Signal Sounds Roundup May 2020
Time is an illusion as Einstein once said. Or was it Paul Daniels? We can’t quite remember.
Anyway, that’s patently not true as Signal Sounds turns to the grand old age of 1 today meaning that 365 days have passed since we pressed the big red “EJECT” button from our dusty and cramped office at the back of the Guitar Guitar store in Glasgow and moved to our new abode.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride of course but we’re all still here and you’re all still there and people continue to make very, very cool instruments for us to make strange noises and frequencies with and…..well, that’s all there is to it really.
Now that we’ve got the self back slapping out of the way lets get on to the juicy bit………
Super Disting Ex Plus Alpha by Expert Sleepers
In these difficult times, what the world needs is a massive upgrade to the idea of a hugely flexible and popular multi-function Eurorack module. So that’s exactly what Os decided to give us – Super Disting Ex Plus Alpha is, essentially, two Disting MK4’s strapped together with gaffa tape but it’s obviously way more than that. The more advanced processors that are available now have allowed Os to craft some absolutely superb new DSP algorithms so Reverbs are better, Delay Times are longer, and completely new functions like Polyphonic Sample playback come into life.
The Beatstep Pro, although it has some quirks, is an absolutely fantastic multi-channel CV and Gate sequencer with 4 tracks and a barrel load of connectivity including MIDI, USB, Clock, Trigger, CV and Gate outputs – it’s a very capable sequencer for all and any hardware synths. Keystep is a great stripped down USB keyboard controller which also has CV/Gate and nice simple SH-101 style note recorder/sequencer with real time transposition.
What if you strapped the two things together with gaffa tape? It wold pretty much be a solution to most of the world’s difficulties at the moment, no?
The first batch sold out in a few days but there’re more on the way so get in the queue now.
Moog 16 Channel Vocoder
So…what the world really needs right now is a five grand vocoder. We won’t take any argument on this one, that’s exactly what we need to get us through these troubling and difficult times.
All joking aside, we visited the Moog factory late last year and saw the amount of effort that goes into crafting these re-issues from Moog’s venerable back catalog and it’s significant. For the larger System range, it literally takes 3 or 4 people months to build using original components and old through-hole soldering techniques, it’s real craftsmanship. This Vocoder is as fully spec-ed as they come with Envelope followers for each channel, a great Sample and Hold function for sustained effects, and a Hiss/Buzz function that shows that Moog was thinking ahead to tape saturation plug-in effects even 50 years years ago. Get the Moog 16 Channel Vocoder here.
Zzzorb by Alright Devices
We’ve been long time fans of Alright Devices, their Chronnoblob is well known but the T-Wrex analog bit rate crusher (!) is also superb and now they’ve rounded out the line with a great Filter and VCA combo: Zzzorb by Alright Devices
It’s nicely thought out with the VCA feeing into the Filter section but you can break the connection and use them separately too. AND it’s got those super cutesy graphics courtesy of Hannes Pasqualini (of Mutable Instruments fame). Definitely a solution to the challenges that we all face in these challenging and difficult times.
Worng Electronics continues to expand its range that focuses on spatialization and the stereo domain with two new modules that will prove useful to anyone who wants to take control of the stereo field with their modular synthesizer.
Firstly, Parallax is a stereo filter based on the classic Pro-One sound that has a unique set of controls for operating in stereo. It’s perfect for processing stereo signals or for turning static, mono-sources into expansive, wide, stereo sounds!
The other new addition is Vertex. A one of a kind stereo VCA, unlike any other VCA we’ve seen. If you’re one of the lucky few who thought you actually had enough VCAs already then think again! With stacks of tricks up its sleeve, this insanely useful VCA can not only be used to stereoize mono signals or process already stereo signals but as a super handy two-channel CV processor too! Just check the patch tips in the back of the manual for proof!
Hexinverter finally getting up and running again after a lean year or two and we’re really, really pleased to see them back in action. First up is a re-fresh on the panels and design for the Mutant range of modules. Stacy does a mean line in drum synthesis with some really interesting flourishes for those looking to go further than the standard 808/909 clones and he’s now smartened them up with nice Black panels.
Mutant Brain is a very affordable MIDI to CV/Gate converter with a TON of outs – you can easily hook up the MIDI out from your favorite hardware drum machine but use it to trigger a bunch of eurorack drum modules.
Signal Sounds Roundup May 2022
Hello everyone. We’ve been on a Budhist retreat in a cave on the dark side of the Moon for the last two years and literally just returned to Earth today. Did we miss anything whilst we were gone? Anything exciting happen?
Signal Sounds Roundup May 2022
Now that we’re back, fully enlightened and settled in again we’ll endevour to make these mails more regular, keeping it short and sweet and hopefully giving you the best new synths and modules and a few interesting titbits we’ve seen on our travels over the internetz.
Superbooth is the primary source of excitement in the modular and synth world at the moment, taking place in Berlin on Thursday 12th May through to Saturday. Both myself and Aleks will be bothering every one of the 100+ companies exhibiting there to get the lowdown on what new delights they have for us. We’ll do a round up afterwards but the best place to see regular updates would be on our Instagram page.
Ben DivKid continued his mission to bring interesting and affordable modules to the world, His last was with Stead State Fate (the wildly successful RNDStep) and this time around he returns to his first partners, Befacco, to bring us the Stereo Strip.
It’s outrageously good value given that some companies charge more than £200 just for an Audio In and Out module – this one offers that feature (Eurorack or standard Line level, separately selectable for both in and out) PLUS a very high quality Stereo panner and EQ circuit. It’s very funky and not very chunky given that it’s only 6hp. The usual high quality video from Ben (above) is here if you need more convincing.
Look Mum No Computer
Look Mum No Computer has been a big figure on YouTube for a long time now and has a repuation for unusual large format 5U modular synths but has now taken those designs and succesfully transplanted them into Eurorack format. The first (of many) module is an all analogue Oscialltor with built in visual Tuner (something rarely seen and since the demise of TipTop’s Z3000…almost impossible to find) and other performance oriented features like Octave Switches. Almost sold out already, move quick if you need to get one.
Non Eurorack Stuff
Non Eurorack Stuff – still lots of interesting stuff happening outside of your rack, look out for some really, really good stuff from Polyend, Moog and Korg in particular and of course the new Dave Smith/Oberheim release, the OB-B8 which we’ll be elbowing people out of the way to get a shot of at the show.
Signal Sounds Shop – if you’ve communicated with us over email in the last year you’ll have heard us moan about how long it’s taken to get the new place fully up and running after out move, however…..we have some final touches being applied to the showroom next week and after that we’ll be in a much better place to make a really inviting and comfortable place to enjoy synths and geek out in. There’s all the Eurorack you can eat plus a cross section of vintage synths, drum machines, mixers and effects to mess with. And a Beer Fridge.
New and Updated Stock
Just a few bits that are in stock now that are worth mentioning
- Tendrils Mutants MK2 – newly designed 3.5mm to 1/4″ Jack cables from Tendrils in their usual array of tasty colours
- AJH Synth – Multii Burst. The fist batch of these sold out on teh first day, second batch are coming on Friday, don’t miss out on this new take on the Burst Genarator concept with adjustable attack and decay slopes for each pulse in the Burst group.
- Random Source – Serge APNC has you covered for crossfading between complex audio and CV signals AND a Noise Source (Pink and White) too.
- Cre8 Audio – Function Junction. Cre8 have hooked up with Pittsburgh Modular and have some very exciting releases planned over the next few weeks. Check out this very affordable and clever modulation source module for starters. And wait until you see what else they have coming….it’s pretty damn fine.
- Ziqal – Dimension Wavetable Processor. A really interesting new Wavetable Oscillator with some unique features (24 note polyphony and full Unison mode for starters), it was highly successful on Kickstarter and now gets a more general release for the rest of latecomers.
- Acid Rain Technology – Constellation. With a similar approach to Torso’s T-1 Euclidean Sequencer generator, this new module from Acid Rain has 8 channels of subtly interacting tracks giving endlessly interesting and unique pattern generation.
This little lot have show up over the last week or two:
- Massive Tendrils restock, Right Angled and Straight
- Malekko sent us a nice selection of Varigate and the Quad series (criminally under-appreciated modules in our humble opinion)
- UDO Synths – the Super 6 Desktop and Keyboard synths are back in both colours
- Korg – ARP 2600 Anyone? Comes in a very cool suitcase with a Keystep style keyboard controller.
- MiniKorg 700? Also comes in a ridiculously lavish case, this thing is a work of art.
- Dreadbox – Desktop Polyphonic Analogue for just over £350? Yes please.
- Michigan Synth Works have sent us….the works!
- ALM made us Workout by unpacking a huge box of Pam’s, Squid and all their patch cables amongst other highly sought after bits
- ADDAC also sent us a hefty big box of modules, we’ve got pretty much everything in stock at the moment.
Complex Oscillator Cs-L by Instruō & DPO by Make Noise
Complex Oscillator Cs-L & DPO
We get asked this question all the time here at Signal Sounds so we decided to make a little video showing off some of the features and sounds of Cs-L & DPO.
Cš-L is a dual voltage controlled oscillator. It takes the modern approach of dual primary oscillators and expands upon them. Each oscillator sports its own wavefolder, PWM output and wide range of classic waveforms. A four-quadrant multiplier stage allows for ring modulation as well as rectified and positive only amplitude modulation.
Instruō’s Cš-L is a dual voltage controlled oscillator available here.
DPO (Dual Prismatic Oscillator) is a dual analog VCO with plenty of internal modualtion possibilities, FM, a wave multiplier and other timbral controls. The main idea of primary and modulation oscillators with internal FM is based on Buchla´s 259 oscillator. Voltage controlled analog dual oscillator for creating complex wave forms. The oscillators act as one modulation VCO and a primary VCO; both are audio oscillators with a triangle core. Waveforms are triangle (here: spike), sawtooth and sine for VCO A and sine and square for VCO B.
Make Noise´s lDPO (Dual Prismatic Oscillator) is available here.
Signal Sounds Roundup – Mid May 2020
Signal Sounds Roundup – Mid May 2020
We’re back again, two weeks, regular as clockwork for a change. This time around we’re got some new desktop synths and sequencers to go along with the usual hp munching modules which is a nice change.
Couple of HEAVY HITTERS from the big names in synths, Moog and Make Noise, some excellent new bits from Rare Waves out of Texas, new gear from DPW Design, and the welcome return of the Unsung Heroes feature (which we might rename “Forgotten Heroes” as we forgot to put it in the mail-out last time around).
Hope you’re all keeping safe out there.
First seeing the light of day as a DIY project at Moogfest a couple of years ago, the Subharmonicon now gets a proper release and it’s important in a few different ways.
Firstly, it’s a really interesting synth – based around the idea of subharmonics and with a strange dual 4 step sequencer with very cool inter-step rhythm generators, it’s not really like too many other things out there.
Secondly, it shows that Moog is happy to do things a little different now and again and not just resting on their laurels by making yet another MiniMoog style synth
Thirdly it really rounds out the Mother32/DFAM family nicely – a three-tier rig with Mother 32, DFAM, and Subharmonicon is a force to be reckoned with and would make a superb compact synth with a lot of flexibility
Holy macaroni! We had an idea that Make Noise was going to release something new at the sadly canceled Superbooth earlier this year but they are very tight-lipped about future projects and we didn’t know what it as going to be. Turns out it’s something very, very cool indeed – The 0-CTRL Sequencer.
A stand-alone patchable sequencer with touch-capacitive controls galore, it works equally well with 0-Coast or the rest of your Eurorack system
The first person to ask “can i put in in my rack?” gets a pole in the eye with a sharp stick. Just put it on your desktop people, it won’t kill you.
All hand built in Texas, the Rare Waves stuff is a treat, ranging from weird drone stuff with the Drone Commander to the more acidic bent of the Harmonium and the analog domain formant synthesis of the semi-modular RA-99
Their ethos is summed up nicely here:
“How can a circuit transcend its own simplicity to become a captivating musical instrument? This question underpins the Rare Waves philosophy of research and design. Ten years of laborious hand-built prototyping and evaluating new circuits in live performance has begun to yield fruit”
Everything is hand-assembled with love by pedal enthusiast and one-man powerhouse, Dan Wahlbeck in Sweden. DPW modules focus on various methods of dynamics control within your eurorack synthesizer. A fast way to nice (or nasty!) up your sound!
Arriving with us very soon!
Launched a little later than the Z8000 the Trigger Riot seemed, at the time, to be a natural companion to the matrix sequencer we mentioned in a mailout a few weeks ago. Again, it’s a matrix of 8 different sequencers but it outputs clock/gate/trigger patterns rather than variable CV sequences. The most interesting thing I’ve found with it on my rack for years now is how effortless it is to create seemingly complex rhythmic sequences.
The Trigger Riot lets you write patterns over the top of patterns that interweave to give you a wonderfully intricate web of rhythms that all work together with one another. I’ve often looked at other trigger sequencers to see if I can replicate what Trigger Riot does in a smaller form factor but I’ve never found anything that could replace it. For me, it is, without doubt, one of eurorack’s unsung heroes.
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