The Formanta Polivoks is becoming an increasingly familiar sound to Western ears — it is, for example, all over Franz Ferdinand's most recent album Tonight. But for those who haven't heard this mighty Russian beast in action, I've created a few examples to accompany Gordon Reid's Retrozone feature in the July issue (/sos/jul10/articles/polivoks.htm).
The instrument is perhaps most notorious for the monster bass sounds you can create by setting both oscillators to sawtooth mode and overdriving the low-pass filter.
There's no PWM, but both oscillators offer a couple of narrower pulse wave settings as well as the standard square wave.
Here I'm combining a triangle wave on VCO1 with a square wave on VCO2, with plenty of resonance and filter modulation.
The low-pass filter is doing most of the work in this dual square-wave patch.
Switching the filter into band-pass mode allows the instrument to generate some uniquely cutting lead sounds, in this case with plenty of VCA modulation from the LFO. Oddly, portamento is applied only to VCO1, which sounds... odd.
One of the Polivoks's most distinctive features is the ability to set either or both of the envelopes into a repeating mode, resulting in almost sequencer-like sounds.
A more extreme example of what's possible using the repeating envelopes and plenty of LFO modulation.