Dead Novations Society

No, that Bass Station you are trying to play isn’t dead. It’s just gone… to an undefined state.

I had a Novation Bass Station that did not produce a single sound. Although I could confirm that MIDI was still working – the device was sending Key ON/OFF and CC messages – and the LFO LED was blinking and responded to parameter changes, the synth was mute. And some research on Ebay and on the net confirmed that there are lots of Bass Station owners with the very same problem.

I assumed some electronical fault, a defective op amp etc. – after all, this Bass Station had been sleeping in a basement for about a dozen years, along with my beloved JEN and a couple of other old machines. In the end, it turned out to be a far more common problem: an incompetent user. And I fear that I may not be the only idiot in the world, and that quite a few of the Bass Stations sold as defective on Ebay are in perfect working condition. You only need to wake them up. 

Actually, the problem is so common that it is listed in Novation Tech Support FAQ:  The MIDI channels for input (Tx) and output (Rx) do not match, so the synth cannot be played with the built-in keyboard. Just like setting “Local Off”. Technically, the synth and the 25-key velocity-sensitive keyboard – quite nice actually for something that looks a lot like a toy – seem to be separate entities. 


So this is what you do: 

  1. Set the “Util. Mode” switch on the top left of the synth to the leftmost position (“KEY B”).
  2. Press the high E key – it is labeled “TX” – to tell the synth to set the MIDI Send channel.
  3. Press the leftmost C key on the keyboard labeled “1”. The keyboard sends on MIDI channel 1 now.
  4. Press the high F key – it is labeled “RX” – to tell the synth to set the MIDI Receive channel.
  5. Press the leftmost C key once more to set the synth engine to receive MIDI on channel 1 – where the internal keyboard is sending. 
  6. Play. Enjoy. 

You may use any other channel than 1, of course. 

Another problem may be a faulty 1/4″ output socket. As always, this is best solved by cleaning or, if that does not help, replacing the socket. My father’s wisdom holds once again: Most problems with failing tech are connected to connectors, or switches, or user error. 

Verwandte Artikel:

3 thoughts on “Dead Novations Society

  1. The BassStation is such a Beast! Even if you just Dig on the Surface of editing, it sounds amazing and offers a wide Range of Sounds. Love it, and it loves YOU!

    Once there were Editors and Patch Librarians to be found in the Net, but all the Links are dead/404 now. Maybe someone has a copy of the Stuff?

    Because one silly Limitation of this great little Thingi is, that it only has Memory for 6 Patches, plus the actual Patch you create. Whilst fiddling around with, you are ALWAYS tempted to Save a Sound for later use, and don´t want to overwrite the Others…

    Mail me at rincey (ött) web (dött) de for hints, or exchange on making Noize out of old and beaten Gear by misusing it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *