Soma Laboratory - Flux

I love what Vlad is doing over at Soma, so news he is working on a new expressive instrument is fantastic news…

this is pre-release still, but already evokes memories of Theremin and the Ondes Martenot.
it’ll be interesting to see if that just this ‘engine’, or more generally this will be the feel.

no news yet on pricing or release date…


from soma website

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wow!
There you have it: a Polyphonic Theremin

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yeah, it’s looking special…esp. as Vlad has proven he can create instruments with character.
(imagine an orchestra made up of Soma instruments :love_letter: )

I wonder how many magnets it will support, its shown as duophonic, but I wonder if with multiple players you could get some more voices…though, I think it’ll excel as a monophonic instrument, and thats cool, we need these too.

what I love about this video (and Vlad’s in general) is his discussion about design principles, one of my favourite parts… always inspiring outside of the product he is showing.
(Vlad has a real knack of talking with vision, without sounding pretentious…a very down to earth visionary, seemingly not needing to feed marketing nor his ego - love it)

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Looks amazing, and based on a little time playing the Terra at SB this year, I’d imagine it’s backed up with a decent synth engine.

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I was really excited to see this too. I feel like I need to make my Wiggler synth as fast as I can before Vlad snatches up all the good expressive synth ideas!

I wonder if bumps or depressions could be designed into the case that you could rest your thumb on for more tactile position feedback. I would also like to put that right hand magnet on a ring around my finger to sort of forget that I’m holding it.

Something I noticed thinking through my own expressive synth designs is that the synthesizer. With both Terra and Flux, Soma has decided to take a more abstract route and only give the player macro controls. There is less focus on sound design and more focus on expression. IMO that’s similar to the experience with acoustic instruments.

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I see no reason why not, but it would restrict the range in the Z-axis (distance to controller), which is used by both hands.

That seems to be a common request. The comment I’ve read is that the controller also recognises which pole of the magnet is closest to the instrument, and while a ring wouldn’t prevent that it might be less intuitive? If there’s any controls on the instrument that you might want to adjust without activating the control, then it’s probably easier/quicker to put down the rod than take off a ring.

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Looks and sounds amazing, but all I see is blood.

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i’ve considered a couple of designs for the magnet. One a ring with sideways disk that sits between your fingers you turn with your thumb to adjust the pole, like a continuous pitchwheel. It could have slight detents to hold it in position once set, or maybe just finger pressure would be enough.

The other form is stylus or baton, which could be held more easily than jamming them in your fist like he has in the video. Then, you appear more to be conducting than slow-motion fist-bumping ;-).

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News from SOMA /FLUX on FB:

-/-

Hello, SOMA friends,
We have exciting news about our FLUX project!

We are working on a special breakout box that will turn FLUX into a powerful and unique MIDI and CV controller for your studio. All of the numerous parameters that are captured by the innovative FLUX keyboard will be available in MIDI and CV format. The breakout box will have 11 independent CV outs including two precision pitch volt/octave outputs and seven bipolar modulation outputs letting you control your Eurorack and analog synths with all the unprecedented flexibility that FLUX offers. The MIDI output will transmit all of these parameters as well, so you can connect any synth in your collection to FLUX.

We decided it will be best to offer the breakout box separately, as opposed to integrating its functionality into FLUX, in order to keep the FLUX as affordable as possible. This allows us to pack as much as we can into the breakout box without compromise, for maximum FLUX control over your existing gear. We hope you are as excited as we are about these new possibilities.

What do you think about this news?:slight_smile:

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good to hear the project is still alive !
their website is saying end 2024… so still a way off…

a separate box , I suspect some will be disappointed the midi is not on the flux itself - but it does kind of makes sense for the CV outputs.
from a design sense, I think nicely focuses the FLUX as an instrument (with its own sound).

as, for eurorack, with only two voices, then the rest is focused on modulation… it could be a good fit… as you dont need loads of voices.

of course, a lot of this depends on what ‘affordable as possible’ means.
with Soma, I can’t see this being sub $1500 - but imagine it’ll sounds and play really well.

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Seems to me like a sensible approach, and one similar to that of the Continuum. If you only want a standalone instrument, or are happy interfacing via MIDI, no need to pay for the additional CV control. I guess depending on how it’s done, it may also lead to a CV box that’s easier to have remote from the instrument and closer to your modular.

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in depth presentation :

currently hoping for 1000 euro (+tax) price point, which would be pretty cool.

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That retuning approach is interesting! If it can detect four of these magnets then playing this with two people and four hands could be cool!

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yeah no mention of 4 hands/magnets…

but we will find out pretty quickly… they’ll have to sell (and/or provide) spares, as its going to be very easy to loose these magnets … so someone it gonna try :laughing:
(and Im sure Soma thought about trying it)

I suspect it will work, from the interview, it was clear the (digital) engine is polyphonic.
I think the mono/duophonic nature is solely down to the sensors.
that said, there must be quite a bit of processing of sensor data to pinpoint the magnet in 3d space.

which makes me also wonder if there are proximity issues with multiple magnets, and how far they need to be kept apart… Id assume with the nature of the tech, there will be limitations here.

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Flux looks awesome, I’ll definitely grab one when it’s available. I agree with Vlad’s points that a good expressive patch usually requires so much fine tuning that it becomes impossible to do with a typical knob per function interface, so it makes a lot of sense to let the designer handle that and just focus on the performance/gesture aspect.

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Great Gesprächskonzert at SUPERBOOTH24.
Great “timbres” from FLUX … awesome low end…
17:00 minutes of the best we have heard/seen so far.

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i really like the “piece” at 6:55
gawd DAMN
the idea of playing engines instead of programing engines has a nice ring to it

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Soma have apparently opened up a waiting list for the Flux: [https://somasynths.com/flux_price/]

Price is not final but in the range of EUR1000-1200, not including taxes or delivery.

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Hmm, this makes it a lot harder, for me anyway, to consider buying SOMA instruments.

https://cdm.link/2024/07/vlad-kreimer-soma-founder-under-fire-for-event-in-occupied-crimea/

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yes, Vlad is a supporter of so called special military operation, which in human terms is a blatant genocidal aggression. So much for romantic engineering.