In this week’s Midweek Modular, we unearthed some ancient 1U modules, produced chords of various colours and got stuck into a Modulation Orgy.
A couple of article-worthy modules popped up this week. The first was the Neptune filter from Winterbloom. Although it sounds like it’s going to be ambient and spacey, it’s actually quite filthy, thanks to a good dose of Salt. Read more about that here.
Also, Erica Synths has continued its resurrection of Hexinverter modules with the re-release of the legendary Mutant Machine. It’s drums and percussion that takes 909 circuits and bends them in really wrong ways. Read more about that here.
Otherwise, here are this week’s shards of ice falling from the passing comet of modular synthesis.
SetonixSynth 1U Archeology
SetonixSynth has evidently been on a dig and unearthed some precious 1U modules that were, perhaps, lost in time.
The first is the Ancient Scroll, which perhaps led the way to the other and features a voltage-controlled Decay Envelope. It’s very simple. You’ve got a trigger and an envelope output, and a knob to control the Decay. There’s also a CV input for the Decay and a manual trigger. Perfect for enveloping short bursts of filters, percussive sounds, and evolving basslines.
Second, we have Arcane Knowledge, which reveals itself as a vintage VCA with overdrive. Again, it’s desperately simple. You have audio in, audio out and a knob to control the gain. This has a CV input to handle VCA duties, and there’s a switch to push in the high-gain Tube Screamer-style soft clipping overdrive. Lovely.
And finally, we have the Sands of Time filtered noise source. Same style of simplicity but this time we have analogue and logic-based noise outputs along with the filtered output and a nice bog knob to sweep it. You can select which noise you want to go through the filter.
All three are €70 a pop.
- SetonixSynth website.
NOH Modular Pianist
The Pianist is a complex voiced chord sequencer. It has eight outputs that can drive 1v/Oct inputs on a bunch of oscillators to generate chords. It is packed full of chords with all sorts of qualities and colours and selectable bass notes. The chords are voiced appropriately depending on the progression and you can choose how many outputs to use depending on the number of sound sources you want to bring into the fray.
The interface is run by a little joystick and an OLED screen. There are 32 chords and you have full control over the quality, colour and root note from simple triads to extended chords. You can spread the notes out, invert the chords and enable or disable the automatic voicing.
Chord progressions can be pushed along using randomisation and probability. You can suggest octave shifts and freezing that can flow in and out of your chords.
The Pianist is able to play nicely with Mutable Instruments Plaits and Qu-Bit Chord v2 by using a single output to run the root and others to control the chordal features of those modules.
The sounds coming out of the demo video are beautiful, although The Pianist is only actually producing the note information. I’m not sure I’ve grasped exactly how it all comes together but it looks like it could be a very powerful machine in modular if you have enough voices in your rack. It’s a shame it doesn’t have a MIDI output to run some of those polyphonic modules like the Oxi Coral or Knobula Pianophonic.
- NOH Modular website.
Synthetic Sound Labs Modulation Orgy 2.0
Once you’ve had a Modulation Orgy you’ll never want anything else, until a version 2.0 comes along. As you can imagine, this module has a lot of modulation going on. It’s a very bendy and completely flexible LFO with a tap-tempo and waveform morphing. And everything is CV controllable like all orgies should.
You can control the rate either manually or externally, you can control the tempo multiplier, waveform selection and waveform distortion. Without distortion you can select from sine, triangle, rectangle, ramp, sawtooth, sweep , lumps and random shapes with morphing between adjacent ones. The distortion pushes the waveforms in a sort of pulse-width-modulation kind of way.
An orgy would suggest multiple outcomes happening simultaneously but the module only has a single, “Orgy” output, but there was certainly a lot of fun to be had along the way.
- Synthetic Sound Labs website.
- SetonixSynth 1U modules: SetonixSynth
- Synthetic Sound Labs Modulation Orgy: Synthetic Sound Labs