Minerva 8 Polyphonic Synthesizer

Monday, October 2nd, 2006 | 5:56 am and filed in Reason, peff, Combinator, ReFill.


If you’re a regular on the Propellerhead Software User Forum, then you may have already downloaded this new ReFill. It’s a specialized combinator dubbed the Minerva-8, a Malström based synthesis system that uses three simultaneous oscillators to simulate an analog synth.

This is nothing new - a lot of people stack Malströms in a combi - big deal. True, in fact the setup is relatively simple. It was actually inspired by some of the RB-303 combinator patches where I added the Sub-Oscillator section. This is something i’ve missed in Reason synths, so i made some patches that added the extra low tone.

What is new are a couple of destabilization features. A pair of Random LFO signals are used to generate a super random control voltage that alters pitch. These same LFO signals also modulate the center frequencies of both stages in a PEQ-2. The subtle undulation of the EQ curve creates a less pure or “perfect” soft synth tone. These modulations are perceptible but not to the point of making the patches musically unusable.

Each patch has a unique skin that indicates various settings like the filter envelope, amp envelope, and oscillator settings. Certain Patches use a combination of Sawtooth and PWM waveforms, while most use a combination of Saw and Square. As you browse through the patches, you can find one that comes close to what you need, then quickly adjust the frequency, resonance and effect settings.

There is no velocity to amp modulation in the Minerva-8 patches because I wanted tones that imitated one of my favorite synths (also named after Roman Dieties), the Juno. I always loved making inverted filter envelope modulation sweeps on the Juno-106, so there are a few included in the Minerva patchset.

The labels of the devices in the combi rack have been replaced with dashes. While some might think this is intended to deter reverse engineering of the patch, it’s actually designed to be a feature of the combi. When you go to direct a sequencer track in the device list, you will see the combinator label followed by rows of dashes. This will help you quickly identify the Minerva-8 combi and assign it to sequencer track.

Think of these combinators as a bunch of presets that you can scroll through. The modifiers are limited, but there are a variety of envelope and modulation presets. Find one that matches what you need, then simply adjust the parameters to your taste. Despite being labeled a “Polyphonic” synth, there are also a couple of mono patches.

Minerva-8 Combi Controls

FREQUENCY Knob controls the filter cutoff frequency of the Malström filters.

RESONANCE Knob controls the Malström filter resonance. Modulation has been scaled to limit resonance to a useful range.

SAW - SQR or SAW - PWM This is a crossfader control that mixes between the primary sawtooth oscillator and the square or PWM (pulse width modulation) oscillator. There is always a sawtooth on these patches. SQR or PWM is indicated by the graphics on the skin.

SUB Rotary controls the level of the Square wave oscillator transposed down an octave. Increasing the Sub control adds a bigger low end to the tone.

MODE I/III Button, toggles two different UN-16 settings.

ENABLED Switches the UN-16 Chorusing effect ON.

SATURATOR Enables a Scream 4 Tape Compression effect.

REVERB switches on a preset RV-7 Reverb Effect.

Minerva-8 “Sequentia” Combi Patches

Included are several gated sequence patches. Within these patches, a Matrix Pattern Sequencer is preprogrammed to trigger gate events. These are [RUN] type of patches and will only work while the RUN PATTERN button is enabled. In order to change the pattern, click on the “Show Devices” button and find the Matrix and select a different gate sequence.

The Matrix Sequencer is labeled as “- Gate Pattern”, so you can quickly identify it and add automation to switch the patterns in your track.

Also, the RV-7 is replaced with an RV-7000 with a stereo delay effect rather than reverb for extra rhythmic fun.


Hope you find some use with this latest Combi Refill. You can download it from the following link:

Download Peff 031 - Minerva-8 Synthesizer.rfl 4Mb Zip File.

5 Responses to “Minerva 8 Polyphonic Synthesizer”

  1. KRichards Says:

    Thanks so much ! I can’t wait to try it. ‘May be just what I need to complete my latest project.

  2. lagowski Says:

    Class as always :-)

  3. Jim Says:

    These are flat cool. But you weren’t kidding. A couple of them are serious bandwidth hogs!

  4. Martin Says:

    Very nice patches as always Kurt, thank you for sharing. The skins are handsome too.

  5. Polyphonics Says:

    I’ve been looking for a patch like this for ages and just wanted to say thanks for putting in the effort to put something like this out there.