Knobcon 10 took place last weekend and was full of fascinating modular, fabulous performances and funky synths. Here are a few things that caught my eye.
Knobcon took at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg hotel just outside Chicago. It brought together synthesizer manufacturers, modular builders and enthusiasts and combined them with performances, workshops, demonstrations and partying. It’s a fun weekend. It’s the brainchild of Suit & Tie Guy Erica Williamson, who maintains the belief that this is the only event of its kind on the planet and he’s probably right.
The first big release at Knobcon was the Trinity from Modbap. It’s a 3-channel, 4-sound engine digital percussion module with loads of modulation and output mixing. It looks amazing, and I wrote a full article on it here.
Weston Precision Audio SF1 Dual Filter
Following on from the recent 2V2 dual oscillator comes the SF1 Dual Filter. There’s no product page yet, so we only have a picture to go on. It looks like a mirrored affair, with the same controls cascading to the left and right. A Link button looks like it pulls the two otherwise independent filters into working on one set of controls. Slopes and modes are switchable, but each filter has two outputs, each with a different choice of modes which is quite interesting. It’s also good to see voltage-controlled panning in a stereo module.
Long Divison Tone Module
From Kanawha Music and Art comes what the website says is the first completely polyphonic Eurorack module. In this context, what that means is that it can sound every note, all at once. It has 12 independent and free-running oscillators and uses analogue divide-down tone generation. It’s a system often used in organs and string machines to produce a full range of polyphony.
Long Division has a quite basic organ sound, built-in vibrato with speed and depth, and variable release time. There are two sustain modes called Organ and Piano, where Organ holds the note as long as they are held, whereas Piano dies away on the release time. A voltage-controllable Tone control gives some variation and there’s a CV input for tuning, but otherwise, it’s MIDI controlled.
- Kanawha Music and Art website.
Therevox Ondes VCO
From Canada comes the Ondes VCO a lovingly recreated take on the sound generation aspect of the legendary Ondes Martenot. It’s a fascinating instrument that is Therevox’s muse and inspiration. This Eurorack version of the oscillator looks fabulous. You can read more details about it here.
- Therevox website.
Frequency Central Akropoli
Apparently, it’s a “dope new CV sequencer” which is based around the mashing together of the Little Melody generative sequencer and High Towers clock divider. No official information on it yet but this little video taken at the show gives you a fair idea.
This is a CRT-based X-Y oscilloscope for Eurorack. It’s 100% analogue and so doesn’t have to deal with the latency or frame rate issues we find on digital scopes. It’s wide, deep and a bit weird looking but I don’t think there’s anything quite like it in Eurorack. It can also double as an analogue video monitor.
It’s very much something that’s under development so I have no information on price or expected release date.
Synthbulance – Modular On The Rescue
Just when you thought all hope was lost the Synthbulance arrived to save the day. The Synthbulance is a project by artists Zetsumetsu called Modular On The Rescue (MOTR) to deliver art with a sense of urgency.
They’ve taken an old ambulance and outfitted it with an alarmingly large modular synthesizer. They then pulled up in the Knobcon car park and delighted people with their vehicular-based musical performance.
- Zetsumetsu webpage.
Here are a couple of videos to give you a flavour of what goes on at Knobcon. It looks like a great show. There was a lot of gear on demo that we’d seen before, but it’s a great opportunity to get your hands on it and talk to the people who made it.
- Therevox Ondes VCO: Therevox