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Extra info for Sound On Sound - February 2016
Given three oscillators to play with, you can subtly mix different types of raw material before subjecting it to the dual filters. Of these, I loved blending in vocal tones from the cool formant filter and using Drive to add subtle aggression. There are new sounds to be claimed here, even if many of them will probably have your granny casting aside her hearing aid. Who would have guessed that the untidy layout could feel so right? It even grew on me enough to render multi‑stage envelopes enjoyable.
If you fancied renaming the patch, it requires a separate series of button presses, ideally performed prior to saving. In the system’s favour, you can audition any patch before overwriting it. However, the whole process would benefit from a ‘quick save’ option and a more systematic approach generally. It’s far from stoner‑friendly. The NF-1 is shipped with wooden cheeks and rack ears, and very nice it is to have the choice. Continuing with the attention to detail, the MIDI and audio connections are recessed.
Oscillators The NF-1 isn’t multitimbral: it’s a one‑sound‑at‑once eight‑voice polyphonic synthesizer able to run in mono mode if necessary. Almost all its functionality is visible on the panel, but there’s a modulation matrix not far away for freestyle programming (available from the Src/Yes, Dest/No buttons). I was impressed to note that a fair proportion of the factory patches were based on a single oscillator. This isn’t one of those digital synths in the ‘puny, needs help’ category. There are three oscillators in total, all equally capable, plus a ring modulator and a white noise source.