 combined presets and flexible MIDI mapping, Cherry Audio has brought these Golden Age classics out of the past and into the 21st century.

The result is the Novachord + Solovox experience—a breathtaking feast for both the ears and the eyes, bundled together at one low price. Prepare yourself to be transported back to the earliest days of electronic music history.

Cherry Audio Novachord + Solovox Synthesizers
Cherry Audio Novachord + Solovox Synthesizers
Cherry Audio Novachord + Solovox Synthesizers

collapse expand iconFeatures

Novachord
  • 32 polyphonic voices, synthesized not sampled
  • Three Resonators: a resonant bandpass filter network operating consecutively in low (400 Hz), mid (800 Hz), high (2000 Hz) frequency ranges
  • Deep and Brilliant Tone settings for the tone generator signal
  • Attack knob with seven Attack/Decay/Sustain envelope options
  • Depth controlled vibrato with two options
  • Reverb effect with Room and Hall algorithms 
  • 56 presets covering basses, keys, pads, and strings
Solovox
  • Faithful virtual analog emulation of the monophonic “keyboard attachment” instrument
  • Combinable Bass/Tenor/Contralto/Soprano switches
  • First Voice and Second Voice two-pole bandpass filters
  • Deep Tone and Brilliant Tone settings for the tone generator signal
  • Adjustable Glide and fixed-rate Vibrato
  • Mute control to filter harmonics from the oscillator voice
  • Reverb effect with Room algorithm to replicate the standard Solovox amp and speaker combo
  • Glowing vacuum tubes respond to the volume setting of each filter
  • 50 presets covering basses, strings, leads, and woodwinds
Standard for both instruments
  • Complete MIDI control and DAW automation for all controls, with easy-to-use MIDI learn and mapping (Preset and Global)
  • Cherry Audio's popular Focus zoom-in feature, as well as standard UI zoom and resize via drag
  • User-adjustable oversampling control