Product page: https://www.synclavier.com/synclavier-regen/
Purchase page: https://store.synclavier.com/products/synclavier-regen
Quick start page: www.synclavier.com/regen-quickstart/
Video content: https://www.youtube.com/@Synclavier
Here’s a comparison sheet, which only covers the Synclavier products available to buy today: https://www.synclavier.com/wp-content/uploads/Synclavier-Features-Comparison.pdf
Story of Regen: https://www.synclavier.com/genesis-of-regen/
Story of Synclavier: https://www.synclavier.com/about/
Logos and high-quality photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ff15e5hk37y4k6e/AAB4rMwXVr_vb285NKwXNVS6a?dl=0
Sales questions: [email protected]
Dealer Inquiries: contact GSF Agency (bottom of form)
What is unique about Regen? Why would you buy one?
- It’s capable of going from very high fidelity down to ridiculously low-fi sound.
- It has the rich history of the Synclavier II digital synthesizer behind it. Indeed, it is the self-same DSP engine, with all the quirks and nuances of the original, which lend it a musicality seldom found in modern synthesizers.
- The sound editing capabilities are manifold. You can dial in precisely the flavour of sound you want, so the Regen can fit into a mix perfectly.
- With 12 tracks of multi-timbrality, 98 voice count, and quick-learn MIDI mapping, this desktop synth is a performance powerhouse that can be easily transported (in a backpack) to your next gig or rehearsal.
Where to buy?
- You can buy direct from synclavier.com globally: https://store.synclavier.com/
- (In some territories, VAT or other taxes may apply, as you’re importing the product.)
- We also have a growing number of distributers globally, kept updated on the purchase/pre-order page: https://store.synclavier.com/products/synclavier-regen
Events since launch
- Launched @Synthplex 28th October 2022. Took pre orders for fulfilment in 2023
- Started shipping the units in January. Sales have been strong and its been a challenge to keep production up with demand, especially with the tail end of the chip shortage still biting us. We ran out of stock briefly in April and again took deposits and estimated delivery times for customers. We have upped production and hopefully will keep them in stock for the rest of the year, but taking deposits seems to work well as a fall back, and we always keep our customers well informed.
- Many customers have emailed us very positive feedback on their first impressions and some have even ordered a second unit as they have been so pleased with it.
- Added some features, since launch, via firmware upgrade:
- Resynthesis of samples with ability to crossfade from original sample attack to resynthesized sounds.
- More microtonal options. Ability to set your own pitch class for every note manually, or by loading scala files.
- And 6 additional libraries of presets are now available to download from our website, including 3 libraries of selected vintage Synclavier II presets prepped for Regen use.
- Accessories and apparel now for sale at website.
For many years, since the dissolution of NED, Cameron Warner Jones, was often posed the question, “when are you going to do another hardware version?” Jones was part of the three-man team that invented the Synclavier in the 1970s. Jones wrote all the software, Sydney Alonso designed the hardware, and Jon Appleton was, for want of a better term, the musical director of the project.
Synthesizers and computers were both fledging fields when these pioneers set out to make the original Synclavier and they didn’t know for sure where their invention would go. They showed the system at the AES exhibition, sold a few units, then honed their invention and created Synclavier II, an improved more-capable device. By the time Synclavier II was released, in early 1980, it was clear there was a market for a digital Synthesizer and sales were so strong the newly-founded NED couldn’t keep up with production. Synclavier II became a much coveted instrument. Its price tag, size, and power consumption, kept it the reserve of pro studios and the likes of Zappa, Sting and Michael Jackson.
Flash-forward forty years, to April 2020, and development began on Synclavier Regen, another hardware version. Synclavier II incarnated in desktop form.
Well, that’s how it started out, but so many new features were added, both audio and visual, that it also became unarguably its own thing. Hence the name Regen. It’s an evolution of Synclavier, as well as its own beast.
Bizarrely, a simple iteration of Synclavier II would not have seemed out of place in today’s market. The system was so ahead of its time and was updated throughout its some ten-year lifecycle, that there are still people holding on to their units, because there are things that, “no other synth could do,” even now. Cameron regularly gets emails from Synclavier alumni bemoaning the lack of certain features in the modern synths that he had implemented way back when.
Alonso and Appleton hadn’t been involved since the NED days, but the three had kept in touch now and again. Sadly, both Sydney and Jon passed away during Regen’s development stage. They were aware of what Cameron was cooking up and would no doubt have been impressed with the way Regen turned out.
Just like those early days, it was again a small team that developed Regen. And it feels like that: a boutique synth crafted by people that care about what they’re doing. “It’s got soul,” as Loopop put it in the summary of his video review.
Jones enlisted Craig Phillips, with whom he’d previously collaborated on the audacious Synclavier Knob product, to play the part of Alonso and design the hardware. Appleton’s role was fulfilled by several people: movie composers, Gary Chang and Anthony Marinelli were owners and extensive users of the original and provided much feedback on the early prototypes; as did Kevin Maloney, a product specialist with NED and music producer with many Synclavier II credits to his name. As well as providing feedback on features and workflow, they were able to load their own timbres on Regen and A and B the results with their existing systems.
The synthesizer market is a very competitive landscape now, much different to when Synclavier II was launched – every successful firm has sewn up its corner – you have the stage pianos from the likes of Nord and Kawai in one corner, encompassing workstations like Kronos, Fantom, Montage in another. Moog are still cranking out analog synths. Maschine and MPC type sequencers occupy yet another niche. There are new digital synths to suit every pocket from the likes of Modal Electronics, Arturia, Waldorf and more. Then there’s the resurgence of vintage analog synths, revamped, such as the Prophet Rev 2, Korg’s ARP Odyssey and the Oberheim OB-X8.
Revamped vintage digital synths are thinner on the ground. Maybe because they have been reincarnated into VSTs, or maybe because digital was always moving and evolving, and didn’t have the need to look back.
So in this highly competitive field, and being on the admittedly pricey end of the spectrum for a desktop synth, how is this vintage digital revamp a compelling product?
Well thankfully, Synclavier Regen has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. With respect to the vintage aspect, Jones has ensured that box is comprehensively ticked. He’s modelled the “sound signature” of Synclavier II in manifold ways: the original digital sound cards had a few slight errors in calculating samples that gave a kind of 3D effect to the sound. This has been implemented in software. Also, those sound cards were only capable of outputting a finite number discrete set of base frequencies, so each note was chosen – it wasn’t necessarily the nearest numerically – to create pleasing chord sounds. Nowadays, digital oscillators can produce very precise frequencies. Jones has made the default tuning model as per Synclavier II, but it can be turned off for a more precise tuning model.
There are plenty of other anomalies too – such as the parabolic curves of envelope decays, or the particular implementation of cubic spline interpolation applied to frequency transposition – that all add up to that “sound signature” and have been painstakingly incorporated into Regen.
This takes us back to the A-B testing. The results were so close, very few people were able to pick out Regen from Synclavier II with recordings of small musical sequences. Some had a slight preference for Synclavier II and some for Regen. Words such as punchy, precise musical, and full were attributed to the Regen recordings.
That’s all well and good, you say, but what else can Regen do?
Twelve tracks of muti-timbrality with 98 total voice count, for starters.
Jones added an efficient reverb algorithm that can be applied to each track and the master mix. The FM sounds of Synclavier really come alive with a smidgen of reverb, and you no longer have to reach for an outboard effect.
Another feather in Regen’s cap is the inclusion of a note filter. This multi-mode 12db/24db filter has a configurable envelope applied to each and every note played. The cut-off and resonance controls can be easily mapped to inputs such as velocity and after-touch. This certainly adds another dimension to the sound.
Anthony Marinelli has prepared many of the timbres in his factory preset library to accept mod wheel or expression pedal to open the filter. Particularly effective on the fat sawtooth waves Regen is capable of – that’s another new feature to Synclavier – Regen comes with super-saw, super-square, and noise generators with stereo width controls. “It’s now much easier,” says Marinelli, “to create the kinds of sounds you typically associate with analog (synthesizers), on Regen with these wave generators and such a sweet-sounding filter.
Many other enhancements were made to the sound engine for Regen, and with the new swiper and glorious full-colour graphical screens, it truly feels like a new instrument, but one that’s capable of sounding like the Synclavier of old or the synths of modern day.
After a two-year development period, Synclavier Digital revealed this product at Synthplex in October 2022. “You might have worked damn hard on developing something that you believe in,” says Jones, “and you might think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. But there’s still this moment of fear whenever you launch a new product. Will other people think it’s the bees’ knees? Will they even notice?”
Having planned the launch to coincide with a Loopop review, Cameron was doubly nervous. As Phillips puts it, “the first day, people were walking by us without so much of a glance. But this “soft launch” event caused a lot of internet chatter, and by Sunday, people were seeking our booth out. We were inundated with visits from musicians, producers, hobbyists, movie composers, other synth manufacturers, and journalists.”
After the initial rush of adrenalin, Jones and Phillips were able to enjoy the time spent at Synthplex. “It was great to have a yarn with some of my old customers,” reports Jones.
Many of those customers were eager to upgrade, but that’s the low-hanging fruit: people intimately familiar with the brand know that any product from Jones would be of a quality worthy of the price tag. The challenge is to convince people new to the brand of the benefits of owning a Regen, but they’ve already made a good start. By the end of Synthplex, there was a crowd of people at their booth too young to remember the original; listening to Kevin Maloney capably demo the Regen, just like he’d done countless times on Synclavier II; they all had smiles on their faces and were keen to don headphones and play with the prototype Regens at the booth.
Pre-orders were rolling in thick and fast too. They sold out of their first batch within weeks and, just like with the launch of Synclavier II, had to re-plan production to keep up with demand. It was clear they’d created a system just as desirable as its predecessor that would secure Synclavier’s legacy for years to come.
Since the soft launch, the team has stayed busy, producing tutorial videos and adding resynthesis and microtonal tuning features to Regen through firmware updates.