Superbooth was busy, as always. Here are some subjective impressions. Disclaimer: This is a list based on our personal opinion. As always, no one has the ultimate knowledge when it comes to art, it only matters to us what made us really happy: each to their own.
Doepfer is carrying on what they had always been good at – it might be a bit slower, though they are pushing out interfaces and modules which offer almost the same functionality for an affordable price. Let it be a keyboard or quad VCO, they are and will be here to stay.
Soundwise though, two highlights can be mentioned – one would be the new/old Nanozwerg Pro from MFB reborn in eurorack format for a ridiculously good price. Another one is the Fold Processor from Tiptop. We could speculate that after Random Source stole the show with their Serge reincarnations, Tiptop decided to put their Serge module concepts aside and develop their own, with the best controls with intuitive feel featuring the sound that are completely taking a modulation concept to the next level. We have no complaints about the Digitakt from Elektron either. Check
out this audio demo to see if you agree with us.
Interface-wise, let’s begin with the Soundmachines – Arches – one of our customers told us a few years ago that how mad it would be to have a full keyboard full of LS-1 Lightstrips… fast forward to 2017 and he is not alone with his idea any more. The Arches is to be out in September.
Erica Synths also showed us how anti-futurism can be beaten by retro-futurism. A versatile drum sequencer with computer keyboards – its price is yet to be confirmed.
Other fun ideas worth mentioning – click on the links for the videos:
High-end audio solutions are not hard to find in eurorack any more – ARREL Audio modules speak for themselves.
Expert Sleepers shared some details with us about the Disting MK4 firmware plus introduced us a new module.
Eloquencer – a really thought-out sequencer in the pathway of the Malekko Varigate…
Each year has two crucial moments. One is of course the Winter NAMM show, but nobody would forget spring’s Superbooth either. As every year, Analogue Zone will be live and direct from Berlin.
We collected the expected highlights of this year’s Superbooth, but obviously, there will be more to come. This is just an appetizer, you may want to come back for daily updates to Analogue Zone’s Youtube channel!
XAOC Devices is teasing us with new modules: an upgrade with their Tirana microsequencer plus Warna utility module, a dual version of their Sewastopol, a bit modifier, a logic-waveshaper-comparator-sampl-and-hold combo and their Praga stereo mixer may finally see the light of the day too.
I used to set the divisions of the MIDI clock with DIP switches on the Doepfer MSY2 which are cost-effective, yet it needs no proof to see that those were not designed for daily use and are obviously less durable. But now the MIDI to Clock deals with that on the front panel with enough immediate divisions at hand. Setting different divisions is no big deal with deeper MIDI-CV interfaces like Yarns from Mutable or the Shuttle Control from Endoprhines. However this new module has an ultimate winning point: it has both MIDI in and out mode.
What does this mean? You are able to control your MIDI device with clocks coming from anywhere in your modular system (LFO’s, clock modules, stepped random voltage generators, etc.). Forget “setting up and playing”, say hello to “setting up while playing”. Want async or div/mult changes based on your Midi devices or analog clocks (which are more easily bouncing and with a little modulation can have more life which is hard to emulate digitally) at any time with ease? There we have it for a really good price and with great ease: as the module can be switched to “MIDI out mode”! How amazing would it be to send some “analog storms” towards your previously calm and straightforward MIDI-devices?
It is also worth mentioning that the module is very slim (can be housed in skiff cases!), and ivery low current (25mA altogether on the +12V rail).
The built-in Start/Stop function is also available in both modes (It used to be pretty frustrating that with plenty of modules you just had a clock signal which stayed there forever.).
So it is no doubt that it was worth waiting for a gamechanger in live performance and studio routing!
The Analogue Zone is right there at NAMM 2017, live and direct every day! They are organising a live stream starting in a few hours with eurorack makers and the one and only Richard Devine.
Analogue Zone encourages every one of their customers or viewers to send them their questions to be asked at a live q&a session from NAMM with eurorack makers Dan Green (4ms), Tony Rolando (Make Noise), William Matthewson (WMD) & Richard Devine!
Danish manufacturer T-Rex Effects introduced their dual tape echo eurorack module which had started its life as a stompbox a while ago. No doubt that they made the sound warm and the CV ins smooth enough too.
Those who were waiting for their tape echo which won’t cost a fortune and can be integrated easily into their eurorack modular synths shall be delighted: The T-Rex Effects Replicator has a lovely sound, and the pedal had been already praised by a lot of users. The CV ins are also slewn, so no harsh or “weird” modulation signal will eventually kill the motors or the tapes. Talking of sound processing: its 8dB boost can send your already thick eurorack waveforms on a waveshaping holiday. The chorus and built-in filter produces smooth and subtle effects strictly based on the raw components’ and signals capabilities! It is worth attenuating the input signal though for softer and more minute effects. At ~8,7Vpp most oscillators and digital audio outs will be fine, though louder and more dynamic effects of some drum modules and tube modules might get distorted earlier. …We have just scratched the surface!
If you maintain it (demagnetisation can be done with ease, plus the tape heads which are also accessible need cleaning time after time), this module will never let you down.
Size and consumption should be considered: it is a little bit bigger than half of a typical eurorack row (44 HP), but in the age of big cases, it has become essential to provide your modules with enough power (4ms ROW POWER 40 or a ROW POWER 30 power supply modules will do he job).
Analogue Zone is live and direct at NAMM, bringing us the latest and greatest at breakneck speed! Here is Day 0 with lots of eurorack news – yes, literally during the show was still being built.
4ms Company came up with the latest and we guess the almost final version of a sampler with enough ease of use, memory and depth – a great and easy to use sampler that is in harmony with their earlier dual modules that you can get crazy with using their ground-breaking clock modules that made them famous… The new Tapographic Delay could be called a good contestant of the Rainmaker with less width. the price will be in the range of the SMR.
Qu-Bit Electronix gives us the the Tone – a quad voltage control 24dB lowpass-bandpass filter – probably designed for the fantastically sounding Chord, and the Chance module, a Swiss Army knife of random signals including random rhythmic patterns. The Contour – a more modern take on the quad ADSR concept (coined in first by Doepfer) – shipping next week! Their Mixology has been updated with send-return, size-increase(!) thank god!) plenty of gain, and so on…
Pittsburgh Modular has updated their Lifeforms series with filters (a vactrolesque filter with unstable mode), adsr, mixers with new routings, oscillators …and and yes.. an in-rack mixer 🙂 Also, they have a new line of cases – with enough power till the next century.
WMD came up with a prototype trigger sequencer (an A-157 on steroids in short) Arpitecht, a beautiful quantizer concept. Also (dj and live) performance oriented tools are a compressor, a filter with stereo width effect have been seen in their rack this year!
Steven Hansleigh from 2hp introduced yet again(!) a few new 2HP modules, including known concepts such as the tiniest Turing Machine, a multiple Clock source module or sample-and-holds which are new in this size. Each user will find at least one cool module to fill up the remaining 2HP space of their racks.
Endorphines were busy with updating their Shuttle Control, and their Grand Terminal is also ready for shipping. The Cockpit which we have seen last year is also an amazing routing and compression mixer tool!
and can also be used as a “VCO controller” acquring a well-adjusted V/octave control for your (up to six) oscillators
Also, you can check out the latest scales that have become available in SMR (as you know it is not only a dynamic bandpass filter, it has always been able to generate scales in self-oscillation since the beginning):
On the 4th of December a new tradition might be established. Two Hungarian modular synth composers & performers will be accompanying a classic science-fiction novel for 6.5 hours live.
The idea for the project StanisłAV that came from composers Bálint Baráth and András Hargitai (Banyek) is that just like in the case of silent movies, some background music, timbres and atmospheres would be provided while the novel (Staniław Lem‘s classic, the Invincible which tells the story of one high-tech space ship landing on a planet with a rescue team trying to understand what had happened to its identical brother and its crew) is projected onto a screen behind the instruments. However, all the sounds that are described in the novel will also be performed live. The textures of the visuals (created by Hungarian media artist David Mórász aka micro.D) will also be controlled real-time by the same modulation sources that control the audio.
An incomplete list of euro gear that will play a key role in the performance:
Folktek Matter is an intriguing eurorack module, more like a work of art, less like an instrument. Once you solve the basic “mysteries”, you will be able to get the best out of it though. Now, even the cartridges are available which unleash the different play modes.
In essence, the Folktek’s Matter could be broken down into a glitchy percussion sound generator, however, if you take percussion and generation in the broad sense, not to mention that these parameters can be heavily modulated, you can get really far with it. A traditional way of generating sounds is not really featured, like on a more precise drum module for more conventional electronic music. It’s all these clicky and “bug-like” and micro-visceral percussion sounds you loved leftfield electronic music for. 20 different basic sounds, 40 CV ins to mess them up! It would take an insane number of sound generators, VCA’s and modulation sources to obtain this palette.
Listen to this:
The new set of plugins and cards (actually this is just set #1, more to come!) can underline and pre-program a specific set of functionalities: resonant lowpass filtering? drone oscillations? a touch interface that interrupts parameters and can act as an audio interface? A DIY plate where you can pre-solder new routings? These are all there in the package for you. A lot of users have been waiting for this moment of ease, as they had challenges of working with the mini wires provided for the mini-patchbay.