Motas-6 Synthesizer

Fully-featured analogue monophonic synthesizer with powerful digital control and a super-flexible independent modulation architecture.

'Make the sounds of imagination'

Motas-6 has tons of modulation. There is no 'modulation matrix' - instead EVERY rotary knob parameter has its own powerful EG and LFO as well as individual amount settings from several global modulation sources. That's a total of 37 EGs and 37 LFOs.

There are 3 VCOs, noise source, 3 VCFs, 500 patch memories, arpeggiator, pattern sequencer, CV/gate inputs, USB MIDI, free DAW plugin software … and lots more!

Download user guide and free software , read the latest news and history of the Motas project. For further info get in contact and follow MotasSynth:

motas-6 synth with white panel finish

Quotes from Future Music/Music Radar review of Motas-6:

'Ultimately, the Motas-6 is an immensely powerful standalone monophonic synthesiser that has the ability to go into all kinds of interesting sonic territory.'

'Motas Electronics should be praised for their dedication in creating such an interesting piece of sonic hardware'

videos

Watch more Motas-6 videos on the MotasSynth YouTube channel youtube


audio samples

multi-VCO strings

fast bass with sweeping

multi-VCO hard-sync

s&h spacey sound

pulse-width modulation.

arpeggiator, VCF2, single VCO

Listen to more samples from Motas-6 on the samples page.


features

Motas-6 rear side view

Motas-6 is a powerful and flexible analogue mono-synth with digital control. It has three voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs) including hard-sync options, analogue phase-modulation and a sub-oscillator. Each VCO has several waveforms that can be freely mixed and modulated and each VCO can be assigned to track notes in various ways for paraphonic playing.

Motas-6 close-up showing LPF-1 screen

Motas-6 has a super-flexible modulation architecture: each and every rotary knob parameter has independent modulation settings from key, velocity, 4 modulation sources (from MIDI and CV/gate inputs) as well as from its own EG (Envelope Generator) and LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) - a total of 33 independent EGs and LFOs! There are also 4 global EGs and 4 global LFOs with individual amount settings for each parameter.

Motas-6 zoom showing knobs

Motas-6 has very powerful filtering capabilities. There is a 6-pole voltage-controlled low-pass filter (VCF) with adjustable resonance to self-oscillation (with selectable 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6-pole outputs), a 2-pole high-pass voltage-controlled filter and a second 4-pole resonant low-pass VCF (similar in design to that of a certain silver box from the '80s). The inputs and outputs of the filters can be connected together in various ways to give a huge range of filtering possibilities.

Motas-6 zoom showing oscilloscope screen

Audio monitoring options include real-time oscilloscope, spectrum analyser, volume level and MIDI input monitor displayed on the fast and bright OLED display.

Motas-6 zoom showing knobs

The oscillators are real analogue VCOs (not DCOs or NCOs). The oscillators, analogue noise source with pink/white output options and an external audio input feed into the pre-filter mixer which can be over-driven. There is a mixer 'boost' option for max. over-drive.

Motas-6 rear corner

Motas-6 is housed in a strong stainless steel and aluminium chassis with solid oak wooden end-cheeks. The top-panel finish options are plain stainless steel (with anti-smudge coating) or white painted. Motas-6 is powered from a high-quality 12V/1A multi-region adaptor (supplied).

Motas-6 zoom in of main PCB

Under the hood, besides the many components for the analogue circuitry, there is a powerful Arm Cortex-M4 processor running at 168MHz - this controls the analogue circuits, drives the UI and generates the LFOs and EGs.

Motas-6 rear connections

External connections on Motas-6 are: headphones out, main audio out (mono), audio input (mono), 4 CV/gate inputs (freely configurable with settings stored in non-volatile memory), traditional MIDI IN and MIDI OUT and USB MIDI (class compliant device so no extra drivers needed).

details

Oscillators

Motas-6 has three voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs). The oscillators are analogue VCOs (not DCOs or NCOs). Each oscillator has independent tracking options (when multiple notes are played): last note on, 1st note, 2nd note, 3rd note, highest, middle or lowest. This gives very flexible paraphonic playing capability.

The pitch of each oscillator depends on its individual pitch settings in combination with the master pitch parameter control.

Oscillator 1 has separate triangle, sawtooth and pulse waveform outputs. The pulse-width can be controlled (PWM). Oscillator 1 can be hard-synced to Oscillator 2 and/or Oscillator 3.

Oscillator 2 has separate triangle, sawtooth, square and sub-square waveform outputs. Oscillator 2 can be hard-synced to Oscillator 1 and/or Oscillator 3. The triangle and sawtooth waveforms of this oscillator can be phase-modulated by the triangle wave from Oscillator 1.

Oscillator 3 has separate triangle, sawtooth and pulse waveform outputs. The pulse-width can be controlled (PWM). The triangle and sawtooth waveforms of this oscillator can be phase-modulated by the triangle wave from Oscillator 1 or 2.


Mixer

The mixer takes the signals from the 3 oscillators, noise source and external input and outputs to the filters. The mixer output will distort (intentionally) with the highest input levels and there is a boost mode for even greater distortion.

Noise - an analogue noise source with selectable white/pink response has its own control for input level into the mixer.

External input / feedback - external audio can be routed into the mixer with its own level control. However, when nothing is plugged into the external audio input socket an audio feedback loop from after the final VCA is fed into the mixer instead.


Filters

Motas-6 has very powerful filtering capabilities. The 3 independent analogue filters can be chained and outputs mixed to the output VCA for powerful dynamic sound shaping. For example, combining one of the low-pass filters in series with the high-pass filter allows a band-pass response output where the response low and high points can be individually modulated to sweep in (potentially) complex and interesting ways!

Low-pass filter 1 (LPF-1) is a 6-pole voltage-controlled low-pass filter (VCF) with adjustable resonance to self-oscillation (with independent 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6-pole outputs). The input to LPF-1 can be set to: mixer (default), LPF-2, HPF, noise source, pulse wave of Oscillator 1, sawtooth of Oscillator 2, triangle wave of Oscillator 3 or the sub-square from Oscillator 2. Uniquely, the resonance feedback signal can be taken from 3 different locations in the audio path for 3 different sound characteristics.

Low-pass filter 2 (LPF-2) is a 4-pole low-pass voltage-controlled filter with adjustable resonance to self-oscillation. LPF-2 has a different circuit design and therefore sound character compared to LPF-1. The input to LPF-2 can be set to: mixer (default), LPF-1 (pole-1, pole-2, pole-4, pole-5 or pole-6), noise source or HPF.

High-pass filter (HPF) is a 2-pole high-pass voltage-controlled filter. The input to HPF can be set to: mixer (default), LPF-1 (pole-1, pole-2, pole-4, pole-5 or pole-6), noise source or LPF-2.


Output VCA

The output voltage-controlled amplifier (VCA) stage has a choice of analogue clipping/distortion options: dry, soft clip, hard clip, soft clip + hard clip, dry + soft clip + hard clip.

Super-flexible modulation

Motas-6 has a super-flexible modulation architecture: each and every parameter rotary knob has independent modulation from EG, 2 x LFOs (one global and one dedicated to that parameter), key, velocity and 4 x global modulators. There are 4 global EGs (Envelope Generators), 4 global LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators), 33 parameter-local EGs, 33 parameter-local LFOs and four freely configurable modulation sources from MIDI and CV/gate inputs.


Global modulators M1, M2, M3 and M4

Every rotary knob parameter has individual modulation amount settings from each of these 4 modulations sources. The source can be assigned from almost any MIDI CC controller plus MIDI pitchbend, MIDI aftertouch or analogue CV signals. The assignment is done in the setup menu and is saved with each patch. In this way an external controller can influence the sound across multiple parameters.


LFOs

Motas-6 has 33 independent high-resolution LFOs as well as 4 global LFOs. Each LFO has 50 waveforms to choose from including sine, square, ramp through to noise, pulses, bursts, complex shapes and pitched/sequence-style shapes. The frequency can be set from a very slow 0.001Hz to audio-rate 450Hz (period 1000s to 2.2ms). Each has its own trigger/re-trigger sync options and single-shot options. The global LFOs can sync to internal, MIDI or CV/gate clock.


EGs

Motas-6 has 33 independent high-resolution EGs as well as 4 global EGs. Each EG has Delay, Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release (DASDR) settings with ADR from a very fast 1ms to a sedate 34.6s.

Each EG has its own flexible trigger/re-trigger/note-track and repeat modes. Each EG has a choice of 3 response curves (exp, linear, log)


Presets

Motas-6 is a very powerful synth and has a lot of flexibility in controlling the sound, much like using a bank of modular components. However, unlike modular systems the entire patch setup can be saved to over 500 memory locations (10 banks of 50). Motas-6 comes with 3 banks (150 presets) already programmed to get you started.


Vector morphing

There are 5 instant-access patches available at any time (in RAM memory). In vector morphing mode dual external controllers allow the active patch to morph in 2-dimensions between the first 4 presets. On exit from this mode the resulting patch settings are stored to the 5th preset automatically.


Pattern sequencer

Motas-6 has a built-in pattern sequencer. 1-bar patterns of notes and parameter change data can be stored and chained to together into a 2 track sequence. In the sequence each pattern can be transposed, repeated and delayed. 15 patterns are active at any one time (56 patterns can be saved to non-volatile memory arranged in 7 banks of 8 patterns). 16 sequences can be saved (2 banks of 8 sequences). Not only does the saved sequence contain all 15 RAM patterns, also the 5 complete RAM patches are also saved ensuring that every detail of the sequence is captured.

Live changes to any of the sound parameters can be recorded in real-time and are saved with the pattern. The parameter changes are displayed in the pattern edit pages and can be edited after recording.


Arpeggiator

Motas-6 has a built-in arpeggiator that can be synced to internal or external clock (MIDI or CV/gate). Options including hold-modes, direction, note-range, swing, pattern, note-length and delay. The settings are stored with the patch.


Parameter changes over MIDI

Motas-6 has a USB MIDI connection (standard type-B connector) and can transmit and receive all parameter data changes in real-time using NRPN MIDI codes at 12 bit resolution (unlike many other products that are limited to only 7-bit) for high-resolution real-time recording and control of the sound. Free software is provided as standalone or VST/AU plugin (to use in your favourite DAW) for Windows, Mac and Linux.


Analogue CV / gate inputs

Motas-6 has 4 CV/gate inputs. These are digitally sampled at 2.5kHz and then each can be used to trigger note on, control pitch (all, or individual oscillators) or as a modulation source by assigning to the M1-M4 global modulators (the setup is completely flexible with gain/offset control and mode for each input) to allow your external analogue sequencer or other hardware to fully control Motas-6.


Monitoring

There are several signal monitoring options which can be fun and educational!

Level monitor - shows the audio signal level on the main out. Useful for monitoring signal levels. Also there is a dynamic limiting feature that can be enabled here.

MIDI monitor - shows incoming MIDI data on the MIDI IN port and USB MIDI port.

Oscilloscope - shows a real-time waveform of the output audio. The time and amplitude axes can be zoomed, auto-scaled and paused.

Spectrum analyser - shows a real-time spectrum (signal amplitude versus frequency) of the output audio. The frequency and amplitude axes can be zoomed, auto-scaled and paused.


Setup

In the setup menu are a series of pages to setup various Motas-6 settings which are stored in non-volatile memory. Settings and options include patch portamento (rate/speed), pitchwheel sensitivity, internal/external clock and tempo, MIDI channel, assignment of M1-M4 modulation sources, morphing modulators, CV/gate settings, global tuning, options for send/receive MIDI data, display contrast, automatic calibration of analogue circuitry and more.


Firmware updates

Motas-6 can be easily firmware-updated to enable new features in the future, using the provided free software.


User guide

Download the user guide to read the operation and features of Motas-6 in full detail. The user guide also features many hints and tips for patch creation.


top panel

Motas-6 top panel drawing highlighting sections
Motas-6 image in stainless steel finish

rear panel

Motas-6 rear drawing highlighting connections
Motas-6 image rear

specifications

Sound generation:  Fully analogue audio signal path: VCOs, VCFs, VCAs. Digital control: EGs, LFOs and modulation.
Dimensions:  408 mm (w) x 218 mm (d) x 58 mm (h)
Weight:  Approx. 3kg
Construction:  Stainless steel and aluminium chassis. Top panel finish stainless steel (with anti-smudge coating) or white painted. Solid oak end-cheeks and rubber feet
Analogue controls:  34 rotary potentiometers with rubberised knobs
Digital controls:  37 buttons + rotary encoder
Display:  128 x 64 pixel OLED graphic
Indicators:  44 LEDs indicating active parameter, active LFOs and EG signal, active patch, record mode, page lock and value lock
CV/gate:  4 CV/gate analogue inputs on 3.5mm mono sockets. Input impedance 22 kohm. Voltage range 0…12V max.
Audio input:  Mono input on 6.35 mm (¼") phone socket
Audio outputs:  Mono master and headphones on 6.35 mm (¼") phone sockets
MIDI:  MIDI in and MIDI out on 5-pin DIN sockets
USB:  USB MIDI on type-B connector, class-compliant device (no extra drivers needed)
Power:   12V DC 1A on 2.1 mm socket, power on switch