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Randomness Will Pay - SSF Ultra Random Analog

Whenever we want randomness we want more of it with even more control. The URA is just unbeatable in that way at the moment if you consider either price or space consumed by the module.
 
A white noise generator is usually created by a flow of accidental collision of electrons resulting in an even distribution of frequencies our ears tend to hear as “mid-range” hiss. In reality, if we were precision audio analysers, we would be able to hear all frequencies, it is our ears’ and sense of hearing that results in this perception.
 

ura-2The Ultra Random Analog features two of these sources which act as the fundation of randomness. Imagine we could take “snapshots” of these randomness by another “on-and-off” signal, which would result in stepped random voltages. The URA has two of these, and on top of that, their result is also routed to a toggle switch which alternates between the outputs. This toggle switch also has a sepearate clock! Not to mention that once we get tired of the noise, we can feed any input signal via the sample inputs. 

 
We aren’t always in need of harsh steps though. So imagine you could add “portamento” to these fluctuations. Then, sometimes we would also like to control the randomness, e.g. to generate only positive voltages with usually a short or long “on” stage, i.e. triggers or gates. Imagine an “exclusive” “positive only” output instead of a random output on a Doepfer A-118, which would also generate ideal length pulses or gates. Even the division of these can be controlled on the front panel.
 
Sometimes as in case of many complex modules, the functions may not be entirely new, but the all-in-one concept indeed justifies the price. You may “have” something along the lines of URA from the following Doepfer modules (one could argue endlessly about different versions e.g. using different LFO’s, I’ll just say it is one of the possible options):
 
ura-doepf
Not only you may end up not having as much fine-tuned randomness as you expect, or even as steady clocks which function well at audio rates as well, but even price and rack space-wise they would cost more.
 
Random signals are often stereotypically related to disturbing and noisy sound-art, however they may turn out to have beautiful series of scales. Bring a quantizer like uScale to the game and modulate the URA’s clock and the oscillator you pitch control with both URA’s outs and the URA’s clock modulation source and you will get into the territory of endless musical randomness. And that was just a mere overview of the basic functions. A whole musical sequence with various parts, envelopes and drums can be built up by this module with pleasant surprises which you will hardly get tired of!

Update your TEMPI now and say goodbye to sync issues

Tempi update: external sync problems solved and features even got better! Do not forget that Make Noise is craving for your feedback as the firmware is being continuously updated, so o not hesitate to hit them up with your wishes!

makenoise-tempi-sideWhen I saw that Make Noise is about to release a clock module I was as excited as anyone could be who are after complex clock sources and modulations, though since it was their first ever touch on a clock module, I had also expected a few bumps in the initial firmware. I was then a bit worried when I was reading about the TEMPI‘s external sync issues. But not anymore. Here is everything you need to know about the new firmware where the external sync issue is solved and also about the new features of other parameters.

“NEW revision TEMPI firmware tempi11 makes External SYNC and RUN/ STOP behaviors even better. Install today, make modular beats!
http://www.makenoisemusic.com/content/patchsheets/tempi11_firmware_update.zip

Everything you need to do the update is included in this download. File, instructions, descriptions, contact info in case you have troubles.TEMPI modules serial number TMP0817 and higher do not require update. TEMPI modules running tempi11 will have an LED sequence on power up where all 6 CHannel LEDs alternate Red/ Blue twice, and PGMB and PGMA LEDs alternate ON/ OFF twice. See video file tempi11powerup.MOV for power up LED Sequence example (included in the download link above).

This firmware tempi11 greatly improves synchronization to external clocks via the TEMPO IN as well as the Run/Stop, Run/Stop ALL and Alt. Run/Stop MOD behaviors. This new TEMPI firmware can be loaded onto your TEMPI using the attached tempi11.wav file. Your settings and Stored STATEs are retained so long as you follow the update procedure correctly.

Check out Analogue Zone’s exclusive video in their Modular Minutes series with the TEMPI module.

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

 

More Details on the Rossum Electro Music Assimil8or Sampler

Dave Rossum (former E-MU founder, inventor) has published details on Assimil8or, their new eurorack sampler. Having conquered the eurorack world this year with their filter and complex envelope generator products (the latter to be out soon), Rossum Electro Music is here to stay!

dave-rossum-samplerThe Assimil8or will be a eurorack sampler with phase modulation included. From hi-fi to lo-fi sampling on 8 channels, 24 bit A/D-D/A conversion, phase modulation even by external voltages – or by other samples(!), bitcrushing, looping parameters and variable playback, not to mention the convenient SD card storage, this sampler will be a fully-featured one filling a lot of gaps. And yes, it is made by the father of the SP-samplers, so it is kind of hard to imagine where this would go wrong. We are looking forward to hearing it in action!

Check out Analogue Zone’s exclusive interview with Dave Rossum from NAMM ’16 – they had already asked him about a sampler at that time, so their suspicions were right! 🙂

Read our earlier post on musical and timbral applications of phase modulation!

Doepfer's Trigger Sequencer has become reality

After several years of redesigns, Doepfer’s A-157 Trigger Sequencer is shipping from the manufactruer. Users can expect it in the next few weeks: it was worth the wait.

A157_1_final_hrAlthough complex triggering techniques are not new in eurorack (take Tiptop Audio’s Trigger Riot and Circadian Rhythms for example), the other direction, that is, of simplicity has been finally addressed by Doepfer: The father of eurorack modular synthesizers, released the so-called Mini-Schaltwerk (based on their previous standalone trigger sequencer). The 8×16 Trigger Matrix will be able to shift, invert, delete steps, change directions and will be up for future storage and recall functions as well! The new Trigger Matrix was last seen at NAMM2016.

 

Phrases with phases - thru-zero and phase modulation in musical practises

Even though a growing number of modular synth users are tend to go into more complex territorries with amplitude and frequency modulation (AM and FM), it might be puzzling to understand why “phase” and “thru-zero” are often praised – the other electronic parameters have been really caught up recently with the release of the Strong Zero Core for the Furthrrrr Generator by Endorphin.es or the Bateleur by Birdkids, a true analog thru-zero oscillator. So I thought to come up with some musical contexts and applications of waveforms in different phase and phase modulation, so that they become as “common” as AM and FM for you. I hope it will help you to go far within new territorries in your system: these new territories where I had (accidentally) my own eurorack system started.
Phase and timing relationships
a-143-9-My first ever LFO was luckily – the A-143-9 Quadrature LFO. Luckily, because my intention had not been to utilise phase at all, I had only been after sinewave-only modulation. This LFO has 4 “non-simultaneous” (phase-shifted) outputs, and this means you only have one output at the time, which is “followed” by the next one, and so on. Once I finally had 4 VCA’s, I was able to use it as a (one-directional) sequential fader. In this case, I was using the module as an LFO only. It does what it can: fading in the next VCA’s signal in while the other is fading out. I was creating the timing of this snoozing monster with it. However, you cannot change the degrees – you can only spend a “longer dr-octature-iitime” and a “shorter time” when you modulate the frequency by another LFO (or manually). It also applies for the Octature II, (loosely speaking) the A-143-9’s bigger brother which is capable of creating 8 sinewaves 45-degrees out of phase. What would you need if you wanted more than that?
 
funcan2
Two sinewaves, 90 degrees out of phase – Source: www.thecarversite.com
 
You either need a XAOC Devices – Batumi or a WMD – PDO for that.
Whereas the A-143-9 has a static, 90-degree phase-shift, the PDO’s channels 2, 3 and 4 can be “turned away” even by 360 degrees in PDO2-500x500relation to its original phase (a relative 0 degrees). Now imagine that you can “spend as much time” at each fade as you want to. You can even control it by a sequencer, another LFO, by an envelope, etc. You can even modulate it by itself for interesting timing variations. Well, why don’t you forget about VCA’s and start patching the out phase outputs to VCF’s, strike or gate inputs, or apply them in stereo, quad panning, wherever you want to… You have a special kind of sequencer here already.
Audio rate – thru zero, phase modulation and distortion
You may have heard the phrase from a lot of manufacturers and users that “thru-zero FM sounds better”. At this point, I have to explain an equivalance that shows the relationship(!) between something being “thru-zero” and its phase. If you totally invert a waveform you create a mirror image of that. This mirror image basically equals to “180 degrees out of phase”. So basically, you are changing the phase in relation to the timing of the waveform going through the positive or the negative range. You can read the following on the Doepfer website at A-110-4 Thru-Zero Oscillator‘s description:
 
“The term “Thru-Zero” means that even “negative” frequencies are generated. But this a bit a misleading term as negative frequencies do not really exist. “Negative” means in this connection simply that the sine/cosine waves will stop when the linear control voltage reaches 0V and continue with the opposite direction as the linear control voltage becomes negative and vice versa.”
So when a waveform is 180 degrees out of phase, you are seeing the waveform flowing to the opposite “direction”. If you are looking at a scope, with 90-degrees phase shifted sinewaves, you will see these phase shifted waveforms as if they were “after” one another.
 
Coming back to a practical musical context, we have two main “bonus” items on our sound pallette: 
a. more waveforms
b. more possible “space” and “spatial movement” between them. 
 
Phase modulation and phase distortion are not the same, but it can be understood by looking at these figures from electricdruid.net:
 
pd01
The more heavily you modulate the phase of the waveform in audio rate, the more pd-02“displacement” you get (hence the name Phase Displacement oscillator). You can “tilt” the waveform in a way that it “spins round”. The PDO has all the waveshapes for creating sounds that are bell-like, resemble woodblocks, bright metallic, rich sounds and digital noise. It even has the dirt of the classic Casio CZ sounds. 
The rest is up to you, your modules, and your ears listening to “thru-zero” FM and “phase modulation”. What sound do you like? What richness are you after? Phase is just fun!

Modular Minutes: Waveshaping with the Erica Synths Fusion Mixer V2

In this episode of Modular Minutes, a retro-oscilloscope was set up in the Analogue Zone showroom to test the new version of Erica Synths – Fusion Mixer‘s waveshaping capabilities.
Freshly arrived at Analogue Zone - Erica Synths Fusion Tube Mixer V2
Freshly arrived at Analogue Zone – Erica Synths Fusion Tube Mixer V2

Modular Minutes is a new series from Analogue Zone’s Budapest showroom – the series aims at the finest and latest modular goodies with patching comprehensively described both in comments and the description tab.

The Erica Synths – Fusion Tube Mixer V2 adds convincing powerful and conveniently controllable tube sound to any of the signals. Having altogether 6 inputs, and the availabilty of summing 6 channels and using the mixer as a stereo tool takes any of your patches to the next level, creating new tones and waveforms at the same time.

Modular Minutes - XAOC Devices Batumi Expert Firmware

In this episode of Modular Minutes, Analogue Zone took the new Expert Firmware of the XAOC Devices – Batumi and utilised it as the central nervous system of a patch.

 

batumi-01-500x500Modular Minutes is a new series from Analogue Zone’s Budapest showroom – the series aims at the finest and latest modular goodies with patching comprehensively described both in comments and the description tab.

The XAOC Devices – Batumi is one of the tiniest yet most complex modulation source. It can very easily grow into a heart of a patch thanks to the manifold sync options and the quad mode. The new Expert Firmware which can be easily uploaded via USB when the module is powered off can further empower the Batumi as a central modulation source and can even give sequencing duties to it. A very well thought-out concept lies behind the nice and handy LED sliders of this module which will always breathe new life into any system.

Read our exclusive interview with the manufacturers!

Modular Minutes - Exploring the stereo FFT Freeze with the ADM15 Spectre

In the latest episode of Modular Minutes, Analogue Zone took its first steps with the Audio Damage ADM15 Spectre module, doing some explorations in FFT stereo freeze – a novel kind of audio processing in the eurorack format. The video also feauters Szőlő, the store’s synth cat!

adm-15-sepctre-500x500Modular Minutes is a new series from Analogue Zone’s Budapest showroom – the series aims at the finest and latest modular goodies with patching comprehensively described both in comments and the description tab.

The Audio Damage ADM15 Spectre introduces a very rigid and theoretical digital sound processing technique in a very intuitive way. Different spectral and pitch contents can be frozen, shifted and blurred up to infinity with really wide stereo characteristics and pleasingly metallic tonalities. This processing had not been available in eurorack for decades and it is a totally unique take on spectral processing. Add some reverb to it and it becomes your own gateway to space!

New alternative firmware for XAOC Devices - Batumi

The XAOC Devices – Batumi had already been one of the most feature-rich modulation source in this HP. Now a new alternative firmware has been released which allows you to have even more exciting patches with the Batumi.
 
batumi-01-500x500Polish manufacturers have reached their fame with their Moskwa sequencer – but they did not stop here. Batumi, their quad modulation source is already a hit thanks to its unprecedented plethora of features. The module ships with the most updated factory firmware, however an alternate firmware has also been released thanks to Matthias Puech, already famed creator of the Parasite alternate firmware for Mutable Instruments modules. The features are the following:
 
  • Channel zoom-in on each modulation channel with LFO amplitude, LFO phase control, fine-tune control of the frequency and attenuation of the channel’s FM CV:
 

 
 
  • A New quad mode where output 1 becomes the sum of all frequencies and the other outputs become dual ones,
  • This features square wave modes instead of trapezoid turns the LFO into a sequencer

  • Random waveforms where stepped uniform random wave (classic sample-and-hold)
  • A Random Logic mode creates more patterned repetitions (the most peculiar thing is that each Batumi will sound different in this mode!)