We caught a glimpse of a very intriguing machine coming from Pittsburgh Modular. Now the Voltage Research Laboratory has been fully revealed and is being released via Kickstarter. Let’s “Explore the Natural Systems and Lesser Known Fringes of Analog Synthesis”.
Voltage Research Laboratory
They are calling it the Organic Modular Synthesizer and it is certainly eye-catchingly beautiful to look at. It has this vintage synthesizer vibe going on both in form factor and functionality. It is very much an independent and self-contained synthesizer workshop but it’s also fully Eurorack compatible and can break down into 3 modules for mounting into your own rack. But Pittsburgh suggests that the VRL is not necessarily well suited to a regular modular system. It’s a bit weird, experimental and is designed to reward deep exploration that might get lost in a larger system. But the option is there if you want it.
DivKid was able to capture some great information about it on the day before the Superbooth show starts that really brings out what Pittsburgh is trying to do with this machine.
Voltage Lab Synthesizer Voice Module
So, back to the facts. It’s an experimental playground with a unique collection of tools and functions that encourage creative sound design. It starts with a pair of complex oscillators with a custom wave folder for enhanced warping, FM, AM, Ring Modulation, waveform cycling, hard sync and more. A set of function generators work as interactive voltage processing systems acting as envelopes, LFOs, slew generators and more. Manipulation of the voltage controlled parameters and multiple unison modes weave sounds and modulations through each other over time.
And then there’s a twin dynamic controller section with variable response simulating the natural behaviour of sound. It features an expanded low pass gate circuit, filters and VCA.
Put in some choice effects like an analogue delay, reverb, chorus, flanging, doppler and more. And then work in some randomisation from multiple sources to keep the levels of unpredictability high.
Interactive Touch Controller Module
A 10 strip touch controller forms the basis of human input. They are fully configurable multi-dimensional touch-pads that use two sets of 5 to give both hands something different to do in either a monophonic or duophonic space.
Output Utility Module
The last part of the puzzle is the output module that does utility stuff like headphones and line outputs and mixes your weird noises together.
If you want the whole Laboratory then if you get in quick the Early-bird price is $1,299. It would usually be around $1,500. Alternatively, you can pick up the Eurorack bundle for only $929, or maybe just the Voice Module for Eurorack for $679. I mean that’s two complex oscillators, a pair of function generators, low pass gates and an analogue delay. I mean, wow! They’ll put it in a little black case with a power supply for $779. Really gets you thinking.
Anyway, they’re only after £45k to put it into production and I get the feeling they’ll make that in probably a day or two.
- Pittsburgh Voltage Research Laboratory Kickstarter page.