Hector is upon us opening the can of worms that is a hardware module containing a virtual modular environment. Will Eurorack ever be the same again?
This is a fascinating module from Poly Effects, the makers of the Beebo pedal, that brings this complex and yet intuitive modular system to where it both belongs and should probably never be placed. Other multi-functional modules such as the Expert Sleepers Disting or Befaco LICH can be all sorts of things with a smile on their versatile faces whereas Hector has a full-on belly laugh at the fact that you can probably do more inside its virtual modular environment than you can do with the rest of your rack.
Things are going to get weird and I imagine it’s the sort of module that will split opinion between being a very awesome place for experimentation or the complete opposite of what Eurorack is about.
Hector contains over 100 different modules from oscillators, synth voices, filters, sequencers, samplers, textures and modulators through to chaos generators, algorithmic processors and effects. It’s a ridiculous source of sound and voltage manipulation. It has 6 inputs and 8 outputs for CV and audio signals, which differs from the Beebo’s audio-only approach, and has MIDI as well but has lost the comforting knobs and switches of the Beebo focusing purely on the touch-screen for data input and manipulation.
While plenty of videos exist demonstrating the Beebo there’s very little on Hector specifically but as they share the same firmware and functionality (at least inside the box) then we should be able to get a decent idea of what’s possible albeit from a guitarist perspective. Fortunately, we can relax because Loopop has just released a video on Hector and so everything is all right with the world.
To summarise then, Hector is a huge playground of synthesizer modules and effects including a convolution reverb, a myriad of utilities, filters and CV processors, ports of many open source Mutable Instrument modules and a looper. The touchscreen interface appears to work well although it will inevitably be slow going when you have 100 modules in a huge range of potential configurations to deal with. The lack of hardware controls is going to be a roadblock for some people but you can bring CV control into the module or map module parameters to a MIDI controller.
There’s no doubt that there’s a huge amount of power within Hector that could revolutionise your Eurorack. The main questions revolve around the interface and whether Eurorack is all about the knobs for you and perhaps this sort of thing is done easier on a computer. For me, the potential adventures that are on offer in exploring this module could be amazing especially in designing the perfect custom module to fit within your Eurorack workflow and discovering new signals that you hadn’t considered before.
Hector is available now for $599.
More information from Poly Effects
- Poly Effects Hector: Poly Effects