Tag Archives: doepfer

Superbooth '17 Highlights

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…
  • XOR Electronics is teasing us with a tracker-based sequencer
  • XAOC Devices upgraded some of their modules and their Praga stereo mixer module is soon out for real!
  • 4ms is expanding their line of digital multitimbral modules. The story is unfolding.
See more at Analogue Zone’s Youtube & Instagram channels!

Analogue Zone @ Superbooth '17

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-superbooth-17XAOC 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.

Mr. Rossum might finalise the phase modulation sampler the Assimil8or very soon! Their modulation wonder, the Control Forge is already available!

Analogue Zone will be covering this year's Superbooth too!
Analogue Zone will be covering this year’s Superbooth too!

After their quantizer array at NAMM, WMD is showing the latest stage of their digital step sequencer.

Last but not least, Doepfer is also showing a few new concepts, including a new gate module, a signal connector, a micro keyboard, and a precision quad VCO, which has been long-awaited by A-100 users.

…and we have just scratched the surface. Subscribe to Analogue Zone’s Youtube– and Instagram channels for exclusive reports and live streams and stay tuned for more news!

A novel and affordable MIDI to clock design - Erica Synths - Midi to Clock V2 is here

In the beginning it was dark… I was using an MSY2 from Doepfer to sync my QCD with my Electribe MIDI sequencer which is in charge of controlling my Vermona DRM1. Now I could replace it with something monstrous from Erica Synths. The new version of the MIDI to Clock module is out now!
midiclk
Erica Synths – Midi to Clock V2

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!

Analogue Zone@NAMM '17

As every year, members of the Analogue Zone team packed up and have arrived to California to bring you the latest and best from NAMM. As it has already happened with Make Noise – 0-Coast, there might be some game changer synth news that you will hear from them first.

Make Noise has said they were coming up with a new module (rumoured to be a new digital collab module with Soundhack), Intellijel has promised 5 new modules both in the 1U tile and the standard 3U height eurorack category, and Noise Engineering has also something new to show. As Make Noise surprised us with the 0-Coast, plenty of eurorack manufacturers may follow their lead!

2016 has ended up with some nice melodies for eurorack (Tiptop Audio – QuantiZer & 2HP – Tune) – WMD is about to enter the quantizer game (of some sort) with their new Arpitecht module.

A1508_HRDoepfer is alive and kicking, coming up with new thru-zero VCO’s and an octal manual/CV controlled sequential switch! (It would not be an exaggaration to say that their A-150-sequential switch modules have always been on eof  their best-selling units).

Subscribe to Analogue Zone’s Youtube and Instagram channels for the latest news!

 

The Power of Passive

Let’s start 2017 even if we don’t have any busses or mA’s left in our eurorack modular system. Not mention cash… You may already know that passive circuits are more fun than just simple multiples or attenuators.

You must have been in the following situations (so have I):

      • Running out of busses / power in your eurorack system
      • Having a few HP’s of space left, yet you did not know what to do
      • None of the above, but still not having a single passive module in your system (except multiples maybe)

      So I thought to inspire you with some ready-made modules/concepts that are entirely passive and readily available for you…

      1) OR-combination


      or
      doepfer-orcombine-or-15If you have a signal (audio or CV) and another signal
      the output will only show an “on-off” state IF only ONE of the input signals are present.  Anyway, if you got lost somehwere, I can tell you that OR-combination is Ideal for rhythmic variations or audio mangling (that is, cutting the “upper” wave of your audio signal – so-called half-wave rectification). Most OR-combiners  are usually 1 to 3 or 1 to 6 (or 7) setups… Except for Synthrotek’s massive Combine OR which offers you enough OR-combination channels…  (8 times 4) for a while. I have an Intellijel OR in my case but the Doepfer one is pretty cool too.

       

      2) Multiples with switches (or any manual switch basically)

       

      Modulserie A 100; Doepfer Musikelektronik GmbH Firmensitz Graefelfing Amtsgericht München im Handelsregister HRB 97 399 Geschaeftsfuehrer Sibille Heller, Dieter Doepfer USt ID-Nr. DE129329318 Website www.doepfer.de

      My all-time favourite multiple module is the switched one from good ol’ Doepfer. Isn’t it wonderful that you can switch off any multiplication or switch to another channel. Wish someone made a monster version of it with 4-stage toggle switches and more interesting routing! Let your hands become the sequential switch!

      addac301c-500x500Check out ADDAC’s Sustain Pedal Switcher too: it is a tool which accepts sustain pedals’ signals to switch between your audio/CV signal inputs! 

       
      3) Attenuators

      You can never have enough of them (also, you can never have enough mixers and VCA’s). Once you had enough of the barbaric signal levels, you will realise that less is more. What is more, less sounds better. Attenuation is essential to fine-tune any patch. Even Aaron Funk said so. And now I say so, and a lot of people would. Of course you could always find fun to invert and offset input signals too, but hey, that would not passive any more, so I won’t include all those lovely utility modules here…

      pico_atten_1 2hp-trim quad-atten a-183-1Doepfer A-183-1 – dual attenuation on two seperate channels. It won’t get any simpler  than this.
      SSF-WMD – Quad Atten – if two channels were
      not enough
      2HP Trim – Currently the world’s smallest attenuator
      Erica Synths – Pico Attenuator – currently the world’s 2nd smallest attenuator

       

      Finally, a few things I left out deliberately: I could have included ring modulators, but I prefer them buffered hence powered to for more massive sound), passive filters (go check the Bastl one!), too and tons of more DIY euro projects (attenuators, vactrols – also, lovely audio stuff happens too even when you just obstruct any signal with a simple LED!), yet I decided to go for ready-made and available products.

      I hope you will have some passive fun!

      Two modular systems will accompany a SF novel in Budapest

      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.

      stanislav-coverThe 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:
      Join the event if you are in Budapest.
      Watch the video trailer or listen to the Soundcloud
      trailer
      .

      "Never before seen" electronic music circuits - Paul T. Schreiber (Synthesis Technology)-interview

      Paul T. Schreiber, the man behind Synthesis Technology is a man who you might want to talk to first when you become a eurorack manufacturer. Or when you start DIY-ing a difficult project. Or when you just want to have an insight on instrument-design. He is a great storyteller as well, and has created a lot of truly innovative tools which brought synthesis forward, so we were happy to start a conversation with him.

      I’d like to know what made you start working on one of your latest modules, the Quand Temporal Shifter. I’d like to also know what sorts of electronic music you are thinking about – if any, when you are designing your products. Or is that just „pure” music theory?
      Paul T. Schreiber of Synthesis Technology (photo: wiretotheear.com)
      Paul T. Schreiber of Synthesis Technology (photo: wiretotheear.com)

      Way back in 1979 I was thinking about using some ’fancy’ sample & hold parts from a company called PMI (I think they were bought by Analog Devices a few years later). Anyway, these chips were used by my employer (Data General) but were really expensive back then, like $12ea . However, they were very very good and I managed to get 3 samples from them. I was designing some digital VCOs and a clone of the Eventide Harmonizer when I got bored at work, and these chips were for the harmonizer’s de-glitcher in the DACs. I had seen pictures of the Serge ASR, and so I breadboarded up a 3-stage one using these samples. It worked great, but I thought to myself: the droop is still an issue, why not do it with A/Ds and D/As instead and make a ’perfect’ one? Well, the harmonizer clone had a ’really good’ 12-bit A/D that my boss got as a sample, but it was $48ea. The D/As were about $19ea. Processors were relatively cheap, we had drawers of 6502 chips. But to build a full digital ASR back then was about a month’s pay.

      I also use musicians that I know and trust that will not just auto-approve anything I do, in fact I *want them* to say „this flat out sucks” if it does, or tell me „the range on this control is not useful”. The last thing I want to do is release products and then go through what seems to the users an endless cycle of firmware updates.

      synth-tech-logoI try not to ’over-think’ the musical context for my designs, above a basic level (this is a LFO, etc). I’m 60yrs old, grew up in the Wendy Carlos/ELP period but now mainly listen to ambient music (Robert Rich is a big influence and contributor). I’m not very ’musical’ myself, although I studied pipe organ a bit but decided it was more fun to build them than to play them (in fact, my design partner’s father is a famous pipe organ builder). I think places like Facebook forums is good idea to get feedback, although you have to apply a lot of filtering sometimes. I do a lot of beta testing, 3-4 months is not unusual, to have up to 6 different people with very wide musical styles comment ton a modules before I ship it.

      Lately, some prices got better, and some competitive aspects got worse. The latest flood of eurorack modules has made „hoping for the best” harder as the market has changed, hasn’t it?

      I don’t think so, there is always this portion of any product (not just a Euro module) that has this chance to really take off. When I was a kid, this guy put a small rock in a cute box and called it a Pet Rock. He sold MILLIONS of them. You just never know it any product becomes a “hit” or not. Same is true releasing music. But we still keep doing it 🙂

      Paul's workshop
      Paul’s workshop

      A few years ago on the Muffwiggler forum some people were talking about the lack of ASR’s (i.e. analog shift registers – the editor) (the Serge analog version, with the droop issue) and whining there were not any good ones. So I decided to show them exactly what a ’good one’ would do! The E102 uses true 14-bit accurate A/D and D/As along with true 14-bit level shifting, which is not easy or cheap. But thankfully it’s also not a month’s salary to build! And since the logic needed to do the basic function only required 10% of the total program memory of the microcontroller, we decided to add the voltage-controlled delay between the taps, something never done defore.

      This is a hallmark of a SynthTech design: we try to add something never before seen in either HW or plug-ins. This leads into the 2nd part of the question: how do we ’decide’ what to build? And then ’how to build it’?

      The fair answer is about 80% market research and 20% „hoping for the best”. It is hard to predict what is a big hit, although in my little corner of the market, I do not try to get close to the number of modules shipped by say Doepfer or Mutable. Rather, I try to approach it as „What is missing that I know how to add value to it?”. Value can mean several things: better audio quality, a new feature (like The E340 Cloud Generator) or a feature that we greatly improve on (the morphing algorithm in the E350).

      What made you release a MIDI CV interface as well for example? I mean almost every manufacturer has one now nowadays.
      Paul T. Schreiber at NAMM showing the Quad Temporal Shifter and the E620 MIDI-USB interface
      Paul T. Schreiber at NAMM showing the Quad Temporal Shifter and the E620 MIDI-USB interface

      No one to date has one with both USB Host and Device. Doing a Device is easy, but that requires connecting to a computer. The Host part, now that is very difficult in terms of both the HW needed and the USB stack, which is probably 4 *times* the complexity/size of a Device stack. The E620 was put on hold because of my time, but we will ship by the end of the year. I still do not know of anything like the E620 on the market: you are talking about years of development to do it properly. USB is non-trival!

      How do you see the latest developments / generations of eurorack modules with plenty of functionality, digital elements like the Disting or other DSP tools?

      It’s always nice to see people play catch-up with me (grin). I think what has happened is that the casual hobbiest manufacturer (the majority) have reached an ’end of the Google’ problem: they can’t find any more schematics or service manuals to copy from. It’s all been done to death. So going forward, the innovation will be coming from the trained EE’s that know how to code in DSP and design higher end analog because this stuff just isn’t laying around on the web. You have to know it first. Sure, people have already started buying little development boards and bolting them to a front panel,

      I’m surprised no one has stuck on an iPad by now. But this is never cost effective or power-effective. The power consumption of some of these modules is staggering, 100s of milliamps from the +12V rail.

      For SynthTech, we plan to offer DSP and 100% analog modules. It’s just REALLY hard to do decent VCFs in DSP. Over last few years, many really fast ARM processors with large memories have been released. Microchip still has the best user libraries to speed code development. We are not “DSP snobs”, we choose the best part for the module in use.

      image_34958
      One of the most famous wavetable VCO’s made by SyntTech – The keyed header is there too.

      My biggest concern, one that I’m known for on the forums, is the lack of power supply knowledge in Euro. Something as simple as marking where the red stripe goes on a pc board somewhow escapes many of these so called „module designers”. I’m not trying to demean anyone: I’m trying to get everyone on the same page for the customers. Euro manufacturers need to rasise the bar: I try to raise it on every module I design. In fact my new low-cost VCO design I’m doing, called the E330 Multi-Mode VCO, has „The red sripe is -12V and goes here” on the silkscreen. My father used to print catalogs, and he had a big sign in his office that said „INK IS FREE”. The point is: why not put this on the board? It costs YOU nothing, but think of the help it is to your customers. I hear suff like „Well, there is no room on my board” to which I say „Then MAKE ROOM”. I view it as being willfully lazy and sloppy. Why is Euro so inconsistent? What other comsumer electronic family is this way? Put yourself in the customer’s place.

      Also, the issue of not using shrouded, keyed headers. I know Doepfer has lead the charge, but that was initially a cost issue and really, you can source Asian shrouded connectors that are maybe $0.23 more than unshrouded. I think this is a small price to pay.

      A lot of users ask questions about standards (and realise that there are no such stuff). Also, another issue is build quality. You tend to take the finest components when you build a module. Do you think that people – either users or makers – will be able to see as bad quality pots, switches, jacks may go wrong?

      It’s not a matter of ‘being wrong’. There is always a tradeoff in any design for cost versus quality of parts used. In many cases there is a point of diminishing return: added more money doesn’t change the customer’s experience.

      Sometimes, the “quality” is in the design itself, not just picking a more expensive part.

      There is an art to being really low-cost. I did this for many years at Tandy/Radio Shack and to the extreme at BlackBerry, were saving $0.05 per phone got you promoted.

      But there is also a nice “feeling” knowing you are free to pick and chose whatever part you want, and there is so many now to pick from. It’s the path SynthTech has chosen, not everyone can relate.

      I am also curious about this VCO design. Anything you could share with the public at the moment?

      It is a spinoff from the coding work we did for the E950 Circuit Bent VCO, without the speech. We are always trying out new VCO designs in both HW and SW, I guess that is just my personal thing I like to work on. This new VCO will be shown at Knobcon on Sept 10th in Chicago. I will have details then. The test pc board arrives on Tuesday [which is today 😉 – the editor], I think I will refrain saying more until it actually works.

      We were really happy to talk to Paul! See our post on the Quad Temporal Shifter

      5x4=20 - 4ms is 20 years old! A thank-you with personal highlights

      4ms Company might be a maker that all of us should be proud of thanks to their innovative aim. Even if we were not that interested in the “maths” in general, it would bring new life into your sounds’ temporal dimensions. Their latest sound processors are of a different generation, however, I do see the effort of them getting to a novel aim. The company’s recent 20 year anniversary being still around, I thought I would show you my personal highlights from 4ms.  
      New dimensions in rhythms and beats

      In my opinion, the 4ms Company products that have redefined modular synthesis and have saved it from the lovely but obviously limited linearity of sequencer-based “Berlin school” types of electronic music are still their clock modules…

      Let’s recap. Take a clock divider. Give it a master clock, e.g. an LFO. The divider will spit out divisions that were set by the outputs. Like on the A-160-2 Doepfer Clock Divider:

      a-160-2-clock-behaviour
      The scheme of the A-160-2 clock divider

      a-160-2


      So far, this is just a very badly designed “snake game” in which the snake cannot be navigated through the wall. What you would really want is to maneuver your snake through the walls, because this way you earn your points rcdmore easily yet with more variety.  Now this is exactly

      4ms Shuffling Clock Multiplier

      what the Rotating Clock Divider and the Shuffling Clock Multiplier modules do. They rotate the output signals, so each divided clock signal appears on a different output as soon as you add an input signal to the Rotate input. So your kick suddenly starts trilling, your hihats suddenly slow down, claps start to rattle, envelopes go mad, etc. It may sound mathematical and generative, yet it still pleases your senses. You can even fine tune these and get new modes with their expanders (SCM Breakout), (RCD Breakout).

      The clock divisions can be rotated on the 4ms RCD
      The clock divisions can be rotated on the 4ms RCD

      I would never say something stupid that “this had not been done before by anybody”. Obviously, if you patch the Doepfer outputs into an A-151 Quad Sequential Switch, something similar would already be happening. But honestly, how many times would you hear that compared to the relatively linear maybe ratcheting ways of clock dividers in the electronic music of the last 20 years?

      Another thing I really like in this aim is addressing and challenging simplicity. Clock signals can be conceptualised in such a narrow way: saying “on and off” + “the time between these” would cover most of it, however with enough humbleness you can in fact reshape even this basic idea. Thanks to these modules, clock signals now – literally – add new dimensions to your rhythmic patterns, changing the topology of your timing in your system. Not to mention, that at audio rates they can function as sub-octave or sub-interval generators as well. Imagine crunchy chords, that can become really lush when you process them with a filter…

      qcd_final_frontcfqcd_exp_final_frontdcAfter the RCD and the SCM modules, let me praise the mighty king of clocks, the Quad Clock Distributor – and its expander. The QCD’s 4 independently resettable, CV controllable clock divider/multiplier sub-units powered up with the expansion module  will provide you with enough rhythmic patterns till the end of civilisation. I have had it for 2 years, and I still find it really wonderfully inviting to work on new settings, not to even mention that I have mostly OR combined them… and yes, I wish you would forget anybody’s word being concerned about the width of the QCD expander. I would not even say that its an expander, it must be the end of the module’s story that is trying to tell you. Thanks to the pulse-width modulation, gate and trigger delay possibilities of the clocks and the attenuators, you will get the most delicate swings and accentuations in your music that you were dreaming about. Seriously.  Listen to this.

      Or that one.

      Maybe even that one. 

      Last but not least, I would also love to thank them for the QPLFO and the PEG, which also expanded and colored the concepts of LFO’s and envelopes (slope generators in this case). However, you must have realised which my favourite modules are. And who would not dream about the spaceship-style interface of the VCA Matrix?

      Clean power for everyone

      Despite being tempted to start criticising for the price ROW POWER (30 and 40) is the way to go.

      First of all, no power module gives you enough on the +5V rail except this module. I have seen systems freezing or failing enough times in eurorack cases packed with enough power-hungry modules, but not with the black ROW POWER 40. So here you have an ever-cool (even on its front panel you would hardly feel much of warmth), super slim power supply module with clean sounding and plenty of power! I said it right when I said clean sounding! I definitely felt that even my audio modules sounded more “powerful” (a thing which I hesitated to believe when I was reading up about it at a forum topic). 

      Innovative digital audio processors

      Don’t get me wrong: I have no bad things to say on the later generation of 4ms products. As concepts they are carving out the new digital realms and powers of eurorack. So I can only say that I still have a lack of enough personal experience with these modules: I have not even tried the Dual Looping Delay, and I am still new to the Spectral Multiband Resonator – it has been installed in one of the racks at the Analogue Zone showroom now, and has already got much use from the team and the guests. But as for audio, it must be a really subjective story. I have always liked different kinds of rhtyhms but I have always been picky – as everyone else – on sound. The SMR has to be used with the right kind of audio input and I would definitely spice it up to get rid of the somewhat recogniseable resonance tones. Think about something like the Trogotronic Tube VCA, the Erica Fusion Tube Mixer or the Kasleder Acid Fuzz, and you are on a really good way to get back to organic tones. Check out Divkid’s video on it – or check it out AGAIN if you already have:

      One last thing… I have to say that the generally I have seen this company’s aims towards the customers. 4ms has always been reasonable with pricing, and they even offer some of their projects as kits as much more affordable products. And as I said, they are letting you sorting it out: they are not forcing a fixed musical concept from a certain era – which would be no offence for me, as I am also following a tradition of electronic music – they are saying do whatever sounds, whatever rhythms, at ease. because we have been able to give the space and opportunity for all these. Long live 4ms!
       
      4ms Company might be a maker that all of us should be proud of thanks to their innovative aim. Even if we were not that interested in the “maths” in general, it would . Their latest sound processors are of a different generation, however, I do see the effort of them getting to a novel aim. The company’s recent 20 year anniversary being still around, I thought I would show you my personal highlights from 4ms.  
      New dimensions in rhythms and beats

      In my opinion, the 4ms Company products that have redefined modular synthesis and have saved it from the lovely but obviously limited linearity of sequencer-based “Berlin school” types of electronic music are still their clock modules…

      Let’s recap. Take a clock divider. Give it a master clock, e.g. an LFO. The divider will spit out divisions that were set by the outputs. Like on the A-160-2 Doepfer Clock Divider:

      a-160-2-clock-behaviour
      The scheme of the A-160-2 clock divider

      a-160-2

       


      So far, this is just a very badly designed “snake game” in which the snake cannot be navigated through the wall. What you would really want is to maneuver your snake through the walls, because this way you earn your points rcdmore easily yet with more variety.  Now this is exactly

      4ms Shuffling Clock Multiplier

      what the Rotating Clock Divider and the Shuffling Clock Multiplier modules do. They rotate the output signals, so each divided clock signal appears on a different output as soon as you add an input signal to the Rotate input. So your kick suddenly starts trilling, your hihats suddenly slow down, claps start to rattle, envelopes go mad, etc. It may sound mathematical and generative, yet it still pleases your senses. You can even fine tune these and get new modes with their expanders (SCM Breakout), (RCD Breakout).

       

      The clock divisions can be rotated on the 4ms RCD
      The clock divisions can be rotated on the 4ms RCD

      I would never say something stupid that “this had not been done before by anybody”. Obviously, if you patch the Doepfer outputs into an A-151 Quad Sequential Switch, something similar would already be happening. But honestly, how many times would you hear that compared to the relatively linear maybe ratcheting ways of clock dividers in the electronic music of the last 20 years?

      Another thing I really like in this aim is addressing and challenging simplicity. Clock signals can be conceptualised in such a narrow way: saying “on and off” + “the time between these” would cover most of it, however with enough humbleness you can in fact reshape even this basic idea. Thanks to these modules, clock signals now – literally – add new dimensions to your rhythmic patterns, changing the topology of your timing in your system. Not to mention, that at audio rates they can function as sub-octave or sub-interval generators as well. Imagine crunchy chords, that can become really lush when you process them with a filter…

      qcd_final_frontcf qcd_exp_final_frontdcAfter the RCD and the SCM modules, let me praise the mighty king of clocks, the Quad Clock Distributor – and its expander. The QCD’s 4 independently resettable, CV controllable clock divider/multiplier sub-units powered up with the expansion module  will provide you with enough rhythmic patterns till the end of civilisation. I have had it for 2 years, and I still find it really wonderfully inviting to work on new settings, not to even mention that I have mostly OR combined them… and yes, I wish you would forget anybody’s word being concerned about the width of the QCD expander. I would not even say that its an expander, it must be the end of the module’s story that is trying to tell you. Thanks to the pulse-width modulation, gate and trigger delay possibilities of the clocks and the attenuators, you will get the most delicate swings and accentuations in your music that you were dreaming about. Seriously.  Listen to this.

      Or that one.

      Maybe even that one. 

      Last but not least, I would also love to thank them for the QPLFO and the PEG, which also expanded and colored the concepts of LFO’s and envelopes (slope generators in this case). However, you must have realised which my favourite modules are. And who would not dream about the spaceship-style interface of the VCA Matrix?

      Clean power for everyone

      Despite being tempted to start criticising for the price ROW POWER (30 and 40) is the way to go.

      First of all, no power module gives you enough on the +5V rail except this module. I have seen systems freezing or failing enough times in eurorack cases packed with enough power-hungry modules, but not with the black ROW POWER 40. So here you have an ever-cool (even on its front panel you would hardly feel much of warmth), super slim power supply module with clean sounding and plenty of power! I said it right when I said clean sounding! I definitely felt that even my audio modules sounded more “powerful” (a thing which I hesitated to believe when I was reading up about it at a forum topic). 

      Innovative digital audio processors

      Don’t get me wrong: I have no bad things to say on the later generation of 4ms products. As concepts they are carving out the new digital realms and powers of eurorack. So I can only say that I still have a lack of enough personal experience with these modules: I have not even tried the Dual Looping Delay, and I am still new to the Spectral Multiband Resonator – it has been installed in one of the racks at the Analogue Zone showroom now, and has already got much use from the team and the guests. But as for audio, it must be a really subjective story. I have always liked different kinds of rhtyhms but I have always been picky – as everyone else – on sound. The SMR has to be used with the right kind of audio input and I would definitely spice it up to get rid of the somewhat recogniseable resonance tones. Think about something like the Trogotronic Tube VCA, the Erica Fusion Tube Mixer or the Kasleder Acid Fuzz, and you are on a really good way to get back to organic tones. Check out Divkid’s video on it – or check it out AGAIN if you already have:

      One last thing… I have to say that the generally I have seen this company’s aims towards the customers. 4ms has always been reasonable with pricing, and they even offer some of their projects as kits as much more affordable products. And as I said, they are letting you sorting it out: they are not forcing a fixed musical concept from a certain era – which would be no offence for me, as I am also following a tradition of electronic music – they are saying do whatever sounds, whatever rhythms, at ease, because we have been able to give ourselves the space and opportunity for all these. Long live 4ms!
       

      CV Fest Budapest on Sunday - synths, workshops, live acts all day and night!

      The warming up had a great vibe all over already, but the all-day and all-night-long event of CV Fest is coming up this Sunday, and it is going to give you a memorable experience. Special synthesizers and modular systems, synth-workshops and educational demos for studio workers and producers, topped up by live acts only.
      cv-fest-veglegesDoepfer’s monster case will be on display at the expo, which will create a lot of excitment for visitors: the bernardconsiderable amount of modules in this system can educate you about the basics of synthesis, and also pays hommage to Dieter Doepfer, the true father of eurorack, a format which is getting more and more popular among users every day. Analogue Zone will also bring small synthsand drum machines to the show  next to their especially exclusive  Buchla synth collection.
      Other distributors of audio and studio gear are also attending the event, Roland booked David Ahlund for the event, who will give an AIRA walkthrough and a live performance as well. Konstantin from Tiptop Audio is also coming but not alone this time as to Budapest Music Expo’s Analogue Zone booth. His ZV_K live act project will warm the hearts of techno lovers at night which will be supported by Hungarian live acts too.
      Tickets are already available! Each participant will take part in a raffle and can have a chance to win great prices provided by the exhibitors. The main prize is a Moog analog synth, but you can also take home a Roland SBX-1 sync  box!
      Check the Facebook event and see you there at CV Fest!

       

      CV Fest is on - find out everything about electronic music in one event in the heart of Budapest

      On Tuesday’s CV Fest workshop we can get a better insight on the delicacies of the first Hungary-based eurorack module, the Kasleder Acid Fuzz, and the evening ends with a no-compromise modular techno live act.  Apart from members of the Analogue Zone team, Csaba Füle, a Hungarian musician and instrument-builder is also attending the workshop with is DIY electronic instruments, including a clone of a 909 drum machine and a lot of custom fuzz effects. There will be many DIY fuzz effects to test the new MFB desktop drum machines either. As it should be in any synth workshop, everything will be observed by an oscilloscope.
      Zajszint Workshop - 7This workshop can be regarded as a warmup for the bigger event on the 15th of May which will last a whole day, and will be attended Zajszint Workshop - 10by local and international distributors, as well as synth manufacturers.
      To name a few: Analogue ZoneRoland, Roland AIRATiptop Audio, Bastl Instruments, Doepfer Musikelektronik, and Hungarian studio equipment distributors Audmax and Pákó have been already confirmed, others are also to be announced.
      CV Fest David3_260x162will be a great chance to get an insight of the Hungarian electronic music and festival scene, since many of the representative organisers and producers will be taking part in panel discussions and will be happy to answer the visitors’ questions. CV Fest will also be supported by an original modular techno live act from Berlin next to the Hungarian live acts.
      live modular techno mixingThe event starts in the afternoon with raffle games in which valuable prizes offered by the exhibitors can be won by the visitors. The further programmes include contemporary music performances by Bálint Baráth and Ákos Nagy, but David Ahlund of Roland will also be showing the best uses of AIRA products in a live music context. The ZV_K 1daytime events also include a vocoder karaoke which visitors can try out for fun.  The evening kicks in with concentrated techno live acts from local Hungarian artists (Banyek, Arrythmia), and the Berlin-based ZV_K duo  is also coming with their full Tiptop Audio modular arsenal (Konstantin, the member of the project is also doing an exlcusive workshop during the day!)
      The list of exhibitors and and participants’ names are expanding day after they, so it would be no surprise if further treats would be ready till the 15th of May!
      CV Fest official
      CV Fest @ Facebook