A strange hybrid of analog and digital technology- fully Based on the famous Sound Interface Device "SID" 6581 created by Bob Yannes who did also the ENSONIQ MIRAGE sampler.
Elektron boasted to have pushed the SID to new limits with new parameters optimized for lighting response ... is it so true?
LAPTOP the silver box seems to be really reliable and professionally build although it is light weight and easy to gig around.
The main panel features a retro telephone-like numeric pad keys for data entry (or use the big encoder wheel) not user friendly, but luckily there are also four knobs free assignable to any parameters: record the movement since they send Midi control change.
All edit is viewed on a LCD 2x16 lines display with backlight ( adjustable contrast) - sadly too tiny and won't show you much, except alphanumerics caracters or basic waveforms draws. Edit section is definitively NOT the Sidstation best part in particular for the Wavetable part design which is also really badly explained in the manual.
The pack panel (pic) has the following connections: Audio OUT and IN (for Filter process) and standard Midi I/O.
The power supply is external DC input a common 9V with negative in center.
A BIT OF HISTORY : THE COMMODORE 64 The "SID" is a chip from 8 bits computer Commodore 64 - a 28-pin DIP-capsule it is a mixture of digital and analogue technology with phase accumulated oscillators and analogue multimode NMOS filter. SID is still a cult amongst aficionados, programmers and hackers whom squeezed this chip for over 20 years creating fascinating sounds and musics.
Direct code programming was quite hard, so Elektron made a version for musician enclosing the mythical chip in a silver box with full Midi control, featuring high speed bus access ... and best of all: nostalgic charm.!
If you're into C64 music, please do listen to some of my c64/amiga remixes - Go to REMIX PAGE
VOICE Subtractive synthesis SID hybrid analog-digital generating a total of three Oscillators each with five different waveform Triangle/ Sawtooth / PULSE PWM / Mixed / Noise.
The three Oscillators have their own DETUNE ratio and can be all pitch-hard synched and Ringmodulated (if flagged for an oscillator it modulates the numeric previous one) and each has a Delay Start for a kind of Echo effect.
A sound patch is build selecting of the the two available main modes: polyphonic or monophonic with possible Legato play and variable Portamento rate.
The original SID had a high noise-level for various reasons, but the sidstation isolated SOME of this using some dedicated buses, anyway but be prepared to gate many background noise.
WAVETABLE a special wavetable modes allows waveform cycling each with loop Start / End, a bit like Korg Wavestation but more basic, in fact you can define each step (up to 32) with note, filter type and its Cutoff values, length and many more. This mode is THE key for fantastic sweeping sequence like you heard in old c64 games!
MULTIMBRAL the sidstation is not multitimbric but it has a special polymode to play the three oscillators in polyphonic way for some retro-chords, but they can't be assigned to different Midi channels.
FILTER two poles multimode resonant filter with Cutoff range from 30 Hz to 12 kHz with Low-pass, Band-pass, Low-pass + Band-pass, High-pass, Band reject, Band-pass + High-Pass and special "ALL mode" all filter activated in the same time ... not sure if really usable or I missed the point.
ENVELOPE four in total: each with four stages fixed times in Milliseconds- three for each Oscillator Amplitude + one for filter.
ARPEGGIATOR each voice has its own arpeggio patterns with internal clock or syncable to external Midi, in fact two Sidstation can be linked for great arpeggios sessions.
LFO four Low frequency oscillators featuring Frequency, Delay Start and six waveforms Triangle, Sawtooth / Ramp / Square / Random / Flat - plus special parameters like Polarity inversion and special "ABZ mode" able to change negative values in positive.
The Sid LFO have various source and destination modulation:
- Source: Modulation Wheel, Pitch bend, Velocity, Aftertouch. - Destination: LFO depth-source-frequency-sample and hold and LACE. NB: The Lace control interleaves a LFO with another one for a chopped sound-like effect.
MEMORY Based on Flash memory with 100 RAM patch, no ROM nor external card only computer Midi Sysex dump.
If you have corrupted memory, try a reset with this procedure (described on the right column).
MIDI professional made: all parameters are Control Changes are implemented, very flexible and with full Sysex dump.
There is also the sync option to get external Midi CLOCK at various PPQ (96-3) for perfect timing with Arpeggiator and LFO.
"NINJA" EDITION (50 produced)
Special limited black Sidstation edition with black case, blue leds and a different soundset, but essentially this is the same machine.