Befaco has a neat little new oscillator. It’s called the Pony VCO and it features wave folding, Thru-Zero FM and a built-in VCA.
I’m not sure where the name comes from but Befaco has packed a lot of functionality into only 4HP. It’s also available in 1U which is a fabulous thing to do with a compact VCO.
It has four waveforms derived from the analogue core, which you can switch between. It doesn’t have individual outputs which is a compromise of the compactness. Another compromise is the single tuning knob. But Befaco has done something interesting here. Via a switch, you can change the range of the tuning knob from full, to an octave and to a semitone. This gives you a full knob range in which to fine-tune. You can also switch it into a very handy LFO mode giving you a completely different set of intentions.
All the interest though is found in the Timbre slider. The Timbre folds the sine, triangle and sawtooth waveforms about themselves to produce more harmonically rich tones. With the sine and triangles this takes it from smooth to edgy, whereas on the sawtooth, it seems to go from edgy to smooth and back again. For the square wave, the Timbre slider becomes pulse width modulation.
The built-in VCA is simple and terribly handy. Stick in an envelope and you’ve saved yourself an extras module. Again, really good for a compact module.
The Thru-Zero FM input is the riot of zaniness that you expect it to be. However, I am finding that Thru-Zero has much more musical vibe over regular FM because it doesn’t fall over itself when modulation goes negative. The combination of that with the Timbre control gives you a massive range of possible tones.
Pony VCO is available now in regular 3U or very cool 1U versions for €254.10. A pre-soldered kit version will be along soon where all the surface mount components are done for you and all you have to do is solder the front panel knobs and sockets. At €180.51 it’s a great way to get a great module at a remarkable price while enjoying the process of building the easy bits yourself.
Here are my fuller thoughts on it.