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Novation UltraNova vs M-Audio Venom vs Roland Gaia



I recently purchased a Novation UltraNova. As I was researching I compiled specs form manufacturer web sites and placed them into a spreadsheet from other synths at this price point so I could compare the instruments side-by-side. I thought I’d pass this info on to save you time if you were in the market.

Now while I chose UltraNova, you may read this information and come to a different conclusion based on your particular priorities. For example if you have an absolute need a multi-timbral synth Venom would be of interest. If near one-for-one knob for parameter control was a high-priority Gaia becomes more interesting.

As a  synthesist and controllerist, the UltraNova was a clear winner for me because of it’s analog modeling, wavetable synthesis, strong modulation matrix, aftertouch, strong effects, VST/AU editor and touch encoders.

I compiled this manually so if you find a mistake let me know. After you checkout this table, swing by my UltraNova 411 post.

Spec UltraNova Venom Gaia
Price $699.00 $499 $699
Aftertouch Yes No No
Analog Modeled Yes No Yes
Waveforms Square, sine, tri, sawtooth, pulse, 9x saw:pulse combinations. 20x digital waveforms, 36 Wavetalbes (w/ 9 waveforms each) 41 oscillator waves and 53 drum sounds sampled from vintage synths. SAW, SQUARE, PULSE/PWM, TRIANGLE, SINE, NOISE, SUPER SAW
Wavetable Synthesis Yes No No
Modulation Matrix 20 Slots 16 Slots No matrix, but you can select routing of modulators within signal path. Such as d-beam to pitch, volume, effects; LFO to pitch, filter amp depth
Modulation Sources 17 31 None
Modulation Destinations 66 (Includes FX Params!) 17 None
Filter Drive Yes Yes No
Filter Types 14 6 4
FM Synthesis No (There are however some FM waveforms in wavetable) Yes No
Envelopes Per OSC 6 3 3
Audio Input Can Be Processed by Synth Engine Yes No No
Vocoder Yes No No
Computer Editor Yes Yes Yes but costs an extra $99
Editor Runs as VST/AU Stand-Alone Stand-Alone
Control 8 Touch Encoders, Filter/Last Param Knob, Mod & Pitch Wheel Matrix, Mod & Pitch Wheel Nearly 1-for-1 knob sliders, D Beam, Mod & Pitch Lever
Front Panel Editing Experience LDC + Page linked knobs with  touch encoder focus. More dedicated back lit buttons for selecting sub menus than Venom Matrix + LCD Clear signal flow on front panel with nearly 1-for-1
User Preset Slots 508 (4 banks of 127 Slots) 512 single, 256 Multi 64
Effects Distortion (up to 2 instances),
Compressor (up to 2 instances)
, Chorus/Phase (up to 4 instances),  Delay (up to 2 instances), Reverb (up to 2 instances)
, Gator,  EQ, 12 band vocoder
Global: Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser. Insert: Compression, EQ, Distortion, Bit Reduction, Decimation, 
Audio Interface 2 in 4 out 2 in 2 out USB Audio Streaming in from Gaia
Multittimbral No 4 No
Polyphony 20 12 64
Power Options Bus Power/AC AC AC/Batteries
Ableton Integration Automap/Stream Audio via USB Stream Audio via USB Stream Audio via USB
Keys 37 49 37

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer
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