Making of: The Polivoks

The Polivoks is a rare synthesizer in the western world. It comes from Russia with love. A lot of love for the harsh sound and the military quality chassis.


I am aware this synth since the late 70s when listening to the prog band Omega. It is a duophonic analog synthesizer with a strong Lowpass and Highpass filter. The 2 Oscillators are offering Triangle, Saw, Square and Pulse waveforms.


Many years later, when looking for the real synth legends and with the vision to sample all them, I found one in a very good shape in Hamburg (Germany). The owner Sunny allowed me to record it, so I did.


The first obstacle is the language barrier: All parameters are written in russian, this means a filter cutoff reads среза фильтра . Even for a skilled synthman this is a challenge. But again Sunny was a big help and he explained the entire panel and how to work with it.



So I started to create one sound after the other and recorded them as potential multisample. I took 5 samples per octave and always with a decent length which depends on the individual sound. Sometimes I hold a key for about 10 seconds to capture the entire filter movement, and this is a very special one.



Now this Polivoks filter is really dangerous, and I literally mean it! It’s not the Cutoff parameter, it’s the Resonance. Turning this knob means to be very careful. Very careful! A slightly turn above the far mid section while the Cutoff is in the lower range and the Filter Envelope Decay is setted to a short time makes the sound very angry. Really angry, and it can even kill high frequency loud speakers, no joke. As well as a human ear.


Phew, having that I moved on doing sound after sound and recorded them, in this case directly from the instruments line out. There is so much power, no need for external amp/speaker system to enhance it.


I also did several longer parameter tweaking sessions to add them to the pure multisamples as typical Polivoks soundscapes.


Then the editing began. This means the entire sample recording session audio data was sliced into all the single notes and one-shots. All the pieces are manually cutted and truncated, normalized, polished and finally sustain-looped, what was the most difficult job. Finding seamless loops is a time consuming job when having such moving waves like those coming from the Polivoks. After all I made it though.


The result is The Polivoks sample library, currently available in the common NI Kontakt format. Other formats will follow later.


Check the youtube video clip here




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