Ultrafunk stacks Legos and makes noise with the Organic One
(ShackMan | Posted 2011-04-11)
"It looks like an old transistor radio ate some Legos and then got fast-forward-ed into the future," or so I've heard the Ultrafunk (Not to be confused with Thunderfunk) Organic One described. It's been on display at Musikmesse Frankfurt at Stand A31, Hall 5.0 since April 6th, and it came down on the 9th. Just one look at it and I'm already spellbound. The Organic One is the stuff that musical instrument centerfolds are made of. Just take a look around their website at ultrafunk.com to see all the color schemes it comes in. I don't think there's one I don't like.
Ultrafunk labels the Organic One as a "high-fidelity stereo monitoring system for keyboard players designed from the ground up to provide the same quality of on-stage monitoring that is usually reserved for other musicians like guitar and bass players." At 250 watts AES for the Top and 350 watts AES for the Sub, however, it's got the power to be your own PA in smaller venues. The Top and Sub are also two separate units, allowing them to be positioned for the best monitoring or amplification situation.
All those fancy-looking chassis lines are there for a reason. The unique-looking design of the Top combined with the two 8" coaxial full range speakers allow for a very wide stereo arc - almost a full 180 degrees. The Top also features clearly visible indicator LED's for power, signal, temperature, and the on-board limiter. The basic controls are all available: Volume and shelving EQ +/- 12 dB (bass, mid, treble). Rounding out the front panel are 4 pre-programmed preset switches for Full Range and Organic settings. Both settings have a Top only setting and a Top and Sub setting. The organ presets are tailored to emulate the sonic qualities of a rotating speaker cabinet when used with any digital tonewheel organ according to the Ultrafunk press release. I'll have more on that when I get to hear one live.
The Sub packs a 12" subwoofer driver with a bass reflex port in the back. Ultrafunk even left room and connections for the Sub to be linked and stacked with more units if the 600 total watts aren't enough (...and really, is it a monitor anymore at that point?), which is actually pretty cool. It appears to be styled the same as the Top with that transistor radio-slash-Lego block design that I really dig.
Back panel connections include stereo input (XLR/TRS) with a mono link, a direct stereo output (XLR), mono out to the Subwoofer (XLR) power in, and a Power link. The same is true for both Top and Sub, although the Sub has the LED's for power, signal, temperature and the limiter on the back instead of on the front.
There's something empowering about the thought of having my own "stack" on stage as a keyboard player. Sure, at only about a foot tall for both the Top and Sub, it's not nearly as much of a stage presence, it amounts to a huge difference when I stop and consider the fact that most of the amplification offerings for the keyboardist out there are like carrying a giant case of bricks, with very little comfortable way to carry them (probably why most keyboardists go direct). The Ultrafunk Organic One is dressed to wow your audience and make your friends jealous, powerful enough for just about any stage, and sized for a Honda Civic. At about 50lbs each, they don't sound too bad to carry either, especially when you stop to consider the pounds-to-wattage ratio. Ultrafunk still hasn't announced any pricing or availability info yet, but from the looks of the amplifier it might be on the more expensive side. Only the eventual release will tell.
Check back here and at Ultrafunk's Website for updates.
James Rushin is a bassist, keyboardist, writer, and composer living and working in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He has performed with Selmer artist Tim Price, Curtis Johnson, guitarists Ken Karsh and Joe Negri. His compositions have been featured at West Virginia University and Valley Forge Christian College. He has worked with legendary playwright Frank Gagliano's, is currently composing for the new original musical "Off with Her Maidenhead!" and recently became the youngest Soupbone.
Got questions? Comments? James can be reached as ShackMan in the Music Gear Review forums, or you may e-mail him at James.Rushin@MusicGearReview.com.