Animal Factory Amplification takes inspiration from both Buchlas and Bladerunner in the Tannhauser Gates. An interestingly designed 4-channel mixer and VCA that you can expand to 16 channels.
I’m not sure whether there are C-beams glittering in the dark in this expression of the Tannhauser Gates, but it’s a terrific name for an experimental, sci-fi styled trigger sequencer. Except that’s not what this is. The delectably named Tannhouser Gates is, in fact, a stereo mixer and 4-channel VCA. In this case, the functional inspiration comes from the Buchla 100 series Gates. However, the back of the module includes a quote from Roy Batty and his likeness, which is always going to be awesome.
Anyway, back to the Tannhauser Gates. What we’ve got is four mono channels of mixing with panning to a stereo output. Each channel has a single knob tilt EQ to seesaw the low and high frequencies. What makes this a VCA is the inclusion of a CV input and offset knob. There’s also a Master CV input, so you can control all four channels at once – that’s very cool. Each channel has a soft mute button that is stored off to the side, which is a little odd. A full stereo effects send and return finishes off the module. What you don’t get is a master level control, although you could use the CV for that.
One great feature that I certainly appreciate is the ability to expand your channel count with more Tannhauser Gates. You can connect another 3 to the back panel with a ribbon cable to give you 16 audio channels; all summed to a single stereo output. At 20HP each, that’s a whopping 80HP worth of mixing in your rack, but if you’ve got 16 sound sources, then space is not your problem.
Tannhauser Gates is an interesting-looking mixer. Animal Factory Amplification always have a different take on this and doesn’t shy away from unusual front panels. I like the larger gain knobs that make sure your fingers fall onto the most useful control. The website talks about there being lots of different expansion possibilities, so I hope they offer additional 4 channel modules that don’t have the master section. This would be much more space-efficient. Another expansion option could be for individual channel sends.
The introductory video below takes a little while to get going, but if you skip to nearer the end, it does get quite exciting. Tannhauser Gates is available now for £343.88.