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.
The 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):
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!