Friday, June 1, 2012

More Ardcore

Today I received a second 20Objects Ardcore 001 module, together with the OX digital output expansion. I have already programmed a few interesting sketches for the Ardcore, including a drum sample player, an FM oscillator, and some LFOs. But with two Ardcores and the output expansion, I finally expect to start implementing some algorithms for generative composition.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


It is very satisfying when things reach a stable state. This has just happened to my Eurorack system as the last two modules arrived a couple days ago.

The Mobius sequencer on top will be eventually replaced by another row of Malekko/Wiard modules, but this will keep me busy for a while.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reorganizing the studio

I've spent a whole day reorganizing my studio and now the modulars are close together and ready to share some voltages.

Monday, March 12, 2012

From Russia with Transistors

I few weeks ago I finally received some modules I ordered around November from a new Russian manufacturer called Roman Filipov. His brand is called Sputnik and his first offering was a Dual Waveform Generator, which is basically a clone of the classic Buchla Model 258 triangle-core oscillator. I haven't had much time to test it, but it's supposed to be pretty good for FM.

Roman also sold me a Polivoks filter clone and a YuSynth Dual Gated Slew (this one will live next to my Ardcore 001). Below are pictures of the three modules:


Since I ran out of cabinet space, I also bought two more rack frames and a Ring Modulator from I'm very close to filling my last cabinet and completing my modular synth. Only six spaces are left and they are already reserved for a Sputnik Dual Function Generator (2 spaces), another SSL Tap-Tempo LFO (2 spaces), an SSL Segwencer IV, and a second Ardcore.

Unfortunately, when installing and rearranging some modules something happened to my Q119 Sequencer (the largest and most expensive module I have) and it stopped working, so I have to send it back to Texas to have it fixed.

Friday, January 6, 2012

On Hard Mod Wild Semi Modular

On Hard Mod is a guy in Mexico City dedicated to circuit-bending. Recently, he decided to design a full analog synthesizer, which he calls the Wild. I just happened to receive one of the first units yesterday.

The Wild is a semi-modular noise/drone synthesizer with 3 VCO's, 4 LFO's, one resonant lowpass filter, one 8-step pseudo-sequencer, a 3-channel mixer, and one attenuator (he calls it VCA, although the gain cannot be voltage-controlled). All this for the unbelievable price of around $350 USD (plus shipping). Of course, for this price I didn't expect any bells and whistles - in fact, the Wild is described and demonstrated mostly as a noise/drone machine.

Here are some pictures taken while unpacking the unit and making a first patch:

These are my first impressions:


  • The Wild was nicely packed in a ton of bubblewrap (although the box itself is made of thin cardboard).
  • It is a bit smaller than I thought (about 64 cm wide), which is good since I didn't know where I was going to put it.
  • The oscillators and filter are capable of tons of bass. 
  • Resonance on the filter is crazy (but one must be careful with the speakers/ears).
  • The filter can be easily and nicely overdriven. Basically, the filter makes this thing worth it.
  • I tried to sync the sequencer and LFOs on the Wild with an external clock (from my dotcom modular), and it just worked as expected. This is a big plus for me.
  • The power switch key is a nice touch.

Cons (which, given the price, shouldn't stop anyone from buying it):

  • This is, IMO, the main issue: The Wild just doesn't get wild enough. You have all these modulators: four LFO's and a sequencer, but the depth of the modulations is very mild. An LFO applied to a VCO barely produces a vibrato, especially if you use the triangle LFO waveform. Similarly, the sequencer only produces small changes in pitch. Moreover, you cannot apply simultaneously the sequencer and some LFO to the same VCO, so everything becomes quite predictable (unless, of course, you tweak the knobs).
  • The oscillators have a very low amplitude. I had to turn up the preamps on my mixer to hear them. Maybe this is the reason the modulation depths are very mild, given that the modulators themselves have very low amplitudes. If this is the case, using an external amplifier may solve most of these issues.
  • I don't really see the need for three pitch controls for each VCO. Coarse and fine tuning knobs would have been more than enough, and for this kind of instrument (where you don't expect precise tuning), even one coarse knob would be enough. Also, the pitch of the VCO's doesn't seem to go very high (although that's not a big deal).
The veredict is this: although the modulation depth issue does limit the tonal range, I am still happy with my purchase - mainly because I do have the tools to increase the amplitude of modulators externally (although I don't know how much voltage the Wild can take), and the fact that it easily syncs to the rest of my gear makes it more interesting. 

The next step is trying to pre-amplify the modulators and run the Wild output through some effects. This will be my weekend project.