Midweek Modular 35
Source: Gear News
We’ve got a West Coast flavor with ALSTADEN and Computsynth400, super-powered 8-stages and a Quad VCA with stereo mixing pretensions. Let’s go.
The news of the week is that there is a new update to the Mutable Instrument Braids which adds 8 new synthesis models. This includes a 2-voice, 6-operator FM mode compatible with DX7 patches. Learn more here.
Nanomodules published TIGHT, an interesting ADSR envelope with lots of possibilities for modulation and manipulation. Learn more here.
And Audio DF releases a new, smaller desktop patchbay called Patchwork, which could be a fabulous way to hook up Eurorack to pedals. Learn more here.
Here are the other modular elements that caught my eye this month.
Joanalogical Step 8
I think we first saw this mod at Superbooth 2021, but now it’s finally here. Step 8 is a sequential tracking/sampling register that sounds like a fancy way to describe an 8-step sequencer, but it’s so much more than that. Each stage can sample an incoming voltage in a track & hold or sample & hold mode. So you can capture a sequence, then output it and manipulate it or move it around by scaling the sliders. You can even shape waveforms with it.
All stages have their own CV and Gate outputs, so you can use it as a sequential switch or for polyphonic voices. You also have inputs for transport control, reverse, reset, and addressing individual steps.
Step 8 is an interesting module that I failed to explain properly, which usually happens with Joranalogue’s level of modularity. It’s too smart for me and it’s a range of modules that I aspire to fully master at some point.
Busy Circuits MEGA-TANG
The MEGA-TANG is a 4-channel VCA and stereo mixer. It’s very neat and clearly laid out in a channel strip style. Inputs at the top, CV controls level, sends, pan, level knob and mute switch. The outlets are on the side, which is the only part that does not conform to the simple structure.
As a 4-channel stereo mixer, you have a single aux send with a stereo return. Panning is right there, and I really appreciate the blue mute buttons. You have a bit of level metering at the top and a left and right mix output.
Good, simple, useful and easy, will mix CV and audio and has an expansion port for future expandability.
ST Modular ALSTADEN
Right next to ST Modular is the ALSTADEN Analog Waveshaping Oscillator which can also shape other things and thinks of itself as a bit of a VCA. It follows the mood of the second oscillator of ST Modular’s fabulous Euphoria synthesizer. There is a combination of clipping, mirroring, and diode bending that produces high harmonics and timbre variations. You’ll also find a bit of EQ somewhere on a single slide to boost bass or higher frequencies.
There are five different waveforms. The first two are the bent and manipulated, but follow a pulse-width modulated pulse, a descending 1 or 2 octave sub-oscillator, and a simple sine wave. There is only one output, the content of which is shuffled across the sliders. You will find many modulations available on the shape, PWM and FM to give it lots of movement.
This is the kind of oscillator you could get lost in for days.
Giorgio Sancristoforo COMPUSYNTH400
To finish with a bit of software, we have the West-Coast Programmable Modular Synthesizer from the mind of Giorgio Sancristoforo. It combines Buchla’s ideas with a bit of the 1974 Altair 8800 microcomputer which was the first personal computer you could build yourself. If that sounds like an odd choice, you’d be right.
Apparently, the CS400 has everything Giorgio loves about West Coast modularity in a single interface. It can rely on enough computing power to generate tons of different sounds wonderfully. Microcomputer-inspired 128-step 7-bit sequencer with data tracks and input algorithms can be a very interesting experience. Top it all off with tape echo and a massive modulation matrix, you have a dreamy vintage synth that will keep you entertained forever.
It’s only available as a standalone synthesizer for macOS at the moment, but a Windows version should be available in the new year.
- Compusynth 400 webpage.
- More Giorgio San Cristoforo.
#Midweek #Modular #MegaTang #Step #calculations #inspired #Buchla