Novation Peak Review
Excellent build qualityPowerful Synth EngineWavetable SynthesisSleek Design
Some menu diving in mod matrixDistortion can be a bit harsh
94%Overall Score
Build Quality100%
Sleek Design95%
Ease of use90%
Sound Quality100%
Reader Rating 1 Vote

Novation Peak is a 8 voice hybrid synth with 3 oxford oscillators per voice and an analog state variable OTA Filter. The filter is the same as what can be found in the beloved Novation Bass Station II. The oscillators come power packed with sine, tri, sawtooth, square / pulse waveforms plus 17 wavetables.

To quote Novation

“Peak has its origin in the Bass Station II analogue monosynth, and Peak’s oscillators sound completely analogue by being high-quality NCOs (Numerically-Controlled Oscillators), but gain the flexibility of the digital domain with 17 digital wavetables.”

So, in terms of interface design the Novation Peak strikes the perfect balance between knobby and immediate where it needs to be but it allows you to take a dive into the menus for deeper functionality and settings. For most folks the knobs on the surface of Novation Peak will suffice for all of their needs. But for the synth nerdery that will likely occur in the hands of a hardcore synthesis, the 8 buttons (Osc, Env, LFO, Arp/Clock, Mod, etc.) above the screen are where it’s at.

The build is definitely a step above the typical Novation product lines. This case is metal and rock solid. The knobs feel great with the rubberized finish. The base is rubbery and firm but sort of airy on the feet. The wood sides gives off a much more high-end vibe as well. Overall, Novation gets a A plus for the build quality and finishes on the Novation Peak. The Peak looks great!

Novation Peak  sounds heavenly in most cases. But I can say that I am keenly aware of its digital oscillators sometimes. Still, the combination of the 3 Oxford oscillators with 5 waveforms plus 17 available wavetables through that beautiful analog State variable OTA Filter balances out Novation Peak’s digital characteristics.

It’s worth noting too that the sonic palette of the Novation Peak makes easy work of dialing in almost any classic tone you can think of. it was pretty simple to dial in a really nice analog sounding lead with all 3 oscillators set to triangle and detuned a bit from one another. The results were very classic and anything but digital.

As for its glassiness, the wavetable synthesis is very much a part of the character that I love about the Novation Peak. It does wavetable synthesis very well. I especially love the fact that you can use the mod matrix to sweep through wavetables. Also, they’ve included the “BS sine” wavetable which I think is the Bass Station II’s sine wave. Combine that with the OTA analog filter, also from the Bass Station II, you get an incredibly flexible hybrid poly synth that handles the load rather well for you Bass Station II sort of sounds.

I could go on for days about Peak’s varying pallete of sounds;

The three New Oxford Oscillators for each voice can become a linear FM source using either the analogue-sounding NCOs (Numerically-Controlled Oscillators) or digital wavetables. They are also able to cross-modulate in a recursive loop.

Then there are the effects, Chorus, Reverb, Delay and distortion. These effects take the Novation Peak to another level. The reverb is pretty special and so is the delay. I was really pleased with the sound of these two effects. The chorus is nice too but my goodness I was impressed with that reverb and its 3 different types. Chorus also has 3 types while Delay has 16 types.

Now, for the distortion. It’s not my favorite. Especially when combined with the more digital side of the Novation Peak. However, when used in sparing doses its nice. I should say that I’m not a harsh tones kind of guy so thats worth considering.

Novation Peak‘s Mod Matrix is killer. It gets you into the menu diving but the pay off is 10 fold. Digging into the mod matrix is when the Novation Peak really starts to shine. As mentioned I loved modulating the wavetables and sweeping through. Also, there is a CV mod in on the back that allows you to set the mod matrix to modulate various parameters with external CV. Love that! …like a lot!

The mod matrix has a massive amount of modulation combinations…

Mod sources (17)

  • Direct (depth)
  • Modulation wheel
  • Aftertouch (polyphonic and channel AT)
  • Expression pedal 1
  • Expression pedal 2
  • Keyboard velocity
  • LFO1 positive
  • LFO1 bi-polar
  • LFO2 positive
  • LFO2 bi-polar
  • Amp envelope
  • Mod envelope 1
  • Mod envelope 2
  • Animate 1
  • Animate 2
  • CV mod input bi-polar

Mod destinations (37)

  • Oscillator 1-3 frequency, v-sync level, shape amount and level
  • Noise source level
  • Ring modulator output level
  • Overal synth output level
  • Filter drive, distortion, cut-off frequency and resonance
  • LFO 1 and 2 frequency
  • Amp env / mod env 1 / mod env 2 attack, decay and release
  • FM Osc 1 -> osc 2, osc 2 -> osc 3, osc 3 -> osc 1 and noise -> osc 1
  • Osc 3 -> filter cutoff frequency
  • Noise -> filter cutoff frequency

Another of my favorite things on the Novation Peak is the arpeggiator.  It has key latch and 33 patterns. The settings for this are easily accessible with the gate knob, key latch button and on/off button right on the top panel. Other settings like swing, patterns divisions etc are accessible under the hod via the arp button.

The rear boasts the following

  • Kensington Security Slot
  • Power switch
  • Power supply connector
  • USB socket for system / MIDI comms only (no bus-power)
  • MIDI In / Out / Thru
  • 2 1/4″ jack socket for continuous or switched pedals
  • 3.5mm jack socket for CV in
  • 1/4″ jack sockets for left and right outputs
  • 1/4″ jack socket for headphone output

So my fellow beatmakers, Novation Peak is certified DOPE by BBoyTechReport. I first questioned the price point. But then it arrived and I get it. Novation Peak is rock solid, it gives you more synth than you could imagine for the money. Novation Peak is one of the best synths on the market at any price-point. It’s a great hybrid poly synth, mono synth and wavetable synth all wrapped into one gorgeous package. Novation hit it out of the park with this one. Now, when do we get more wavetables?

Novation Peak can be yours for $1299. For more info head over to https://us.novationmusic.com/synths/peak#

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