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Modbap Trinity

Eurorack Module By William Stokes
Published August 2023

Modbap Trinity

The Trinity is a three‑voice drum module with four separate synthesis algorithms to generate its sounds. Modbap promise a module capable of producing an astonishing range of drum and percussion sounds from right across the spectrum, and this promise the Trinity very much fulfils. With all three of its voices offering identical architecture, it can spread these sounds across the fundamentals of an electronic ‘kit’, focus on a limited palette with subtle variation, or just about anything in between; kicks, snares, blocks, hats, cymbals, shakers, bells, and more, it can not only do them all with ease but with surprising speed.

Each of the Trinity’s digital voices begins with one of four algorithms: Block is a classically analogue‑inspired synth voice with a sine and triangle core, named for its simplicity as a ‘building block’ of sound design. Next is Heap, an additive synth voice offering 12 detunable partials. Neon is an FM voice, and Arcade is a noise generator with more than a few distinguishing factors. The Trinity features controls for pitch and pitch envelope, as well as a state‑variable, DJ‑style low‑pass/high‑pass filter. There’s a Clipper knob to add clipping distortion, and I was pleased to see Hold as well as Decay for flexible envelope control.

These controls ostensibly retain the same functions across the Trinity’s different algorithms, save one or two variations when it comes to the Arcade noise generator (which also has the secret weapon of being able to ratchet). Things get more varied with the Grit, Shape and Character knobs, which endow their respective algorithms with extra oscillators, feedback, FM noise and all manner of other elements. Character sweeps through sine to triangle and up to a folding triangle in Block, detunes the 12 partials in Heap, increases FM depth in Neon and sweeps a band‑pass filter through the frequency spectrum in Arcade, providing a quick, tactile point of focus for sound sculpting while maintaining a definite sense of ‘no rules’ openness. It’s also possible to shake up the algorithms mid‑beat, with ‘random’ and ‘round robin’ cycling options offering lateral variation for any or all of the Trinity’s three voices.

Each voice has its own output, beneath which there is a single, mono Mix output. I confess this struck me as a slightly random inclusion on first impression. Switches toggle between sending each voice through its own output, the mix output, or both. I can imagine the design dilemma here: a stereo output might present a more useable mixer setup but wouldn’t add much value, considering each of the three voices on the Trinity has its own output anyway. In practice, though, the Mix output’s potential quickly became excitingly clear — and also helped to explain why Modbap included a HUE module with the Trinity unit they sent me.

The HUE, Modbap’s 6HP mono effects processor, offers drive, a similar DJ‑style low‑pass/high‑pass filter to that on the Trinity, cassette‑flavoured tape saturation, a lo‑fi bit‑crusher and a one‑knob compressor. It’s a broad‑strokes module capable of the kind of sounds that made Roland’s SP‑404 a hit among hip‑hop producers, and while it’s not a precision tool it sure gets decent results quickly. It’s the perfect partner for the Trinity’s Mix output, endowing its drum palette with deliciously bombastic parallel processing while its three individual outputs can be routed elsewhere for precise levelling. Be it compression, reverb, delay or just about anything else, the Mix output opens up a whole new territory for the Trinity’s drum sounds, and the HUE is excellently demonstrative of this.

One of my favourite aspects of the Trinity is its aptitude for sloppy, sat‑back, lazy‑sounding beats. Its voices are stackable in twos or threes for surgical composite sound sculpting, but they can also be ‘spread’, which is to say they can be made to flam. This can be used to achieve anything from a dash of musical expressiveness to the kind of laid‑back, barely‑in‑time snare shots that only the most audaciously confident beatmaker would attempt. The ratchets of the Arcade algorithm, too, can disrupt an otherwise locked‑in beat with true vibe at the flick of a switch.

As far as standalone drum modules go, fair to say the Trinity is on the pricey side of things. I’d argue, though, that all things considered it delivers real value for money. It would be considered a high‑punching module if it had but one possible algorithm, let alone four, and with Volt‑per‑octave tracking over its substantial synth engines can also hold its own in a melodic capacity. In fact, I can quite easily imagine furnishing a system with more than one Trinity, so characterful and flexible is its sound.



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