New Modules Launching at Synthfest 18

 

Sample Hold & Slew

A real powerhouse module that takes up only 12 HP of rack space. It can generate random and pseudo random control voltages, staircase waveforms, deliberate aliasing of audio signals, portamento type effects, adjustable audio range noise and has many other uses too.

It can be switched between Sample & Hold or Track & Hold modes, and the unique “Restrict” control affects the way the hold output changes with respect to the current input level and previously held output level. With the control fully off the unit behaves just like any other S/H, but at fully clockwise the output is restricted to move by only a small amount after each new sample. The output will still have the same range as the input, but will need more hold commands to get there. This versatile Sample and Hold circuit was designed by Tony Allgood, and is built under licence from Oakley Sound.

The Sample Hold & Slew module also includes a very well featured Slew generator, which includes a Gated Slew function.  It can be used independently or chained with the S&H module. Slew mode can be switched between Linear or Exponential Slew types. There is a Gate input, so that the Slew on/off can be switched using an External CV (Gated Slew), and also the Slew control logic can be reversed by a toggle switch that doubles as a manual Slew on / off switch . In addition, it has slew up only, slew down only or slew up and down modes, which are selected with a three-way toggle switch. An indicator LED lights when Slew is active

There is also an inbuilt analogue Noise generator, which is normalised to the input of the Sample and Hold section, and there are both regular and clipped Noise outputs – the Clipped Noise is particularly useful with the sample and hold section, as it is weighted to produce higher random voltages. Both Noise outputs are fed through an internal  “Noise Colour” control – at centre position it allows the noise through unfiltered, turning the control anti-clockwise introduces low pass filtering of the Noise, and rotating it clockwise introduces high pass filtering. The Noise source itself is based on an analoguebandgap shunt regulator configured in avalanche mode, and it generates white noise with a gradual roll off above 8kHz. It is a little “grainier” in character than the noise from our MiniMod Glide & Noise module (which uses a reverse biased transistor as a noise source), so is a useful compliment to this module as it does not generate exactly the same sounding Noise

Lastly, it includes a wide range clock generator with a rate LED. The range is from one cycle every thirty seconds to around 2 kHz and the clock output is normalised to the Clock Input of the S&H section. It also has a Clock Out jack so that it can be externally patched to other Eurorack modules.

Dimensions: 12HP wide, 26mm Deep

Current draw: 55mA Positive, 40mA Negative

UK Retail Price including Vat: Silver panel GBP195, Dark Edition GBP210

Availability - Dark Edition December 2018, Silver panel February 2019

 

Fixed Filter Bank 914

This 30HP wide module features twelve fixed frequency, inductor based bandpass filters, set at half octave interval spacing and covering from 125 Hz through to 5.8kHz. It also features low pass and high pass shelf filters, again they are fixed frequency and both are active inductor based circuits. It has a vintage pedigree that harks back to the original and highly sought after 914 Fixed Filter bank from the 1960’s Moog™ 900 series modular synthesiser system, however we have brought this design up to date and made it compact enough to fit into skiff friendly Eurorack cases by using gyrator based active inductors, and have added some other very useful features too –  the bands are split alternatively to left and right channels, each having their own individual output, and there is also an inbuilt Voltage Controlled cross-fader that allows panning between the left and right banks, with a mix of all bands available in the central position.

In addition, we have a second cross fader that can mix between the dry incoming signal, or an external signal fed into input 2, and this is cross-faded against the wet MIX Output – this allows Voltage Controlled crossfading from wet to dry signals, or between wet and external signals – and the level of each can be adjusted using the Input 1 and Input 2 level controls.

A further addition is the feedback control, this is similar in design to the resonance control on a regular VCF, but because of the multiple fixed filters topology it is rather different in operation - it would normally be added in small amounts to thicken up the sound, however we have allowed the feedback to traverse to quite extreme settings for howling feedback and even soft clipped self-oscillation, especially for the noise merchants out there…

Using L/C inductor topology bandpass circuits rather than the usual Sallen Key R/C active bandpass filters does give a slightly different sound and this is part of the magic of the original 914 filterbank, as the LC based circuit exhibits less phase shift against frequency that the more common Sallen Key R/C based bandpass filters that are used in many Modular synths.

Many people often wrongly assume that a fixed filter bank is exactly the same as a graphic equaliser – however this is certainly not the case, if all of the controls of a graphic EQ are set to centre then a flat frequency response is expected and the output will sound very similar, or identical to the input – this does not happen with a fixed filter bank, the frequency response rises and falls as it passes between each stage (but to a lesser extent than if the filters are all set to maximum output), so it acts as a soft slope comb filter, and the resulting output sounds very different from the input signal. Also, with all of the individual filters turned to zero there will be no output at all.

Dimension: 30HP wide, 26mm Deep

Current draw: 180mA Positive, 170mA Negative

UK Retail Price including Vat:  Dark Edition GBP465

Availability - Dark Edition January 2019

 

MiniMod Glide + Noise MK2

The original MiniMod Glide +Noise module was based exactly on the original Minimoog Model D circuitry, which was designed to be used with the built in Model D keyboard, and because of its vintage design its range was severely limited to 5 or 6 octaves, and it also responded to positive voltages only.  Another limitation was that it would not return fully to zero when selecting long glide times, which restricted the range even more.

So we made the decision to re-designed the MiniMod Glide + Noise using modern precision parts, and we have come up with an all new circuit which has exactly the same function, but with a hugely extended range. It has the same Glide slope characteristic (a slightly curved Linear Glide) as the Model D on which the MiniMod is based, however in response to many requests from customers we have adjusted the glide up and down speeds so that they are now very similar , which is much more useful in real world applications that the earlier MK1 version which (like the Model D)  would glide up considerably faster than it would glide down.

The new Mk2 MiniMod Glide Noise module now has an impressive 14 octave range, and can respond to negative voltages down to -5V. This is a very useful feature, as our MiniMod VCO’s will respond to negative control voltages and produce correspondingly low frequencies; so it is now possible to glide down quickly or slowly to crazy sub bass levels! The hold feature has been improved too, it covers the full audio range as well as DC control voltages, and works as a track and hold module with Eurorack signal levels.

A further enhancement is that the Mk2 module can now (using selectable jumpers) transmit or receive pitch CV to the Eurorack power bus; for example the Glide CV Output can now be directed to the Bus in order to send CV’s to (for example) three VCO's via the bus without the need for a passive multi and four patch cords!

The Noise section of the module is unchanged, except that we have slightly boosted the level of the Red Noise output to bring it more in line with Eurorack control voltage levels.

Lastly, it is much shallower - Mk1 Glide Noise had a depth of 54mm, and it was the only MiniMod module that was too deep to fit a skiff style case – and this prevented a full MiniMod system being installed into a shallow Eurorack case. The new MK2 version is only 28mm deep, so this allows both it and a full MiniMod system to be mounted into shallow skiff style Eurorack cases.

Dimensions: 6HP wide, 26mm Deep

Current draw: 36mA Positive, 38mA Negative

UK Retail Price including Vat: Silver panel GBP155, Dark Edition GBP165 (these are same prices as Mk1 Glide Noise unit, no price change)

Availability - December 2018 (Black and Silver panel versions)

 

Next Phase


12 Stage Multi Tap Phaser

 

The next generation 12 stage, analogue multi tap Phaser, which is a development of, and replacement for, our earlier MegaPhase 12 unit. It includes all of the features of the MegaPhase 12 and is also built around the circuitry of the superb sounding EH Smallstone Phaser, which was used to such great effect on synthesisers and string machines by J M Jarre on his early albums. It has the same versatile Stage and Emphasis stage switching, and the same configuration of stereo outputs, where the left channel is taken from the Stage switch, and the Right output from the Emphasis Stage Switch.

New features include independent Level Controls for Input 1 and Input 2, and a Phase “Colour” Control, which can lighten or darken the phasing effect. We have also used much lower noise internal VCA’s and low noise audio op-amps along with a four layer pcb design, so that the S/N ratio is improved and the noise floor is considerably reduced compared with the previous MegaPhase 12 phaser. Like its predecessor it occupies 18HP of Eurorack space.

Dimension: 18HP wide, 26mm Deep

Current draw: 90mA Positive, 85mA Negative

UK Retail Price including Vat: Silver panel GBP345, Dark Edition GBP345

Availability - Dark Edition December 2018, Silver panel February 2019