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Modular Profile: Thomas Hutmann & Modular News

Modular Profile: Thomas Hutmann

As Neuzeit Instruments, German designer Thomas Hutmann is creating marvellous, original designs for Eurorack. From the Orbit synth voice to the Quasar binaural audio mixer, Neuzeit designs sound excellent, all but throw the rulebook out of the window and look rather gorgeous too.

On his entry Into modular

I never owned a modular system until I started developing my own modules. Before that, I was producing techno with a non‑modular synth setup and Ableton, but I also did a lot of circuit tinkering on breadboards and circuit‑bending on some Korg Volcas. When I decided to build my own hardware synthesizer, I couldn’t find a decent case and power supply anywhere, which is when I discovered Eurorack. It meant certain things were outsourced to the user, and it having patch points was a real feature, as opposed to just having solder pads for circuit‑bending that you could only access by voiding your warranty! Later my first module, Orbit, was born. I decided to also let the user choose the oscillator of that synth, so you simply have to add any audio source and get a full synth voice based on bit‑crushing and distortion.

On his go‑to modules (aside from your own!)

In my big ‘fun case’ I have a lot of Doepfer modules for everything analogue and some Xaoc effects like the Sarajewo BBD Delay and the Timiszoara Multi‑FX. I love their clean, scientific silver look! For the harder side of the spectrum, I am a big fan of Schlappi Engineering modules. Also the Droid series by Mathias Kettner, aka Der Mann Mit Der Maschine, is a great toolset for CV and MIDI tasks. I also do a lot of hardware design for Mathias, so my Droid controllers are all a bit Frankenstein‑ish as they are mostly prototypes. I’ve actually gotten most of my modules by trading, so I only really own modules by like‑minded engineers I know personally and with whom I feel I have a relationship.

On Neuzeit Instruments

Neuzeit means ‘new age’ in German. The products I make are both meant for now and for the future. I do my best to make durable and sustainable gear by using plastic‑free packaging, to give it a timeless interface, and provide physical robustness that will last for decades rather than becoming mediocre disposable electronics. To me, a true Neuzeit Instrument is one that offers hands‑on expressiveness, but also has its own character, a beautiful interface, and enough feature depth to give the musician years of enjoyment.

On the Warp

Warp is the result of several months of research in which I tried many, many things with partials and additive synthesis. This included training neural networks on audio, building algorithms for polyphonic fundamental analysis and time‑stretching, and much more that did not make it into the final module! However, the goal of this journey was to find an approach for deep‑level access to harmonics and some sort of semi‑automatic generation of a soundpool, which finally resulted in the GalaXY editors. This would have been good enough for an additive oscillator, but I felt it was not yet a real ‘instrument’, so I gave the Warp the most powerful CPU I could find and squeezed every last bit out of it, eventually adding a fully polyphonic wavetable synthesizer engine!

On the culture of modular

Modular is a great melting pot of sound designers, the DIY community, engineers and musicians, most of whom have been in the game for several years and are dedicated to their passion. It is also a great way to connect with people at synth shows, jams or by trading modules. As a developer, I am also glad that there is an environment where you can pick a specific part of the signal chain and focus on it, instead of having to build everything else as well. It is also great to see that most of the modules out there have a decent build quality, which ensures a vibrant secondhand market and keeps them in the loop for a long time.


If you’re not familiar with AI Synthesis, get to know them: Abe Ingle’s Portland, Oregon‑based operation is a DIY powerhouse and not long ago unveiled their latest offering. The AI024 X VCF is a four‑pole low‑pass filter promising to bring the “clean, classic, creamy” character of legendary ’80s synths to Eurorack.

ADDAC System, meanwhile, have announced the launch of the ADDAC309 CV to Expression, a simple but effective 4HP module that allows CV to be routed to the expression input of any effects pedal. The best part is that it draws all its power from the pedal in use, so doesn’t need any power from your case.

Bastl Instruments have launched the seemingly Matrix‑themed Neo Trinity, an 8HP ‘automatable modulation hub’ boasting six channels of LFO, Envelope and CV generator‑based goodness with incredible amounts of flexibility.

ALM have also released a utility ‘smorgasbord’ recently and also in 8HP. The Mega Milton includes a stereo line input converter for boosting line‑level audio, a four‑input fixed mixer, a gated slew limiter, a sample & hold with analogue white noise and even a buffered mult. Whew!