Modern MIDI controller keyboards come with a lot of input options. However, very few MIDI to control voltage + gate (CV/Gate) converters have enough outputs to take advantage of all these performance inputs, plus restrict how you use them to select operating modes. By contrast, the FH-1 comes with eight outputs (expandable to 64), with all of its operating modes available simultaneously. I’ll explain a couple of approaches to harnessing all that power.
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.”
Ratcheting is a Berlin School sequencing technique where an individual note in a sequence has its envelopes retriggered multiple times, usually at a musical subdivision of the sequence’s tempo – such as playing 1/32 notes in the middle of an 1/8 note sequence – to create a roll. Although used since the 70s, not everyone knows how to create a ratcheting patch on their modular. In this article I demonstrate creating and performing several typical ratcheting patches.
The thought process that went into building a compact yet comprehensive starting modular synth system for my Learn Modular Synthesis course that covered a wide range of both East and West Coast techniques.
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.