NAMM 2015: Vermona

Photo By Natefrogg

Coming at us with a beautiful blue fully analog synthesizer, Vermona's new '14 sounds even better than it looks. With 2 voltage controlled oscillators (sine, ramp, and square waves) each with variable pulsewidth and suboscillators (sub1 is a sine wave, sub2 is a square wave) along with ultra snappy envelopes, this keyboard is about far more than just monophonic basslines. I was able to dial in various percussion sounds quite quickly, such as hard hitting and strong kick drums, from very long 808 style to snappy hit you in the gut 909 style kicks, on to awesome slightly detuned leads of all sorts and more. The panel layout makes sound design like this quite quick and intuitive, everything is hands on and ready to go at an instant. For more experimentation in timbre there is frequency modulation into the voltage controlled filter which feeds from the first oscillator, two envelope generators with your standard attack, decay, sustain, and release, an externally clockable lfo with ramp, reverse ramp, square, triangle, saw, and random waveforms that can be routed into the secondary vco and voltage controlled filter. The 24/18/12db slope vcf needs a mention at this point; the Vermona '14 has one of the creamiest and smoothest filters that I have had the pleasure to play with, setting the lfo to a very low speed and enabling it on the filter, then playing through some basic arpeggios by hand was a wonderfully satisfying experience by itself. It reminded me in a way of playing an old Roland Juno 60 with the lfo set quite slow on the filter but with a slightly more aggressive and sharper tone to it than the Juno's rounded tones, of course with the fm alone the sound design capabilities far exceed that of a Juno. The keys felt great to play and even have aftertouch and velocity, so I didn't engage the arpeggiator aside for too long, the arpeggiator has several different modes though, going up and down and random and even following the keys that you just played; it can be clocked externally as well. Regarding inputs and outputs, there are cv and gate outputs on the back of the synth and since the keybed is a real joy to play, it would be lovely to use this as a control voltage keyboard controller. In addition to all of the synthesis capabilities; there is an audio input jack so you can feed any instrument into it and use it as a filter and audio shaper. It would be fun to pair the Vermona with something like a Future Retro XS or S.E.M. unit to cv control then feed back into the '14.

Vermona outdid themselves with this gorgeous instrument, a beauty to look at and to play through and through, from its fully analog heart to its blue exterior, this is a well constructed, sturdy and great sounding instrument. Pricing is to be announced.

An excellent video overview by Novamusik:

Written by Natefrogg

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