Wednesday, March 28, 2018

New Modular Podcast: Podular Modcast by Tim Held and Ian Price

The Podular Modcast is a nice new podcast about modular synthesis, hosted by Tim Held and Ian Price from Seattle, WA.

In their podcast series (ten episodes recorded already) they will be chatting with synthesists, module manufacturers/designers and synth shop owners to see how modular has impacted their life, and of course they will be doing some patching.

Listen here for the first episode and subscribe to their Youtube Channel , or find them on iTunes or Stitcher

Follow Podular Modcast on Twitter or Instagram for regular updates and more news.

They also have a Patreon-site: 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Doepfer NAMM 2018 A-100 Standard Module Announcements

My third and last post about the New Doepfer announcements for NAMM 2018... (January 25/28 2018, Anaheim, Hall A, booth 10706)
The other 2 blogposts are about the  Dark Energy III and their new Polyphonic Modules...
Among the newly announced "Standard Modules" there are these little gems

The A-123-2 6/12/18/24dB Highpass Filter is an interesting voltage controlled highpass filter with four filter outputs (6, 12, 18 and 24dB slope). It also features voltage control of the resonance. These controls and in/outputs are available:
• Audio In with attenuator (Lev)
• Manual Frequency control (Frq)
• FCV1: Frequency control input (~ 1V/oct)
• FCV2: Frequency control input with polarizer
• QCV: Resonance control input with attenuator
• Manual Resonance control (Q)
• 6dB Output
• 12dB Output
• 18dB Output
• 24dB Output

The new A-140-2 Dual Micro ADSR
contains double ADSR type envelope generators behind a front panel with 8 HP only. Each ADSR provides these controls and in/outputs:
• Attack (A), manual control
• Decay (D), manual control
• Sustain (S), manual control
• Release (R), manual control
• Gate Input
• Retrigger Input
• CVT Input with attenuator (CVT = CV Time)
• Envelope Output 1
• Envelope Output 2
• LED control

By means of internal jumpers one can select which parameters are controlled by the CVT input (e.g. D only or D+R or A+D+R) and in which direction (i.e. if an increasing CVT shortens or stretches the time parameter in question). By means of another jumpers output 2 can be set to normal or inverted envelope).
Two more jumpers are used for the optional bus
access to the gate signal of the bus for each ADSR.

A-142-3 Envelope Controlled VCA Module A-142-3 is the combination of a simple AD/AR envelope generator and a VCA behind a front panel with 4HP only.
The type of envelope can be selected by means of a toggle switch between A/D (Attack-Decay) and A/R (Attack/Release). Another toggle switch is used to choose envelope or (free running) LFO mode.
The envelope output controls a linear VCA.
These controls and in/outputs are available:
• Attack control
• Decay/Release control
• AD/off/AR switch
• Envelope/LFO switch
• LED (envelope display)
• Gate Input
• Manual gate (momentary switch)
• Envelope Output
• VCA CV Input (normalled to Envelope Output)
• Audio Input with Level control
• Audio Output (the outputs of several A-142-3 can
be internally mixed together)

Furthermore, the modules that were already announced at Superbooth 2017 like the A-138s Mini Stereo Mixer and A-150-8 Octal Voltage Controlled Switch will be available pretty soon now...  and the A-180-9 got a final facelift and got upgraded from 12 to 14 channels through standard network cables.

Read more about those modules at

Doepfer NAMM 2018 A-100 Polyphonic Module Announcements

Right in time for the upcoming NAMM exhibition later this week (January 25/28 2018, Anaheim, Hall A, booth 10706), Doepfer announced a few more interesting A-100 modules (next to the Dark Energy III news). Too many new modules for one blogpost, so I had to split it up into multiple blogposts... The next one will contain their new 'standard' modules.

The magic word for Doepfer this year seems to be Polyphony, because most of the new products are perfect companions for the highly anticipated A-190-5 Polyphonic CV/Gate Interface, a module that has been in pre-production for a loooong while now. 
On the Doepfer website we can still read the message We cannot yet specify a definite release date but hope that it will be available in 2011, from the early prototype stages.
We already know most of its features, i have been blogging about it since 2011, but here are the details once more:

A-190-5 is a Midi/USB interface that generates 4 gate signals and 12 control voltages to control up to four synthesizer voices (i.e. VCOs and associated modules like envelope generators, VCFs and VCAs) for polyphonic sound generation. 
The A-190-5 will be equipped with different polyphonic, duophonic, paraphonic and monophonic modes which are selected by means of menu buttons and the display.
For each channel a gate, a note controlled CV (1V/Oct.) and two auxiliary CVs (e.g. for velocity or controlled by midi control change messages) are available. In play mode the states of the four gates are displayed by four LEDs integrated into the buttons 1-4.
Firmware updates are possible via USB.

The A-111-4 Quad Precision VCO will be available soon too... adding 4 wide-range precision-VCOs to complement the Polyphonic module and was already announced at Superbooth 2017. Read all about this at

Brandnew is the A-105-4 Quad SSM VCF filtermodule, their first polyphonic filter and contains four identical 24dB Lowpass filters (SSM2044 type).
The special feature of the 4 pole low pass SSM2044 is the patented so-called "true open loop design that delivers a characteristic fat sound not available from other devices"
This chip was used e.g. in these synths: Korg Polysix, Korg Mono/Poly, Fairlight II, PPG Wave 2.2 und 2.3, Emu SP-1200, Siel KIWI,  DK600, Siel Opera 6, and the Simmons SDS5.
The first Prophets 5s used the SSM2040 - the precedessor of the 2044 - that generates a very similar sound. (source)  Version 3 of the Prophet 5 switched to the thinner sounding Curtis CEM3320. The Pro One also used that chip.

It has available common manual controls and CV inputs with attenuators for these parameters:
• Frequency (F)
• Frequency Modulation Intensity (FM)
• Resonance (Q)
• Audio Input Level (L)

Each filter has available a separate FM input as well as an Audio Input and Output. The FM input is typically connected to the output of the associated envelope
generator (e.g. A-141-4). The envelope amount for all four filters is controlled by the FM knob and the CVFM input by means of four built-in VCAs, which are controlled by the FM control and CVFM input.

This allows also voltage control of the envelope amounts. In addition common frequency modulation for all filters is possible (e.g. by an LFO). For this the CVF input with attenuator can be used.
The range of the audio input level control (L) allows also clipping/distortion with typical A-100 audio levels (e.g. from A-111-4) at the filter inputs.
Even this parameter is voltage controllable as well as the resonance (Q).
Application: polyphonic patches (four VCFs with same parameters)

Another new Polyphonic module is the A-132-8 Octal VCA:
The A-132-8 contains four VCA pairs. Each pair includes two daisy-chained VCAs. One VCA has a linear control scale, for the second VCA linear or exponential control scale can be chosen by means of jumpers.
Doepfer decided to provide two VCAs for each voice because usually one VCA is required for loudness envelope and a second one for velocity (or another function).
For each VCA these in/outputs are available:

• CV Input VCA 1
• CV Input VCA 2
• Audio Input
• Audio Output
Audio Sum Output is also available.
The module features two Initial Gain controls, that enable the opening of the first (G1) and/or second VCA (G2). This is necessary when the VCA in question is not in use (i.e. no external CV available). Otherwise the VCA would close. They are also useful for testing polyphonic patches.
Application: Polyphonic patches with two VCAs per voice.

The A-141-4 Quad Poly VCADSR contains four ADSR type voltage controlled envelope generators with common manual controls and CV inputs with polarizers for the parameters Attack (A), Decay (D), Sustain (S) and Release (R).
Each of the four envelope generators has available a gate input, a control LED and an envelope output.
Application: Polyphonic patches (four envelope generators with the same envelope parameters to control four VCFs, VCAs or other modules)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New Podcast: Why We Bleep by Mylar Melodies

I've been a long-time fan of Mylar Melodies. and his (Eurorack) video-productions, and yesterday he released the first episode of a brand new monthly podcast interview-series.

The new show is called Why We Bleep, and in it he meets electronic music makers and the people who make their equipment.
He explores their experiences, their processes, and see what can we learn from them.
"The show is inspired by an eternal struggle to get better at making music. To better understand the mysterious, unique and amazing people behind the equipment and music that we love. And to better understand where music making might be going.", according to the creator.

The podcast is available on iTunes, YouTube, and HERE on his site, and takes the form of a conversation recorded in-person, and also captured on camera where possible.

The first episode starts with meeting @musicthing Tom Whitwell, from Music Thing Modular, open source electronic musical instruments:

Next episode will be Justin Owen of Abstract Data, Abstract Data designs & manufactures electronic musical instruments & effects in Eurorack Modular and Desktop formats.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Doepfer Dark Energy III Announced

Doepfer announced some interesting new stuff for the upcoming NAMM  exhibition later this week.
(January 25/28 2018, Anaheim, Hall A, booth 10706)
I will post the new A-100 modules in another blogpost, but first the exciting Dark Energy III

Dark Energy III is the successor of the Dark Energy II, a monophonic stand-alone synthesizer with USB and Midi interface. Main differences between II and III are an
improved VCO (no warm-up period, additional triangle waveform, wider frequency range), resettable LFOs, improved ADSR and a lot of internal access points for DIYers.

This will make it easier for DIY-ers to create their own breakout boxes with extra functions, like Organzoner did a while ago... He posted a great video with a step-by-step tutorial on how to expand the capabilities of the Doepfer Dark Energy 2 by adding a breakout box...

The filter of the Dark Energy II has been unchanged.
The sound generation and all modulation sources are still 100% analog, only the USB/Midi interface contains digital components. 

􀂃 VCO:
o Triangle based, 10 octaves frequency range
o Tune control and Octave switch – 1 / 0 / +1 octave
o FM input with selectable source (ADSR / off / LFO1)
o Manual PW control and PWM with selectable source (ADSR / off / LFO2) for rectangle wave
o Waveform switch
o Additional external CV inputs for frequency and pulsewidth of the rectangle
􀂃 VCF:
o 12dB Multimode VCF with continuous mode control (lowpass – notch – highpass - bandpass)
o Manual Frequency control and FM with selectable source (ADSR / off / LFO2)
o Resonance control, up to self oscillation
o Additional external CV and external audio input
􀂃 VCA:
o Linear control scale
o Manual Amplitude control and AM with selectable source (ADSR / off / LFO1)
o Additional external CV input
􀂃 Envelope:
o Improved ADSR type with 3-position range switch
o Additional external gate input
o Control LED
􀂃 LFO:
o Two resettable LFOs (external Reset inputs)
o manual frequency control and 3-position range switches
o Waveform switches triangle/square
o LED controls

More info at

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Superbooth 2017 New Doepfer Module Announcements

From April 20-22, 2017 the second Superbooth takes place in Berlin.

Doepfer announced the new modules that will be on display there... with some very exciting new toys.
Some of the new products were already presented as prototypes at NAMM and are now available (e.g. the voltage controller performance mixer series A-135-4). But they will also show some new gear in Berlin (e.g. the quad VCO A-111-4, the micro keyboard A-173-1/2, the miniature stereo mixer A-138s and the low cost versions of the monster cases).

A-111-4 Quad VCO
A-111-4 contains four precision VCOs with 10 octaves range and has individual controls, inputs and outputs for each VCO available as well as common controls.
After all the A-111-4 is very similar to four A-111-3 with built in output mixers for the three waveforms and a common control unit for all VCOs. Controls, inputs and outputs (individual for each and common for all VCOs): 1V/Octave CV input Octave switch (+1/0/-1 octave) Tune control (range internally adjustable by jumpers: 2 semitones / 1 octave / 4 octaves) Modulation CV input (common unit is fixed to FM) Modulation destination FM or PWM (only for the individual VCOs) Modulation intensity Triangle output Sawtooth output Rectangle output Sync input (only for the individual VCOs, internally selectable hard or soft sync, CEM3340 hard sync type)

Typical applications: fat sounding monophonic VCO with the possibility to adjust intervals paraphonic patches (all four VCOs processed by one VCF/VCA) full polyphonic patches in combination with the polyphonic CV interface A-190-5 Date of Delivery: summer 2017 Price: ~ Euro 400.00

A-138s Stereo Mixer
A-138s is a simple but useful 4-in-2 panning/mixing tool. It has four inputs available with level control knobs plus a stereo (L/R) output.

A-173-1/173-2 Micro Keyboard
A-173-1/2 is a module combo that is used to generate a manually controlled
1V/Octave CV signal and up to 15 manually controlled gate/trigger signals.
Typical applications are the transposition of a sequence by means of the CV output (without the need of an external keyboard and CV interface) and the manual generation of gate/trigger signals for start, stop, envelope generator triggering and other trigger tasks. A-173-1 is the transmitter module and is made of a 1 ½ octaves micro keyboard and an octave switch. A-173-2 is the receiver module and generates several gate/trigger signals and a 1V/Oct. CV signal.
The upper section of the module is used for the gates/triggers which are controlled by the corresponding buttons of the A-173-1.
Each output can be programmed as gate (pressing/releasing the corresponding key turns the gate on/off) or toggle (pressing the corresponding key changes the state) or trigger (pressing the corresponding key generates a short trigger signal).
The state of each output is displayed by an LED. The lower section of the module is used the generate a 1V/Oct. CV signal and gate signal in the usual way.

By means of the learn feature of the A-173-2 (i.e. defining the key for 0V CV) a few buttons can be separated from the CV generation section so that these buttons only control gate/trigger outputs without affecting the CV.
That way e.g. start/stop or other triggers become independent from the CV section. The modules communicate via standard midi note on/off messages and are connected internally by means of a 2-wire cable. That way the modules can be mounted at different positions within the case. Date of Delivery: summer 2017 Price: ~ Euro 180.00 (both modules)

Also a prototype of a new Multicore was on display, but the module has been updated, so the info here is old... Find info about the definitive 2018 version HERE

A-180-9 is another simple but useful tool. It is used to connect up to 12 signals between two different
For operation two of the modules (male and female version) and a Sub-D cable with the required length are required.
Because only male/female Sub-D cables are common on the market also one male and one female version of the module is required for the connection.cases by means of one standard Sub-D cable only. That way it's possible to pre-patch e.g. two (monster) cases and connect all signals, that are required in both cases (e.g. clock, start/stop, master CV) by one cable only instead of 12 individual patches. The module is fully passive (no power supply required) and simply wires the 12 sockets to 12 pins of the Sub-D connector.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Doepfer A-150-8 Octal Manual/Voltage Controlled Programmable Switches Announced

Doepfer has just released some info on their new modules for NAMM 2017 (19-21 jan.)
Besides some vintage editions of existing modules, the A-135ABC VC Performance mixer modules, the A-110-6Trapezoid Thru Zero Quadrature VCO and a new A-100LC1 case (economically priced small housing with 48 HP width) there was also one other interesting new module announcement:

Module A-150-8 contains eight manually/voltage controlled switches. 
Each of the eight switches has a manual control button (Man.), a control voltage input (CV), a common Out / Input (O/I), and two In / Outputs (I/O1, I/O2). 
The switches are bi-directional, i.e. they can work in both directions, so can connect one input to either of two outputs, or either of two inputs to one output. 

A-150-8 Octal VC Switch prototype
Two LEDs show which in / output is active (ie. which is connected to the common out / input). 
In addition the LEDs are used for the programming of the module:
For each unit the operating mode can be selected: 
Toggle or Level controlled. In Toggle mode the rising edge of the CV input or operating the manual control button changes the state of the switch. In Level mode the switch state is defined by the voltage applied to the CV input (low voltage = I/O1, high voltage = I/O2) or by the state of the manual control button (not pressed = I/O1, pressed = I/O2). 
The modes are programmed very easily: Operating the Toggle/Level button of the program section displays the current state of each switch with the LEDs (left LED on = Toggle mode, right LED on = Level mode). 
Operating the manual control button of the switch in question changes the toggle/level mode.
In addition it's possible to define master/slave groups. In such a group the upper unit (= master) controls also the state of the following switches provided that they are defined as slaves. 
Master/slave programming is also very simple: Operating the Master/Slave button of the program section displays the current state of each switch with the LEDs (left LED on = Master, right LED on = Slave). 

Operating the manual control button of the switch in question changes the master/slave mode. 
When all 8 units are defined as master each switch is independent of each other. If for example the sequence is MSSSMSMS the control unit of the first switch also controls the switches 2, 3 and 4. The control unit of switch #5 also controls the switch #6, and the control unit of switch #7 also controls the switch #8.

Doepfer is also thinking about a small preset management with eight presets which store the states and modes of all switches. But they are not yet sure if this makes sense because the configuration of the switches is associated very closely to the patching of the sockets.

Date of Delivery: Spring 2017 
Price: ~ US$ 160.00 (Euro 150.00)