Given the digital nature of its name, a sequence of Korg’s NTS-1 build yourself synth always felt like it could be on the cards. So the NTS-2 isn’t a total surprise, but its design – as well as the fact that it comes with a companion book – is a bit out of left field.
This is mainly because the heart of the hardware is not a synthesis engine but a 4-channel oscilloscope. This offers two stereo inputs, which allow you to study, compare and layer up to four signals at once. There are several color display modes and a navigable interface with menu buttons and a clickable encoder.
There is also an FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) mode with a real-time spectrum analyzer, as well as a dual waveform generator. Each of the two oscillators can create sine, square, triangle, sawtooth, pulse, and noise waveforms.
In addition to being used as audio, these sounds can also be used as control voltage sources and set to run continuously or run as single pulses. This means you can turn them into LFOs, envelopes, triggers and control voltage generators, making the NTS-2 a potentially useful partner for any patchable synth.
The slightly unusual feature set of the NTS-2 is complemented by a tuner that offers several display modes. The end result is what Korg calls a Swiss army knife studio for musicians.
Expedition with hardware is Patch & Tweak with Korg, the latest in a series of books from Bjooks. This one focuses on semi-modular synthesis, and its tutorials, tips and tricks draw heavily on Korg’s MS-20 Mini, Volca Modular, and Arp 2600 M synths, as well as SQ sequencers.
The book covers everything from synth basics to advanced sound design, and includes over 25 exclusive new interviews with Pete Townshend, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Richard Devine.
You’ll have to build the NTS-2 yourself, but from our experience with the NTS-1, it will be quick and easy.
We’re still awaiting a price for the NTS-2, and it won’t be available until early summer, but you can read more about the Korg website.