Synthbox: Touchscreen, polyphonic, wavetable synthesizer for Eurorack
1010music have released Synthbox, a polyphonic wavetable synthesizer built into their now familiar touchscreen based Eurorack module. It follows the Fxbox effects processor and Bitbox sampler that went before it. If you already have one of those then you can simply swap the firmware to enjoy the Synthbox.
The Synthbox comes with an expandable library of 100 wavetables and 50 “jaw-dropping” presets. But it shouldn’t be mistaken for a wavetable oscillator, this is a complete synthesizer in a module. It contains 8 wavetable oscillators and 4 waveform oscillators. There are 2 envelopes, 2 LFOs and a step sequencer per voice. It has a range of effects in there including flanger, distortion and delay, and a configurable resonant filter. It has a MIDI interface so you can simply plug in your keyboard and play with its polyphonic wavetableness.
The stand out feature though is the touchscreen. This is most often split into a waveform display at the top and two rows of 5 buttons at the bottom. Select what you want to edit on the screen and dial-in the values with the knobs on the side. And that’s the thing, the touch element of the screen is only really used as a feature selector. It’s not used to control anything or alter parameters, that’s done with the knobs. Select the filter, for instance, and the screen changes to show up to four parameters alongside the four knobs. It’s a nice way to get easy control over the deeper contents of the synthesizer.
There’s a matrix of 20 unlabelled patch sockets on the front for CV control and manipulation. It says that you can control pitch and gate and the 3 assignable modulators per voice. It’s unclear exactly how you configure the patching, but I’m sure it becomes obvious in use.
1010music’s digital approach to Eurorack is getting more interesting all the time. With an effects processor, a sampler and now a full wavetable synthesizer you could easily add an entirely digitally focused row to your rack. The look of it is a bit utility, none of the design prowess of the forthcoming Percussa wavetable voice, and the screen has something of a supermarket checkout feel. Where it does appear to excel is in terms of sound and functionality. And if you get bored you can always add your own wavetables via the MicroSD slot or upload the firmware of the Fxbox or Bitbox.
For $599.95 it’s expensive for a Eurorack module, but not for a complete voice. It should really be compared to the Moog Mother-32, 0-Coast or Pittsburg SV1. And its flexibility and potential future development give it an interesting edge.
More information on the 1010music website.