In This Issue
Cherry Audio Novacord + Solovox Softsynths from the WWII ERA
The Hammond Novachord was introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair, contained 163 vacuum tubes and over 1,000 custom caps.
Given that Apple’s M1 Max processor has 57 billion transistors, 163 tubes and 1000 custom capacitors may not sound like much. But compare that to a high-end tube audio processor that might have as many as five whole tubes in it, and you get a different perspective.
Cherry Audio’s latest softsynths (this time a set of two of them) “pay homage” to the originals – complete with an intro price of $39 that may or may not have anything to do with the Novachord having been introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair.
Take it away, Cherry Audio press release:
Cherry Audio is ecstatic to unveil the sensational Novachord + Solovox collection, featuring two meticulously crafted virtual instruments that pay homage to the trailblazers of the synthesizer world. Novachord replicates the revolutionary 1939 polyphonic marvel of the same name, and Solovox reproduces the equally influential monophonic keyboard instrument. Cherry Audio is on a mission to reignite the vintage charm and distinctive tones of these timeless masterpieces that laid the foundation for contemporary synthesis methods.
Debuting at the 1939 World’s Fair, the Hammond Novachord contained a breathtaking 163 vacuum tubes and over 1,000 custom capacitors. Its architecture predicted the ADSR envelope and utilized a resonant bandpass filter, similar to designs adopted decades later in modern polyphonic synthesizers. Novachord is remembered for its use in We’ll Meet Again by Vera Lynn, and featured in decades of soundtracks, including “Gone With the Wind” and “The Maltese Falcon,” and its otherworldly sounds heard in “Cat People,” “It Came from Outer Space,” The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. Today, fewer than 200 Novachords exist, and it is said that only five remain in operation worldwide.
Hammond’s 1940 Solovox was a small monophonic mini keyboard instrument attached beneath a piano to augment it with organ-type lead voices. Deriving its design from the Novachord’s oscillator and divider circuits, Solovox had 18 vacuum tubes and produced a range of string, woodwind, and organ sounds widely used in light music into the 1960s. Unfortunately, the introduction of compact transistor organs released in the 60s marked the end of the Solovox’s popularity.
Award-winning developer and DSP designer Mark Barton shared our fascination with these unique historical electronic instruments, and approached Cherry Audio with the prospect of teaming up to revive them and their unique mystical sounds. Mark’s expertise in circuit modeling, along with the invaluable assistance of vintage Novachord owners Joseph and Justin Fill, enabled Cherry Audio to recreate these masterpieces using virtual synthesis rather than sampling.
Cherry Audio’s Novachord features 32 polyphonic voices; a resonant bandpass filter network of three resonators; the “Brilliant,” “Deep,” and “Full” tone settings of the original; seven Attack/Decay/Sustain envelope options; adjustable depth vibrato; and an integrated reverb effect with Room and Hall algorithms plus speaker emulation to replicate the Novachord’s built-in amp and speakers in an acoustic space. Novachord’s interface is a magnificent recreation of the original, replete with white Plakson and black Bakelite keys, teardrop levers, and gorgeous cherry wood.
Cherry Audio’s Solovox is a faithful virtual analog emulation of the monophonic keyboard attachment instrument, featuring combinable Bass, Tenor, Contralto, and Soprano switches; First Voice and Second Voice two-pole bandpass filters with level controls and variable center frequencies; “Deep,” and “Brilliant” tone settings; adjustable glide and fixed-rate vibrato; a mute control to filter harmonics from the oscillator voice; and an integrated reverb effect with Room algorithm and speaker emulation. The exquisite Solovox interface features responsive vacuum tubes that light up and respond to settings.
The result is the fully immersive Novachord + Solovox experience – a breathtaking feast for both the ears and the eyes. With additional touches including over 100 combined presets, flexible MIDI mapping, and Cherry Audio’s popular Focus zoom-in feature, Novachord + Solovox brings these Golden Age classics out of the past and into the 21st century.
The unparalleled combination of Novachord and Solovox presents an unbeatable opportunity for musicians. Cherry Audio introduces this exceptional package of two extraordinary virtual instruments at one jaw-dropping price of just $39 (list price $59). With the original hardware being exceedingly rare and priceless, this incredible offer allows everyone to delve into the origins of electronic music and experience their captivating sounds.
The Novachord + Solovox collection is available from cherryaudio.com and authorized resellers worldwide for Windows and macOS (including macOS 13 Ventura, native Apple M1 processor support, M1 Ultra). The bundle is provided as a single download and installed in AU, VST, VST3, AAX, and standalone formats. A free 30-day demo is available. Visit cherryaudio.com for additional product details, system requirements, and an extensive collection of awe-inspiring sound demos.