Rides In The Storm are a German company based in Berlin. In an impressively short time, they’ve released a lot of modules, and they were kind enough to send us an entire box to check out!
Their modules follow a fundamental design principle: high sound quality and solid construction at an affordable price. The range covers mainly no‑nonsense essentials like VCAs, VCOs, VCFs, mixers, envelopes, LFOs, etc. They remind me in some ways of the core Doepfer modules that are ubiquitous thanks to their unflinching usefulness and jolly good value. Sadly we haven’t the time or print space to review the whole box, but here are some of the highlights.
DOC — Discrete Analogue VCO
We’ll start with the obvious, the humble VCO. This 6HP oscillator is a discrete design with individual sawtooth, pulse, and triangle outputs. PWM is possible via manual control or CV input with an accompanying attenuator. The pitch tracking is excellent, and the separate controls for coarse and fine tuning mean you shouldn’t have any problems hitting the correct pitch.
Sync is possible thanks to the Reset input that will reset the waveform’s phase, and there are separate inputs for both linear and exponential FM. Finally, there’s a low‑frequency switch, so the module doubles up as an LFO.
One excellent addition is that, along with many other Rides In The Storm modules, DOC supports Bus CV — you can use the 16‑pin Eurorack power cables to receive pitch CV information; a way to pre‑patch specific modules without needing any patch cables.
Overall, this oscillator sounds excellent. It has a ’70s Roland‑esque sound, plenty of bottom end, and a great sounding PWM.
XXM — 2x4/1x8 Channel Mixer
Packing an eight‑channel mixer into 8HP is no mean feat, especially as each channel has a dedicated volume control. The XXM seems like the perfect small‑format CV or audio mixer.
The eight channels are grouped into two sets of four, and each group has a separate output. Although it is essentially a mono mixer, you could use it as a four‑channel stereo mixer by using Mixers A and B for left and right signals. If you want all eight channels mixed together, there is also a combined output. Mixer A has an additional inverted output, which is handy when mixing CVs. Both mixers are DC coupled, meaning they can accept CV signals, but if you wish, you can switch Mixer B to AC coupled via a DIP switch, although most people will probably never need to. The XXM is an excellent example of a utility module done right.
QEG — Quad Loopable ADSR Envelope Generator
At 20HP, this is one of Rides In The Storm’s larger modules. But it packs in four loopable ADSR envelopes, which could be all the envelopes you ever need (who am I kidding?). Each envelope is identical and includes a set of push‑button switches. There is a manual gate, fast/slow switch, loop on/off, one‑shot mode on/off, and a reset/legato switch.
Each envelope has a trigger input, CV input for switching the envelope speed, inverted output, standard output, and four trigger outputs that send triggers at various envelope stages: beginning of gate, end of attack, end of sustain, and end of release. The idea behind having so many trigger outputs is that you can chain envelopes together to create longer, complex envelopes. Want a DADADSR envelope? No problem. There is a handy mix output (and inverse) when using the module like this.
The QEG reminds me of the Doepfer A‑143‑2, which is no bad thing — a versatile module that is simple to operate but has plenty of scope for new tricks as you learn more.
CON — Quad Gain Converter
CON is the smallest module from the box, at just 2HP. It does an unglamorous yet necessary job — converting modular‑level signals to line‑level and vice versa. Modular signals usually carry voltages up to 10V peak‑to‑peak, whereas professional line‑level signals are 1.75V peak‑to‑peak. Therefore, some gain or attenuation is needed when moving signals from one to the other.
CON comes in two versions, Normal and High. The Normal version is suitable for professional line‑level equipment, and the High version is better for consumer‑grade equipment, single‑coil guitars, or synths with a low output.
The module has two modular to line converters and two line to modular converters. They can, of course, function as dual‑mono or stereo and provide an easy way to get line‑level signals in and out of your modular.
CON is an excellent, low‑cost, low‑footprint utility module that performs a vital role.
Rides In The Storm cover a wide range of cornerstone modules, the kind of modules everybody needs. The value for money is excellent, and the build quality is solid. If you’re the kind of person who likes all your modules colour‑matched, the two‑tone abstract faceplate design might not suit you, but you’d be missing out on some frankly excellent modules. A small rack filled with Rides In The Storm will make a superb start if you’re setting out on a modular journey. Highly recommended.
DOC €90, XXM €60, QEG €230, CON €60.
DOC €90, XXM €60, QEG €230, CON €60.