“ENNER” - The new skin-reactive analog synthesizer by SOMA Laboratory
Whoever understands contemporary music understands the importance of the synthesizer as well. Some say that the synth plays a crucial role in modern-day music production, just as much as a human voice does. The magic of the synthesizer lies in a basic circuit that generates a tone, which can then be controlled by some sort of input, human or otherwise. Moog Minimoog, EMS VCS3, Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, ARP 2600, Yamaha DX7, and Korg Wavestation are just a few of the best ones out there.
Watching the synthesizer impact the development of so many other instruments while continuously evolving is fascinating and inspiring. And the new analog synthesizer "ENNER" created by SOMA Laboratory is an excellent example of that.
What makes their synthesizer different?
According to the creators of ENNER, anyone who uses this synthesizer can perform an entire exciting gig using this synth only. It can generate bits, pads, FX, noises, clicks, and glitches while simultaneously acting as a vocal mic with built-in analog FX and much more!
But this is what actually makes it more unique—it is a skin-reactive analog synthesizer that taps into users' "inner energy." After all, the name of the synthesizer itself is an amalgam of these two words, "Inner" and "Energy." But what does that mean?
Described as a "body-patching synth," it connects a player's emotional state to its pads through weak electrical currents. All of the pads are metallic, made to function both as inputs or outputs, and the human touch can patch the audio signals and change the parameters.
What's the science behind it?
"Your hands become the central part of the circuitry. Touching different contact pads with different parts of your fingers and palms with different amounts of pressure, letting signals pass through your body, defines the mixing, volume, timbre, feedback, and other parameters of synthesis", the definition on the official website reads.
Hence, SOMA Laboratory makes the human body the critical part of the synthesis process. In a way, ENNER helps you “put your soul into your music”. And that’s beyond incredible and original.
According to SOMA Laboratory, "human skin has much more complex electric properties than we think. Our skin provides not just resistance but also some capacitive properties and even nonlinear dependence of conductivity from current, its direction, and time during which the current was applied."
Now, you may be wondering, “Is this even safe?” And yes, it totally is! The voltage applied on the pads does not exceed 12 volts and is safe for humans and animals. It slightly exceeds the voltage in the PP3, E-Block battery that we may find in children’s toys. The majority of people don’t feel any sensations in their fingers at all. But even if one does, it is usually a subtle sensation that may happen in some patches. This is considered to be a normal and very mild side effect.
What does ENNER feature?
The ENNER sound engine consists of seven parts that work together and have inputs and outputs that the user can pitch using their hands.
The users can control the stereo filters through the metallic touchpads in the triangle-shaped field in the middle of the instrument and create deep and rich filtering effects in the stereo image.
With the help of the two touchpads at the top of the triangle array, users can modulate and explore the many facets of a stereo delay.
The five-voice Synthesizer provides a tune control per voice as well as the option to pitch all voices simultaneously.
It also features a synthesizer for rhythmical clicks, basses, and octave tones based on a six-times by two divided master generator.
The built-in piezo pickup captures the sounds coming from the case itself.
The pink noise generator is located at the very bottom of the triangle-shaped touchpads array.
And last but not least, ENNER features an external in which lets you send external audio signals and process them through the array of filters and delay.
Who are the people behind “ENNER”?
After successfully creating the LYRA-8 synthesizer, Vlad Kreimer decided that it was time to take things further, so in 2016, he created SOMA Laboratory.
Today, it is a small boutique company of like-minded people who share similar visions and ideas, putting their time, work, and passion into creating equipment that produces top-tier-quality sound.
Their experimental, innovative approach and use of the best technologies resulted in creating the ENNER, which was also inspired by and developed together with Danish sound-artist SiSTOR (Dalin Waldo), the woman behind the name of the synth, and the design of the front panel.
SOMA Laboratory is based in Russia and Poland. While the Russian division primarily focuses on development, the Polish division provides manufacturing and business to meet international standards.
ENNER is manufactured only in the Russian production division, and it costs 440 Euros (without VAT, shipping, customs, money transfer expenses).