Future RetroVectra 2 Hybrid Keyboard Synthesizer


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Future Retro Vectra 2

Trekking into the fantastic interminglings of analog and digital, Future Retro's Vectra is a hybrid synthesizer with loads of unique takes on sound design and performance. Looking at the sound engine, we have four solid digital oscillators not only sporting a fantastic virtual-analog styling, but also offering 500 digital waveforms for a wide variety of sonic sculpting. Such carving can take place in traditional means like FM, RM, Sync & PWM or introduce newer takes like Future Retro's own Phase Slice, Fade feature, and even a variety of voice structures, including monophonic and eight different paraphonic modes. These oscillators are then balanced at a four-channel mixer stage with a variety of ways to be modulated, and finally passed to the analog multimode filter and VCA. Showcasing a wealth of filter types in the form of three low pass, a band pass, a high pass, and a notch, you have a variety of tools to tame, resonate, and shape all your signals in the traditional way of subtractive synthesis.

Not only are all these features modulatable, but a multitude of those not mentioned can be accessed, edited and modulated from the eight encoders and display at the center of the Vectra. Modulation is applied via the available five LFOs and six envelopes, all of which have extensive means to fashion a slew of synthesized sounds. Each LFO can access upwards of 500 waveforms that span speeds from sub-audio to extreme audio rates, sync to tempo and note-on, and can even be modulated themselves! Looking at the six envelopes, Vectra sports DAHDSR staging with precision timing of 0ms to 14.7 seconds PER stage, engageable looping, a multitude of envelope curvature, and much more. Additionally, each stage of the envelope can withhold two different values and morph between them to make more interesting modulation.

To focus a little more on Vectra's performability, 29 touch-capacitive keys present a different way of playing from a normal keyed, while still giving you all the same capability. Offering the same MIDI information, such as note on/off, pitch, velocity, and aftertouch, Vectra's keybed gives you unique tools for gliding between notes, 29 different scales to quantize to, and even linear or scale-based transposition. All of these parameters are also applicable to the fantastic arpeggiator and sequencer that are highly flexible and interprogrammable, in which you can swap between each to affect the other. The arpeggiator acts much like the sequencer in which you can set rhythms, velocity parts, and enter new notes in real time and edit step amount. To further your performance, the four available joysticks allow you control over a variety of parameters reminiscent of vector synthesis, with three set to certain parameters and the last being a completely assignable one. For making highly sculpted sounds with a variety of morphable parameters, let Future Retro's Vectra take center stage.

As of firmware 2.0, the Vectra has received a number of improvements and bug fixes. The sequencer has been updated, now with randomization over sequencer settings, a reset function, MIDI CC control of all sequencer parameters, as well as making the sequencer more performable with convenient parameter changes and keyboard enhancements. The presets have also been expanded, featuring contributions from Matia Simovich, Jon Sonenberg, and Drew Schlesinger. 

Vectra Features

  • Digital/analog hybrid synthesizer
  • Digital sound sources including four oscillators, white and pink noise, and ring modulators
  • Oscillators utilize virtual analog waveforms as well as 500 digital waveforms
  • Oscillator shaping includes Sync, PWM, Phase Slice, Fade, independent glide, beat detuning, monophonic or eight-voice paraphony, FM, AM, RM, and much more with modulation
  • Analog VCA and multimode filter with six filter types: 1/2/4-pole low pass, 2-pole band pass, 2-pole high pass, and 2-pole notch
  • Filter features flexible resonance response, keyboard track, and tons of modulations capabilities
  • Five LFOs with over 500 selectable waveforms spanning sub-audio to audio-rate speeds
  • Six morphing envelopes with DAHDSR staging, looping, 0ms-14.7sec per stage, response curves, and more
  • 29-note capacitive touch keyboards with original chromatic and diatonic key gliding with 29 selectable scales and two transposition modes
  • Includes arpeggiator and sequencer with flexible interchangeability between each, with up to 999 sequence files storage per sound file
  • Internal or external sync via MIDI as well as transmit MIDI to external sound devices
  • Four joysticks for pitchbend & modulation, four-channel mixer, filter cutoff & resonance, and a an assignable one
  • Eight variable encoders with a waveform scope and larger parameter display
  • Audio output: 1x 1/4" unbalanced
  • MIDI: In, Out, and Thru
  • Dimensions: 18.25" x 11" x 3.5"
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • Power: 15V DC (center-positive) 1A
Future Retro Vectra 2 Hybrid Keyboard Synthesizer Reviews