A swarm of buzzy oscillators may sound good on their own but try to shoehorn them into a mix and you may find yourself madly attempting to dial back the sheer analogue-ness. This is why for some dance music genres—particularly techno and house—less is often more. The Roland Juno-106 is an evergreen synth precisely because it stays in its corner sound-wise. Likewise, Sequential’s Prophet 6 has become a modern classic thanks to its clean sound.
Native Instruments’ excellent analogue-modeling Super 8 takes a cue from DCO (digitally controlled oscillator) synths of the ‘80s like the 106, as well as more modern fare, and packages it in a clean interface. It has all the usual features you’d expect from an analogue polysynth, as well as a few that you might not.
Loading into Reaktor (either the full version or the free Reaktor Player), Super 8 starts with two oscillators, both featuring mixable sine, sawtooth, and square waveforms. Each oscillator also has a square sub-oscillator. While you might not be surprised to find square wave pulse width modulation, you may not have expected modulation of the sawtooth and sine waves, bringing to mind Roland’s underrated Alpha Juno-2.
Other welcome features include filter modulation of oscillator 2, snappy envelopes, extensive modulation routing, and an excellent effects section, including flanger, delay, reverb, and of course chorus.
But this list is all about sound, so let’s cut to the chase: Super 8 is clean and modern like a DCO yet packs quite a bit of power and punch. And it can get dirty if you need it too. The filter section has a Character knob, which adds drive and saturation, and there’s a global drift knob that adds randomized detuning to the oscillators to emulate vintage instability.
Super 8 is a great and flexible instrument for any producer looking to add a modern-sounding analogue synth to their arsenal. And at this price, it’s a real no-brainer.