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ASM Hydrasynth Explorer


Digital wavemorphing synthesizer

  • 37 velocity sensitive "medium size" keys with aftertouch
  • 8 voices
  • Monotimbral
  • Full polyphonic aftertouch
  • Arpeggiator including ratchet, chance, gate time & swing (8 modes)
  • 3 oscillators with 219 single-cycle waveforms
  • WaveScan parameters for modulating through wavetables
  • Wavelist mode for crossfading up to 8 wavetables
  • 8 user-defined wavelists per oscillator
  • Mixer including noise generator and ring modulator
  • 2 filters (serial or parallel)
  • Filter 1 with 11 different filter models (12 & 24 db ladder, vintage ladder, HP, LP, vocal etc.)
  • Filter 2: 12 dB (SEM style) incl. Continuous sweep from low pass to band pass to high pass
  • Modulation matrix
  • 32 user-definable modulation routings
  • 5 DAHDSR envelopes
  • 5 LFOs
  • LFOs incl. Delay, fade in, 3 trigger modes, smoothing, start phase, one-shot mode
  • 5 banks with 128 patches each
  • 256 factory patches
  • CV gate outputs
  • 8 high-resolution encoders including LED rings
  • OLED displays
  • Support of all common CV/GATE standards
  • Clock input and output
  • PC/MAC-based Patch Manager plug-in
  • Pre- and post-effects for sound editing
  • Optional battery operation (8xAA batteries)
  • Dimensions: 554 x 247 x 58 mm
  • Weight: 3.46 kg
Available since December 2021
Item number 527778
Sales Unit 1 piece(s)
Number Of Keys 37
Touch-Sensitive Yes
Aftertouch Yes
Split Zones No
Modulation Wheel Yes
Number of simultaneous Voices 8
Sound Engine Digital
MIDI interface 1x In, 1x Out, 1x Thru
Storage Medium None
USB-port Yes
Effects Yes
Arpeggiator Yes
Number of Analog Outputs 2
Digital Output No
Display Yes
Pedal Connections 1x Pedal, 1x Sustain
Dimensions 554 x 247 x 58 mm
Weight 10,0 kg
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All prices incl. VAT
In stock
In stock

This product is in stock and can be shipped immediately.

Standard Delivery Times
Delivery free of charge expected between Thursday, 18.07. and Friday, 19.07.

40 Customer ratings

4.8 / 5

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27 Reviews

Awesome synth and controller
TomNL 12.12.2021
Being an enthusiastic owner and user of a Hydrasynth desktop, I didn't hesitate to purchase the Hydrasynth Explorer.
I love my Hydrasynth, but playing with pads isn't my cup of tea.
The Explorer offers polyphonic aftertouch and note off velocity in a handy format.

Although the case is plastic it feels and looks very solid.
The knobs are the same quality as on the other versions.
The keys are very nice slim keys. You can adjust the sensitivity of the polytouch to your wishes.

This is not only an amazing synth, but also a very versatile controller.
Almost every knob sends MIDI CC. When you select a module the CC's of the four macro knobs will change to their specific CC's.
The macro's can send any CC or NRPN you want, which makes it a very versatile MIDI controller. I use it mostly to control iPad apps and that works fine.

With the Explorer I got the perfect MIDI controller for me with a fantastic synthesizer on board in a very handy and portable format.
I hope Thomann will offer a case for it soon.


Stellar, as expected
Torstai 16.12.2021
I'm a mainly a bassist by trade, synth studio dweller by night. Bought mainly for a do-it-all keybass and a main desk synth / midi-controller

Having caught the hydra-bug when the original models released, and after steadily studying the manual thereafter, considering making the (rather sizeable) purchase , I jumped at the offer of the exact same engine, but in a smaller, more desk-friendly formfactor, AND with a smaller price-tag.

Despite the rather large amount of expectations I had grown during the wait, the Explorer dissapointed in no regard. I'll go by the list of initial concerns, and how they were met:

1. Keybed

Playability is paramount to me, so this requirement had to be met. The intstrument has mini-keys, as they had to be considering the width available. Despite this they don't feel like a significant compromise, and the feel is by far the best I've felt. No rattling, no plasticy of flimsy feel, a suprisingly sturdy response and fast, tactile action. I also didn't expect the poly-aftertouch to feel so natural, despite the small travel space. You really have to dig into the keybed to hit 127, way more headroom than I would ever need for my playing. 3 octaves is enough for expressing harmonic ideas on two hands, and besides I can always turn to my 88 master keyboard If i need more (though I lack the polytouch on mine. (hint hint, ASM...))

2. The lack of space

Definitely not a big problem. once I got used to the button layout, I patching mods as fast as I could think of them. I'd say I have 90% of the speed I have programming my knob-per-function prologue. Having every control really close by is great for performance and one hand playability. (Also the filter knob and volume being by the mod-strips is a great touch, as I am always riding on those when performing)

3. Overall quality

Solid, good weight, STURDY knobs. I try to wiggle one and the whole table shakes, I think that says enough. Doesn't feel like a corner-cut downsize unlike some other mini-synths.

Overall pros and cons:

- Giggable, fits in my backpack.
- Well built.
- Way more features than I could need, but without feeling overwhelming - by virtue of the excellent ux. Feels like you can't hit a limit or creative roadblock when patching.
- Polytouch + touchstrips + bucketloads of mods + random button= Most expressive piece of gear I own, in terms of sound-design AND playing.
- Also sounds excellent, which is most important.
- 600 eurobucks. You can't beat that.

- "No" step sequenser. Though the arp and lfos(!) allow the possibility of stepped, chromatic sequensing, and I don't know where they could even fit a fully featured one. If they tried to cram more power into a space this small I think it would cause a supernova.

If you're on the edge, I'd say just buy it. Support great synth-design.


schmodular 28.07.2023
- Keys are pretty comfortable, despite being small. Significantly nicer feeling than the Microkorg/Mininova, or the Minilogue/Monologue styles of mini keys. Polyphonic aftertouch is very fun, and sensitive to taste.
- Programming interface is brilliant, similar to the old Ensoniq instruments.
- Feels solid, hefty but not too heavy.
- Mod matrix shortcuts are great, as simple as patching a modular synth.
- Knob placement around right side screen is a little annoying in practice, easy to cover it with your hand.
- The manual is stellar.
- Sound manager software is straightforward and lightweight, without annoying logins or DRM.

- Really outclasses a lot of the other stuff in this price range and form factor on paper.
- Requires a bit of knowledge to do straightforward things on other instruments, eg. FM, or PWM
- Missing the CV inputs of the bigger siblings, which is understandable but slightly disappointing in practice.
- Runs on batteries.
- Firmware 2.0 is essential to install.
- Great little MPE controller for software synths. Local midi off, and separate transmission and receiving channels is great for using with gear like Digitakt.

- I really like the fuzzy digital thing it leans in to naturally.
- You can get in the territory of vintage analog poly stuff, with some work in the mod matrix.
- Most of the presets are kind of dull, and shop floor oriented.

- First unit shipped with an obviously defective screen. Not Thomann's fault, but makes me question factory quality control.
- Knobs and buttons feel good.
- Rear jacks are a tad more wobbly than acceptable. Not secured to the panel.

- Fully realized dream of the Ensoniq synth days, without the nightmare and heartbreak of vintage electronics.
- Modulation matrix depth, mutants, voice parameters, pre/post fx really stand out from other hardware of recent years.
- Really fun and rewarding instrument to sit with on the couch and experiment.
- Bigger ones are probably "better"


Digital is the new... Digital
Spyros_VJ 13.07.2022
Ah, Hydrasynth!
Bought the Hydrasynth to complete my -mostly- analogue synths setup. Chosen the Explorer to accommodate my limited space.
This is an amazing, feature-packed, proudly digital, deep as the abyss, synthesizer with amazing, AMAZING sound and functionalities. It can be cold, warm, analogue-esque, it can sing, talk, growl and chirp (all at once). A chameleon instrument with countless tricks under its sleeve.
Did I mention how good it sounds? And also how expressive it can be with the use of Poly After Touch!
If you're -like me- thinking ""what more HYDRA can do compared to a VST?", think again. Then toss that thought in the bin and buy it. No regrets here.
Inexperienced users, that get intimidated by menu-diving or myriads of options might look elsewhere.
Mildly or highly adventurous musicians / sound designers who don't get constrained by digital Vs. Analogue pseudo-dilemmas, or want to dive into sonic landscapes composed by 0s and 1s and change it, this is your thing.
Bravo ASM team!
Thanks Thomann for the speedy & safe delivery.



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