Given the numeric nature of its name, a sequel to Korg’s NTS-1 build-it-yourself synth always felt like it could be on the cards. The NTS-2 isn’t a complete surprise, then, but its design – along with the fact that it ships with a complementary book – does come a little out of leftfield.
This is chiefly because the centrepiece of the hardware isn’t a synth engine but a 4-channel oscilloscope. This offers dual stereo inputs, which enable you to study, compare and overlap up to four signals at once. There are multiple colour display modes, and an interface that can be navigated with menu buttons and a clickable encoder.
There’s also an FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) mode with a real-time spectrum analyser, along with a dual waveform generator. Each of the two oscillators can create sine, square, triangle, sawtooth, pulse and noise waveforms.
As well as being used as audio, these sounds can also be employed as control voltage sources and set to cycle continuously or operate as one-shot impulses. This means that 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 NTS-2’s slightly unusual feature set is topped off by a tuner that offers multiple display modes. The end result is what Korg is calling a studio Swiss Army Knife for musicians.
Shipping with the hardware is Patch & Tweak with Korg, the latest in a series of books from Bjooks. This focuses on semi-modular synthesis, and its tutorials, tips and tricks lean heavily on Korg’s MS-20 Mini, Volca Modular and Arp 2600 M synths, along with the SQ sequencers.
The book covers everything from synth basics to advanced sound design, and includes more than 25 new exclusive interviews with the likes of Pete Townshend, Jean-Michel Jarre and Richard Devine.
You’ll need to build the NTS-2 yourself, but based on our experience with the NTS-1, this will be quick and easy.
We’re still waiting on a price for the NTS-2, and it won’t be available until early summer, but you can find out more on the Korg website.