Nonlinear Labs C15 Synthesizer Now Available To Pre-Order


Nonlinear Labs has announced that the C15 – a new high-end keyboard synthesizer – is now available to pre-order.

Nonlinear Labs is a new company, founded by Native Instruments founder Stephan Schmitt. The company was founded with the goal of making advanced electronic instruments for performing musicians, focusing on playability, expressiveness, quality, and durability.

The C15 is a polyphonic instrument with a digital sound synthesis architecture. The goal of the audio engine is not to model analog machines of the past or to play back samples or complex waveforms, but to focus on creating sounds that can be dramatically influenced by how you play.

The signal processing structure has been condensed down to an essential, yet powerful arrangement of carefully chosen components. The only signal sources are two sine wave oscillators. They are connected to each other and to a feedback bus for phase modulation and their signals are processed by two wave-shapers, a comb filter, a multi-mode filter, and a chain of five stereo effects.

The signals are generated in real-time by digital algorithms. The core components are two sine wave oscillators feeding a structure with phase modulation (often referred to as FM), waveshapers, a delay-based resonator, a multi-mode filter, and a chain of five effects. Feedback signal paths also play an important role in the sound character and responsiveness. Together, these elements generate organic and complex sounds with a natural instrument behavior.

The C15’s human interface has been designed for two purposes: playing and sound design. The instrument features a Fatar keybed with semi-weighted long-arm keys. There is a specially-designed ergonomic pitch bender, two very long touch strips (ribbons), and connections for up to four pedals.

The instrument itself is made primarily from wood, steel and aluminum.

Every parameter can be directly selected by a button. The C15’s functions are software-defined, but have a dedicated haptic control surface. In addition, a graphical user interface can be displayed and edited on any device that has a browser and Wi-Fi. The interface is optimized for touch screens and can be intuitively zoomed and panned with common gestures.

See the Nonlinear Labs site for a large collection of video and audio demos.

Phase 22 Synthesis Engine:

  • 2 Oscillators (sine wave, phase modulation, frequency randomization)
  • 2 Shapers (sine curve, adjustable foldback and asymmetry
  • Ring Modulator
  • Comb Filter (tunable, with allpass and lowpass)
  • State Variable Filter (multi-mode, 2-4 poles, FM)
  • Feedback Mixer (4 input signals, shaper for the sum)
  • Feedback bus with 4 destinations
  • Output Mixer (stereo, 4 input signals, shaper for the sum)
  • 5 Stereo Effects: Cabinet (amp simulation), 8-pole Gap/Band Filter, Phaser/Flanger/Chorus, Echo, Reverb
  • 3 ADBDSR Envelopes, adjustable attack curve
  • Velocity sensitivities for envelope levels, attack times, and release times
  • 4 Macro Controls, assignable to up to 86 target parameters
  • 8 Hardware Sources, mappable to the 4 Macro Controls
  • Number of parameters: 317
  • Resolution of the parameters: typically 1000 steps (250 … 15000 steps)
  • Resolution of key velocity, ribbons, bender, aftertouch, pedals: 4000 steps
  • 12-voice polyphony, variable Unison settings
  • Scale parameters for micro-tuning the 12 steps of the octave

Play Interface:

  • 61-key (5 octave) Fatar keybed with semi-weighted long-arm keys
  • Note-on and note-off velocity sensitivity
  • Monophonic aftertouch
  • Two 800 mm touch strips (ribbons), each with 33 LED dots
  • Ribbon modes: absolute, relative, combinable with return-to-center
  • Lever (magnetic force loaded) for pitchbending and similar applications
  • Control panel with an OLED display (128 x 32 dots) and four buttons
  • Output volume potentiometer (at the front)
  • Headphone level potentiometer (at the front)

Parameter Editing:

  • 4 Selection panels, each with 24 buttons and LEDs
  • Labeling by exchangeable magnetic overlays
  • Edit panel with an OLED display (256 x 64 dots), an incremental encoder, and 18 buttons
  • The ribbons are also assignable for parameter editing.
  • User-definable Init preset and Default values
  • Randomize function
  • Graphical user interface on any WiFi-enabled device running a browser, unique zoom-and-pan navigation, enabled for touch

Preset System:

  • User-definable banks
  • Unlimited number of presets per bank
  • User-editable infos per preset
  • Search function to find presets by name or tags in the infos
  • Morphing transition between presets.

Undo System:

  • Unlimited undo for all user interactions, including sound editing steps
  • Undo list with support for different editing branches (tree view)


  • Main audio outputs (L, R) (TRS, balanced by transformers)
  • Headphone output at the front (TRS)
  • 4 inputs for analog controls, such as pedals (TRS, flexible pin-assignment)
  • USB host connector for data exchange and software updates


  • Base unit only: 900 x 290 x 100 mm (width x depth x height)
  • Including panel unit: 900 x 410 x 160 mm (width x depth x height)

Pricing and Availability

The Nonlinear Labs C15 is available to pre-order now for 4000 € (includes 19% German VAT), with availability in May 2017.