Tag Archives: mannequins

A new paradigm – Analogue Zone Booth at Budapest Music Expo

This year’s Budapest Music Expo was special groundbreaking for a lot of reasons. At Analogue Zone‘s booth, visitors were having a lot of fun and exclusivity around, since for the first the time in the Central-European region, they were able to meet eurorack modular manufacturers coming from Eastern-Europe to Brooklyn, and try out their custom built systems. On top of that, a eurorack prototype of a well-known Hungarian stompbox manufacturer also debuted at the booth. They had a lovely vibe in their well-designed booth – it was certainly a place where a lot of thought-provoking conversations, introductions to synths and also exclusive workshops took place.


Bastl Instruments

Bastl Instruments were getting a lot of attention thanks to their servo-motor modules which were controlling various small percussion instruments. Their wooden case and booth design was really fun and aesthetic – their case will be seperately available later. All their handmade modules and synths are produced locally in the Czech Republic, including the PCBs.

Girts from Erica Synths

The Erica Synths crew occupied one of the largest spaces in the booth, showing their prototypes new Graphic modules (the graphic VCO and sequencer) and their dual ADSR / LFO also one could see their brand new simple but lovely MIDI to Trigger module, which generates simple trigger signals based on MIDI notes and was used during non-stop underground live electronic music. The module was announced for the first time during the time of the exhibition and a few lucky raffle winners were also able to take it home.

Erica Synths – Graphic VCO and Graphic Sequencer prototypes

The Erica Synths crew were really enjoying their stay here, and were getting a lot of attention. Girts, the man behind the company was emphasizing that they intended to bring a less masculine and more aesthetic type of approach are coming with plenty of new designs this year.

Erica Synths Black Dual EG LFO
Erica Synths Black Dual EG and LFO
konstantin-mannequinsKonstantin came to the both as the representative of Tiptop Audio – showing up their upcoming quantizer module. He was also announcing a new case, when talking about the new quantizer module which was exhibited, he confirmed that new Serge modules tiptop-systemwere on the way from Tiptop, and it is said that many of them are in really advanced stages already! His techno jamming and general approach to live electronic dance music was also enjoyed and appreciated by the people around the booth. He – as other exhibitors – was playing in sync on the last day with other modulars as one master clock signal was sent from the Erica Synths case which was distributed in the whole booth! A pretty nice and often forgotten approach!
An AJH MiniMod system

The UK side of the booth was also buzzing. Allan J. Hall from AJH Synth got a lot of visitors as people wanted make sure how his MiniMod system sounded like. His months of hard work of fine-tuning a Model D sound and realising it with 21st century electronics is a convincing achievement indeed. As he said, people were afraid that he was going to lose the characteristic sound of the classic – along with eliminating its inherent flaws – but no doubt that he won that game as well. It was especially nice of him that he helped around to install the Doepfer Monstercase at the corner of bernardthe booth. Its robust size and the oscilloscope next to it with laser projection on the wall gave the basic sound a synthesis a visual dimension which continuosly attaracted visitors too. Bernard from Doepfer Musikelektronik was controlling the synth, giving insight to a lot of people around.




Analogue Zone Booth @ Budapest Music Expo 2015
Justin from Abstract Data

Next to Allan, Justin from Abstract Data was having a great time with his system, especially when it was also synced to the other modulars in the booth. His Octocontroller module was busy every day and he was – as all other manufacturers – giving a short demonstration going into details about his system.

Michael Biem (Birdkids)
Michael Biem (Birdkids)
The Birdkids booth

Michael from Birdkids had an impressive table with a small but powerful modular system – their Bateleur VCO with both of its 2 new expanders made it an outstanding synth-voice which was played around by several visitors. He was mentioning a “stackable” filter in the works, and he was kindly discussing design difficulties, and even came up with DIY tips for more advanced users.

Trent from Mannequins

Trent Gill from Mannequins – who had also held a Monome / Mannequins workshop at the Analogue Zone showroom 2 days before the show was having lively conversations with the people around. Even manufacturers were amazed by the complexities and odds (and evens) of their Monome Mannequins combo systems. However, it turned out quickly how playable and musical they are. He said that a final stage that had not been designed yet in their systems is their envelopes. Not able to leak a lot of details here, though I can confirm that he decided on the Serge-way of doing things. 🙂

Analogue Zone a lot of other new synths to the public, including the new Sequential Prophet 6, people often queued in front of that wonderful new/old polysynth. Not to mention such rare instruments as the Buchla Music Easel, and its latest version, the Easel K, which had its European debut at the booth as well, but recent euro modules like the Roland AIRA modular series were on display. As a Hungary-based

Kasleder - Acid Fuzz  - the prototype of the first voltage controlled fuzzer/limiter
Kasleder – Acid Fuzz – the prototype of the first voltage controlled fuzzer/limiter

retailer, they were happy to announce the prototype of a Hungarian eurorack module by stompbox manufacturer Kasleder Effects, which luckily made it to the show – it is going to be out soon exclusively at Analogue Zone with a lot of audio and viceo demos! As a voltage controlled germanium fuzzer / limiter, it adds subtle grainy or harsh textures even to a simple sinewave – people praised for its versatile sound and also for the build quality – it will surely be loved by a lot of people. All sound was put out on lovely Monkey Banana studio monitors which offered a good taste of the signals people were able to check out.

All in all, the unprecedentedly exclusive Analogue Zone booth with its workshops, friendly and open mentality and intimate environment at the Budapest Music Expo, a new paradigm was set both for the local and global synth scene and surely, visitors and manufacturers benefited from it, and will be likely to experience a larger edition, next year (click here for the 2016 show’s facebook event).
Youtube videos from the show and Mannequins’ workshop are available on Analogue Zone’s Youtube-channel – subscribe now!

Further links: 

Analogue Zone – Analogue Modular Store
Bastl Instruments
Erica Synths@Analogue Zone
Birdkids@Analogue Zone
Abstract Data@Analogue Zone
Tiptop Audio@Analogue Zone
Roland AIRA Modular@Analogue Zone
AJH Synth@Analogue Zone
Buchla@Analogue Zone

Mannequins – Multdimensional Modulations – Budapest Music Expo Preamble

The currently Brooklyn-based Whimsical Wraps Mannequins modules moduljaival bring a plethora of transparent and musical appplications for the eurorack community, while staying within the realm of a true analog domain. These can be experienced together with the manufacturer at the first weekend of October at Budapest Music Expo, at the Analogue Zone booth (Hall A – Booth A7). Don’t miss the exclusive workshop in the Analogue Zone showroom either.

So far “only” three modules have been released in the Mannequins-series (the latest RIP module is a reverse compatible line / modular in-out), however it is already difficult to summarise why these works of art are so wonderful, and this is not only due to the functional richness: Mannequins modules’ new paradigms add multidimensional functionality into your system.

Mangrove – the uncertainly talking oscillator

Apart from modulating its pitch, this oscillator works in spectral dimensions, since multiple events take place simultaneously at the same time: if you turn it up, sooner or later, harmonic content is added with a great tonal delicacy – the harmonics are not limited to overtones, but undertones occure as well, as the VCO’s core  retriggers the cycle in delay.

Mannequins Mangrove
Mannequins Mangrove

Naturally, both the waveform and the built in filter controls the threshold of these undertones. So forget the good old term pitch for a while, because here you can reach sub- and upper octave harmonics with fun and ease! Apart from linear FM, the oscillator has a built-in FM index as well. Among these paramters, a lot of uncertainties may occur, but all this can be eliminated with a flick of a switch.

Three Sisters – filters born from within each other with alternative parameters

It would not be exaggaration to say that the idea of filters in eurorack seems pretty much exhausted, however, with hard work Mannequins brought novelty into that are as well. Before dwelling into another comprehensive list of functions it is worth mentioning some of the most interesting user reactions.

Mannequins - Three Sisters
Mannequins – Three Sisters

Many peopl say that Mutant drums really sound good through the Three Sisters. But the most interesting general impression is that one was able to truly relate it to any of the filter families. Users may come up with comparisons to Oberheim- and Korg-type of filters at the same time, however, it these comparisongs are not used as pieces of evidence, but only as a sheer attempt to describe their experiences, with not much success…

In the Three Sistersben a 12 dB bandpass filter is added between a 24 dB high- and lowpass filter pair. In another mode, all three filters act as 12 dB bandpass filters. With these, you may create those humanly impressing vowel-like tones, however they are also lovely to use with drum sounds (don’t forget that certain electronic drum sounds are oscillating bandpass filters after all). If you push the resonance “too far”, a tritone sine chord appears which tracks 1V/ octave.

So far sceptics may say that this filter is after all a simple multimode filter with certain notch possibilities, that can ring nicely as well. Here comes yet another twist then! Resonance paramters are usually in the 0 … + range in most filters, here though it is in the bipolar range. The result of it is multi-dimensional: a) thanks to phase cancellations we can derive a “dry/wet” mix parameter from it b) use the module as a shelving eq!

All three filters are controlled by ONE cutoff knob – so far you might have all this in an A-106-5 or A-106-6 – however, with the help of the Span knob you can achieve wider slopes of the filters – lowpass may cross highpass, and the downmost slopes of bandpass filters  three-siscan gently touch one another, but if we desire so, every curve can be decreased and separated thanks to “anti-resonance”.

Apart from the fact that these excellently linked parameters can create tonal content, new timbral areas may also appear. This filter has already been compared to a lot of other ones with not much success, and it is both being praised for its more bread-and-butter and complex sides. The Three Sisters deserves a lot of attention.

Cold Mac – Everything can be suddenly changed. Seperately or together with one big knob.
Mannequins – Cold Mac

If one did not find the earlier functions that were crossing over into and morphing out of each other, here is Mannequins’ take on the utility module. With this one, parameters can be further processed and abused. This tool, in which you may ifind logic and wavefolding functions, a special envelope following function (following volume level and also realising a “raw” full wave rectified output), and the unmissable VCA/panning functions should be imagined in use together with the oscillator’s and filters outputs, even in cross-modulation. I would not be able to list the utility modules that Cold Mac can replace by itself, not to mention that it exceeds them in other respects… The most interesting parameter could be Survey:  in practice, you can control 6 outputs at once,carving out different symmetries of CV signals from the modulated signal.

Plenty of meta-levels and dimensions open up within the Mannequins-system. This complexity can be experienced with the manufacturer in persong at Budapest Music Expo between 02. and 04. October at the Analogue Zone booth (A csarnok, A7 stand)!

Mannequins – Többdimenziós modulációk (Budapest Music Expo-előhang)

A brooklyni Whimsical Wraps Mannequins moduljaival átlátható, zenei alkalmazások tárházát biztosító, valódi analóg innovációkat kínál az eurorack közösség számára. Ezeket személyesen a gyártóval élőben is kipróbálhatod az október első hétvégéjén induló Budapest Music Expón, az Analogue Zone standján (A csarnok – A7 stand).

Eddig “csupán” három modul jelent meg a Mannequins sorozatában (a most kijött RIP modul egy visszafelé is kompatibilis vonal / moduláris be- és kimenet), de így is nagyon nehéz összefoglalni, hogy miért annyira csodásak ezek az alkotások, és mindez nem csak a funkciógazdagság miatt van így: a Mannequins modulok új paradigmái többdimenziós használhatóságot hoznak a moduláris rendszeredbe.

Mangrove – a bizonytalan beszélő oszcillátor

Ez az oszcillátor a pitch modulálhatósága mellett spektrális dimenziókban is működik, ugyanis mindig több esemény zajlik benne egyszerre: ha felhangosítod, előbb-utóbb tonálisan ízletes harmonikus tartalommal telnek meg a négyszögjelek – a harmonikus tartalmak azonban nem csak “over”-tone hanem “under”-tone formájában is jelentkeznek, ahogy a VCO magja késve indítja újra a

Mannequins Mangrove
Mannequins Mangrove

ciklusokat – természetesen a hullámforma és a filter által szabályozható, hogy mikor jöjjenek létre undertone jelek.Felejtsd el a pitch paramétert, itt gyakorlatilag a hullámformákat modulálva érsz el szub- vagy felső oktávokon megjelenő tónusokat! A lineáris frekvenciamoduláció mellett az oszcillátor pedig beépített FM indexszel is rendelkezik. Ezek között a paraméterek között rengeteg bizonytalanság keletkezik, azonban ez is megszüntethető, ha a modult constant módba kapcsoljuk.

Three Sisters – egymásból felépülő szűrők más paraméterekkel

Nem túlzás, hogy az eurorack modulok közt az egyik “lerágott csont” a filter, így igen nehéz már újat hozni, azonban a Mannequinsnek sok munkával mégis sikerült. Mielőtt újabb funkcióhalmazzal hitegetném magunkat, érdekesebb felidézni néhány felhasználói

Mannequins - Three Sisters
Mannequins – Three Sisters

reakciót. Azt mondják, hogy hihetetlenül jól szólnak a Mutant dobok a Three Sistersen keresztül, de talán a legérdekesebb, hogy senki sem igazán tudta valamilyen filter-családba sorolni őket. A felhasználók ugyanolyan arányban említik meg az Oberheim és a Korg filtereket is, de mégsem bizonyító módon használják ezeket a hasonlatokat, csupán élményeiket próbálják megmagyarázni, meglehetősen sikertelenül.

A Three Sistersben egy 24 dB / oktáv high- és lowpass filter közé ékeltek egy 12 dB / oktáv bandpass szűrőt. Egy másik módra kapcsolva azonban mindhárom filter 12 dB / oktáv bandpass filterré válik – ezekkel magánhanzószerű, emberi benyomást keltő hangszíneket hozhatunk létre, ugyanakkor, min azt már fentebb említettem, a bandpass szűrők a dobhangok kedvencei is (hiszen bizonyos elektronikus dobhangok szerves része az oszcilláló bandpass filter is). Ha túlnyomod a resonance-t rögtön előáll egy három hangból álló szinusz akkord is, ami 1V/oktáv hangolású CV jelekkel is tökéletesen vezérelhető.

Eddig azt mondanánk egy szkeptikus szemüvegen keresztül szemlélődve, hogy végtére is mi ez, ha nem egy egyszerű multimode filter notch állásokkal, ami csengeni is tud? Most jön a fordulat! A resonance paraméter a legtöbb szűrőnél általában 0 … + tartományban úszik, itt azonban bipoláris tartományban használható: ennek eredménye ismét sokoldalú: a) a fáziskioltásoknak köszönhetően előcsalogathatjuk a “dry/wet” mix paramétert vagy b) shelving eq-ként is alkalmazhatjuk a modult!

Mindhárom szűrőt egy cutoff frekvencia potméter vezérel – ez eddig persze egy A-106-5 vagy A-106-6-nál is mind megvan -, azonban a Span potméter segítségével a szűrők széjjelebb tárhatók – a low és three-sishighpass keresztülhaladhat egymáson, a bandpass szűrők dombjainak alacsonyabb lejtői pedig lágyan érinthetik egymást, de ha úgy tartja kedvünk, akkor minden paraméter lejjebb fogható és különíthető is  az “anti-resonance” paraméter segítségével.

Amellett hogy kiválóan összekötött paraméterek együttesen állítanak elő tonális tartalmakat, ezekből új timbrális területek is kibomlanak. Ezt a filtert már mindenhez hasonlították, illetve hagyományosabb és komplexebb oldalait is dícsérték a felhasználók. A Three Sisters tehát mindenképp figyelmet érdemel.

Cold Mac – Mindent megváltoztathatsz. Külön-külön vagy egy potméterrel.
Mannequins – Cold Mac

Ha a korábbi egymásbahajló és egymásból kibomló funkciók nem voltak elég étvágygerjesztőek, itt a Mannequins utility modulja, amivel tovább abajgathatók a paraméterek. Ezt az eszközt, amiben logikai és wavefolding kimenetek, különleges fajta (hangerő jelszintet követő és “nyers” full wave rectified kimenetű) envelope follower, és az elmaradhatatlan vca/panning funkciókat is találunk, úgy kell elképzelnünk, hogy az oszcillátor és a szűrő kimeneteivel együttesen, akár egymást keresztező módon használjuk őket. Fel nem tudom tehát sorolni, hogy a Cold Mac hány utility modul funkcióját váltja ki és haladja meg… A legérdekesebb talán a Survey paraméter: gyakorlatilag hat kimenetet vezéerlhetünk vele egyidejűleg, különböző szimmetriájú feszültségjeleket kifenve a modulált jelből.

Rengeteg meta-szint és dimenzió nyílik meg a Mannequins rendszerében. Ezt a komplexitást személyesen a gyártóval is megismerheted a Budapest Music Expón október 2. és 4. között az Analogue Zone standján (A csarnok, A7 stand)!