Red Sound Darkstar original version, courtesy of

A virtual analog synth built by the British company Red Sound. The Darkstar was an 8-voice unit packaged in a tabletop format. The voice architecture consisted of two virtual VCOs, one multimode VCF, one VCA, two envelope generators and two LFOs. The unit also featured a ring modulator and, unusually, a noise generator capable of three types: white, pink, and blue (a noise type in which power density increases by 3 dB/octave, such that it has little bass content).

Red Sound was a maker of DJ equipment, and the Darkstar was the company's first synth. Accordingly, the unit shared styling with the company's other products, with its notable red pushbuttons and large centrally-located joystick. Most parameters had dedicated controls, all of which sent MIDI sysex strings. Patch memory held 64 patches, and the unit was five-part multitimbral.

Red Sound produced two versions of the Darkstar. The two versions can be distinguished by the colors of their controls. The original was as described above, with red pushbuttons and knob caps; it was first produced in 1999. A notable feature of the original version was that it contained a slot where an EPROM could be plugged in, which transformed the synth into a vocoder, called the Vocoda. The conversion kit included an overlay for the panel.

The second version of the Darkstar, known as the XP2, was first produced in 2002. It can be distinguished by its gray buttons and knob caps. This version replaced the RCA jacks of the original with phone jacks, added assignable direct outs for use in the multitimbral mode, and added a chorus effect. However, most of the improvements were internal, improving the processing efficiency and replacing obsolete parts. This version also included an EPROM socket for conversion kits, and Red Sound planned to offer several; unfortunately, none of these ever made it to market.

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