How many? An 8-voice polyphonic synthesizer featuring 56 oscillators, chord memory, detuning, filter and reverb in a single compact 12HP module.
Eurorack module makers Knobula look fresh and new to the scene with just a handful of Instagram posts and an almost finished website. But they are starting to make a few noises about their forthcoming first product, the Poly Cinematic. Most modular companies start with a few basic bits and pieces, a mult, a filter, some utilities, maybe an oscillator but Knobula has gone straight to 8-voice polyphonic synthesizer.
It’s an entire synthesizer built into a relatively minimalist front panel with a fabulous colour scheme and a very clear layout. It seems to have less on it than a regular analogue oscillator module would. Does that make it a bit under-featured? Possibly, but it really depends on what you’re after. Let’s dig into it a little.
Poly Cinematic is looking to bring pads and stabs to Eurorack. There are no presets, this is simple, hands-on analogue-style synthesis with sawtooth and square waveforms, switchable low, high or notch filter and an envelope that can control the VCA and filter. At the end of the chain is a reverb feeding the stereo output. The list of features mentions a 7 oscillator supersaw per voice, a 3 oscillator syncable wave-shaped square/pulse and a 3 oscillator detuned tonewheel organ – these could well be the switchable Wave types.
There appear to be 3 modes that I’m guessing switch between mono, poly and chord modes. There’s also a CV in for Chord Selection and a trigger for the envelope.
How does it sound? Pretty darn awesome.
Polyphony in Eurorack?
To experience the full polyphonic experience of 8 voices and the possibility of enjoying the 7 oscillator per voice supersaw then you’ll have to plug in a MIDI keyboard or sequencer. Or you could possibly work with a CV-to-MIDI module to bring in chords generated by another module. Otherwise, there’s a pitch input for the oscillator where you can start playing with the internal chord memory or stack up all 56 oscillators in unison and dial in some detuning.
The Chord mode is quite key to modular integration. They say that Poly Cinematic can enter and store up to 8 chords which can then be CV selectable removing the need for MIDI during performance.
What strikes me about Poly Cinematic is how contained and limited it is but in a good way. Often with digital modules, there’s a temptation to pack in so many options and possibilities whereas the Poly Cinematic focuses on the simple, gorgeous sounds that you are most likely to use. This is not a module for endless tweaking it’s a quick elegant solution for bringing pads to your modular.
Poly Cinematic should be available in September for £320.
More information from Knobula
I liked it so much I borrowed one and made a video.