8 HP
45 mm deep
Current Draw
60 mA +12V
25 mA -12V
0 mA 5V
$216 Price in €

This Module is currently available.

Specs are approved by the manufacturer

Digital-Analog Sound Canvas

overview video | user maual | shop

Arising from the old musical computing era, demoscene and the feeling of synth DIY freedom, DIGENERATOR is an open canvas for all sorts of sound projects. The name of the module is a portmanteau of 'digital' and 'generator' (and a bit of a pun on the overall old computer feel). Indeed, the core of the module is an Arduino Nano compatible board with a microcontroller. Loading different firmware will make it do different things - from a full synth voice to crazy sonic microlooping!

However, despite the name, the device is actually a hybrid - an analog VCO with solid volt per octave response is responsible for the timing. The VCO has a FREQUENCY knob, a v/o input tuned to track standard 1v/oct scale and an additional control input with an attenuator. This control input's action is selected with a switch on its right: it can either be a DC-coupled CV input summed with the FREQUENCY and V/O to modulate the VCO exponentially, or an AC-coupled (audio only) FM input that goes to an alternate place in the circuit and modulates the VCO pitch linearly.

The rest of the module's controls, inputs and outputs are universal and programmable. Their action depends entirely on the active firmware. The CHARACTER parameter is an arbitrary analog parameter with 8-bit resolution (256 steps). It is set with the CHARACTER knob and can be modulated using the Character CV (CCV) input. CCV has a dedicated attenuverter knob. For example, in the 'Grit VCO' firmware, the CHARACTER parameter modulates the shape of the generated wave.

Below the FREQUENCY and CHARACTER controls are the digital inputs. These inputs generally expect gate signals, but they have comparators behind them, so signals above ~1.6v will be treated as a high gate, and signals below that as low gate (no gate). The module has two OPTions - OPT A and OPT B. They select some options inside the running firmware: for example, in the 'String' firmware OPT A selects the string damp algorithm and OPT B turns the suboscillator on or off. OPTions can be toggled with the switch or with an external signal. The two are being XORed instead of added. This means a gate at the OPT A or B input jack will effectively inverse the selection made with the option switch (or vice versa). This allows greater flexibility than any other operation. Both OPTions have dedicated LEDs that show the current state of the OPTion, post-XOR.

Below the two OPTions are four GATE INputs. These inputs are used to trigger events. For example, in the 'Aubery's Drumkit' firmware, each GATE input triggers a respective digital drum sound generator. The gate processor behind these inputs also transmits a short trigger pulse to the microcontroller's interruption input, allowing for precise gate detection. The GATE inputs themselves don't get converted to triggers, and treating them as gates or triggers is up to the firmware.

Finally, there are two outputs at the bottom of the module. The left output labelled **GATE* is a binary data output useful for driving events on other modules (or on DIGENERATOR itself, through GATE INs). Its output has two states: high (close to 12v) and low (close to -12v). Its function is also up to the firmware: it indicates when the recording has finished in 'Microrecorder', whereas it is a suboscillator output in 'Grit VCO'. The GATE output as a sound source has huge amplitude - attenuate it before blasting it to your headphones!

The DAC output on the right is the module's main output. Behind it is an 8-bit old school style digital to analog converter - a similar technique was used in the 90s for DIY home computer soundcards. Hence, the sound has the precious oldschool low-bit crunch. As with everything else, what the DAC outputs is up to the firmware, but usually it is the sound output. By default, this output is DC-decoupled - the DAC output is trying to oscillate around 0v, eliminating the constant component. This option is optimal for sonic applications. The module has potential as a digital CV generator, so a jumper on the back can bypass DC decoupling and output the DAC voltage directly.


submitted Dec 19th 2021, 15:05 by synthfoxAstro | last Change Feb 17th, 14:41 by synthfoxAstro

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