IK Multimedia UNO Synth Pro REVIEW

A few years back, we hailed the UNO Synth as one of the best options for those dipping their toes in the synth waters. That little desktop monosynth had a killer filter, had an easy-to-operate interface with sequencer and arpeggiator and sounded MASSIVE. All that bundled in a tiny footprint that would only set you back about $199.

Now, the folks at IK Multimedia have unleashed the PRO edition in two flavors, a desktop module (nothing personal IK, but we’re on module overload with the slew of releases from Behringer lately) and of course, the 37-key version. We chose this not only because of module burn-out, but also because it’s just more fun to interact with an instrument without having to control it externally. That said, we did of course have fun riffing on the UNO Pro using our PreSonus Atom controller over MIDI.

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Anyway, what makes this ‘Pro’? Well, the keys, of course, don’t hurt. And they feel pretty fine. Not amazing, but not cheap. And thankfully, they’re not teeny-weeny mini keys.

Add to that an additional oscillator (you’re now up to three) and a new multi-mode filter, and that kind of would have been enough. Adding an extra oscillator means you can now beef up the sound even more (bass lines are AWESOME on this thing with a little detuning) and it also means that IK has enabled you to perform paraphonically now. While we would have LOVED a true polyphonic synth at this price point, we’ll take what we can get. And playing paraphonically reminds us to dig into our old bag of Arp Odyssey tricks every now and again.

The sequencer and arpeggiator are still rock solid, and the build quality is nice, as well. Again, I don’t know why but we were expecting it to feel a bit cheaper. But it doesn’t, not in person. The menu and tactile controls will be familiar to anyone who’s fiddled with the Uno Synth or Uno Drum before, but even newcomers will be thankful that the learning curve is incredibly short. Most functions have a dedicated button and/or corresponding knob, and dialing in your parameters to, say, alter the modulation, is as simple as anything you’ve likely encountered before. The mod matrix is actually deceptively complex (that means it’s easy to use but can accommodate even the wildest modulations you can dream up), and the added effects are a nice touch (especially the overdrive, which is well implemented).

If you’re looking for something unique that won’t break the band, and Behringer’s clone army isn’t your thing, the new Pro version of the UNO synth is well worth a look. It’s priced right, it sounds great, it’s simple when you just want to rip, and complex when you want more involved soundscape possibilities. Highly recommended.

 

PROS:

easy to use, affordable, sounds huge, tons of sonic versatility.

CONS:

would love full polyphony

STREET PRICE:

$649

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