Midweek Modular: Amelia envelope, thunder VCA and Roland filters
This week we check out Expert Sleepers’ ADBR filter, Vaemi’s XFMR VCA, two more Roland filters from AMSynths and is that a new RYK Modular module?
It was great to see something from Behringer make it into people’s hands this week. It released a firmware update to the BRAINS multi-oscillator module, giving it five more sound engines. This includes a DX7 mode that was no doubt inspired by Mutable Instruments’ final update to Plaits. Read more about it here.
After a very wait, Korg has managed to get the NTS-2 Oscilliscope into the shops. It includes the Patch & Tweak with Korg book and is a fabulous tool for anyone experimenting with modular. Read more about it here.
Here are the latest bits of excitement over the past week from the world of modular synthesis that have caught my eye.
Expert Sleepers Amelia
It’s an envelope, but rather than an ADSR, it’s an ADBR. What does the B stand for? It stands for Break and replaces the more common Sustain stage of an envelope. The Break level sets the point at which the Decay stage flips to the Release stage. This gives you three definable and voltage-controllable stages from a single trigger rather than being defined by the gate length.
Amelia is perfect for sequencing and has some interesting shaping for different expressions. It’s made from all analogue and discrete components and is available now for £179.
Vaemi XFMR VCA
This is one heck of a chunky VCA. The XFMR is linear, with two audio inputs, two CV inputs, a 3-band EQ and three different types of distortion with saturation. To say that it will impart a load of energy to your audio signals is a bit of an understatement.
One of the reasons for the size is that it has a whacking great big transformer on the back. You have a choice between op-amp or transformer outputs giving you a nice choice of character. Once the headroom is filled the module starts to saturate and you can bring the EQ into play to find the tone you’re after.
The mix of the two inputs is then controlled by the two CV inputs. Stick an envelope into one and use the second for a bit of modulation or offset.
This is a lot of module for a single channel of VCA but a forthcoming expander will bring it up to 3 channels. That could get very thick and chunky.
- Vaemi website.
AMSynths SH03 and SH02 filters
AMSynths continues its assault on the history of Roland filters with the AM8003 Diode VCF and the AM8102 SH02 Low Pass Filter.
The AM8003 is from the 5-pole diode filter in the Roland SH-3 monosynth. It has a pair of mixable inputs and scalable CV control over the cutoff, resonance and modulation inputs.
The AM8102 is very similar in form but pulls the 4-pole low pass filter out of the Roland SH-2.
I really like the depth of modulation you can get with these AMSynths modules. That sort of synth architecture leads you to approach it in a very musical way which adds something different to your filter collection.
DPW Design AV2 Attenuverter
It’s not complex or deep, but the AV2 is the sort of module that’s useful in every patch. It’s a dual attenuverter, a source of voltage, and it mixes and compares to give you a logic-based output derived from the two inputs.
You could use it to scale LFOs, adjust envelopes, or create complex waveforms from simple ones. You can generate new sequences by comparing two others, or simply mixing audio. A great thing to have in your toolbox.
- DPW website.
RYK Modular prototype spotted at Synth East
And lastly, I spotted a previously unannounced module on the RYK Modular booth at last weekend’s Synth East in Norwich. I didn’t get the chance to have a good look at it but you can glimpse it in this highlight video from the event. Most curious!
Also, check out the RYK Instagram feed for clues.
- AMSynths SH03 and SH02 filters: AMSynths
- DPW AV2: DPW