Novation Bass Station II


I found this gem made with Bass Station 2:

That and the Sonic State review video have left me quite impressed with the synth. For some reason I’ve been craving for a separate mono synth for a while, and I’ve pretty much narrowed my choices down to MS20 mini, Arturia’s Brutes and this.

The one major problem I have with BS2 is the lack of CV/Gate inputs - I really like using the A4 and playing around without a computer distracting me, but A4’s lack of MIDI sequencing means it’s a bit difficult to fit BS2 into all that.

Though I guess my hands need something to do while the A4 sequences are running…


says it all really, impressive new analog. fuck roland!!!


Having bought the original BS1 back in the day I was keen to check it out.

Buying the MS20mini, Minibrute and BS2 I sold the first two purchases.


I have a question to the BS2 owners.

Taking into account that BS2 doesn’t have a CV is it possible to make such a trick:
If i connect BS2 to my A4 by MIDI (A4 midi out - BS2 mini in) will BS2 receive midi clock and if yes will BS2 sequencer work in that scheme?


^ I don’t have either the BS2 or A4, but the A4 will send clock, you just can’t use it to sequence external midi. Check out Dataline’s BS2 video where he sends clock from the A4 over midi and uses the BS2’s sequencer.


Yes, I’ve done that, but keep in mind, that the sequencer of the BS2 will not start with the A4 in sync. The BS2 ignores MIDI clock start/stop messages For the BS2 sequencer to start you need to press a key on the keyboard or press the hold button. And yes, you have to do it perfectly in time otherwise it will be off a few micro beats (look up MIDI clock resolution).

What annoyed me on the BS2 is, despite the rhythmic variations or rather preset patterns (can’t be customized) for the arp and the sequencer, note lengths are too long. instead of 50% they mostly use 75% note lenghts (except one pattern, that has 8th notes at 50%) and you will need that patterns to set clock divisions if don’t want to stick with 16th notes.

Take a look at that little chart I’ve done:

So in summary it depends on your workflow, but it could be you’ll not get super happy with this combo.

PS: yes, the patterns offer velocity variations, they are added to the velocities programmed in the sequencer and/or arp


New Firmware and Librarian Software:

Firmware Changes (version 540):

  • Implemented new patch format (version 2) with support for patch name
  • Improved output jitter, jittery pots/faders, phantom data
  • Improved tempo detection and lock on
  • Fixed MIDI DIN SysEx output issue
  • Arp Rhythm, Arp Pattern and Arp Octaves/Seq now light “value changed” arrows
  • Added text for Arp Pattern modes
  • Added new mode for Arp->MIDI (“Out”), MIDI->Arp ("In ") using Function+Arp Latch button
  • Added ability to send MIDI CLOCK/START/STOP using Function+Arp On button

Will try it out tonight…


This is great news. Thanks for sharing. But it seems I first have to upgrade my apple from OS 10.6 to 10.8 for running the new BSII editor.


Sorry for resurrecting such an old thread,
Does the BS2 keyboard send polyphonic note data / chords?

I’d like to send 2 and 3 note chords to my A4 from a kb controller with aftertouch (in an attempt to cure GAS for Analog Keys). Rather than spring for a simple midi keyboard controller, I figure for a couple hundred more I can get a used BS2 and get a decent mono synth to be sequenced by my MonoMachine as well. But it’s got to be able to send chords. I know the BS1 did, does the BS2?


I believe it does do polyphonic midi, but I’ll have to check this when I get home.


I have A4 and BS2, and yes, it does send polyphonic midi to A4. I’m not sure about aftertouch, though. It sends aftertouch for one key at least, but haven’t tried for multiple keys at the same time.

It’s great on it’s own, I love mine! Really deep basses and editing is fun. There are a lot of duplicated controls behind switches and some settings behind function and keys, but it’s still pretty fast to dial patches. And memory function is great to have.


You guys are crazy, I recently tried most of the new analog monos in a shop (bs2, sub phatty, ms20, brutes) and the Moog blew away everything on the table in terms of raw osc sound.


Well, sure if you have money to throw on the table! Sub Phatty 1100€ vs BS2 400€…
Kinda different beasts.


Channel after touch is groovy enough.
Have to say for all the years I was in possession of my Ensoniq sq80, I only wrote two tracks that really made use of poly after touch.

Thanks for the info, folks.

And re: Moog, of course an apple is better than an orange! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Yes! Thanks for sharing this, I had no idea and should have been looking for it. I think I even recently went poking around Novations website for a new firmware but it didn’t bring up these new betas. I’m really hoping this allows the arp/seq to sync with midi clock properly.

Because I love my BS2. Sound wise it’s probably my favorite mono synth. I just really enjoy the way it sounds. Like a high definition SH-101 with a lot more features. You can even whack out some FM sounds using the self oscillating filter, filter FM and for a 3rd OP, LFO 1 to OSC 2 with keysync on. The filters are really versatile and the acid filter with the overdrive up just a bit is a real sweet spot for sonic warmth. And the keys are great, very high quality fatar synth action, the same keys I have on my SL MKII.

I also before I bought it, tried out the other synths in the store and preferred it over the Sub Phatty and Minibrute by quite a lot. It’s all personal preference of course. I also really like the way the Pulse2 sounds (from demos, I haven’t used it personally) but it has no keyboard, a matrix editing interface and is several hundred more.

EDIT: Looks like the BS2 still doesn’t receive START/STOP transport commands so you can’t trigger it like you would most devices. It can however have it’s Arp/Seq triggered from a incoming midi note to start in sync. Better than nothing at all (it was impossible to keep in sync before) but still not there yet. if anyone wants more info.


Well, sure if you have money to throw on the table! Sub Phatty 1100€ vs BS2 400€…
Kinda different beasts.[/quote]
Sure, but a bunch of people in this thread said they preferred the sound to the moog. The BS2 is definitely a lot of synth for the money, and FWIW I own an ms20 mini, but the moog is just something else.


Well, sure if you have money to throw on the table! Sub Phatty 1100€ vs BS2 400€…
Kinda different beasts.[/quote]
Sure, but a bunch of people in this thread said they preferred the sound to the moog. The BS2 is definitely a lot of synth for the money, and FWIW I own an ms20 mini, but the moog is just something else.[/quote]
“a bunch of people” ?
Are we reading the same thread here?


I have BS2 and a Slim Phatty and if I had to choose one, I’d choose the BS2. It sounds great and is more versatile than the SP.

The SP has few great sounds that you know it’s a “Moog” but it isn’t as versatile. BS2 is one of my favorite synths I own right now. It can sound warm or hard and nasty. It has a very much a old Roland sound which I like.


New Firmware Bass Station II v2.5:

The v2.5 firmware update adds some of the most requested features including filter tracking, paraphonic mode, microtuning and new preset Soundpacks. Installation couldn’t be easier from the Novation Components content manager.

Paraphonic mode

Bass Station II is now a paraphonic monosynth, because you can control the pitches of each of the two oscillators separately in its single-voice architecture. Play two notes at a time rather than just one and get interesting interactions through the Ring and Filter Mod.

Filter tracking

Filter tracking was one of the most requested features. The filter includes variable keyboard tracking in Bass Station II v2.5 – the best for matching higher notes to increased brightness.

Envelope retriggering

Bass Station II’s secret sound-design weapon is envelope retriggering. It’s now possible to configure your envelopes to retrigger once the decay stage has ended, opening up a whole range of new possibilities.

Oscillator error

Oscillator error introduces a small and adjustable random detune on each note-on event. This can be used to generate some very beautiful, subtle (or not) musical dissonance, very much in the same way that vintage synths do (because of the looser tolerance of their electronic components). Paraphonic mode makes it as dramatic as possible.

Microtuning editing

Completely control the frequency triggered by each key press, giving your scales another dimension.