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Analog Groove Machines!

A lot of people seem to associate Sweetwater with sampling keyboards and highly-detailed acoustic simulations, probably because we were the first dealer to support the renowned Kurzweil 250 and the "image" just stuck. But lots of our sales engineers and tech support people actually are heavily into the latest dance music, laying down room-shaking basses and gut-wrenching drum tracks. What's more, the Sweetwater warehouses are fully stocked with the instruments that have the sounds that are so crucial to this expressive type of music.

Bass Station

Old analog synths were huge-sounding, though not very stable, and when digital machines became available, many musicians were quick to jump on that bandwagon, not realizing that you really need both technologies - digital for accurate, detailed sounds, analog for warm, fat sounds. So it's no surprise that several companies have not only brought back that classic, fat analog sound, but improved on it, as well. Let's take a quick look...

From Novation comes the BassStation, our first combination of old and new technology. Priced at just $649.95 list, this two-octave, dual-oscillator instrument was designed to do just one thing well: produce that much sought-after analog bass sound. Not only that, but it gives you real knobs to turn for instant interactivity with your sound. It even lets you choose between two and four-pole resonant low pass filters. If you need more than two octaves, you can MIDI up a Novation BassStation Rack ($799.95 list) to your favorite controller. The rackmount unit lets you move beyond bass into fat pads and leads with its tuneable second oscillator (which takes you from 16' all the way to 2' while Oscillator 1 is fixed at 8'). Reviewers have remarked on how accurately these instruments capture the "snarl" of the classic (and overpriced) original analog synths.

Novation also builds a rackmountable unit called the DrumStation Rack ($995.95 list) which captures all the sounds once produced by the coveted Roland TR808 and 909 drum machines. Like the other Novation products, this thing comes with real knobs you can turn to customize each sound to your liking.

Nord Lead

First introduced last year with much fanfare, Clavia DMI made headlines with its Nord Lead Virtual Analog Synthesizer. While the original was great, the updated Nord Lead (with ROM update 2.0) gives you 80 fully editable analog drum sounds which you can use to build up to ten analog drum kits, each with as many as eight zones. There are 100 more factory performances and a new Notch Filter, as well as improved MIDI performance, all at a list price of just $1995 (which is actually lower than the cost of the original Nord Lead!). This is a great instrument for producing those classic analog sounds, but it can also do some impressive other synthesis emulations, as well (a real plus) and comes with a built-in arpeggiator. There's even a rackmount version available at a list price of just $1695.

Groove Box

Of course, one company that was there right at the beginning of analog synthesis - and they were the designers of those cherished 808 and 909 drum machines - is Roland. As you might expect, they have also updated their classic designs and now offer musicians the MC-303 Groovebox ($895 list). The 303 produces all the killer sounds Roland has become famous for, like the 808 and 909 sounds, plus TR606, 727 and CR-78 sounds, along with a very cool selection of fashionably "lo-fi" samples that have just the right amount of crunch. It also offers up 49 bass tones, Chord Hits, "trance" stabs and plenty of blazing leads, plus built-in multi-effects, an arpeggiator and much more.

We can't go without mentioning the E-mu Orbit the Dance Planet module ($995 list) and Launch Pad controller ($489 list) which also give you access to some absolutely killer synth and drum sounds (including tons of drum loops!).

These incredible new machines give you all the great old sounds, plus lots of new choices and control, so call your Sweetwater sales engineer immediately for more information and your low pricing on these great analog groove machines!