I’m spending all four days at NAMM this year in hopes of seeing as many modular companies as possible. The following few days I hope to share my impressions of what I found interesting at this show, with a liberal dose of personal commentary thrown in. In this installment I cover 2hp, Pittsburgh/Lifeforms Modular, Verbos Electronics, and some musings on formats.
A perennial question is “do I really need a buffered multiple to connect to my oscillators?” The correct answer is “it depends” because there’s so many variables with the way different modules were designed. I figured it was time to flesh out those details so it didn’t seem like so much voodoo.
Many semi-modular synths have just one VCO. They usually feature a square wave with pulse width animation, but if you want to use the sawtooth wave instead, the sound can be rather static. A common addition is a second oscillator; an interesting alternative is a “waveform animator.”
Different oscillators and MIDI to CV converters may have varying ideas of what voltage a given note produces, and what pitch should you hear as a result. If there is a difference, in most cases it can be dialed out with a pitch knob or transpose switch. However, there are occasions when you need the assistance of an additional module to settle these disagreements.