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Modular Technique & What's New?

Getting Wet: Using Effects By William Stokes
Published May 2024

Modular Technique & What's New?

Effects, particularly spatial effects, constitute a relatively modern facet of modular synthesis, but this need not mean they should only be used as enhancement for existing sounds created on other modules. Many Eurorack mixers have very useful effects sends, but this can mean that reverb and delay can become consigned to the ‘sprinkling’ category, and as such be under‑utilised. It’s very much possible to make effects an intrinsic part of your patch, bedding them into a tapestry of texture and movement.

One patch I’ve been enjoying recently starts with a fairly basic sequenced oscillator, fed through a simple, pleasant reverb. I’ve then been treating the reverb as a sound in and of itself, sending it to a totally separate channel on my mixer. Try sending your reverb or delay through a VCA; experiment with controlling the VCA with different wave shapes to create unnatural swells of space around your central pattern. After the VCA, patch your reverb through a filter; patch a second sequencer (or any other stepped CV) to control the filter cutoff with the resonance cranked up, then try using skipped steps to create cross‑rhythms to interact with your central pattern. You could then try distorting your verb, modulating it at audio rate — the possibilities are endless. In no time you’ll be creating all manner of intricacies out of the simplest of sequences, blowing the notion of what reverb can be wide open!

What’s New

Describing themselves as “a collective of experienced, specialist synth‑builders and designers”, the Glasgow Synth Guild exists to “bring new electronic instrument designs into the world, and re‑imagined reissues from some forgotten relics.” The collective’s first offering is the Oct Tōne, an eight‑step control voltage and pulse‑signal sequencer in 10HP. It’s not quite an Instruō Module as its look would have you believe, but it is a reboot of an early design by Instruō founder Jason Lim. Look out for a review in a future issue.

Further south, ALM/Busy Circuits have unveiled the CIZZLE, a dual digital ‘phase distortion’ oscillator in 16HP. The module, say ALM, is inspired by the classic Casio CZ series synths; drawing upon its distinctive phase distortion with primary and secondary oscillator layering and detuning, ‘morphable’ phase distortion wave generation, ring modulation and noise.

Noise Engineering have unveiled the newest addition to their 6HP Legio platform: the Sinc Legio is a compact stereo oscillator full of attitude, boasting wave morphing, wavefolding, phase modulation and more. It joins a line‑up with the Roucha Legio filter, Tymp Legio percussion module, Librae Legio dynamics processor and more — all of which have interchangeable firmware. Just as we were going to press NE also announced the Opp Ned, a CV‑controllable four‑channel arpeggiator with editable patterns. Talk about indefatigable!