We are pleased to announce that our DELTA CEP Aand DELTA CEP A Desktop products have received an extensive update. This firmware update is available to all customers and our dealers free of charge. Devices that we have delivered since 09.09.2019 have already been equipped with this new firmware.
The following features are additions by the new version:
the [SHIFT]-key can now be locked in, additional parameters can also be reached without holding the [SHIFT]-key.
In addition to the previous effects, there is now a reverb that can be used simultaneously with the other effects.
The LFO can now be routed to a lot of destinations without patch cords.
The ADSR can now be routed to a lot of destinations without patch cords.
Each modulation target has an independent modulation strength setting.
The sound programs of the DELTA CEP A can now be switched over via MIDI.
The LFO can now be synchronized directly to a square wave signal.
The volume and intensity of the saturation of the oscillator signal can now be modulated by a control voltage.
REMAGEN, GERMANY: having teased the musical masses last year, then turned heads and opened ears when unveiling a preproduction prototype at The 2019 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California earlier this year, with repeat showings Stateside (at Synthplex 2019 in Burbank, California) and closer to home (at SUPERBOOTH19 in Berlin), high-quality synthesizer developer Waldorf Music is proud to announce availability of Kyra — its eagerly-awaited 128-voice, FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) processing-powered VA (virtual analogue) synthesizer sensation — as of October 7…
Accompanying documentation proudly proclaims that Kyra “…is one of the most powerful music synthesizers ever built.” But this is not hardware hyperbole on Waldorf Music’s part. Put it this way: with 32x oversampled hardware sound generation and 96kHz floating point sound processing providing guaranteed contention-free 128 voice channels, Kyra is guaranteed to make its musical mark as a sensational synthesizer that is as easy to use and easy on the eye as it is powerful and flexible. From first glance it is patently obvious that Kyra is a beautifully-designed desktop VA Synthesizer — as the wording elegantly emblazoned on its eye-catching front fascia subtly states. As a truly multitimbral instrument it features eight independent ‘parts’ with up to 32 notes per PART, each effectively being a complete synthesizer with sound sources (OSC GROUP 1, OSC GROUP 2, SUB 1, and SUB 2); FILTERS; modulators (EGs, LFOs, and MOD MATRIX); multi-effects unit (EFFECTS); and a USB 2.0 connection — can exchange MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) information, as well as send the audio from each stereo PART to a computer as eight stereo 24-bit streams at 96kHz (with 48kHz downsample mode available) and one stereo audio return from the computer supporting a single 24-bit stereo audio stream from the host DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). With that being said, the only other resource they share are the four balanced, stereo output pairs — OUT A (Right and Left),OUT B (Right and Left), OUT C (Right and Left), and OUT B (Right and Left) — using 32-bit DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Conversion) running at 96kHz sampling rate connected to four internal stereo busses and that powerful pool of 128 hardware voices. Versatility further abounds as each PART has a dedicated multi-effects unit comprising nine stereo effects modules — namely, three-band EQ, Formant filter, input Limiter, Distortion module, Delay module, six-state Phaser, Chorus flanger, Stereo reverb, and output Limiter — with dedicated audio stream via USB (Universal Serial Bus). Better still, each PART hosts a Patch from the pool available to the system. Speaking of which, Kyra has a generous Patch storage capacity of 26 banks — A through to Z, each containing 128 patches. That’s a total of 3,328! The first seven banks are ‘user’ patches stored in RAM (Random Access Memory), meaning users can change them quickly and individually using the Store sequence. The remaining 19 banks are ROM (Read-Only Memory) patches that users can recall and use just like RAM patches but cannot be replaced using the Store sequence. It is, however, perfectly possible to freely copy whole banks between RAM and ROM, so all are user- programmable. And any Patch can be recalled via MIDI program changes and Bank select commands. Whatever way anyone views it, Kyra far from short-changes from a live performance perspective or when working with it in a studio setup as an alternative. As a sensational synthesizer with a spectacular specification, Kyra doesn’t disappoint from the all-important sound standpoint, starting with two primary virtual alias-free oscillator groups (OSC GROUP 1 and OSC GROUP 2) per voice, each with Saw (sawtooth); Wave (waveform) — with no fewer than 4,096 18-bit linear PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) single-cycle 32x oversampled wavetables covering a huge range of synthetic and emulated sound sources with two wavetable sources per voice; Pulse; and noise simultaneously available. Also OSC GROUP 1 and OSC GROUP 2 each has an independent detune-able oscillator — SUB 1 and SUB 2 — with four selectable shapes and two selectable (Octave) pitches. Real Hard Sync, ring modulation, and FM (Frequency Modulation) are available between those oscillator groups. Get this, though: switching from Wave mode — meaning Kyra adopts a virtual analogue synthesis model which has the advantage that it is easy to construct sounds using intuitive subtractive synthesis — to Hypersaw mode configures the voice to use a special algorithm comprising six real oscillators to quickly create lush-sounding soundscapes. Digging deeper, Hypersaw mode replaces Wave mode’s two oscillator groups with a single source whose tonal content is constructed with just two adjustable controls — Hypersaw Intensity and Hypersaw Spread (geometric detuning). Built entirely out of multiple, harmonically-rich sawtooth waves or ‘partials’ each adjusted to that special algorithm, the Hypersaw provides characteristic soundscapes ideal for a wide range of uses — from high-impact lead sounds through to lush, animated pads. Placed in Dual Mode, the Hypersaw has 12 real oscillator sources with an additional adjustable stereo spread. Successfully synthesizing sound is inextricably linked with flexible filtering. Fortunately for discerning users, Kyra’s FILTERS front panel perfectly positions powerful control, creatively implementing accurate emulations of classic analogue ladder filters with 2-pole (12dB/octave) low pass (12dB LP), band pass (12dB BP), and high pass (12dB HP), plus 4-pole (24dB/octave) low pass (24dB LP), band pass (24dB BP), and high pass (24dB HP) configurations. Creatively, 128 filters are configurable for single or dual parallel (Dual Filter) true stereo operation. Onwards and upwards, three fast-response ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) envelope generators with EG Slope setting are also at hand. Helpfully, one is assigned to the VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier), another to the filter, while the third can be freely assigned. All are available in the MOD MATRIX (modulation matrix), itself being a six-channel affair with up to three destinations per channel giving a maximum of 18 routings. It is also worth noting that the three LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) — with 128 wavetable shapes, monophonic, polyphonic, random, anti-phase, and quadrature stereo phase settings — are also available in the MOD MATRIX and additionally as a MIDI clock sync source. Creativity continues courtesy of an arpeggiator (ARP) on each PART with 128 preset patterns; Up, Down, Random, and Chords modes; and an ability to synchronise to MIDI clock. Arpeggiators are aimed at live performance, primarily, but can clearly complement composition. Kyra’s ARP is an integral part of a Patch, so settings are always stored. Far from forgetting its helpful high-resolution 256×64 pixel graphic OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display alongside the traditional array of MIDI In, Out, and Thru connections — complimenting USB 2.0 — on five-pin DIN, as well as full key microtuning capability with MIDI Tuning Standard (MTS support), it is fair to say that Kyra is, indeed, one of the most powerful music synthesizers ever built… a sensational synthesizer with a spectacular specification, set to take performances and compositions to higher states of musicality and sound design! The Kyra VA Synthesizer is available through Waldorf Music’s growing global network of distributors (https://www.waldorfmusic.com/en/international-distributors) at an SRP (Suggested Reseller Price) of €1,843.00 EUR (excluding tax). For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated Kyra VA Synthesizer webpage here: https://www.waldorfmusic.com/en/kyra Watch Waldorf’s wonderment-causing Kyra VA Synthesizer promo video here: https://youtu.be/HafV6CGS43Y
Pico LFO/S&H, Pico Mixer and PSU Input Module now shipping; New Graphic VCO firmware update features ‘drum’ mode’Riga, Latvia, July 8, 2019 — Erica Synths announces three new Eurorack modules, available immediately. The new modules include two Pico units — an LFO/S&H and Mixer — as well as a new power supply unit (PSU) input module. Additionally, the company announced a firmware update to its Graphic VCO, which adds significant new features requested by customers and also includes minor bug fixes. Pico LFO/S&H Pico LFO/S&H is full analogue modulations source — including both LFO and Sample and Hold — providing a new dimension of controlled randomness to your modular setup in a small package. Pico LFO/S&HFeatures of the Pico LFO/S&H include: Full analogue circuitLFO with triangle and square wave outputsHighly stable S&H circuit based on AS1100CK2 ICInput and output protection against over-voltageProtection against reverse PSU connection Pico MixerPico Mixer Meantime, Pico Mixer is simple 3 channel DC coupled mixer intended to mix audio signals and CV signals in order to obtain more complex modulations. The unit may also serve as a CV and audio attenuator. The Pico Mixer Features:3 inputsDiode protection against over-voltagePSU Input ModulePSU Input Module If you would like to use rack ears to mount an Erica Synths 84HP enclosure in a studio rack, you may want to access the PSU connection from the front of the case rather than the top side. Then the 4HP PSU connection module is a solution for this.Recommended retail pricing for each new module is as follows: Pico LFO S&H – 80 EUR (VAT excl.)Pico Mixer – 50 EUR (VAT excl.)PSU Input Module – 15 EUR (VAT excl.)Graphic VCO firmware 1.1New Graphic VCO firmware update Erica Synths also announces the Graphic VCO firmware 1.1, available by following simple steps here and using the Erica Synths firmware updater app. By updating the firmware, users will be able to access the following new features and upgrades: DRUM mode (allows to use GVCO as a drum voice)Fine tuningCalibrationMinor bug fixes
Radikal Technologies announces availability of DELTA CEP A paraphonic semi-modular synth following several successful showcases MÜNCHEN, GERMANY: fresh from turning heads and opening ears on both sides of the Atlantic, having showcased Eurorack module and desktop versions of its DELTA CEP A paraphonic semi-modular synthesizer — serving up nine essential synthesis ‘modules’ melded together to form a potent yet straightforward starting point to the ever-widening world of the Eurorack small-format modular system — starting with an award-winning appearance at The 2019 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA (January 24-27), followed by another head-turning, ear-opening Stateside showcase at Synthplex 2019 in Burbank, CA (March 28-31), then moving closer to home for an appearance at SUPERBOOTH19 in Berlin (May 9-11), before making its well-travelled way to support SynthFest France 19 in Nantes (7-9 June), cutting-edge sound synthesis specialist Radikal Technologies is proud to announce all-round availability of its latest creation through a growing global network of authorised dealers… Radikal Technologies’ DELTA CEP A can function as a standalone synthesizer or — when removed from the chassis — a 68HP-occupying Eurorack module forming the centre of a powerful modular voice. Whichever way it is brought into play — purchasable as a desktop paraphonic semi-modular synthesizer or Eurorack paraphonic semi-modular synthesizer module, the deftly-designed DELTA CEP A is the perfect starting point for any modular user. Undeniably it lives up to the PARAPHONIC- MODULAR wording boldly blazoned across its featured-packed fascia. For the benefit of the uninitiated, a paraphonic synthesizer is one where all of the notes generated go through a single filter and VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) combination. “Paraphonic synthesizers can be played polyphonically, because their oscillators allow for independent pitching according to chords.” So states the DELTA CEP A owner’s manual, before positing: “Polyphonic oscillator control allows for multiple voices to be played simultaneously, which is ideal for pad sounds. The DELTA CEP A sounds particularly good in paraphonic mode, because it consists of two oscillators per voice, which provide a nice beating effect when two oscillators are detuned against each other.” On the face of it, a semi-modular synthesizer has hardwired connections for its most essential sound generating and altering attributes — as opposed to a modular synth system, where the user has to establish all the connections between the separate modules with patch cables to generate tones and sound effects. “So much freedom can quickly become confusing,” claims that owner’s manual. “That’s why semi-modular systems such as the DELTA CEP A have pre-wiring, which greatly simplifies entry into the world of modular systems and, ultimately, electronic sound generation.” As such, users can play the DELTA CEP A right out of the box, but, of course, can boldly go a step further and add their own patching. Perusing the DELTA CEP A’s featured-packed fascia from left to right immediately introduces its uniqueness when pitched headlong into a competitive world where Eurorack edges towards ubiquity. Underpinning that uniqueness is the INTERPOLATOR. In a nutshell, this intriguing section has an ability to store so-called ‘snapshots’ of sound creations into the DELTA CEP A’s internal memory; moreover, users can consequently play those snapshots sequentially, creating cool sonic sequences. Saying that, they can cleverly create smooth transitions from one snapshot to another, allowing for some stunning sound morphing effects! Independent from the INTERPOLATOR itself, the snapshot memories can also be used as preset memories, and are filled with wonderful sounds from Radikal Technologies’ team of skilled sound designers. DELTA CEP A also packs a well-equipped MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) to CV (control voltage) interface in its aptly-monikered MIDI2CV section — significant when wanting to use the instrument in PARAPHONIC mode, meaning users can play chords, transforming the DELTA CEP A into the perfect pad and ensemble section. The MIDI2CV section helpfully has additional outputs for connecting to external Eurorack modules, and a dedicated digital bus for controlling Radikal Technologies’ radical-sounding RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR — an advanced DSP-driven oscillator Eurorack module that, as implied by name, goes far beyond the realms of standard oscillator fare, firstly thanks to two oscillators that can both build swarms of (up to eight) oscillator ‘clones’ capable of being pitched in musical intervals, chords, clusters, or fat detunes, dutifully backed by having all parameter settings saveable as interpolatable snapshots, enabling even more radical results — directly with notes and chords to layer additional voices in monophonic and chords mode. Moving more speedily along, the LFO 1 section features five waveforms, MIDI and clock synchronisation, and an invertible DEPTH control for modulation purposes. Providing up to eight oscillator clones of its own, DELTA CEP A’s single swarm oscillator is accessed via the SWARM OSC section; PARAPHONIC play mode (allowing four voices to be simultaneously played), PITCH quantisation, and easy tuning (DETUNING) access are amongst its edited highlights. However, more familiar territory follows thereafter; the MIXER section mixes the outputs from the swarm oscillator and the noise source or an external signal for the filter. Familiarity continues with the powerfulVCF (Voltage Controlled Filter) section, centred around an analogue 12 dB multimode filter alongside a stereo digital emulation of that 12 dB multimode filter, plus a digital 24 dB lowpass filter. Furthermore, an ADSR section supplies an envelope generator with snappy-sounding curves, together with ATTACK and DECAY voltage control inputs. Its VCA neighbour can be controlled by either the ADSR envelope or GATE signal, while also providing external inputs for the following FX processor section — itself really representing the icing on the DELTA CEP A’s advanced audio engine with mind-blowing modulated stereo delay effects, as well as chorus, flanging, and phasing par excellence! Encompassing no fewer than 23 knobs, 14 buttons, 28 RGB LEDs, 14 outputs, and 17 inputs straightforwardly spread across its feature-packed facia, DELTA CEP A duly delivers on its potent potential for serious synthesis — still further boosted by adding additional modules. Carefully chosen connectivity provides users with welcomed freedom to integrate it into their existing Eurorack small-format modular system. Or opt to use it as an independent standalone synthesizer with Radikal Technologies’ desktop-destined alternative, courtesy of the tailor-made chassis — complete with integrated stereo OUTPUT; stereo FX-INPUT; MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU; and DC 12-19V, 2A DC-IN connections, plus onboard ON/OFF switch. Those transatlantic trade show attendees who witnessed whichever version of the DELTA CEP A in action or even spent some time trying one out for themselves will surely be happy to hear that they can consider adding one (or more) to their own studio or stage setups now that they are available all over the world from Radikal Technologies’ growing global network of dealers. DELTA CEP A is now available for purchase — priced at an RRP of €899.00 EUR/$999.00 USD (Eurorack) and €1,198.00 EUR/$1,298.00 USD (desktop) — through Radikal Technologies’ growing global network of authorised dealers. For more in-depth info, please visit the dedicated DELTA CEP A webpage here: https://www.radikaltechnologies.com/delta-cep-a-2/ Watch Radikal Technologies Product Designer Jörg Schaaf’s sonically-stimulating DELTA CEP A video playlist here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YkvgTVZQ3E&list=PLysQPMsmJseFLtTQxGL9tJROrferQtfLs
Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers showcase completely different, organic analog synthesizer at SUPERBOOTH19 PITTSBURGH, PA, USA: musician- and sonic architect-attentive electronic instruments-maker Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers is proud to debut Voltage Research Laboratory — a completely different, organic analog synthesizer, functionally influenced by the behaviours and systems of the natural world, with which adventurous users can explore the natural systems and lesser-known fringes of analog synthesis as a wildly experimental and extremely deep sonic playground — at SUPERBOOTH19 in Berlin, May 9-11… As Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers’ most ambitious and experimental synthesizer offering to date, Voltage Research Laboratory comprises three separate modules that are 100% compatible with the ever-popular Eurorack small-format modular system, housed together in a purpose-built, handmade Eurorack case. Collectively they are so much more than an assemblage of tools and functions, rather representing a unique modular synthesizer seriously designed to reward deep experimentation, encouraging the creation of unique sonic systems. Central to Voltage Research Laboratory’s unique sound palette is its lifeforms voltage lab module. Musically or otherwise, it originates with a complex oscillator pair — primary oscillator and secondary oscillator — that utilise a wide range of shaping and manipulation options to move away from basic geometric shapes to more harmonically rich tones. There is also a custom wave folder with enhanced waveform warping, linear FM, amplitude modulation, ring modulation, waveform cycling, hard sync, and more besides — all available for serious sonic research. More manipulation comes courtesy of a set of multi-function generators — function generator a and function generator b, which work as interactive voltage processing systems to create and modify complex control voltages. Acting as voltage-controllable envelopes, LFOs, slew generators, and more, these function generators give life to evolving control signals. Thereafter, twin dynamics controllers — dynamics controller a and dynamics controller b — bring everything together. After all, as a unique circuit expanding on the classic low pass gate, the dynamics controller with variable response adds an organic depth to the lifeforms voltage lab module by simulating the natural behaviour of sound. Saying that, the multi-mode signal processor features a 12dB resonant filter, VCA, and percussive low pass gate modes. Meanwhile, back in the natural world, sound interacts with its surroundings, so the lifeforms voltage lab module makes use of an analog delay to simulate this interaction and create an artificial sense of time and space. Sonic manipulation of delay time and feedback add depth and warmth through chorus-, Doppler-, echo-, flanger-, reverb-, and slapback-type effects. Chaos can be found everywhere. Electronically, random gates and control voltages spark uncontrolled reactions, disrupt systems, and generate ideas. It is for that very reason that the lifeforms voltage lab module includes noise, stepped random CV, a pseudo-random sequence generator, pitched random CV, pitched random sequences, and random gates to add multiple levels of unpredictability to any patch. Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers’ Voltage Research Laboratory itself includes the lifeforms touch controller module. Intuitive and inspiring, it effectively overcomes the creative restrictions of a traditional chromatic keyboard with a set of fully-configurable, multi-dimensional touch pads as a duophonic touch controller. By bringing into play two sets of five touch pads, it offers a flexible and interactive performance surface, so performances can be interpreted with a unique combination of monophonic and duophonic responses. The lifeforms touch controller module’s channel animator also allows speedy generation of complex sequences or glitchy chaos — all in all, then, the perfect launchpad for any experimental journey, be it musical or otherwise. As a Voltage Research Laboratory exclusive, the lifeforms utility module features a unity gain signal mixer/splitter along with stereo headphone and line outputs, rounding out the functionality of this completely different, organic analog synthesizer. The three Voltage Research Laboratory modules are housed in a beautiful 96hp Eurorack enclosure, shaped with the warmth of walnut and the strength of steel. Suitably named, the Lifeforms Research Console case perfectly pairs classic desktop synthesizer ergonomics with a modern Eurorack form factor and a clean, reliable power supply. Showcasing Voltage Research Laboratory for all to see and hear for the time first time on booth (O226) at SUPERBOOTH19 — Europe’s first and largest trade fair for electronic musical instruments — in Berlin, May 9-11, Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers has launched its funding campaign on Kickstarter.
Note that Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers will also be selling the lifeforms voltage lab and lifeforms touch controller Eurorack modules and Lifeforms Research Console case separately with SRPs of $899.00 USD, $399.00 USD, and $349.00 USD, respectively — discounts available to Kickstarter supporters, while the lifeforms voltage lab module will also be available as the Voltage Lab Blackbox standalone synthesizer with an SRP of $999.00 USD — discount available to Kickstarter supporters. Watch Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers’ intriguing introductory video for Voltage Research Laboratory here:https://youtu.be/fk2D0SAVtYU
VERMONA unleashes ultra-versatile generator for voltage curves and more as fourMative CONTOURS module
Electronic sound tools creator VERMONA is proud to announce availability of fourMative CONTOURS — its first ‘envelope’ entry to the ever-expanding Eurorack small-format modular system world without resorting to type, far exceeding the functionality of a traditional envelope generator and typically following the company’s naming scheme for its Eurorack modules to reflect the fact that it delivers up to four single-phase envelopes that can be combined to achieve much more complex voltage-controlled curves — as of November 9…
VERMONA makes no secret of its admiration for the classic ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) envelope generator; indeed, it is well versed in its strengths, having implemented various versions into its desktop devices over the years. Yet the company collectively decided that its first Eurorack-compatible envelope generator should not resort to type, instead rising to the challenge of realising a unique and flexible concept without compromises being made.
Mission accomplished? Actually, the prototype presented its erstwhile ecstatic creators with an unforeseen headache: how to name a module which was planned as an envelope generator but ended up exceeding expectations by so far? Fortunately for VERMONA, various proposals were supportively submitted to Twitter in response to a small survey. Settling upon fourMative CONTOURS, the company collectively felt that this does not pin down the module’s function to being that of just another envelope generator, but rather reflected its purpose while typically followingVERMONA’s Eurorack module naming scheme.
So what warranted the fourMative CONTOURS name, and what, exactly, does this module do differently? First and foremost, fourMative CONTOURS delivers up to four single-phase envelopes that can be combined to achieve much more complex voltage- controlled curves. Therefore, the module itself features four individual channels (or units in ‘VERMONA-speak’), numbered accordingly on its front facia. Flexibly, each unit can be switched into A (attack), D(decay), or H (hold) MODE — with the attack and decay phases switchable between operating with a LIN (linear) orEXP (exponential) response SHAPE — and can be used individually or in any combination. Those tasty features alone are enough to set fourMative CONTOURS apart from the Eurorack envelope generator pack, putting it in prime position for handling many modulation tasks.
The envelopes themselves are seriously snappy; each unit can run within a TIME range of 0.5 milliseconds through to 30 seconds, switchable between perfectly balanced fast andSLOW speed settings to ensure smooth adjustments, with the former geared towards creating crisp and percussive sounds. Saying that, that’s only half the story here, however, since those fourMative CONTOURS units are each equipped with a CV IN (control voltage input) that not only allows the times to be modulated but also extends them in both directions — down to 25 μs and up to 10,000 seconds, so if a two-hour-long envelope is needed then fourMative CONTOURS can handle it!
Individual units can be looped or combined with other units using simple internal patching connections to create more complex envelopes. Thanks to those extended frequency ranges, fourMative CONTOURS can creatively also function as an LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) or even an audio oscillator.
On the face of it, fourMative CONTOURS clearly goes far beyond the capabilities of standard envelope generators, and anyone looking for a versatile modulation source should surely consider giving it a try. The creators themselves are quietly confident that there are many more scenarios where fourMative CONTOURS can be pressed into play, filling in some equally exotic Eurorack small- format modular system blanks, so-to-speak — not just the 24HP/3U rack space the module itself obviously occupies!
Shipping now, fourMative CONTOURS is available to purchase through VERMONA’s growing global network of dealers (http://www.vermona.com/en/dealer/) with an RRP of €399.00 EUR (Europe) and $489.00 USD (USA).
XILS-lab pushes polysynth hommage beyond the pleasure principal with welcomed PolyM 1.1.0 update additions
GRENOBLE, FRANCE: audio software company XILS-lab is proud to announce availability of PolyM 1.1.0 — updating its critically-acclaimed, authentic-sounding software recreation of a pioneering polyphonic analogue synthesizer manufactured between 1975 and 1980 (based on divide-down oscillator technology similar to electronic organs and string synthesizers of the time), and arguably made most famous by British ‘new waver’ Gary Numan, notably seen as well as heard when ‘driving’ over an endless ‘synthscape’ in the trailblazing promo video for his 1979 chart-topping ‘Cars’ single; someone since observed that career-defining song’s parent album, The Pleasure Principal, “…is almost an album-length advert for the Polymoog…” — with welcomed additions including a new preset manager and an ability to run as an effects plug-in, plus compatibility with Native Instruments’ Native Kontrol Standard (NKS®), as of October 2…
PolyM first put in an appearance last year, when XILS-lab clearly considered those oft-overlooked Polymoog presets to be well worth revisiting, recreating an ‘unlimited’ polyphony polysynth that was recognisably revolutionary upon its initial release and making it fit for today’s creative computer-based music-makers with a state-of-the-art software makeover. Making that happen took two years — such was the complexity of its inspirational hardware predecessor. PolyM palpably didn’t disappoint, deftly reproducing yesteryear’s divide-down technology with two TOD (Top Octave Divider) oscillators — one for the sawtooth wave and another for the square, slightly detuned for a phenomenal phasing effect (when running independently in FREE mode), yet taking the concept further forward by adding polyphonic pulse width modulation. Meanwhile, in LOCK mode, those two TOD oscillators are almost locked in phase, producing PM (Phase Modulation) instead of FM (Frequency Modulation) when the square wave oscillator is modulated in pitch. The two TODs can also be modulated — tempo-sync-able — in pitch by an LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator), while the square wave oscillator has it own pulse width modulation by a tempo-sync-able LFO. Alongside a distinctive envelope generator, this represents the musical heart and soul of PolyM, pushing that revolutionary polysynth sound kicking and screaming into the future!
Further features of note include: 71 emulated chips, offering mixer, VCA (Voltage-Controlled Amplifier), envelope, 12dB filter, and pulse width modulation for each of the available notes; stunning-sounding 24dB ladder filter (using XILS-lab’s critically-acclaimed zero-delay algorithm); nine dedicated acoustic filters — STRING, PIANO, ORGAN, HARPS, FUNK, CLAV, VIBES, BRASS, and VOX — carefully recreated from the original (model 203a); RESONATORS filter bank with three parametric (6dB and 12dB) filters matching the original; three vintage — DEL. (delay), PHAS. (phaser), and REV. (reverb) — effects (with adjustable settings from within an Advanced Settings Panel alongside nine modulation slots for furthering sound design possibilities well beyond the scope of the original hardware); and more.
Today, thanks to the PolyM 1.1.0 update, there’s even more to (literally) make a song and dance about. As such, the NPM (New Preset Manager), a newly-integrated, single-window affair allowing users to easily and speedily perform different tasks with welcomed visual feedback — for example, locate and load the best fitting preset in seconds courtesy of a multi-criteria search engine, save/save as presets with (user-generated) tags, batch-tag multiple selections of presets, export/import multiple selections of presets, and select view (such as showing only favourite presets) — represents a major step in PolyM’s evolution; by that same token, those acoustic filters and RESONATORS, as well as the three vintage-sounding effects, are also available to work with other sound sources when running PolyM purely as an effects plug- in proffering plentiful possibilities for modulation; meanwhile, support for Native Instruments’ NKS® extended plug-in format for all virtual instrument developers delivers intuitive and seamless interaction with the German giant’s cutting-edge KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards and MASCHINE hardware.
Helpfully, there are now over 300 professionally-programmed presets available as creative kickstarters in PolyM; parameters are all MIDI- controllable, combining to musically position this soft synth par excellence as an innovative instrument of its time while retaining a certain pioneering polyphonic analogue synthesizer’s coveted performance properties of the past. Put it this way: while what the deceased Austrian neurologist (and founder of psychoanalysis) Sigmund Freud would have made of this polysynth hommage is obviously open to speculation, surely the still active Gary Numan should approve… as will anyone’s bank balance by paying (comparatively) so little for so much playing pleasure. Thanks to its welcomed 1.1.0 additions, PolyM pushes beyond the pleasure principal in both senses, so anyone wishing to sonically travel back to the future should seriously consider adding it to their soft synth arsenal — all the more so at an attractive (albeit time-limited) introductory promo price representing a welcomed 40% saving. Best be quick, though — time waits for no man… or woman (or child)!
PolyM 1.1.0 is available to purchase as a USB eLicenser or iLok (1 and 2 dongle hardware or software) protected plug-in at an introductory promo price of €89.00 EUR until October 31, 2018 — rising thereafter to an MSRP of €149.00 EUR — from XILS-lab here: http://www.xils-lab.com/products/polym-p-160.html
Based in Grenoble, France, XILS-lab is an audio software company, created and managed by Xavier Oudin. Having created some of the best known virtual instruments and effects plug-ins on the market for various companies over the last 20 years, today he focuses on bringing his passion for audio, instruments, and music to bear on his own company.Working with highly-skilled professional musicians and sound designers, the company collectively believes that a virtual instrument or effect is not simply a series of mind-boggling mathematical algorithms designed and scrutinised over by bookish PhD engineers but rather a useful and useable musical tool made for musicians. Moreover, XILS-lab loves to create virtual instruments and effects that inspire its users to create more imaginative music than they ever dreamed possible!
Doepfer harnesses dark energy for third time with effectively enhanced monophonic analogue standalone synth namesake
GRAEFELFING, GERMANY: having wowed North American audiences with a preproduction prototype at The 2018 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, then turned heads and opened European ears with a must-see showstopper closer to home at SUPERBOOTH18 in Berlin, Germany, esteemed electronic musical device designers Doepfer Musikelektronik is proud to announce availability of the Dark Energy III Analog Synthesizer — a worthy successor to its critically-acclaimed desktop Dark Energy II monophonic analogue standalone synthesizer with wide- reaching CV (Control Voltage)/Gate, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), and USB (Universal Serial Bus) connectivity that it effectively enhances — as of July 4…
Like its Dark Energy II predecessor, released to widespread critical acclaim back in 2012, Dark Energy III is a desktop monophonic analogue standalone synthesizer with wide-reaching CV/Gate, MIDI, and USB connectivity. Continuing that intriguingly-named lineage, likewise, Dark Energy III’s sound generation and all modulation sources are 100% analogue, with only its inbuilt MIDI/USB components entering the digital arena (as is obviously necessary, naturally). Needless to say, everything is built into a rugged black metal case with wooden side plates, while high-quality potentiometers with metal shafts are used; ultimately, each potentiometer is mounted firmly to the chassis, so no wobbly shafts and knobs — unlike some cheaply-constructed competing (non-Doepfer) designs. Dark Energy III is, indeed, essentially an enhanced version of Doepfer’s desktop standalone synthesizer so central to the company’s product line for so long, but boasts several notable differences.
Notably — not least audibly, although also apparent from the front panel’s waveform Shape switch labelling, a triangle Shape waveform is now central to the VCO (Voltage-Controlled Oscillator) core, which now no longer requires a warmup period for optimal operation over a 10-octave frequency range (with 1V/Oct tracking over at least eight octaves).
On top of that, there are now separate Reset LFO1 and Reset LFO 2 Inputs for the two resettable LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators). These sockets synchronise both LFOs to external gate signals, so when a gate signal of +5V (or higher) is applied at a socket then its positive ramp sets the corresponding LFO wave shape to zero and the LFO restarts with a rising ramp.
All analogue synthesizers use a VCA (Voltage-Controlled Amplifier) to dynamically control loudness (or volume); Doepfer’s Dark Energy III design differs from its predecessor — and also many other analogue synthesizers — by virtue of its VCA having a linear control scale, so lends itself to scaling control voltages.
Several signal routings and functions are additionally available to any adventurous ‘Doepfer DIY’er’ willing and able to modify Dark Energy III’s front panel sockets by removing jumpers and rewiring the pin-headers for the VCO PW, Reset LFO1, Reset LFO2, and VCA Inputs. For example, the VCO PW input can be converted into a linear FM input, or LFO/ADSR signals can be used as outputs instead of one of the resettable LFO inputs. Indeed, (almost) anything is possible, including various VCO outputs (triangle, sawtooth, rectangle); VCO hard sync input; VCO soft sync input; various VCF outputs (lowpass, highpass, bandpass); various LFO outputs (triangle, rectangle); ADSR output; and two inverters with input/output (to invert any signal, such as ADSR or LFO).
Effective enhancements notwithstanding, the favoured filter found in Dark Energy II remains unchanged in Dark Energy III. Indeed, its sound- defining VCF (Voltage-Controlled Filter) is centred around a 12dB multimode filter with lowpass, notch, highpass, and bandpass settings, together with a filter Mode control for continuous transition from lowpass via notch and highpass around to bandpass; its XFM (Exponential Frequency Modulation) control also has a polarization function, whereby the modulation source (LFO2 or ADSR) selected by the Source switch can affect the filter frequency with a positive or negative behaviour (by rotating rightwards or leftwards, respectively).
Meanwhile, mounting of two or more Dark Energy — original, II, and III — units is possible, with or without wooden side plates between them. Though there is still not sufficient space to accommodate a dedicated MIDI output socket on the Dark Energy III rear panel, it is still possible for those adventurous ‘Doepfer DIY’ers’ to link two or more Dark Energy — original, II, and III — units via MIDI out/MIDI in using the two pin-headers available at the supply/interface board mounted at the rear panel. (Fortunately for them, Doepfer has helpfully posted a downloadable document with additional technical information here: http://www.doepfer.de/pdf/Dark_Energy_III_technical_information.pdf.)
Put it this way: with Dark Energy III, Doepfer delivers another effective enhancement of a highly-capable monophonic analogue standalone synthesizer, continuing to make its musical mark with a compact desktop design dating back to 2010 (when wowing audiences around the world with its original Dark Energy entry).
Ending on a high note, who better to tender tasty food for thought, then, than Doepfer Musikelektronik CEO Dieter Doepfer, the esteemed electronic musical devices designer who lends his notable name to the renowned company and has been known to look beyond our world for inspiration: “Dark Energy III is not a tool for space research, neither is it suitable for studies in astrophysics. Yet, we find these topics as fascinating as music technology — reason enough to celebrate ‘Hubble & Co.’s amazing discoveries a bit and call our brand-new synthesizer Dark Energy III.”
In Germany, Dark Energy III can be ordered online from Doepfer Musikelektronic GmbH (http://www.doepfer.de/form_e.htm) or via one of its German dealers (https://docs.doepfer.eu/en/dealer-germany/) for €479.00 EUR. (An optional user-installable Glide control kit — containing a prewired potentiometer with two nuts and a Dark Energy-style rotary knob — is available for €10.00 EUR.)
Outside Germany, Dark Energy III can only be ordered from Doepfer dealers in territories listed here: https://docs.doepfer.eu/en/ (That said, residents in countries without representation can order directly from Doepfer Musikelektronic GmbH.)