Tag Archives: wmd

Analogue Zone @ Superbooth '17

Each year has two crucial moments. One is of course the Winter NAMM show, but nobody would forget spring’s Superbooth either. As every year, Analogue Zone will be live and direct from Berlin.

We collected the expected highlights of this year’s Superbooth, but obviously, there will be more to come. This is just an appetizer, you may want to come back for daily updates to Analogue Zone’s Youtube channel!

xaoc-superbooth-17XAOC Devices is teasing us with new modules: an upgrade with their Tirana microsequencer plus Warna utility module, a dual version of their Sewastopol, a bit modifier, a logic-waveshaper-comparator-sampl-and-hold combo and their Praga stereo mixer may finally see the light of the day too.

Mr. Rossum might finalise the phase modulation sampler the Assimil8or very soon! Their modulation wonder, the Control Forge is already available!

Analogue Zone will be covering this year's Superbooth too!
Analogue Zone will be covering this year’s Superbooth too!

After their quantizer array at NAMM, WMD is showing the latest stage of their digital step sequencer.

Last but not least, Doepfer is also showing a few new concepts, including a new gate module, a signal connector, a micro keyboard, and a precision quad VCO, which has been long-awaited by A-100 users.

…and we have just scratched the surface. Subscribe to Analogue Zone’s Youtube– and Instagram channels for exclusive reports and live streams and stay tuned for more news!

NAMM 2017 series - Live Q&A with eurorack makers & Richard Devine

The Analogue Zone is right there at NAMM 2017, live and direct every day! They are organising a live stream starting in a few hours with eurorack makers and the one and only Richard Devine.

Analogue Zone encourages every one of their customers or viewers to send them their questions to be asked at a live q&a session from NAMM with eurorack makers Dan Green (4ms), Tony Rolando (Make Noise), William Matthewson (WMD) & Richard Devine!

Update: here is the archived stream in 2 parts:


NAMM 2017 - Day 0

Analogue Zone is live and direct at NAMM, bringing us the latest and greatest at breakneck speed! Here is Day 0 with lots of eurorack news  – yes, literally during the show was still being built.
4ms Company came up with the latest and we guess the almost final version of a sampler with enough ease of use, memory and depth – a great and easy to use sampler that is in harmony with their earlier dual modules that you can get crazy with using their ground-breaking clock modules that made them famous… The new Tapographic Delay could be called a good contestant of the Rainmaker with less width. the price will be in the range of the SMR.

 Qu-Bit Electronix gives us the the Tone – a quad voltage control 24dB lowpass-bandpass filter – probably designed for the fantastically sounding Chord, and the Chance module, a Swiss Army knife of random signals including random rhythmic patterns. The Contour – a more modern take on the quad ADSR concept (coined in first by Doepfer) – shipping next week! Their Mixology has been updated with send-return, size-increase(!) thank god!) plenty of gain, and so on…

Pittsburgh Modular has updated their Lifeforms series with filters (a vactrolesque filter with unstable mode), adsr, mixers with new routings, oscillators …and and yes.. an in-rack mixer 🙂 Also, they have a new line of cases – with enough power till the next century.

WMD came up with a prototype trigger sequencer (an A-157 on steroids in short) Arpitecht, a beautiful quantizer concept.  Also (dj and live) performance oriented tools are a compressor, a filter with stereo width effect have been seen in their rack this year!

Steven Hansleigh from 2hp introduced yet again(!) a few new 2HP modules, including known concepts such as the tiniest Turing Machine, a multiple Clock source module or sample-and-holds which are new in this size. Each user will find at least one cool module to fill up the remaining 2HP space of their racks.
Endorphines were busy with updating their Shuttle Control, and their Grand Terminal is also ready for shipping. The Cockpit which we have seen last year is also an amazing routing and compression mixer tool!

Subscribe to Analogue Zone’s Youtube and Instagram channels for more daily updates!

Analogue Zone@NAMM '17

As every year, members of the Analogue Zone team packed up and have arrived to California to bring you the latest and best from NAMM. As it has already happened with Make Noise – 0-Coast, there might be some game changer synth news that you will hear from them first.

Make Noise has said they were coming up with a new module (rumoured to be a new digital collab module with Soundhack), Intellijel has promised 5 new modules both in the 1U tile and the standard 3U height eurorack category, and Noise Engineering has also something new to show. As Make Noise surprised us with the 0-Coast, plenty of eurorack manufacturers may follow their lead!

2016 has ended up with some nice melodies for eurorack (Tiptop Audio – QuantiZer & 2HP – Tune) – WMD is about to enter the quantizer game (of some sort) with their new Arpitecht module.

A1508_HRDoepfer is alive and kicking, coming up with new thru-zero VCO’s and an octal manual/CV controlled sequential switch! (It would not be an exaggaration to say that their A-150-sequential switch modules have always been on eof  their best-selling units).

Subscribe to Analogue Zone’s Youtube and Instagram channels for the latest news!

 

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!

      Phrases with phases - thru-zero and phase modulation in musical practises

      Even though a growing number of modular synth users are tend to go into more complex territorries with amplitude and frequency modulation (AM and FM), it might be puzzling to understand why “phase” and “thru-zero” are often praised – the other electronic parameters have been really caught up recently with the release of the Strong Zero Core for the Furthrrrr Generator by Endorphin.es or the Bateleur by Birdkids, a true analog thru-zero oscillator. So I thought to come up with some musical contexts and applications of waveforms in different phase and phase modulation, so that they become as “common” as AM and FM for you. I hope it will help you to go far within new territorries in your system: these new territories where I had (accidentally) my own eurorack system started.
      Phase and timing relationships
      a-143-9-My first ever LFO was luckily – the A-143-9 Quadrature LFO. Luckily, because my intention had not been to utilise phase at all, I had only been after sinewave-only modulation. This LFO has 4 “non-simultaneous” (phase-shifted) outputs, and this means you only have one output at the time, which is “followed” by the next one, and so on. Once I finally had 4 VCA’s, I was able to use it as a (one-directional) sequential fader. In this case, I was using the module as an LFO only. It does what it can: fading in the next VCA’s signal in while the other is fading out. I was creating the timing of this snoozing monster with it. However, you cannot change the degrees – you can only spend a “longer dr-octature-iitime” and a “shorter time” when you modulate the frequency by another LFO (or manually). It also applies for the Octature II, (loosely speaking) the A-143-9’s bigger brother which is capable of creating 8 sinewaves 45-degrees out of phase. What would you need if you wanted more than that?
       
      funcan2
      Two sinewaves, 90 degrees out of phase – Source: www.thecarversite.com
       
      You either need a XAOC Devices – Batumi or a WMD – PDO for that.
      Whereas the A-143-9 has a static, 90-degree phase-shift, the PDO’s channels 2, 3 and 4 can be “turned away” even by 360 degrees in PDO2-500x500relation to its original phase (a relative 0 degrees). Now imagine that you can “spend as much time” at each fade as you want to. You can even control it by a sequencer, another LFO, by an envelope, etc. You can even modulate it by itself for interesting timing variations. Well, why don’t you forget about VCA’s and start patching the out phase outputs to VCF’s, strike or gate inputs, or apply them in stereo, quad panning, wherever you want to… You have a special kind of sequencer here already.
      Audio rate – thru zero, phase modulation and distortion
      You may have heard the phrase from a lot of manufacturers and users that “thru-zero FM sounds better”. At this point, I have to explain an equivalance that shows the relationship(!) between something being “thru-zero” and its phase. If you totally invert a waveform you create a mirror image of that. This mirror image basically equals to “180 degrees out of phase”. So basically, you are changing the phase in relation to the timing of the waveform going through the positive or the negative range. You can read the following on the Doepfer website at A-110-4 Thru-Zero Oscillator‘s description:
       
      “The term “Thru-Zero” means that even “negative” frequencies are generated. But this a bit a misleading term as negative frequencies do not really exist. “Negative” means in this connection simply that the sine/cosine waves will stop when the linear control voltage reaches 0V and continue with the opposite direction as the linear control voltage becomes negative and vice versa.”
      So when a waveform is 180 degrees out of phase, you are seeing the waveform flowing to the opposite “direction”. If you are looking at a scope, with 90-degrees phase shifted sinewaves, you will see these phase shifted waveforms as if they were “after” one another.
       
      Coming back to a practical musical context, we have two main “bonus” items on our sound pallette: 
      a. more waveforms
      b. more possible “space” and “spatial movement” between them. 
       
      Phase modulation and phase distortion are not the same, but it can be understood by looking at these figures from electricdruid.net:
       
      pd01
      The more heavily you modulate the phase of the waveform in audio rate, the more pd-02“displacement” you get (hence the name Phase Displacement oscillator). You can “tilt” the waveform in a way that it “spins round”. The PDO has all the waveshapes for creating sounds that are bell-like, resemble woodblocks, bright metallic, rich sounds and digital noise. It even has the dirt of the classic Casio CZ sounds. 
      The rest is up to you, your modules, and your ears listening to “thru-zero” FM and “phase modulation”. What sound do you like? What richness are you after? Phase is just fun!

      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