We know using one oscillator to frequency modulate another is a lot of fun…but just what is the difference between the different types of FM? I finally got my hands on a module – the Endorphin.es Furthrrrr Generator complex oscillator – that is capable of being switched (with some behind-the-faceplate fiddling) between exponential, linear, and linear through zero FM, so this is a good opportunity to finally make an apples to apples to apples comparison between the three.
I tried to see every module manufacturer I could find at NAMM that had new products, and I think I came pretty close…but I’m sure I missed a few. (My apologies.) Here are the last four I had a chance to chat with and take pictures of.
The 5U or “Moog Unit” (MU) modular format does not get much representation at NAMM, with Moog, Moon Modular and STG Soundlabs being the usual stalwarts. Moog skipped NAMM this year, but an unexpected source – Noise Engineering – stepped into the breech with three new 5U modules – as well as a few new Eurorack ones too, of course. I should also note that Buchla returned to the show floor, recently being bought by Foxtone Music – many have applauded this move as putting it in the hands of someone who truly cares about their history and synthesis in general, rather than just making a profit.
It’s nice to see sound source ideas beyond our beloved sawtooth and square waves become more common in the modular world. In the next two installments I’m going to focus on a pair of these trends: plucked sounds and granular synthesis. Other mini-trends include the Eurorack world going Goth, and further proliferation of CEM3340-based VCOs.