Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds
Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds

Novation shows off UltraNova [NAMM11]

Novation used this year’s Winter NAMM to show off its latest Nova hardware analogue-modelling synthesiser: the UltraNova.

Though it was ‘born’ last year, this has been a major trip out for the latest Nova incarnation.

UltraNova is a single-part synth taking the legendary Supernova II synth engine as a starting point and packing it with the latest technology. It now has brand new features including wavetable synthesis, even more powerful filters, a software editor and a revolutionary new touch-sense performance mode.

Key features

  • Brand new Nova-series synth engine based on Supernova II:
    • Single part with up to 18 voices, 14 filter types, 36 wavetables, 5 effect slots
    • Patch Browse enables you to browse 300 sounds by type & genre
  • Touch-sense controls enable totally new sound-shaping & performance:
    • Trigger envelopes/LFOs/filters/FX by just touching the encoders
    • Large rotary control instantly allows you fine control of any parameter
  • Totally gig-able with 37 full sized keys, a vocoder, and loads of controls:
    • Voice optimized 12 band vocoder with gooseneck mic
    • High quality key bed with aftertouch for expressive playing styles
  • Software plug-in editor and Patch Librarian for full visual editing:
    • Plug-in editor allows you to view and edit in with software
    • Software Patch Librarian a organise, store and share unlimited patches
  • Built-in 2 in 4 out USB audio interface and it can be bus powered:
    • UltraNova can be used to stream audio to and from a host computer
    • Stereo main (analogue & SPDIF) and aux outputs, and MIDI in/out/thru ports

The Software Editor

UltraNova has a powerful software editor that enables visual editing of all parameters. It can be used within DAWs as a plug-in editor:

The Modulation Window

ultranova software editor

The Oscillator Window

Animate Window

The Filter Window

The Patch Librarian

UltraNova also ships with a patch librarian that can be hosted on Mac or PC. This enables the user to save an unlimited number patches to the host computer and organise them into folders.

Each of the 300 patches that ship with UltraNova have been tagged to make it easy to search by category and genre from the hardware synth or the software patch librarian.


UltraNova has a 12 band vocoder and ships with a dynamic gooseneck microphone. In addition to putting your voice through the vocoder (via the microphone) you can also process other sounds by putting instruments – or pretty much anything – into UltraNova’s stereo line inputs on the back panel.

ultranova vocoder


Synth engine
• Up to 18 note polyphony (dynamic voicing)
• Mono-Timbral

Per patch:
• 3x oscillators
• 1x noise generator
• 2x ring modulators

Waveforms include:
• Square, sine, tri, sawtooth, pulse, 9x saw:pulse combinations.
• 20x digital waveforms
• 36x wavetables

2x filters per patch
• low pass no resonance 6dB per octave
• low pass 12dB
• low pass 18dB
• low pass 24dB
• band pass 6:6
• band pass 6:12
• band pass 12:6
• band pass 6:18
• band pass 18:6
• band pass 12:12
• high pass no resonance 6dB per octave
• high pass 12dB
• high pass 18dB
• high pass 24dB

20 modulation slots per patch
• 6x envelope generators
• 3x LFOs.
• Aftertouch
• Velocity
• Key scaling/track
• Mod wheel
• Expression pedal

Total of 66 Destinations including:
• Oscillator pitch, pulse width, wavetable index, level and sync
• Filter cutoff, resonance, envelope settings
• Effects parameters and send levels
• Recursive modulation (modulating modulation sources themselves)

5 Effects slots per patch
• Distortion – up to 2 instances
• Compressor – up to 2 instances
• Chorus/Phase – up to 4 instances
• Delay – up to 2 instances
• Reverb – up to 2 instances
• Gator
• EQ
•12 band vocoder
• Arpeggiator – 33 patterns
• Chord function – lock up to 10 notes
• Patch storage up to 512 on hardware (ships with 300 factory patches)


• 144 character LCD
• 8x detented touch sensitive encoders
• 1x large smooth encoder (with back-lit filter lock buttons)
• 1x large patch select/speed dial encoder
• 2x volume & monitor mix dials
• 39 LED lit/indicated buttons
• Pitch wheel (LED lit)
• Modulation wheel (LED lit)
• 37 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
• XLR dynamic mic input
• 2x ¼” jack inputs
• 2x ¼” jack outputs
• 2x ¼” jack aux outputs
• 1x ¼” jack headphone output
• SPDIF digital output on RCA connector
• Expression pedal on ¼” jack input
• Sustain pedal on ¼” jack input
• MIDI in/out/thru
• 12 volt power input
• USB port (UltraNova can be powered via USB)
• Kensington Lock port