IO Instruments has released a line of modules this year and was showing three new ones at SynthBooth: KALYKE Dual Function Generator, CARPOL triple headphone amp and KALLICHORE their extraordinary 6-Voice DCO module.
The story so far
IO Instruments originally launched their line of synth modules at Superbooth last year and many were prototypes and some, like the KALLICHORE, were barely Alpha versions. Since then they’ve released several modules into the wild which include the Euporie filter with Moog and Sallen&Key Resonance, Himalia digital noise oscillator and sampling module, Pasiphae ring modulator, Sinope VCA, Sponde Mixer and Themisto Oscillator. All of them are quirky and characterful with unusual feature sets and yet are surprisingly affordable.
I spoke with Frank Kumm of IO Instruments who said that they are ultimately aiming to build a hardware synthesizer and they thought that building it in modular first would be a good way to start the business. There are lots of elements in their modules that you don’t often find in regular synthesizers – there are touches of the Noise Engineering Basimulus Iteritas Alter, Maths and other bits of weirdness in here which is going to make for a fascinating machine.
At SynthBooth they had the latest update on the intriguing KALLICHORE 6-voice DCO, they introduced their KALYKE Function Generator and the CARPOL headphone amp.
It’s a 6-voice FPGA based digitally controlled oscillator which means it has 6 DCOs inside that make for a very interesting module. All 6 voices can be addressed in full polyphonic mode over MIDI and the module produces AR envelopes for each voice to make it very playable. But we want CV control right? For that the KALLICHORE offers 3 CV inputs. With 1 thing plugged in you control all 6 DCOs and can stack them up in unison or split them into chords. With 2 things plugged in they get 3 DCOs each and with all 3 inputs filled they get pairs of DCOs. There’s a mixed output or individual pair outputs and they plan to have individual outputs available on an expander. There are also 3 CV modulation inputs and you can also repurpose DCOs 4, 5 and 6 as modulators.
It’s a fascinating sound source that could bring a lot of tones to your modular if you have enough power to wield it.
This is a 3 channel headphone amplifier for modular system with 3 independent headphone output and individual controls. The channels can also be linked to work together. They talk about the importance of the shielding and also the protection that’s built in to prevent damage to the module or the user when turning the system on and off – something we’re always doing when messing about with modular. It can also drive very high and very low signals with very little noise.
This was originally a Quad Function Generator called Megaclite but they’ve reworked it into a Dual Function Generator and LFO that’s now known as KALYKE. It has a wide frequency range and wide selection of waveforms with offset and phase shift. The ADSR has multiple curves, loop and ratchet modes and can be modulated via 4 CV inputs and the internal LFO. Should be available by the Spring 2021.
It feels like IO Instruments has come a long way since Superbooth last year and they say that they are about ready to start making a fuss of themselves. Up until now they felt they needed a more complete range before they were ready to push their products out there. But they have some really interesting modules already out there and some really interesting ones to come. Check out the live stream from Synthbooth (below) for more information.
- IO Instruments KALLICHORE: IO Instruments
- IO Instruments CARPOL: IO Instruments
- IO Instruments KALYKE: IO Instruments