Synth Spotlight: Diva


Today we’re covering u-he’s Diva. More specifically, the fact that it that allows you to mix and match components however you damn well please.

Curious to see what classic synths each of Diva’s modules emulates? This here reddit thread answers that question for you, so I don’t have to. God, I love the internet.

Have any suggestions for future synths to spotlight? Drop a comment below!


Welcome to another edition of Synth Spotlight. Today, we’re gonna talk about Diva. What makes it different from other synths? What makes it awesome, why you should care.

In a nutshell, it’s an analog emulation, but it’s different from others for two reasons. Number one, the quality is hard to match, just listen to this default patch. So warm it’s just beautiful. You told me that was analog I’d believe you. But on top of that, to go along with this quality is this flexibility and semi-modularness, that’s really interesting.

This section up here, right now is emulating a Minimoog Model D. But you can swap up each component to emulate a different classic analog synths. So for example, DCO gives us a Juno-60 oscillator, but we’re still with our Minimoog ladder filter. So we can mix and match different components, we’ve got five different oscillators, five different filters, a few different envelopes. So you can get these almost like Frankenstein analog synths, or you can emulate in an analog synth specifically and accurately.

It’s kind of up to you. And on top of all that is this section down here that is more of a standard digital plugin kinda section. You got both legend LFOs, effects, this whole trimmers section which I’ll talk about. So it’s this combination of awesome analog sound with digital plugin flexibility. So let’s jump right in. I’m gonna hop over to the preset section, go to templates, and we can draw up a specific synth.

I’m gonna go back to the Minimoog, and here we are. Now, the Minimoog is known for a lot of things, but one thing that was great was its basses. So I’m gonna make a bass here. And one of the things that really gave its sound was its filter known as a ladder filter put down a bit Just a nice sounding warm filter. Let’s add a little bit of filter or envelope We’ll switch to mono Oh, beautiful. Emphasis is resonance and if you really wanna push the saturation, this filter, we have this feedback knob which drives it. Awesome sound.

Now here’s an example of mixing and matching over here in our envelope, attack, decay, sustain. No release by default, the hidden release stage is just instant. However, if you enable the release switch now it’s controlled by our decay knob. Let go and it releases at this decay rate. Let’s go faster. Okay, that’s fine, that’s the way the Moog was, so they’re doing an accurate emulation here.

But what if you want a full ADSR, let’s switch over to a different one ADSR. This is modeled after Roland Juno Synth. So here’s a great example, I want the Moog sound, but I hate the limitation of no release stage. Okay fine, switch, so now we have everything Moog except for our envelope. Another thing I love about the Moog is the wave forms can be morphed so, All right, still having to jump between square saw So like for example, I’ve got a saw square hybrid here. A

ll right, so now, because we’re using this type of oscillator, this Moog emulation, we get to have a bit of a waveform morphing feature. And then one more example of digital flexibility here, the Minimoog’s a monophonic synth, one note at a time, but this is a plugin, so let’s switch. Now it’s a polyphonic Minimoog. Mix and match. All right, let’s try another emulation.

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Let’s hop over to the Juno 60. Okay, like the Moog, you could do various things with this synth, however, one thing that was great about this synth was these warm lush pads. We’ve got pulse width control over here, controlling the pulse width of this oscillator’s waveform, being modulated by an LFO, so we get this moving washy sound and it’s layered in with a saw. However, we have multiple types of saws here. This one’s particularly nice. So I’m gonna do a nice filter synth ’cause this filter is great.

Let’s go a little bit brighter. So we’ve switched over to a different synth to get a different sound, and it sounds excellent. Now, another advantage to this oscillator compared to the Moog is this second section here. In the Moog, it’s locked in, right? This mixer comes with this oscillator, but when we switch to any of these other ones, becomes its own separate section, so right now it’s a simple high pass filter.

It’s doing nothing. I could jump up to three, to cut off some lows or I could boost the lows. So we get a bit more bottom-end out of our sound, but what I really wanna do is switch this feedback option. This is the feedback knob from the Moog. So now we are stealing one specific feature from the Moog so that we can drive this filter. Nice extra saturated Juno filter.

Okay, now I wanna look at another one of their presets. This is Digi-Uhbie, so this is a kind of a hybrid one they’ve created. Over here, this digital oscillator is a Jupiter 8000 and over here is their own kind of unique filter. It’s a combination inspired by a couple of different Oberheim+ filters and one other filter. And so what is our sound right now? This is big. Huge washy unison sound. We get this from our supersaw over here.

So the Jupiter 8000 had this supersaw, which is essentially like a unison saw. I’m gonna set the mix to once, we’re only hearing this oscillator and this is kind of like sort of a unison detuner They may think, “Well, big deal, I can get unison detuner on most synths now.” But the thing about classic, the supersaw was the unisons back then weren’t perfect, and that sort of non uniformness of it gave you a fatter unison. So with our Jupiter, we’re getting this awesome big, supersaw sound.

Now, we could make this a more accurate emulation per se. Switch back to cascade. This is the filter we saw when we were messing with the Juno-60, Roland used the same filter in multiple synths. So this gives us a more true Jupiter sound, I guess you could say. But the Uhbie sounded pretty awesome. It’s an aggressive filter. It’s really cool, so look, we’ve now, we’ve created a unique analog sound, one that you can’t get with any specific synth, only in Diva can you get this combination.

To go along with the supersaw as well, we’ve got some pretty unique waveforms over here, some noise And you can kinda morph them, down here, I like this, it’s kind of a sine saw. Oops sorry wrong knob, this one. Right, we can mix in a sine wave. Give us a nice fat saw, but for me it’s all about this supersaw, that’s why I love this oscillator.

Now, if you wanna learn exactly what each of these oscillators is emulating, which synths they’re modeling after in each of these filters, there’s a link below in the description, it’ll take you to a Reddit post where someone went through each one in detail and talked about what it’s emulating. And one thing you can do is you can kinda go and learn about each of those synths, learn about what they are great for, people really loved them for. They’ll help you give you an idea of what kind of sounds Diva can be great for.

Now, before we finish up, I just wanna hop down here and talk about a few features in this digital section. In our Effects section, got a pretty standard selection. I kind of like in the chorus, you have few different types. In particular, this ensemble ones, so check that out. In our delay, there’s this wow knob, which is basically, it makes it kind of wobble.

The pitch wobbles a little bit, giving us a tape echo, that old school kinda analog delay synth. Another nice little analog touch, which you can dial it in, how analog do I want it? Do I want just a little bit of that perfect digital or some heavy tape delay?

And then one other kind of unique one, rotary, this emulates a Leslie cabinet, which you’re usually paired with Hammond Organs. And the ModWheel as you turn it up will make it go fast. You don’t often see this kind of effect in a synth so I just thought I’d point it out. Now, another interesting aspect of digital flexibility applied to analog synth is this section here, is trimmers.

This allows us to kinda put into some randomness some variants in our sound. Classic analog synths they weren’t perfect, it’s just the nature of the beast back then. So things like pitch drift, where the pitch wasn’t always the same, kind of like bend a little bit here and there, or just any element of it not being absolutely perfect was part of the analog sound. This allows you to actually control that. In particular, this oscillator voice detune section is interesting. So let me step away from it for a second. Let me go up to the Moog. Crank all three oscillators. I can detune them here.

All right, we got a nice detuned sound However, I have another option. I can do it down here, but this time I can do it differently for each voice. So I hit a key and it will be controlled by these knobs. I hit a key again and now the voice detune is controlled by these knobs.

So for example, this is oscillator one, I’m gonna leave it there. I’m gonna detune oscillator two up a bit, oscillator three down a bit. I’ll leave this one the same. In fact, I’ll do it extremes, so you can hear the difference. Now watch the light. No, detune. Heavy detune. Now that’s weird and extreme, so let’s do something a little bit more, subtly different. so that’s something someone might not even notice, but as I’m playing, it’s gonna just vary a little bit from note to note. So we’re adding this sort of randomness in there, again, making it less and less perfect, but in a very intentional way.

One more feature, accuracy. So U-he Diva is very computer hungry. The reason it’s so great is because it uses lot of your computer power. And they’re very transparent about this, they tell you that right out front. They also give you the ability to dial it back though, by that divine, that’s the best possible quality. But if you’ve run into issues where it’s just pushing your computer too hard, you can dial it back as far as you need to.

And you can use your ear too, some patches you won’t hear as much of a difference, other patches you will. So as you’re changing settings, just listen, how does the sound change? That’s just a great trade off, so you can get the diva sound regardless of the power of your computer.

And lastly, check out the user manual, in particular it’s a good user manual. It’s written, written really well, easy to follow, understand, there’s like tutorials in there kinda and even patch recipes and stuff like that, its a excellent user manual. Right, if there’s any other questions you have that I haven’t talked about, comment below, happily answer.

You can also hop over to our forum and start a full on conversation. And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, like to post videos like this every week or two, whether it’s about a specific synth or a specific little synth quickies in which I show you how to program different types of patches and things like that.