Tag Archives: music expo

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)!

What have the Tiptopians given to us? – Budapest Music Expo preamble

“What have the Tiptopians given to us?” We tried to summarise those fantastic innovations from this manufacturer that we often forget about due to the fact that they have become so integrated into our daily modular life, and also have set new standards for others well. You can meet this manufacturer in person at Analogue Zone’s booth @Budapest Music Expo from 02. to 04. October 2015 (Hall A Booth A7)!

1. Drum modules
A Tiptop Audio TR-moduljai – forrás: wiretotheear.com

We owe a massive thank you to Tiptop for not having to gaze desperately at Ebay auctions for original TR-drum machines any more. With smaller or larger pauses we can build our own one – obivously for a better price which can be accentuated for dynamic drum programming and also they come with occasional extra functions (the rimshot sounds really good as an oscillator!)… The  Cymbal /crash module has recently arrived to our stock, but don’t forget that virtually any (or multiple!) 909’s and 808’s can be realised now, which sound as convincing as the old ones, not to mention that they win in signal level strength as well over the classic machines!

2. uZeus

To this day Tiptop manufactures the most affordable power supply which is ideal for starters. Without drilling and other physical effort you can start your modular with ease (don’t forget to buy ears and rails for the rack!). The uZeus can be installed as simply as a module, and it comes with flying bus cables which are considered to be a more convenient alternative than the fix bus boards… It would be no exaggaration to say that 4ms ROW POWER was based on this concept….

3. Sequencers
Tiptop Audio – Circadian Rhythm

Not only Tiptop made us forget about the old analog sequencers inherent flaws and rudimentary nature, they put their concept one step (or a lot of steps) forward. Their sturdy knobbed sequencers have never let me down and don’t stop surprising me: their function- and probabilty-based drum sequencer module Trigger Riot have made us happy for many hours already: thanks to its excellent rhytmic variation we can never get bored with this module which craves for even deeper attention. Their  can be found along these lines. Their latest product, the lovely interfaced  Circadian Rhythms however brings a previously unseen combo of simplicity and functionality to the eurorack world: anyone founds joy working with this module after installing it, but still, during the learning phase the module will make them think in a more complex way about musical sequences.

4. Voltage Controlled DSP

04-z-dspTheir Z-DSP module is unique until this day, and has inspired a lot of other manufacturers dealing with DSP. Our personal favourite would be the Halls of Valhalla reverb’s  endless choral reverbarating tones, through which even a Vermona DRM’s noisy snare sound feels like a kind of “chanting”…

5. Precision analog modules

05-z3000Tiptop’s Z3000 precision VCO not only sounds excellent, but it can also function as your system precision measuring device. This one and their clean sounding Prophet filter  were some of the first few modules from Tiptop that were awarded, and praised by the eurorack community.

6. …and all these with stackables

06-stackablesIf innovators at Tiptop start thinking about creating something – let it be any kind of technical innvoation with any level of challenges – we will always get happier, since in time they will realise it for us with the best quality possible. The manufacturers had long been dissatisfied with multiple modules contributing to the growth of the cable jungle, and banana plugs “stackable monopoly”: that is why they decided to develop the world’s first stackable jacks. Their cables can add functionality to any kind of a system, and will never go out of fashion! My patches were not only made easier by them, they created a new layer of patching in  my case, and obviously they can be used as a single mini-multiple at any time.

Try out the latest Tiptop Audio productsr together with the manufactuers during the first week of October at Budapest Music Expo! (Analogue Zone booth – Hall A Booth A7)
Tiptop Audio official 
Tiptop Audio @ Analogue Zone