Review of "Novation K-Station"

published 30/01/2003 | antsss
Member since : 06/01/2003
Reviews : 59
Members who trust : 14
About me :
Pro A great product on paper...
Cons ...ruined by awful build quality
very helpful
Sound Quality
Range of Sounds
Look & Feel
Design/Ease of Use
Instruction Manual

"For 400 quid you should expect more."

I could write a rave review about the features on this synth. The fact that it does everything my entire analogue collection does, the fact it has built in vocoder and effects, the fact it's small enough to put in a suitcase. Ok so it looks lke a bad trance nightmare with presets to match, and the manual spends more time talking about the A Station for some reason. We can overlook those things if the synth is good. You know what it can do, though - you've read the brochure - so I won't go into that.

What I do want to share is my experience (8 months use of a K Station).

Within weeks, if not days, by brand new factory-fresh K Station was rattling. Within two months, the rattle was louder. Three months, and the rattling was a serious worry as the pots began to feel loose. Novation gave me the OK to open the case, and I found a circuit board hanging off and four or five screws trapped in various nooks and crannies. Bear in mind this synth had been on short journeys but had mostly been used for studio purposes. It was brand new out of the box - barely avialable two weeks when I got it. The screws were supposed to be sealed into place. Brand new synths should not fall apart.

Second thing, the software. After an hour of excited experimenting on the day of purchase, it crashed. Another hour, crashed again. I began to learn when it would crash and avoided those situations/ keypresses. But is that of any use to a live performer? Add this to the fact that local control was permanently set to OFF (so no MIDI capability here!) and the most wonderful feature, the arpeggiator, crashing if set to run above a certain octave. It's all very well building the world's most amazing synth, but why bother if you're asking people to tread on eggshells?

And to add insult to injury, each preset selection was met with a healthy, noisy 'CLICK'. Use the pot to skim through presets quickly - 'CLICKCLICKCLICK'. Forget discreetly flicking between sounds when the sound that comes out of the amp is like a football rattle!

These problems really came to a head when I used the synth live on a hot summers evening. The heat seemed to affect it very badly. One song into the set, it froze. I re-booted, it froze again. And again. Each time it was stuck on one note and made an awful drone as the note stuck, and the keys and pots had no effect. In front of 300 people, this wasn't just an annoyance any more. This was a cancelled gig and a big waste of money.

I loved the K-Station when it worked. I absolutely loved it. I told everyone how I sold four analogue synths to get it and I didn't care what it looked like. But I cannot afford £400 for a piece of equipment that falls apart and crashes more than Windows 3.1. Novation need to start making sturdy products designed to be USED and ENJOYED. Pass over the K Station - check out the Microkorg or Nord Micro Modular instead... same product, same price, far better quality. I sold my replacement K-Station on eBay and will never buy Novation again.

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Comments on this review

  • timmyotoole published 30/01/2003
    A well-written & balanced opinion, chheers, Timmy.
  • Jaxle published 30/01/2003
    An excellent op - a good read and packed with useful (sadly mostly neagtive) info. Well done - cheers, Jaxle.
  • roberthart published 30/01/2003
    Hi, welcome to Ciao. A good well structured and comprehensive review. Thanks, Rob.
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Product Information : Novation K-Station

Manufacturer's product description

Keyboard / Synthesizer

Product Details

Long Name: K-Station

Type: Keyboard / Synthesizer

Manufacturer: Novation


Listed on Ciao since: 10/07/2002