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Signal Sounds Roundup April, 17th 2020

How’s it going out there in synth nerd land?  Everybody hanging in there?  Just about?  Good!

Judging by the amount of Blanking Panels, Knurlies, carefully co-ordinated patch cable ranges, washers, cable ties and other modular accessories we’ve sold over the last two weeks, the COV19 situation is going to be responsible for some of the most bad-ass, pimped up, super organised, ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing modular rigs the world has ever seen.  But you do all realise this means that, along with the extra time you’ve got at home, that you now have NO EXCUSE for not finishing that triple concept album you’ve been thinking about since the 1990’s?

This weeks’ mailout has a pleasant sting in the tail.  Although the modular scene is often brought to life by incredible innovation and general “newness” of new modules…..some of the concepts behind them are decades old.  Some modules have also been on the market for so long they just get forgotten about even though they’re amazing so……we’ll be doing an “Unsung Heroes” at the end of each mailout for as long as we can remember to do so, celebrating modules that we just think don’t get enough love, or perhaps showing some different ways of using them.  If you’ve got any suggestions for us, definitely send them in and we’ll see if we can do something about it.

On a more general note, we’re still shipping but again, there’s only one of us in the office so apologies if we don’t respond to your mails straight away and occasionally it’s taking an extra day to get orders out the door.

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Keep on patching and stay safe and well friends

Jason and the Signal Sounds Team

Brand new from the incredibly talented Finlay and Jamie at Future Sound Systems! The latest addition to the “West Country Synthesis” family. We don’t really know how to define this thing. It’s just different!

The Recombination Engine is an innovative reconsideration of the traditional analogue three oscillator array that is found on classic subtractive synthesisers. It focuses on a new technique called ‘wave splicing’. where the scissor oscillator splices between the two DNA oscillators to give you a final ‘glue’ output waveform unlike any other eurorack oscillator. The resulting waveform allows the user to explore new tones never before heard on modular synthesiser.

Remember those amazing Tiptop effects modules that came out a few months ago? Well they’ve made them even prettier with black panels and adjusted sci-fi graphics.

Each of these modules contains 24 effects. ECHOZ has a variety of time based and tape echo delay emulations. ZVERB is all reverbs from across the decades with shimmers and other pitch effects. Z5000 has more varied effects including delays, reverbs, pitch effects, harmonisers and modulation. They’re a great compromise between amount of control and module size and the effects will complete your patch with a huge number of applications.

it’s often said that there’s not a huge amount of choice in the Digital FX range on modular but these modules are a superb addition to anyone’s rig.

This is a really interesting one for you synth history nerds. The WFM is based off of the Kobol synth from the 70’s (also known as the French Minimoog”)
It’s awesome because it has a unique waveshaping circuit allowing for continuous variation from triangle to saw to modulated pulse. It can sound a bit like crazy PWM if you modulated that parameter. On top of that it has accurate V/Oct tracking over 8 octaves, versatile FM, Sync and a MASSIVE frequency range all the way down to 10Hz. If you want a voice to sound amazing, this is a good place to start.

Ps. I considered putting in a Battlestar Galactica joke here but couldn’t make it work. Let us know if you get it!

We all know Arturia for their most excellent instruments and controllers; The tangible Microfreak, the majestic Keystep, the thunderous Drumbrute. Did you know they maybe equally as excellent Audio interfaces? These are modern interfaces with built in features that just make working easier. Portable? check. Built in USB hub? yup. High quality drivers and bright clear feedback? duh.

Seriously, if you’re in the market for an upgrade or even your first interface, check this range out.  

They all have DC coupled outputs so can be used with Silent Way and Bitwig for CV control of your rig too

Nicolas for Soundforce makes some lovely Juno inspired modules. His first creation, the DCO has grabbed the communities attention for its Juno 60 heritage and slider heavy panel, actually pretty rare in eurorack.

His other modules are no different a Dual Filter and Dual ADSR can be used to really bring that Juno voice into your eurorack system. Well laid out panels and clear controls make playing with these modules an absolute joy.

In this difficult time we’ve decided to take a look back at some of our favourite modules. Maybe not the newest or shiniest things but solid, reliable, creative modules. Here’s what Aleks has to say about the Tiptop Z8000:

“Z8000 was released not very long after I got into eurorack. I remember, at the time, having my brain frazzled trying to work out the relationship between all 10 sequencers and puzzling over how the thing worked! Looking back, it was ideas like this one that got me completely hooked on this as a new method of creating sound. It was a total revelation!

The sequencers work in a 4 * 4 matrix where there’s an output for each individual row, each individual column, one output for the sequencer moving through all 16 steps horizontally and one output for the sequencer moving through all 16 steps vertically. Each sequencer has its own clock, direction and reset input so if you combine it with a number of complex clock sources (and maybe a quantiser if notes are your thing) then it’s still one of the most comprehensive modules for macro-modulation you’ll find for the HP in eurorack.”

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