IK Multimedia UNO
UNO is a $200 synth to rival the Volca Bass or Arturia MicroBrute
IK Multimedia are stepping out of their in-the-box box with the launch of the UNO, an affordable, portable analogue monosynth. This was created with the help of Italian boutique synth maker Soundmachines and Erik Norlander, one of the creators of Alesis’s whopping Andromeda synth and now part of the IK team.
The UNO is said to be capable of creating both classic and modern sounds and offers plenty to both beginners and more experienced synth users. One hundred presets are included, each of which comes with its own arpeggio and sequence, and IK promises plenty of scope for hands-on tweaking.
The all-analogue signal path includes two oscillators that can be tuned independently, a noise generator, a resonant multimode filter and a VCA. The oscillators offer saw, triangle and pulse waveforms with continuously variable shape (including PWM of the square wave), while the two-pole OTA-based resonant analogue filter can be switched between high-pass, low-pass and band-pass and comes with overdrive. On the modulation side, there are seven LFO waveforms to modulate pitch, filter, amp and continuous oscillator wave shapes including PWM.
The UNO comes with a 27-note multitouch keyboard that can be played chromatically or locked to one of 13 selectable scales. It doubles as a step-edit controller for the 100-pattern sequencer. You can also program sequences in real-time, and synth parameters can be modulated on a per-step basis. There’s a built-in arpeggiator, too.
This is a highly portable synth that can be battery-powered, though there doesn’t appear to be a built-in speaker. An audio input makes it possible to daisy-chain other devices, and there are MIDI In and Out ports. You can also sync to your DAW via USB MIDI.
At $200, the UNO is certainly aggressively-priced, though it remains to be seen if it can find its niche in what is a highly competitive market. It remains to be seen if the touch interface is conducive to satisfying levels of playability and hands-on control, but in our brief hands-on session we found it surprisingly nice to play and tweak.