Next in the fat Fusion line of valve-based modules is the VCF3 bringing softness and light with vactrol-driven resonant filtering and includes mixing, mult-ing and the ability to record CV modulation.
It’s a 24dB/Oct resonant lowpass filter that combines a pair of tubes with vactrols for some unique and unexpectedly soft and smooth filtering. They’ve also packed in a load of useful versatility that you don’t normally find on a filter.
The VCF3 has three inputs for your audio signals. These have level knobs that can push the audio into a nice bit of overdrive. There’s a Mix Out if you want to use the mixer section purely by itself or if you leave it unplugged then we go head-first into the filter.
Vactrols and valves
The big knob at the centre top is, of course, the frequency Cutoff with the Resonance knob just to the right. Any CV that’s applied to the CV1 input is added to the position of the Cutoff knob. Both the Cutoff and Resonance can be CV controlled. The frequency is set using vactrols which bring a smoothness to the cutoff like that found in the Korg MS-20. The valves provide the voltage control system which adds to the organic feel of this module and, of course, the look.
Then we come to the recording facility. Hold the big Record button and move the Record CV knob to automate the Cutoff control. Once released the Record CV knob becomes a divider and multiplier for the speed of the looped automated modulation. It’s a wonderful feature that lets you carve in your filter movements live and let it keep on doing it while you fiddle with something else. You can also direct this recorded modulation out of the CV Out socket and into other things in your rack.
There are some added extras. Whenever the Record CV knob passes the 12 o’clock position it generates a Gate at the Gate Out which you can use for rhythmic duties. It has a built-in buffered 1-to-3 Mult. There’s a VCF In socket for patching in another sound source directly to the filter bypassing the mixer section.
In the end the Fusion VCF3 is a delicious-sounding analogue and organic filter that’s smoother than honey-dipped patch cables has useful extras and the ability to record your knob fiddling. Check out my review and walkthrough of the VCF3 below. I had a prototype which is why the label says VCF2. And there’s a no-talking demo video beneath.
The Fusion VCF3 is available now for €330.