British synth makers Novation take their now classic BassStation Rack to the next level. The A-Station is polyphonic, adding 8 voices of polyphony to their 1-unit rack-mount synth. Unlike the original BassStation and Super BassStation which were real analog synths, the A-Station gets its voice architecture from the SuperNova synths, which use analog sound modelling. The A-Station has the layout and shape of the famous Bass Stations, but its guts are basically a slimmed down SuperNova.
It has 25 knobs for real-time control, and all knobs transmit MIDI controller messages. The A-Station has three oscillators which provide sawtooth, triangle, sine and pulse width modulation. There’s even a simple FM synth engine which can be dialed in for sharpening the sound. Oscillators may be set to Unison or Sync’d operation and a Noise source is also included in the waveform engine. There is a nice lowpass resonant filter with switchable 12 or 24dB/oct slopes and ADSR controls. A second ADSR envelope is available for the oscillators, as well as two LFOs with sample-and-hold and MIDI sync.
On-board effects include reverb and delay. Their send levels can be controlled by the Mod wheel which is a nice effect. A 12-band vocoder is also on-board for processing external mono sounds such as drum loops or vocals. The A-Station’s pads sound great when vocoded with external sounds. External sounds can also be used as an oscillator, run through the filters, envelopes, etc. with much better results than were possible on the original Bass Station. There’s even a built-in Arpeggiator whose speed synchronization and sweep range can be stored with the program for instant recall. Unfortunately, some of the older Bass Station’s problems still have not been addressed in the A-Station. Namely, the lack of a power switch, a puny 2-digit LCD screen, and it’s still not multitimbral. But for clean analog sounding synth bass, punchy leads, pads, filter sweeps and more, it’s great.