As before, we are receiving posts and comments as production run #3 gets delivered:
"One more day until I get my John Bowen Solaris synth! This is the Rolls Royce of new synthesizers." - Derek Sherinian
"S/N 0142 has landed! I have just gotten it plugged in an am playing the first bank. The sound quality is completely over-the-top. Way better than any softsynth I own, and I have plenty of top shelf offerings. This is another league. So smooth, but with guts, harmonic richness. The hardware is very high quality and the whole thing is built to this standard. No cut corners.
"John, you should be very proud of this. It is a massive accomplishment. To deliver something that is higher quality than any major MI company, without massive sponsorship, and to have this quality? This is the work of an artist, and I am privileged to own this synthesizer. It is an instrument and begs to be played expressively and in a fully committed kind of way.
"Many here waited longer than I did, but the year of waiting has been fully rewarded."
Thank you John! You have done an amazing and beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing your dream with us." - Nathanael Iversen
Way too little time for the first experience but WOW. It oozes quality and it begs to be played and programmed. Funny how all the same superlatives spring to mind that I have read with other owners before. Now that I own one, I feel what they mean.
And yes the sound is great, but what amazes me most is how connected the interface makes me feel to the complex sound structure. I've played with oscillators, modulation and routings like never before. Played, not programmed. Creating sounds with vst's (or a Kronos eg) feels like programming, on the solaris it feels like playing with parameters like an instrument. It reminds me of the reason I started playing synthesizers in the first place.
And... I found what most demos don't show. It's great at simple deep raw sounds for EDM. Analog quality." - Mike Overdijk
"This is easily the best VA I have ever played! Patching things is a dream. The layout is so intuitive and quick to use. The build quality is fantastic. I have a white one and it looks like a work of art when you see it in person. This synth is a dream come true! Truly one of the most powerful sounding things I have ever had the pleasure of playing. I cannot recommend it enough. Big thanks to John. What a masterpiece. "
"The Solaris has such a rich full sound all across the spectrum. It makes some of the most physical feeling bass I have ever heard/felt. Rich lush mids and insanely detailed highs that go from silky to electric. If you are into creating patches that rely on subtle complexity this is the one. The continuous controllers with such high resolutions enable dialing in things with a level of precision that is unparalleled in my experience. The harmonic modulation is off the hook. Magnificent oscillators. With other VA's you put in say a saw wave and well, it sounds like a saw wave. Then you add another osc and it will get a bit more complex sounding, but that is about it. With Solaris, you add a saw wave and it sounds big, very big. Then you add another and it gets twice as big! Just like on a Moog etc. When you start stacking voices it just keeps getting fatter. Its nuts. Really powerful stuff."
"My Solaris arrived safe today. This thing sounds incredible! Great job!" - Brandon M.
"Hi John. I unpacked the Solaris tonight, booted it up and played through the presets for about two hours. It looks great and sounds even better! I 'heard' the best sounds out of some of my favorite keyboards I've owned: minimoog sounds; oberheim matrix; arp odyssey, string ensemble and 2600; even some fm type dx7 sounds. And of course the Waldorf sounds which I recognized but never had played. So I'm very pleased. I'm looking forward to being registered and studying the tutorials mentioned in the user's guide. Thank you" - Andy M.
"It was well worth the wait, John, and is the BEST SOUND I've ever heard! At the end of it all, Solaris is my #1 synth. Otherwise, I kept Andromeda, Accelerator, and Virus Ti2...that's it! 100s of others have come and gone. Kept one ROMPLER (the big KURZ) and some rack stuff...and Minibrute (and couple of hundred soft synths on my MAC). I wish you the best with it!! Oh...one last comment: the build quality and physical design....THE BEST I OWN!! Very TOP SHELF, CLASSY PIECE! In that regard, the price should have been TWICE! Sincerely, Mark M"
"Hi John, I believe I’m yet only at the tip of the Solaris’ ‘sound iceberg’ but I’m already blown away by the sound, quality, usability and depth of this tremendous synth. You can be very proud of this fine product, but I think, you are anyway ;), Yes, I’ve waited a bit for the Solaris (I had myself put on the list for the 2nd production run by August 2012) but it was absolutely worth it., Best regards" Oliver G.
"What a terrific sonic synth you have put into life, amazing, my expectations were high and so far I've only scratched its surface trying to create my own patches as well, what a sound!" - Isham
"Hi John, I received the Solaris in good shape and I would like to thank you for this. I discovered the machine a little bit this weekend and I must admit I am very impressed. The sound is fantastic, and ergonomy is very well designed and the manufacture quality is extraordinary. You did a far better job than the big makers employing dozens of people with huge financial means. The only thing which has to be developed for the moment are the shipping delays and the long waiting terms during the breaking-in period but this should be sorted out afterwards. Anyway, your synth is for me best value for money among all at actual standards. Kind regards et Merci" - Jean-Marc L. I doubled the polyphony without needing any optimization of source code!.... As a matter of fact, I took advantage of the stocks they offer at Thomann to purchase another one...!
Thursday, 01 May 2014 22:19
New Pricing, June Payment Plan Announcement - June 2, 2014
Please check the Purchase page for new pricing and terms.
Monday, 24 February 2014 22:19
New Video Demo of Solaris by Katsunori Ujiie.
UPDATE - Check out this 31 minute play-through of the initial bank of presets in the Solaris by Katsunori UJIIE, now with closed caption (CC) translation in English. Great demo!
Reservations for the 4th production run of 50 units are now being taken! In consideration of numerous email requests I have received, inquiring about either the Wait List for the current coming production, or when I would start taking deposits for the next production (#4), I've decided to open up the deposit process for the next production round. Those who have made deposits and are on the current Wait List will be also the first to be on the Pre-Order Group #4 list. If there is a cancellation, customers on this list will be notified first. Once all customers with deposits are fulfilled, then the remaining wait listed persons will be contacted.
New Preset Bank with Audio Demo - October 15, 2013
Black Octopus Sound presets Event Horizon - 128 high quality presets for John Bowen Solaris created by Toby Emerson. This soundset offers everything from huge epic pads, long evolving textures, vintage analog style sounds, deep thundering basses, and many other classic leads and keyboard style sounds.
"The John Bowen Solaris is simply one of the most fantastic instruments I have ever worked with. Everything about it screams class. From amazing sounding filters to countless oscillator types, I feel after several months of using it I still have not even scratched the surface. The architecture and programming behind it allows for huge sounds which can range from very organic and analog sounding to crisp and precise digital style sounds. The sound quality of this synthesizer is absolutely exceptional and I would highly recommend this synthesizer to any sound designer or professional musician that can budget for it.
"All patches are mapped with the joystick controlling the filters. They are best auditioned by leaving the joystick in the middle position and then adjusting it to taste.
"I have spent several months creating these patches for the Solaris users and offer them as a free download. However if you feel like they are of value to you I would love a donation or please pick up one of our sample packs as a way to say thanks and to support the creation of future sounds.
"A little bit of compression and additional reverb by Valhalla Room has been added."
PLease go to Toby's Web site for more information:
Recently two very thorough and excellent reviews of the Solaris have been published online - one in French by Eric Inglebert (aka synthwalker), the other in German by Austrian Robert Wittek. In addition to these reviews, there's also an impressive audio set from Wouter van Beek (insanic4). All of these feature extensive sound examples (and in the case of Robert's Audio Workshop, a 36-minute sound designer's extravaganza), and show as never before some of the stunning results Solaris users have been able to achieve after only a short time with the instrument.
The 2013 NAMM show was held January 24-27th. We were again in Hall B, but a slightly different location, booth 5406. Dave Smith Instruments was right next door again (booth 5400), and we also were behind the Bob Moog Foundation booth (5307), with the Moog Music booth one aisle over from Dave at #5300.
This was my 40th year of attending NAMM shows....hard to believe! My first show was actually my 'audition' for Moog Music, at the Chicago NAMM show, June 1973. Time sure has flown by!
Friday, 23 December 2011 19:07
Solaris Owners Forum
If you are a new Solaris keyboard owner, make sure you register as a Forum Member, then send me an email with your user name, so that I can add you to the private Solaris Users Group. This group covers several topics, such as Future Feature suggestions and Bug List, as well as any OS updates, new Preset files, and any other data files and samples that users wish to upload and share with each other. (Note that this is for the hardware Solaris, not the Scope plug-in I make.)
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:53
NAMM 2012 IS OVER!
Another year, another great NAMM trade show...the main difference this time was that, for the first time, I no longer had to talk about when the Solaris might be shipping, but that we have been shipping for some months now! It was really a great feeling...
I also had coverage from some online blogs and communities, such as this video from soundsandgear.com:
Then there is this section from Chris Randall's blog about the NAMM show:
"I got a full demo of the Solaris from John Bowen and Bernard Wong. The Solaris is the logical progression of the Prophet VS and Wavestation. It takes those concepts and just extrapolates them out in to what a DSP-based synth can pull off in 2012. The panel is really well laid-out, and super playable. Some very crafty features internally as well, and the many mod routing possibilities, coupled with an extensive oscillator and filter library (and user samples, natch) gives it a really broad palette. I think this is going to be my next synth purchase."