Tephra brings pro-audio compression to Midweek Modular, while USB2MIDI populates 5 MIDI ports and Fruku and L-1 have a bunch of new modules to share.
This week we saw the release of the complete Erica Synths mki x es.EDU DIY system. A modular synth that’s designed to teach you about circuit design and synthesizer architecture as you build it. For 9 modules in a case, it’s a great way to get into modular. Read more about it here.
While the Moogerfooger VST plugins are not exactly modular, they do have an innovative internal modulation system that lets you route the modulators from one plugin pedal into the parameters of another separate pedal plugin. I think it’s a first for VST plugins and recaptures some of the CV pluggability of the originals. Read more about it here.
Meanwhile, Animal Factory Amplification was taking us to the Tannhauser Gates with a Buchla-inspired mixer and VCA. It starts with four channels, but you can link more together to give you a thundering sixteen channels of modular mixing. Read more about it here.
Here are some of the other modular bits and pieces that caught my eye this week.
Ginko Synthese Tephra
It’s been fascinating watching this module come into being via the Ginko Synthese Instagram account. The TEPHRA is a diode bridge-based compressor that’s built around a unique circuit that was originally designed for the MAGMA compressor. Jan at Ginko Synthese has tweaked and expanded it into a very professional-looking and sounding limited edition module.
There will only be 130 made, with there being around 10 available every month. They are hand built and brilliantly finished for €380. Your eyes are pulled to the VU meter that gives it the flavour of a piece of pro-audio gear rather than quirky Eurorack. It has a side chain input and CV control for some fabulous pumping and plenty of gain, compression and opportunities for clipping. Tephra is a properly solid audio processing device for your modular.
Michigan Synth Works USB2MIDI 5 Port TRS MIDI Output
It’s a bit of a mouthful but also extremely useful. Feed it some MIDI from your DAW, and out of the nice and slim 2HP module comes 5 lots of MIDI Out on those TRS ports. Lots of modules that support MIDI have these ports and so do a lot of little desktop synths. And so this becomes a useful thing to have not just in modular but in your wider space. You can also connect things up internally if that’s helpful.
It doesn’t take any power out of your rig as it’s USB powered; in fact, you could have it knocking around outside the case if you want. Simple, useful, lovely, $65.
Fruku is a project from Freek Heldens, who, after graduating this year with a degree in Music Technology, seems to already have a wide range of modules ready to go. The latest to make it onto ModularGrid are the Froal Quad Function Generator, the DAM passive attenuator and the Dusu Analogue Oscillator.
Froal is a nicely simple 4-channel function generator that can produce rise/fall envelopes, or LFOs when unpatched. A Mix output provides all four channels in one mess of changing voltage, while the Sel output has a sum of all unpatched channels. The EOF expander module offers some alternative voltages which I don’t quite understand.
Dusu is a striking-looking VCO with two sub-oscillators at 1 and 2 octaves below the original. It has a square and sawtooth waveform that you can blend between, level control on the subs, PWM on the square and an FM input.
Lastly we have the Dam passive attenuator which isn’t terribly exciting but it does have a second output on the second attenuator, so that’s fun!
All the modules are available as PCB & Panels, reasonably priced kits and fully built, and I really like the simple but quirky styling.
- Fruku website.
L-1 Synthesizer Modules
A couple of modules from L-1 also landed this week with two versions of the Discrete VC Equalizer/Resonator, and Discrete VCO, along with a Noise Gate.
You have the Dual Discrete VC Equalizer/Resonator and then a Quad version for a bit of extra ballast. This is about bandpass filters, resonance and EQ shelving. They are switchable between acting as an EQ or as Resonators. It’s designed to take a single input for processing or use the self-oscillating filters as v/oct sound sources. They sound amazing.
For the Discrete Basic VCO you’ve got all the regular stuff with four waveform outputs, FM and pulse width modulation. The Discrete Through Zero VCO adds in Through-Zero FM, a sub-oscillator, noise and a great-looking digital tuner.
- L-1 website.
- Ginko Synthese Tephra: Ginko Synthese
- MSW USB2MIDI: MSW
- Fruku modules: Fruku
- L-1 Modules: L-1