Modular Diary – 056

A little side-note on the Turing/Quantussy/Rungler Audulus implementations: Something that I did notice while playing around with STS’s Copier and Turing Machine was that patches would open in exactly the same state as last, something that Richard Brewster also draws attention to in the post on his Audulus Quantussy.

One very interesting feature of an Audulus patch is that it will start off playing in the exact state in which it was saved. So, very much unlike the analog Quantussy, I think that the sequence of events created by the software Quantussy may be able to repeat exactly.

Following on that, Rob Hordijk’s thoughts on the differences between digital and analogue implementations of these kinds of cicuits:

Imho a rungler circuit works best in an analog electronics implementation. It is definitively more alive and surprising due to the slight instabilities in the analog circuitry. I did digital implementations, but they can’t beat the ‘organic behaviour’ of the analog versions. But this is just personal taste…

Modular Diary – 048

Today a look at STS’s Neo-Riemannian Chord Transform – another Audulus clone based on a section of the ornament & crime Eurorack module.1

As before I found it useful to take a look at the Voltage Control Lab video demonstrating these functions. I also found it interesting to take a look at the o_C user manual, something I hadn’t previously gotten round to, which STS has used as the point of departure for his Audulus modules.

Triadic harmony is not something I normally associate with modular patches – it’s unusual to find polyphonic set-ups simply given the number of modules required to create multiple voices. Two examples that come to mind though are Mylar Melodies achieving polyphony with the help of the Expert Sleepers ES8 module and Silent Way software, and Richard Devine’s beautiful Harmonic Symmetry patch, using the Make Noise tELHARMONIC.

“…a new approach to handling music theory in the modular context,” as Make Noise explain on their site.

  1. See also the accompanying Chord Inverter and Arpeggiator

Modular Diary – 046

Now that I have the basics of my Scale Bender in place it’s been time to take a closer look at some of the other modules posted in the Audulus forum. STS has done some fine work on a Turing Machine, Copier Maschine, and Variable Note Quantizer. As is often the case I found it useful to take a step back and look at some YouTube videos of the Eurorack module that STS’s Copier and Quantizer modules are based on.

The ornament & crime module is quite extensive in its set of features and STS has chosen to break down some of its functionality into smaller modules. I tend to think of modular synthesis as an approach miles away from scrolling though banks of inscrutable presets – as an approach based on understanding a basic set of principles and building from there (in the moment), but it seems as if the different worlds are slowly merging.1 STS’s Copier Maschine module is based on the Copier Maschine mode of the o_C module, as explained in this video which also covers masking notes with the o_C scale quantizer.

Having watched that, I went back to STS’s demo patch and had a lot of fun playing around with it, making some additions and adjustments of my own. Once the copier shifts get going one can listen to the ever-changing texture (essentially a close 4-part canon) for hours, but I always enjoy the first static moments as it gets started.

  1. There are now even touchscreen Eurorack modules

Modular Diary – 042

A little more on tuning systems: On the Audulus front STS has been doing some fine work on his o_C Scale Quantizer, and Jimbo refining his Microtonal Scale Modulater. I also updated my Detuner with some internal fixes and a reset input that takes all the LFOs back to their starting point.

I don’t have any of the modular gear needed to make use of it, but I found it interesting to see the multitude of ways for editing microtonal scales (cents, ratios, and fractions, as well as Hz values) that Spektro Audio have added to the latest version of their C.V. Toolkit.

Taking a look through my tuning bookmarks I also came across Todd Mudd’s delightful and thorough Just Intonation Toolkit. It’s great to compare how the different tuning systems feel.

And finally, some of the microtonal scales Aphex Twin created for the Korg Monologue.

Modular Diary – 036

I managed to get started on adapting the Audulus scale quantizer so that each step can be individually adjusted. The first step was to build a little module to enable pitch adjustments within a range of 50 cents up or down. With that in place alongside the little ratio modules that I mentioned in a previous post, it’s already possible to easily set up non-tempered (partially structured) pitch sequences on the fly by attaching them directly to the sequencer pitch knobs. I like to think of it as a set of resistors that can be plugged in as a form of micro-preset, a little like on the old Buchla Music Easels.

Building the ratios and cent adjustments into the scale quantizer means that the alternative scales could also be used in contexts without a sequencer – when using a keyboard for example – and would also collect all the bits instead of having them loosely flying around. That said, there’s something that appeals to me in the clarity and flexiblity of having the ratios and adjustments clearly displayed and easily reconfigurable.

From another angle there were two interesting posts in the Audulus forum this morning covering similar ground: Jimbo’s Microtonal scale modulater and STSchoen’s impressive Audulus recreation of the note quantizer from the very interesting collaborative open source ornament & crime module. Here’s Todd Barton’s introduction to it.