Hard Mod have been building and bending custom synthesizers out of Mexico City. Looking at their Facebook shop you’d be forgiven for thinking they just mess around with Speak-and-Spell boxes and Korg Volcas. But if you check out their Instagram feed it paints a much different story. They are calling it Modular Synth Spring Reverb because that’s what it is.
Modular Synth Spring Reverb
It is desperately cool – just look at it. What a lovely piece of work. It completely bucks the trend of Eurorack style synthesizers and forges its own path complete with being built into a vintage looking flight case. I guess the Analogue Solutions Fusebox would be the nearest comparison in terms of form factor. But the key additional and mechanical feature is the dirty great big spring reverb that twangs across the bottom half. Hard Mod say “The ideas of having the spring externally exposed is so that they can be touched to create textures or noises upon the reverb effect.” Eat your heart out Moog’s Grandmother.
So what’s in the box?
There are two independent VCOs, each with 4 waveshapes, FM and PWM. My understanding is that you can send pitch information to the oscillator independently, and so you have two voices. At least that appears to be what happens in the demo video below. There are two filters, a 4-pole and a Steiner variable filter. The LFO has 5 waveforms and there’s a separate Sample-and-Hold module. There’s an ADSR envelope with LED indications on each stage and two AD envelope generators, the second of which is only accessible via the patch bay and designed for hi-hats. Two VCAs give level control over the oscillators while a 4 channel stereo mixer provides the final output. A 5th channel is there exclusively for the spring reverb output.
The box itself is wooden with black vinyl lining, aluminium panels, metal ironwork and a black leather handle. The lid is designed to fit over the top while keeping any patch cables intact. The patch bay is unusually on the left but they say this is because they placed the controller knobs on the right and so keeps the cables out of the way of the knobs you want to play with – makes sense!
Check out the demo video below to get a sense of what’s going on with the Modular Synth Spring Reverb. It needs a catchier name but otherwise looks pretty amazing to me. Hand-built in Mexico City it costs $1685 plus shipping.