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.
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.
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 can 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.
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.