KICK ASS!!! for September 2018
...in which I rummage through the latest offerings in the perpetual deluge of Eurorack modules to pick out a few things that you, the reader, might find useful. Let's do this...
1) Patching Panda shuby: These guys again...and this time, they've tossed out a really neat noisemaker for the chiptune/noise crowd. This module reminds me of a controllable, repeatable version of what you'd get with an old Atari 2600 game console when you'd crash it, sometimes resulting in weird screen glitches and various flavors of sonic racket ranging from odd square-wave tone combinations to grinding sheets of noise. Of course, this version is minus the video mayhem, but sonically, it gets you into that pocket. $118-ish, 4 hp.
2) Vinicius Elektrik OverFolder: Who couldn't use a wavefolder? Better still, who couldn't use a wavefolder with loads of CV parameters over the various folding functions? The OverFolder is a five-stage circuit that allows a second wavefold over the initial fold, resulting in some really interesting results that normally would require two entire typical wavefolder modules. And you get CV over that, the initial fold, and the wave symmetry, all allowing lots of CV-driven timbral capability. $179, 6 hp.
3) Tiptop Audio Forbidden Planet: I've always had a real soft spot for the Steiner Synthacon filter. It has all sorts of behavioral quirks that lend themselves to a wide variety of uses, everything from stonkin' fat basses to ear-splintering Merzbow-style screeches, and a wide latitude of choices in between. Nyle did this thing right...and Tiptop does it here for the low, low price of $120. It's the classic architecture...three different inputs, internal gain + resonance...yeah! You ought to be able to find 8 hp to jam one of these babies in...you won't regret it!
4) Majella Audio VVCA: On first glance, pretty simple stuff: two linear, DC-coupled VCAs. Then you notice that second CV input on each one, labelled VEL. Yep...two CVs, one for the usual control signal, but a second for an additional modulator! And you don't have to use a velocity signal, either; any secondary modulation signal is fair game here. Very smart idea, this; those looking for more expressivity in a performance-type modular really need a look-see at this. About $78, 4 hp.
5) VOID Modular M+Mixer: I like that this is a six-input mixer. I also really like the extra inverted output. But I really like the mute system. Yeah...each input has a pushbutton mute control! This is another one for the live performance set, but really, anyone should be able to make use of something like this. It's a really smart, simple and cost-effective (yeah, even with the mutes) idea that pretty much anyone looking for a compact DC-coupled mixer ought to jump on. $80, 8 hp.
6) Konstant Lab PWR Checker: When these guys say that this is “...the most useful 1HP panel”, they aren't lying! Three LEDs monitor your power rails; if these dim, you're undervoltage, and if they go off, you're either beyond 1V under or the rail in question has dropped power altogether. THIS IS USEFUL! If your build has 1 hp free and you have no front-panel power rail indicators, you need this. Period! And at $21, it's a no-brainer of epic proportions!
7) Tokyo Tape Music Center Dual Square Wave Generator Model 144: After Catalyst's reissue of some of the core Buchla 100 modules a while back, I figured that there might be more popping up in this direction. And sure enough, here we are...Tokyo Tape Music Center not only offers the same five 100-series modules as Catalyst, but this one as well, the 144. As opposed to the 158, this is a pure square-wave dual generator, with the usual FM and AM modulation inputs, tandemmable pitch CV and the like. Currently listing as 'out of stock' on their website, I certainly hope there's more of these in the pipeline...as well as more retreads of the classic Buchla 100 on the way! $330, 14 hp.
8) Schlappi Engineering Angle Grinder: Aw sh*t, son...Schlappi's back! And they've got yet another highly quirky and amazingly useful offering, their Angle Grinder, a simultaneous quadrature sine VCO and state-variable VCF. And if that were all there was about it...well, suffice to say, there's way more to this little 18 hp monster. The architecture of this craaaaaazy thing is such that loads of sequenceable waveshaping can be done, timbral modulation mayhem galore, and loads of outright strangeness that seems to redefine the whole notion of what a 'complex VCO' is. Sheer brilliance! And a VCO so complex in of itself that you could get away with _just this_ as an oscillator in a build and nothing more! I can't do this justice in this post; go and see the video, and be mind-boggled. $310.
9) 2 hp Vowel: Whoda thunk it? The minaturization whiz-kids at 2 hp have managed to leave a formant oscillator in the dryer long enough to shrink it down to their preferred size! And this is a nifty little (very little) thing, sporting two different formant algorithms and full CV over pitch, formant index, and overall vowel shaping. Nuts! Lots of 2 hp's devices are more on the basic side, but this is a real twist-and-a-half, and worth checking out. $149.
And that pretty much finishes off this month's installment of things that really caught my attention. Not as saturated as last month's list, but there's still plenty of interesting and build-worthy toys popping up on the radar. Get busy, folks!