Having an extensive background in live sound and recording, for me, the sound is the most important part of any instrument, and this synthesizer impressed me right out of the gate. After diving into the Novation Bass Station II's extensive functions, I found the sound-creation possibilities virtually limitless. It's everything I look for in a synth!
Having the Bass Station II in my studio is a must! The bass sounds can be modified to fit any genre of music, the lead sounds can tear through any mix, and the arpeggiator is the easiest I have ever used, making live performance a breeze. Just dial in your sound or preset and select record. This synth is a great tool to have, not only for electronic musicians but for any band or songwriter looking to enhance their sound.
I purchased the Novation BassStation II and was immediately impressed with its wide array of sounds and creative nuances. I also found it to be incredibly intuitive and organized in a way that made it easy to make changes on the fly. The built-in arpeggiator and step sequencer are the best I've used to date, and this is definitely my go-to synthesizer when I play live with other musicians or when I record leads or bass sounds in the studio.
This is a completely different beast than the original Novation Bass Station, having been designed for today's desktop production and live performance. If classic 80s and 90s sounds are what you're looking for, this is a bargain!
I own the Novation Bass Station II, and continue to be amazed by how nice the patches are. I've never encountered such an easy-to-use and amazing-sounding analog synth for so little money! Also, this is not just for bass sounds - there are plenty of sounds that can be used for lead and melody as well. It always triggers my inspiration and creativity, which is such an important attribute for a musical instrument to have.
Great Synth for 80s New wave music
I love this thing, just received it and can't stop messing with all the knobs. I also own the Waldorf Blofeld, Roland Juno GI, Novation Moroder Mini Nova, and Korg electribe. Had the Micro Brute but found it boring and limited. If you want a MOOG Rogue or Realistic MG, at the price of $399.00 then get this thing, unbelievable. I love MOOG but they are a bit out of my price range for now. Very simple to navigate, love the arpeggiator function. I personally love the Human League, Gary Numan, OMD, New Order, The Cure, Kraftwerk and all the Techno Pop of the eighties. Highly recommend for the price. Great for all types of electronic music. You won't be disappointed.
Solid Analog Synthesizer
The BS2 is a really nice synthesizer regardless of price. You've got two oscillators + sub with all the standard analog waveforms along with sinewave -- which often is left out on many analog synthesizers. This is especially nice since you can FM the filter with OSC 2. The BS2 has plenty of functionality with 2 LFOs that go well up into the audio range and 2 EGs that sadly share the same set of sliders. This isn't too annoying though as you can set them to control the VCA and VCF at the same time if you want. The interface may not be WYSIWYG, but there's more than enough knobs to satisfy. Furthermore, the point of this design, with some knobs sharing features, is to keep the unit compact. It's a great size and fits nicely on my desk. I love that it has full size keys which feel really good and don't mind the two octaves. The best point for me is the inclusion of a diode filter, which is one of my favorite kind of filters. I love that sound. The BS2 is great for performance with aftertouch, autoglide -- which is a treat, and the standard pitch and mod wheel. A fantastic synth!
I had no experience with synthesizers and within a week I was making my own sounds. Good sounds too, our band ended up using a few of them on our debut EP. The presets are great as well. You cannot go wrong with this synth, it is amazing!!! Buy it!!!
Quite possibly the best synth for the price
After poring through online reviews, videos, and suggestions from gear sites, all signs pointed to the Bass Station as THE BEST analog synth at the price range. I am now in complete agreement. After three months with it, I have easily integrated it into my live setup and love how it combines dedicated knobs and controls with digital memory to be able to save presets. Dialing in sounds is intuitive and easy. I love that each preset parameter has a simple guide to point you back toward the original value if you get lost tweaking, and you definitely will. It's made of sturdy plastic, the knobs and keys feel great, the sequencer and arpeggiator are awesome, and it sounds AMAZING. I was torn between the Bass Station and the MS-20 Mini as my first analog synth, but the ability to save presets and access them quickly was what settled it. I still look forward to getting that MS-20 Mini, but I have plenty of analog goodness to occupy my time until then. With Sweetwater's 3 easy payment plan, I am happy to say my first analog synth purchase was an overall excellent experience.
Soon to be a Classic
I've had this synth for around a year now. I'll admit, with the convenience of plug-ins, I use this a little less than I should, but there is no comparison between software and a true analogue synth. This has heart and soul, and little imperfections in it's sound which really give it the 'musicality' that plug-ins lack. The basses are deeper, it has soaring highs perfect for leads, and everything in between. This was my first analogue synthesizer (I've since added a few to the collection), and it is an incredible starting point for anyone looking to step out of the computer realm, as well as an excellent addition for the seasoned user. For the price, I'd say this is top of it's class, only rivaled by the Korg MS-20mini (another fantastic option, in my humble opinion). Don't hesitate, it's worth the space on your desk!
This is what a synthesizer should be.
With unopened user manual still in the box, I had hours of inspired fun from the second I turned it on. This synth was very well thought out for creative sonic exploration. The many and powerful features are perfectly designed for live tweaking of dynamic basslines as well as evolving soundscapes of just about any timbre. This little blue synth is like the TARDIS...bigger on the inside! The sound quality is amazing and so is its usability. It will be at the heart of my music as a constant and reliable staple in my studio for many years to come.
What can we say?....
Truly....one cannot find a better deal. The POWER and USEFULNESS of the pre-loaded patches... The full richness of this small unit! Use a MIDI keyboard if the 2 octaves ain't enough. This thing is a steal at this price considering its capabilities. You will NOT regret this modest purchase! It is truly, truly a thick synth monster!
I am absolutely in love with this thing!! This thing can put out deeper bass than any software vst synth out there.. Even with the BBE, eq and all kinds of processing, they simply cannot touch this thing. It's but solid enough small live situations since it is built out of super rigid plastic. The pots are solid, there is absolutely no stepping at all, and it is really flexible. I would have perhaps chosen to have a different filter or more options with filters but eh no biggie. I love how you can program sequences so easily with it and it just looks so cool! I have scrapped plug-ins and became a hardware purist because of this and the Waldorfs (new models) I have. Get this this thing.. It does more than bass... Try leads and drums too!
Love this synth
You cant go wrong with this synth.. Amazing tones. .
I <3 the BS II
The BSII is an awesome little monosynth. For $500.00, it blows away the minibrute with all kinds of incredible features. The only drawback is the lack of CV I/O. The MIDI I/O is great. I'm currently using the BS II's arpeggiator and sequencer to control the MS 20 Mini via a MIDI connection. So far I'm very pleased with this purchase
This is a great analog synth which allows you to adjust just about everything on the fly. The bass sounds are great, and the arpeggiator is very flexible. I am new to the synth game, but this has given me the sounds I was seeking, and more.
A huge amount of functionality for tiny price
I have an original bass-station that regularly finds use, despite its age. I love the simplicity of design, the warm fuzzy filter, and the uncluttered interface. It was a great little simple, low-end analog.
I recently decided to update to the new Bass Station, having perused its stats online, and been reasonably impressed by what it offered.
I ordered it about a week ago, and it arrived in CA in 5 days. I'm quite prone to buyer's remorse, so I was trying to lower my expectations.
I unboxed it, and within minutes... wow. This is a HUGE leap forward. I can't think of another analog synth with such a feature-packed gallery of sound-shaping abilities anywhere near this price. It is immense.
The addition of the sub-osc alone takes the bass to earth-shattering depths. I know other synths have this feature, but it's a variable waveform sub-osc, and it's on top of 2 additional oscillators!
I'm a fan of the original Bass Station filter. It seems as lovely as ever - with a wider range than before, from warm and fuzzy to brutal if you turn up the res and the overdrive.
The welcome addition of sync allows you to create classic 'Cars' style leads (of course), or wobbly dub-steppy ripping mid-range sounds.
The arpeggiator and the variety of rhythms (with a handy 'latch') makes it really easy to go into full-on acid mode with minimal effort, especially when combined with the 'Acid' filter.
The keyboard feels surprisingly nice, and has both velocity and *aftertouch* (yup - you heard right). Even the pitch and mod-wheels feel great.
I love the fact that all the more obscure parameters are within easy reach, too (I hate menu-diving). Press Function, the appropriately labelled key, and then alter the value with the arrow keys by the digital display. Done.
Two mode filter? Check.
Patch memory? Yessir - a ton of slots.
LP, BP, HP options? Yup (on the BS filter, at least).
Audio-rate filter modulation? Indeedy (holy cow)!
I could go on and on. I listen to a lot of synth-based bands, and this little beastie deserves to become the new, ubiquitous synth seen at every gig. It sounds great, looks great, is really easy to use and - especially at this price - blows the competition away in every regard.
The only negative thing so far is that there's no CV out (I have a modular, too), but... that's a real stretch-pick.
I don't normally review stuff I buy. I certainly don't tend to write hyperbolic, super-positive reviews. I mean, who believes those?
In this case, I feel like I have to make an exception, because this synth deserves a *lot* of love. If you're looking for a small, light, super-feature-packed, accessible, fun synth, give it a look.
An Amazing Mono
Over the last 20+ years, I've owned and played a variety of different analog mono synths, including an Arp Odyssey, Micro Moog, Realistic Concermate, DSI Mopho, Moog Slim Phatty, and a Minibrute.
I don't like any of those as much as as I do the Bass Station II.
I mainly play ambient/Berlin school style electronic music, also influenced by the Cluster/Nue crew. I prefer softer tones on my synths, like bubbling LFO modulation, random sequence patterns, and gooey bass, and the BSII handles these kinds of sounds wonderfully. The synth's tone can be warm, soft, and subtle. However, that's not to say that it can't also be aggressive and harsh, because it can, especially when you turn up the distortion f/x.
I've heard some people call this sound "generic" and in some ways I agree with that point. The BSII does not have a super unique sound like the Moogs, nor is it as idiosyncratic as the Minibrute. It's more of a bread and butter mono - it does a little bit of everything, and does it all very well.
While it is light, and the body is made of plastic, it still feels very well built. The knobs are all bolted onto the body, the sliders feel good, the pitch wheel is sturdy, and the keys have good synth action. The switches feel a little cheep, and I wish the outputs around the back were also bolted to the body. Rounding out my small list of complaints/concerns - I wish the mod wheel had a little more resistance; it's loose and easy to bump into an unwanted position.
At this price point, there isn't a better mono synth with keys around. I'd easily recommend this over the Slim Phatty, a synth almost twice the price.
Right now I'm using the BSII along side my Slim Phatty, OP-1, Fender Rhodes, and iPad (running Thor and Nave), along with a variety of delay effects including the Strymon El Capistan, Digitech Timebender, and Roland RE-20. The BSII sits wonderfully in the mix, adding interesting textures and timbres that are fun to play, exciting to create, and a joy to listen to.
Bass it up
Super fat dope bass sounds ! Tweak away , awesome analog sound. only thing keeping it from 5 stars is body could be slightly more heavy duty. get gig bag at least. overall amazing for the price a must have..
Love the Low
I purchased this specifically for "Phatt" Bass lines. Regardless of the musical genre, it does deliver. In particular this synth is good for John Carpenter like low's ala "Escape from New York". Arpeggiator is quite nice too and deftly executes thick textures. My only grip would be as a Keyboardist, I would of preferred an extra octave. Sculpturally the synth looks like it's right out of some 80's sci-fi film. Would highly recommend.
Exceeded my expectations
I have not even scratched the surface of this Novation's capabilities, and already I am truly enjoying it. The range of sounds is excellent, as is the quality of those sounds. I thoroughly researched this instrument prior to purchasing and so far, it has exceeded my expectations. It's an excellent value, and a lot of fun.