The end of the year seems buzzing with tiny but sought-after upgrades of synthesizers and modules. After the release of Endorphin.es new Strong Zero VCO core, Dave Smith Instruments teamed up with John Chowning, the father or discoverer of FM synthesis to upgrade the Prophet 12‘s firmware.
Here are the new main features in the Prophet 12 OS:
Classic linear FM synthesis
Support for up to 16 alternate tunings (a set of 16 popular tunings is included)
The Expert Sleepers Disting MK3 multi-purpose module has just been out recently. It is a fantastic modulation and CV source and now offers even more functionality and customisability than ever. We are happy to see that there is growing interest in multi-faceted digital-analog modules like this.
A new 3rd party set of 16 algorithms has just been out for themodule. In the following videos you can see what ‘This Thing’ from Squinky Lab sounds. The pack primarily focuses on sample & hold / track & hold, clock and FM functions! Read more and discuss it in here! Update: The algorithms have only been tested on the MKI so far, however the programmers state that these should be working on MKII’s and III’s as well.Note: You can upload any given number of algorithms to the module’s MK3 version, so you do not need to overwrite your favourite ones if you are interested in trying this out!
Algorithm 1A – Dual Sample & Hold
Algorithm 1B – Sample & Hold Dual Clock
Algorithm 1C – Sample & Hold and Track & Hold
Algorithm 1D – Dual Clock Track & Hold
Algorithm 2A – Probablistic Sample & Hold
Algorithm 2B – Probablistic Track & Hold
Algorithm 2C – Track & Hold ala a-152
Algorithm 2D – Track & Hold ala a-152 with extended functionality (two ThisThings playing together in video!)
Algorithm 3A – 2 stage digital shift register
Algorithm 3B – Dual semitone slope detector is featured in most of the other videos sending triggers to Optomix, etc…
Algorithm 3C – Rise and Fall Detector
Algorithm 3D – Dual Function Quantizer Helper
Algorithm 4A – Precision FM Helper
Algorithm 4B – Octave adder, subtracter
Algorithm 4C – Semitone adder, subtracter
Algorithm 4D – Tuning and Voltage Threshold reference
Mutable Instruments – Warps brings a pretty much scientific and science-fictional approach to processing signals. Here is a gentle metallic overtone craze, there is a ringmod sound, and yes, we even have vocoder. However, it shines where you would least expect as well: morphing or warping these signals altogether into each other.
The algorithms are pretty decent sounding, and remind me of the tones of the Mutable “family”. They do have soft and edgy sides. I am really happy to see that some modulation types which we already have in our little eurorack cosmos have also been spiced up! Forinstance, you have a “crossfold” function, which helps you realise how interesting wavefolding could be, if it is combined with cross modulation. The ringmod effects sound lovely, I believe it was a good job. I was not into the digital ring mod, but that is a question of taste, not quality.
I would also highlight the next effects, XOR mod and compare and rectify algorithms to the Crossfolding one. They instantly adds some of the aggressive tones that you don’t get tired of easily. This very musical digital processing helps you a lot to fatten your signals, even if you have only one oscillator in your system, so it is not just an ornament. You have especially sweet results with edgy signals.
The functions I was happiest to see are vocoders. Since Doepfer discontinued the last bits of their big vocoder system, this processing is still being lacked in eurorack. Warps offers a nice and convenient solution – and as I said, it does not sound ‘cheap’.
The most noticeable achievement with these module – unlike other multi-processors I could think of – is that you can morph the functions with ease. You can go to simple crossfading from Input A to Input B and back to all the functions – with enough modulation on the ALGO and Timbre ins, one can easily forget about the individual effects and arrive at… Warps. 🙂
As for the Analogue Zone showroom impressions, the first thing I noticed that it was really easy to animate the effects – I did not have to find any “sweet spot”, and actually, I indeed forgot about the individual effects, I resulted in timbral shifts that added up to the rhythmic structures with ease. All I did was to pitch sequence the internal oscillator with an Intellijel Metropolis, and modulate the Algo and Timbre inputs with two LFO’s (LFO modes actually) from the Intellijel Rubicon and the WMD-SSF Mini Slew (all three were hard synced together by the Mini Slew’s EOC output. The module integrates quickly and will not need many complex sound sources. The controls are also very intuitive and the lights are just right and beautiful as well! The designer really took care of setting them right! No annoying brightness or the opposite – dissatisfying amount of light. The legend of the front panel becomes visible enough indeed in darkness. Here is how it went:
A video posted by AnalogueZone Modular Store (@analoguezone) on
So if you are tired of patching a lot to add movement and self-generative patches, Warps will take care of it too. This module was really designed to spice up your sounds in a lovely, moderately aggressive and unprecedented amount. It will conveniently turn every modular system, even one that has 2 sound sources – inside out.
Doepfer modules seem to go in and out of fashion and are often debated. We just never understand why… Indeed, the concept of the color, the layout and the interface is really up to everyone’s taste, so let’s focus on the functions for the time being! Here are our favourite, truly essential, to some extent totally unique. (Disclaimer: We are well-aware that some modules mentioned in this post are either clones or redesigns of older creations.)
Intellijel breaks the silence – 3 (actually 2 and a half) new modules are announced for this fall.
Polaris – A multimode filter that has 27(!) filter modes simultenaously at the MULTI output. It’s a cascaded OTA type – OTA filters are liked for their especially warm sound and state variable (i.e. multimode) solutions they are capable of creating. Every parameter, including the resonance is voltage controllable. Apart from the standard HP, BP, LP modes, the filter can also be used as a phaser. Other functions like distortion of the filter and V/octave with FM inputs are all available.
Dixie II+ – a “larger variant” of the old Dixie module, with an extra 8 position octave switch with PWM function and also a sub oscillator – all for almost the same price! A wonderful new primary oscillator with plenty of new functions!
uMIDI – last but not least, uMIDI is going to be Intellijel’s own take on the MIDI-CV module concept. With promised high-speed USB and MIDI DIN functionality, gate, trig and mod wheel(!) outs, it is going to be a great interface between the analog and the digital world.