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SOMA Labs TERRA: Conceptual device unifying nature and technology, in development

SOMA Laboratories has shown off its latest, and as yet unfinished, synth concept: TERRA.

This “highly conceptual device” has the “core idea… unity of nature and technology, a perfect balance between simplicity and versatility”.

The curvy wooden shell of this prototype unit points to the ethos of a certain uniqueness to every TERRA which will eventually be produced. Upon the plinth seven rotary dials, several runs of various sized buttons laid out to mimic a tree design, but also to be in easily controllable positions under the musician’s hands.

The synth itself is a polyphonic, microtonal synthesiser with a broad and flexible sound palette ranging from classical tones to atonal noise.

The company explains the playing interface thus:

The innovative keyboard design invites new playing techniques and covers the full range of a grand piano with the possibility to tune each note with an accuracy of 125 steps per semitone. To achieve this range with such a simple keyboard we designed a unique system of pitch shifting using four additional sensors. Pressing different combinations of them will result in 16 variations of keyboard transposing, including up to 3 octaves up and down, fifth, fourth, third, tone etc.

Not only do you get the full range of a grand piano in a very compact design, TERRA also offers an entirely new and different approach to playing melodies and chords.

The 12 note sensors on the right are velocity and pressure sensitive, while four dynamic sensors allow for timbre mods and four pitch-shifting sensors and two holding sensors allow for more precise sound shaping and development.

Not only that but the TERRA has a three-axis motion sensor inside which lets players modulate the sound bay simple hand and body movements.

The all-digital synth has 32 complex synthesis algorithms, each designed to be complete and flexible instrument on its own. The emphasis is very much on learning and “becoming one” with the instrument, released from setting a myriad of parameters and instead simply “being” and creating music and soundscape from tactile interactions.

The current specification list is:

Synthesis algorithms32
Polyphony1-12 voices (depending on the algorithm)
Pitch Shifter presets24
Line outL, R TS/TRS 1/4-inch jacks / 6.35 mm jacks
Maximum line output signal13 V peak-to-peak
Nominal line output signal~1.5 V (volume 100%)
Headphone outputTRS 1/4 inch jack / 6.35 mm jacks
Headphones impedance6-64 ohm
CV-clock input voltage3-15 V
Power supply voltageDC 12 V *
Consumption current0.2 A
DC jack5.5 x 2.1 mm, “+” in center
Dimensions405 ? 365 ? 57 mm
Weight~2.2 kg

Pricing has not been announced, nor an exact launch date, but it’s set to be sometime later this year. Much more info is available on the product page.