Tag Archives: intellijel

Intellijel - Shapeshifter Gets New Firmware

The Intellijel designs – Shapeshifter has received its new firmware recently. Here is what we can highlight for you.
 
  • Intellijel designs - Cylonix Shapeshifter - a living legend among wavetable euroack oscillators
    Intellijel designs – Cylonix Shapeshifter – a living legend among wavetable euroack oscillators

    Everyone has liked the CHORD mode, in which the type can now be voltage controlled.

  • As more and more wavetable modules are equipped with wavebank selection or wavesurfing as it is called on the Erica Synths – Black Wavetable VCO module, it was time to get it done here as well.
  • The Shapeshifter has always been a complex synth module, which offered you to save your audio paintings: now the preset memory has 100 slots already!
 
The complete updates can be read here.

Drawing Tools for Your Modular Synthesizer

The entry-level question: “What other modules should I get?” The entry-level answer “more VCA’s”. Now here are other cool tools that would basically put any modular synth setup towards a further evolutionary step.
Erica Synths – Black Xfade
black-xfadeHardly any modules can be found for crossfading – yes, you can crossfade between two seperate VCA’s – yes you can do it with any modulation signal and its inverted pair. But come on, it can be much easier with a dedicated module which can even keep the signal at a constant gain! Erica Synths have always been loved for these quirks (e.g. the emphasis de-emphasis circuit on the Black Quad VCA). The audio on the Black Xfade is high-quality and any “weird” or chaotic waveform can be tamed to be less clicky and more controlled.
More tips (approved and recommended by the manufacturer):
  • use it as a waveshaper with original vs. boosted signal.
  • you can also crossfade between two clock or any CV signals.
4ms Company – Shifting Inverting Signal Mingler (SISM)
4ms Company - SISM
4ms Company – SISM

It is hard to begin to talk about this module, because you have to mention at least 4 different terms. Any signal can be turned inside out – boosted up, cut into (two) half(-ves), mixed, “mirrored” .

Apart from that, the MIX SWitch (jack outputs sum of all channels with nothing plugged into their output jack),
For DIY’ers: you can find a PAD breakout header (2×4) on the PCB which can be connected to an external DIY module that enables a pre-set pad (attenuation) on each channel. Any modulation signal of yours can receive its passport to new territories in new and simultaneous forms with this module!
Other good tools people seem to forget about…
You might want to remain simplistic or regard polarizing as an enhancer of the modulation section of your system. A tool that “shifts” and turns signals “inside out”…
Yet, do not forget: polarized audio signal + feedback = new filter curves!
Mutable Instruments: Veils (a quad VCA), Blinds and of course Kinks!
Intellijel: Triatt (a classic one – a more thought-out and feature rich reincarnation of the Doepfer A-138c Polarizing Mixer)
ssf-gndSteady State Fate – GND Cntrl: some users crave visual feedback and precision. I much more prefer numeral feedback than staring at visuals on a small screen. Each to its own… The SSF Gnd Cntrl matches and attenuates / divides audio and CV signals to minute hyper-precision ranges. Ideal for live or studio!
AWM-3 – VC mixer and wavefolder

And finally, something new: these tools are getting more and more varied each year: a new module is the AWM-3 from Vintage Synth Lab. It is an all analog, real-time, complex wave-shaping (triple wave-folder) 3-channel mixer module with added features of compression and multiple mix modes including matrix mixes.

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!

      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!

      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 - 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!

      Modular Minutes Series - ADM12 Neuron FM Percussion Workout

      Analogue Zone has always been providing up to date synth tips on either exclusive workshops or their video series. The latest weekly video series will be even more focused and interactive.
       
      adm-12-neuron-500x500Modular Minutes is a new series from their Budapest showroom – the series aims at the finest and latest modular goodies with patching comprehensively described both in comments and the description tab. In the first episode the ADM12 – Neuron FM drum module is shown in a simple percussive patch. Further processing was done by the Pittsburgh Modular – Verbtronic in ‘Tronic’ mode.
       

      The Audio Damage ADM12 is a dedicated drum voice indeed. Having every parameter under voltage control and thanks to the pingable envelope envelope and VCA – plus the lovely manual trigger button with LED installed onto this space saving panel width is most ergonomic. The trigger button grants you immediate access to the sound, so there is no need for an external input to hear your FM percussion sorcery. The durable knobs are really massive and since they are center-deterred, you can just dial in a lot of percussion sounds. You are able to go beyond the tonal concepts of a “tom” or a “hihat” with ease to the (yet) unexplored terrirtory. Come and check it out in our showroom!

      Intellijel's back with some goodness - NAMM '16

      Intellijel is back with new stuff in style! They brought 3 new modules, an extra CV bus module and a new great looking and functional aluminium cases as well!

      The Rainmaker, a long-awaited collab module with Cylonix is also rainmaker
      here. A multi-tap pitch shifting delay which is freezable and randomisable, packed with a resonator and tunable filter – a digital sound effect you could use for the latest trend among eurorack makers (think of MI – Elements or MN – Mysteron), that is, modal synthesis.

      jellysquasherThe Jellysquasher is a decent multimode compressor / distortion. It offers tubesque distortion, symmetrical distortion and low-end booster type as well! It is indeed spectacular how many different genres this module will enrich! Everything has smooth control and you can monitor the signal on a LED bargraph.The sidechain circuit (which would probably be the hit of this year’s NAMM) also features a multimode filter as well. You will be able to use two in stereo!

      And we also have… this 🙂

      intellijel-boombox

       

      A true Meta-Modulator - Mutable Instruments - Warps Overview

      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.
       
      Algorithms
      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! For
      Mutable Instruments - Warps
      Mutable Instruments – Warps
      instance, 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. 🙂
       
      First-hand impressions
       
      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 warps_flatrhythmic 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:
       

      Closing time with Warps, Metropolis, Rubicon, Mini Slew!

      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.
       
      Mutable Instruments – Warps @ Analogue Zone
      Mutable Instruments Official

      27 filter modes, a facelifted oscillator and a lovely MIDI interface - Intellijel announces 3 new modules

      Intellijel breaks the silence – 3 (actually 2 and a half) new modules are announced for this fall.
      Intellijel designs - Polaris
      Intellijel designs – Polaris

      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.

       
       
       
       
       
      Intellijel designs - Dixie II+
      Intellijel designs – Dixie II+

      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!

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Intellijel designs - uMIDI
      Intellijel designs – uMIDI

      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.

       

      We are looking forward to testing these modules in our Budapest showroom. All three are on pre-order now at the Analogue Zone webshop!