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.