Tom Whitwell, the man behind Music Thing Modular, was not able to make the show this year. But DIY store Thonk were there with Music Thing’s 5 new modules on demo. There’s a weirdly combined headphone amp, mixer and LFO module, a graphic EQ, mk2 of their Spring Reverb, more Chord Organ action and the Magnetophon – a module with a tape head.
Startup: Headphone Amp + Mixer + LFO
They need to work on the names of these things. Apparently, it’s called “Startup” and it’s come about through the idea of trying to reduce the amount of gear you have to carry with you when trying to do a bit of mobile modular. Startup incorporates three useful things: a headphone amp, a stereo mixer and (slightly weirdly) an LFO. The headphone output is self-explanatory. The 7 channel stereo mixer is not quite so much. It has 3 mono inputs on the right. If you plug into any of the left-hand channels that then becomes a stereo channel. The inputs are set at three different levels, loud, medium and quiet. The idea is that you mix at source rather than by having knobs or faders on the Startup module. The LFO has a tap tempo and can produce 4 simple waveforms – very easy and unfussy.
Inspired by the sort of graphic EQ’s you’d see on guitar pedals. Something very simple, obvious, does what it says on the tin. And yet something that I’ve never seen before in modular form.
Spring Reverb Part 2
It’s a refresh of the existing Spring Reverb module from 2013. It’s very similar but is a bit more flexible with things like the Feedback loop control now on the front panel. You can also turn the feedback off and invert it. There’s also a 3hp expander which allows you to fade between the brick and spring and brings the spring connections out onto the front panel.
Not really new but the firmware keeps being updated and so it continues to evolve. It’s open source and a whole community of users has emerged who are doing some seriously good work with it.
Originally showed at Superbooth last year it’s now about ready to go. It has a mono cassette recorder tape head in the panel. You can then pass bits of old magnetic tape across it to play the sound imprinted within. Sounds like fun or at least an excuse to get those old cassettes out of the loft.
Best place for information in the MusicThing blog. Tom explains all in the video below.