Nonlinear LabsC15 Digital Keyboard + Flight Case
Nonlinear Labs C15
The Nonlinear Labs C15 is a 61-key digital keyboard intended to be played like an acoustic instrument, with an focus on expressive playing. There are no sequencers, arpeggiators, or LFOs—it even eschews MIDI connectivity. Rather, the emphasis is put upon playing the instrument over automation, something not often seen on synthesizers of late. The keybed is a 61-key Fatar keybed with semi-weighted keys and aftertouch. The interface is comprised of a large collection of buttons with an OLED screen and one encoder. The panel overlays are magnetic and can be swapped out to create new labeling for the buttons.
The sound generation section is named Phase 22, and starts with two sine wave oscillators. It then uses a combination of frequency modulation, phase modulation, wave shaping, subtractive synthesis, an exciter/resonator, and feedback to create a diverse range of sounds that go from very cold and digital to warm and organic tones. The filters come in two varieties, comb and state variable. The comb filter has a tunable delay, second order all pass filter, low pass filter in feedback path, and control of the decay time of the impulse response. The oscillators can modulate the delay, which has a similar result as phase modulation. The state variable filter has two two-pole filters with spreadable cutoff frequencies. It can crossfader between serial and parallel filter configurations, as well as the ability to crossfade between low pass, band pass, and high pass filter modes. The oscillators can also modulate the cutoff frequencies. Effects include flanger, cabinet, gap filter, echo, and reverb. There are both an output mixer and a feedback mixer for controlling the feedback bus.
There are three envelopes available as modulation sources. They are ADBDSR envelopes, which translates to Attack Decay1 Breakpoint Decay2 Sustain Release. Envelope A and B can modulate the amplitude of the oscillator/shaper, oscillator's phase modulation depths, or the input gain of the corresponding shaper. Envelope C offers bipolar breakpoint and sustain levels and can modulate the pitches and fluctuations of the oscillators, feedback signals, and the filters. There are two 800mm ribbons with 33 LEDs and pitchbender that can be assigned as modulation sources. Additionally, up to four foot switches can be attached for another level of modulation. The modulation sources can be routed to four macro controls as well, which can be assigned to up to 86 parameters to allow for fine or sweeping changes to be made easily.
The C15 has an unlimited number of undo stages, allowing you to easily recall that cool sound you had five minutes ago. Any Wi-Fi compatible device can be linked to the C15, allowing you to change parameters and save and recall presets easily. With the surge of automated parameters among synthesizers, it's refreshing to see an instrument committed to user performance.
The C15 ships with a dedicated flight case, making it safe and easy to transport to gigs both near and far.
- 61-key digital keyboard
- Phase 22 synthesis engine that utilizes FM, phase modulation, subtractive synthesis, resonator/exciter, and feedback
- Comb filter
- State variable filter
- Base keyboard and panel can be separated
- Unlimited undos
- Three ADBDSR envelopes
- Effects include reverb, delay, flanger, cabinet, and gap filter
- Output mixer
- Feedback mixer
- Connect any WIFI enabled device
- Four footswitch inputs
- Two 800mm ribbons
- Includes dedicated flight case
- Outputs: Main stereo TRS, headphones on TRS
- Inputs:Four analog pedal inputs
- USB host for data exchange and software updates
- 900 x 410 x 160mm/35.4 x 16.1 x 6.2"
Designed by former Native Instruments president Stephan Schmitt, the C15 is a synth designed to be played. By pairing techniques from classic FM and subtractive synthesis with physical modeling and a strong dose of feedback, it can create everything from broad, otherworldly soundscapes to uncannily realistic strings and percussion. It features a highly responsive keyboard with velocity and aftertouch, two full-length ribbon controllers, and a bender as its primary performance controls, completely eschewing MIDI or conventional internal modulation sources—so playing the C15 really is a matter of getting your hands on it and taking tactile control of your sounds.
The C15 is great for cinematic pads, classic FM sounds, electric pianos, strings, lush '80s synth pads, glassy percussion, and much more. It's big, it's heavy, and it has a sound all its own—there's nothing else quite like it altogether.