Introducing Chainsaw - 4hp polyphonic supersaw oscillator

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Xssory
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Introducing Chainsaw - 4hp polyphonic supersaw oscillator

Post by Xssory » Tue May 07, 2019 6:30 pm

New from Acid Rain Technology:

Chainsaw Super-Oscillator
A small digital sound source inspired by trance music and beyond :sb:

3 voices of 7 waves each, detuned and spread across the stereo spectrum :)

Image

Price $269-279 USD
Release Date: TBD (hopefully late Aug)

chainsaw on modulargrid

[video][/video]

[bandcamp width=400 height=241 album=3457578627 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 artwork=small]
Last edited by Xssory on Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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cackland
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Post by cackland » Tue May 07, 2019 6:35 pm

Interesting. Look forward to hearing / seeing the demo :)

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Post by 61050 » Tue May 07, 2019 7:39 pm

neat! cool idea having three pitch inputs for a single oscillator. is there anything else like this even? can't wait to hear this!

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Post by Buyakasoundman » Tue May 07, 2019 7:50 pm

I’m excited to hear what this can do. I loved stacked super saws. This is shaping up to be a very promising Superbooth.

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degeneratedsines
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Post by degeneratedsines » Wed May 08, 2019 1:31 pm

wait, 3*7 oscs? can you make lush pads?

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Post by chuckleone » Wed May 08, 2019 1:48 pm

This looks like an awesome module. I'm looking forward to finding out more about this.

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Post by Tverse » Wed May 08, 2019 4:20 pm

Looks great for 4hp. :yay:
Last edited by Tverse on Wed May 08, 2019 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Xssory » Wed May 08, 2019 4:55 pm

degeneratedsines wrote:wait, 3*7 oscs? can you make lush pads?
Extremely lush - especially in stereo through a stereo filter (of which there are a few now) - will get some demos up soon!

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Post by Virusinstaller » Wed May 08, 2019 7:08 pm

Looking forward to demos. Looks like a great fit for 4HP. Big rich sounds!

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Post by shoottofill » Mon May 13, 2019 8:29 am

We have a demo [video][/video]

we have a demo

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Post by burnn_out! » Mon May 13, 2019 2:18 pm

That jackhammer module sounds cool af
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Post by Xssory » Mon May 13, 2019 3:20 pm

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 track=142563227 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=ffffff tracklist=false artwork=small]

Here is a quick demo we recorded in chord mode through a stereo ladder LPF in an ER 301 straight to SD card - no other post processing. When we get back from Berlin we will post a video demo walking through the module in more detail :)

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Post by cackland » Mon May 13, 2019 3:28 pm

Look forward to more in-depth tuts.. :)

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degeneratedsines
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Post by degeneratedsines » Mon May 13, 2019 4:27 pm

pretty nice!
I can easily imagine doing a Rank 1 cover with this.

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Post by versipellis » Tue May 14, 2019 6:21 am

Man, I'd love for someone to compare this to Supercritical's Demon Core Oscillator :woah:

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Post by JES » Tue May 14, 2019 5:43 pm

Very interested, but would love a shape CV option in chord mode if you haven't finalized the design. Would be very useful.
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Post by spinalbeatz » Tue May 14, 2019 6:36 pm

Super interested in this! Demos sound really good.

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Post by Xssory » Sat May 18, 2019 9:35 pm

[video][/video]

Here's a video demo of the Chainsaw and Navigator modules! The video shows off the stereo outputs of the oscillator so headphones are recommended

Patch notes:
- Chainsaw in stereo into 2x Ripples filters
- Navigator controlling cutoff and resonance on both Ripples
- Navigator controlling cuttoff envelope depth on both Ripples
- Arpitecht and Triad providing 1v/o CV

We're still fine tuning some details on these modules before production, check the video description for more details about their status :)

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Post by cackland » Sat May 18, 2019 10:27 pm

Can see myself having a couple of these in my system :)

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Post by JES » Sun May 19, 2019 8:55 am

Xssory wrote:[video][/video]

Here's a video demo of the Chainsaw and Navigator modules! The video shows off the stereo outputs of the oscillator so headphones are recommended

Patch notes:
- Chainsaw in stereo into 2x Ripples filters
- Navigator controlling cutoff and resonance on both Ripples
- Navigator controlling cuttoff envelope depth on both Ripples
- Arpitecht and Triad providing 1v/o CV

We're still fine tuning some details on these modules before production, check the video description for more details about their status :)
Re: the notes on the demo: If the fine tuning is that solid and stable, a quantizer might be fun.

I still think CV control over wave shape in chord mode would be REALLY useful.
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Post by Footkerchief » Tue May 21, 2019 7:03 am

Probably too late for a design change, but:

I don't think I'd want to use the dual-mode jacks. What good is an easy switch for changing voices if it's going to trash your modulation setup anyway (by changing the meaning of the CV inputs)? I'd advocate adding two more jacks so there can be dedicated inputs for shape, FM, and secondary/tertiary v/octave.

If that makes the panel unacceptably tight, the switch could be eliminated, and voicing could be determined by the presence of a cable at each v/octave jack. That also allows duophonic setups.

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Post by myenik » Thu May 23, 2019 9:52 pm

Sorry about the delay replying here, we've been thinking about this a lot but just now have some time to reply! The feedback we receive here is really valuable, so thanks for the ideas!
I still think CV control over wave shape in chord mode would be REALLY useful.
You know, we went back and forth on this a lot, and I think we've finally landed on having CV over shape instead of CV over spread/detune in chord mode, so your wish has come true! We actually didn't have the waveshape before, it used to be saws only, with a control for "mix" which changed the balance between the fundamental oscillator and the detuned ones. This was pretty cool but not that cool, definitely a lot less exciting than detune amount, so at the time it was a no-brainer to control detune amount in chord mode and set the mix statically with a knob. Once we added waveshape it was a lot less clear which one was more interesting - waveshape changes the timbre a lot, but detune adds more "tension" to the sound, both are pretty useful. But after playing around with two firmwares with it set each way the last few days, we've settled on the shape after all!

On that note we've also thought a lot about whether there is enough CV control over the parameters, like whether we should make it larger and have more CV/knobs, but the 4hp choice is a very deliberate one.

Our philosophy for this module is that it is intended to produce a very specific set of sounds. It's limited, but IMO not in a bad way - it's limited in the sense that it's very focused, and as a result that allows us to make a tradeoff for space and make it very easy to find room for in portable/live systems which is the use case we're thinking about the most.

To elaborate a bit on what I mean by focused: it's focused on making a specific set of sounds. You can get a pretty nice variety within that narrow set: the waveshape covers a nice variety of timbres/tones, and the detune lets you dial in just the right amount of tension in your sound. But it's meant to only provide that sort of unison oscillator leads/chords/bass, and provide it in a really compact format.
I don't think I'd want to use the dual-mode jacks. What good is an easy switch for changing voices if it's going to trash your modulation setup anyway (by changing the meaning of the CV inputs)? I'd advocate adding two more jacks so there can be dedicated inputs for shape, FM, and secondary/tertiary v/octave.
I thought about this for a while and I think this is a concern that I don't share (or maybe don't understand). Let me know if I misunderstand, but here's my thoughts:

I can't imagine a scenario where I'd want to switch to chord mode and not change the module inputs. If I have it in lead mode and I want to generate chords, I need to patch in some additional pitch control CV. If I'm in chord mode and I want to switch to lead mode, I will probably want to unpatch the additional pitch control CV (and most likely use a totally different sequencer output/pitch control source). Either way, flipping the switch isn't something that I see myself doing on the fly, it's a really deliberate action that corresponds with a change in how I want to use the module in my patch, which means I'll be repatching. I do see how it would be nice to have control over everything in the chord mode, but I think I gave an OK summary of why we chose to make this space tradeoff above. I'm thinking specifically about the "dual use" aspect of those inputs: I'll be re-patching them no matter what when I toggle the switch, so it doesn't seem like a problem that they're dual use, since I have to change the pitch inputs (2 or 3 jacks) either way.

If there's a scenario you have in mind where that's not the case, I'm curious to hear more about it!

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Post by Footkerchief » Fri May 24, 2019 10:07 am

myenik wrote:
I don't think I'd want to use the dual-mode jacks. What good is an easy switch for changing voices if it's going to trash your modulation setup anyway (by changing the meaning of the CV inputs)? I'd advocate adding two more jacks so there can be dedicated inputs for shape, FM, and secondary/tertiary v/octave.
I thought about this for a while and I think this is a concern that I don't share (or maybe don't understand). Let me know if I misunderstand, but here's my thoughts:

I can't imagine a scenario where I'd want to switch to chord mode and not change the module inputs. If I have it in lead mode and I want to generate chords, I need to patch in some additional pitch control CV. If I'm in chord mode and I want to switch to lead mode, I will probably want to unpatch the additional pitch control CV (and most likely use a totally different sequencer output/pitch control source). Either way, flipping the switch isn't something that I see myself doing on the fly, it's a really deliberate action that corresponds with a change in how I want to use the module in my patch, which means I'll be repatching. I do see how it would be nice to have control over everything in the chord mode, but I think I gave an OK summary of why we chose to make this space tradeoff above. I'm thinking specifically about the "dual use" aspect of those inputs: I'll be re-patching them no matter what when I toggle the switch, so it doesn't seem like a problem that they're dual use, since I have to change the pitch inputs (2 or 3 jacks) either way.

If there's a scenario you have in mind where that's not the case, I'm curious to hear more about it!
The space tradeoff you're describing is not necessary. We agree that the mode switch doesn't make changing modes easy, because repatching is required regardless -- that's why the mode switch is a waste of panel space. Cable presence detection at the 1v/oct inputs (as implemented in many other modules like Stages' gate inputs) would cost no panel space, free up room for two extra CV inputs, enable duophony, and simplify the process of changing modes.

Swapping the switch for two jacks gives you this panel layout, which speaking from experience is totally usable:
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/steady-state-fate-mmf

Also, the logo at the top is eating a lot of panel space that could go to knob spacing.

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Post by myenik » Sat May 25, 2019 4:09 am

Thanks for the detailed response - I'll reply inline but I don't want my overall sentiment to get lost in the discussion: I really appreciate that people take the time to talk to us about the modules, we do really consider what you say!

Another thing that I don't want to lose in the discussion is that I have been using a few of these exact modules, mode switch and all, for several months in my system and I think they're pretty fucking awesome as-is :sb:

I don't find the switch annoying, I don't find the dual use jacks cumbersome, and I get all the sounds I want even with the limited modulation inputs in chord mode. I love how it is now, and so even if we don't change anything, I'm confident that it rocks and I'm sure people would be happy with it!
The space tradeoff you're describing is not necessary.
With the configuration you described, you're totally right. I wasn't very clear, my last post was sort of ramble-y. When I was talking about that trade-off I meant vs getting those additional inputs by just making the module take up more hp. The configuration you describe does allow modulation of both without losing any features. I think at some point we did actually consider a configuration like this, but we decided against it:
- the knob spacing is a little too tight for our taste (but still probably OK)
- it doesn't fit on the PCB!

We've been avoiding two stacked PCBs and put everything on a single PCB for reasons I won't even begin to ramble about. The jacks poke through the PCB and remove contiguous space where the two larger ICs that we need can go, and it turns out that even if you remove the switch, there really isn't room to put both of them when you only have 4hp and have all those holes poked through the board! There's also additional ICs/passives required to support two additional inputs and all the software normalization detection that would make it even tighter.

The more I think about it though, the more I think it might be better to do two stacked boards. You're right that it's a bit late in development for a total redesign, but I might see how easy it would be to adapt what we have and just see how a prototype feels. Not promising anything other than that I am actually thinking hard about it!
that's why the mode switch is a waste of panel space ... free up room for two extra CV inputs
I might be misunderstanding what you mean but I don't think it actually wastes/takes up any panel space. All 3 knobs are spaced ~25mm apart, and the toggle fits comfortably between two of them, so it doesn't actually shift the knobs around. If we wanted to make the knob spacing a little tighter we could make the toggle arm shorter and it would still be pretty comfortable I think. Either way I didn't think about it too hard, the extra jacks don't fit for the other reasons above.
would cost no panel space
Right but it does take up PCB space, which is also at a premium in a 4hp module. I can get more board space by going to stacked PCBs though, but that has its own trade-offs (the only one that might matter to users is increased cost). I don't want to get too in the weeds about the PCB layout for this specific module but I can promise you that we think pretty hard about these modules when designing them! Keeping the return current paths under control (to reduce noise) and keeping the cost down are concerns that hide behind the panel.
Also, the logo at the top is eating a lot of panel space that could go to knob spacing.
Heh well that's kind of the opposite of how we go about that - we put the logo where there's room for the logo, not make room for the logo. There just happened to be a lot of space there because the power header is at the top edge of the PCB underneath the panel, and the PCB doesn't extend all the way to the edge of the panel since it needs to overlap with the mounting holes. Why not move the power header so we can move the knob up you ask? Somewhere I have a filter prototype where we did just that, put a knob as far up as it could go on the PCB, and we simply didn't like how close to the top edge it was - not a dealbreaker but IIRC it felt a little too close to the patch cables for the modules in the row above.

This ended up being a pretty long post too, but I hope you all find it interesting. The reason I wanted to respond with a lot of details in these threads is because I'm hoping that anyone reading this is interested in hearing about the rationale behind the module design choices (I promise there is actually method to the madness). If it's coming across as argumentative or something, that's not my intention!

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Post by Footkerchief » Sat May 25, 2019 8:44 am

myenik wrote:This ended up being a pretty long post too, but I hope you all find it interesting. The reason I wanted to respond with a lot of details in these threads is because I'm hoping that anyone reading this is interested in hearing about the rationale behind the module design choices (I promise there is actually method to the madness). If it's coming across as argumentative or something, that's not my intention!
It's super interesting, thanks for all the info! And the PCB layout considerations are valuable context for sure.

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