Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

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Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by 4mspedals » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:44 pm

Announcing the Ensemble Oscillator!
A new module from 4ms Company and Matthias Puech

Image

Available April 20, 2020
Price: $299 (USD)
More info: https://4mscompany.com/enosc
Modulargrid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/4ms-compa ... oscillator

The Ensemble Oscillator is a unified polyphonic voice of sixteen complex oscillators combining additive, FM, phase-distortion and wavefolding synthesis techniques in new unorthodox ways. By quantizing the oscillators to scales or series of harmonics, the Ensemble Oscillator allows you to explore the sonic boundary between musical chords and rich evolving textures. Easily create a wide variety of sounds ranging from aggregates of pure sine waves to pulsar synthesis or pristine harmonic tones and lush wide chords to rich dirty drones and rumbling glitches. Custom scales can quickly be “learned” and saved using a CV keyboard or by manually entering notes with the controls.


(This video was already posted in the NAMM thread, but wouldn't be right to not include it here too...)

And here's a video from Joseph Cerimeli:


And two sound clips from Max Drummey:



If you'll be at NAMM, come by our booth to play it (booth 10501)

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by xcc » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:19 pm

This deserves its own thread for sure. Looks awesome. That warble got me.

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by hawkfuzz » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:29 pm

Are the SC links one single enosc on both tracks?
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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by electricanada » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:40 pm

How is this new one different from the synth tech and other cloud/swarm oscillators, or the additive “harmonic” oscillators? Is it the tuning options?
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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by hawkfuzz » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:02 am

Same difference between the complex oscillators, Lfos, distortions, crossfaders, delays, reverbs, sequencers, and filter clones available.

It's all in the details and execution. Seems to have some unique wave shaping. I've not looked into the completion much though.
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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by 4mspedals » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:49 pm

hawkfuzz wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:29 pm
Are the SC links one single enosc on both tracks?
Yes, they just had one Ensemble Osc

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by 4mspedals » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:19 pm

electricanada wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:40 pm
How is this new one different from the synth tech and other cloud/swarm oscillators, or the additive “harmonic” oscillators? Is it the tuning options?
It's quite different, actually, both in the sounds you can make and in how you approach it.
First of all, the User Manual has lots of info:
Ensemble Oscillator User Manual



While you can easily do "cloud" or "swarm" or "supersaw" type things with the Ensemble Osc using Detune (and a small amount of Spread perhaps), that's just scratching the surface. The way the oscillators spread (or "swarm/cloud" if you prefer) is different in that they don't pitch-bend around a stationary point, but rather they crossfade from note to note. The notes are from whatever scale you've chosen or programmed in. This isn't totally unique in the modular world (even our SMR does this), but it's not a common approach because it's harder to implement (you essentially need 32 oscillators to implement a 16 oscillator module, since each one is crossfading between two pitches at any given time).

Also it's not a wavetable synth, the waveforms are generated dynamically. The types of waveshapes you can get from just one oscillator is unique, and when you add all 16 together it sounds nothing like a morphing wavetable. I could go into the Warp and Twist algorithms but it's probably better to let the sounds speak for themselves (we'll have to shoot a video highlighting these).
You can use the oscillators to cross modulate (FM) each other, too. Since they're related in pitches (because they're all crossfading between the same set of notes) you get some very controllable and rich FM sounds.

The way you set the scales is unique too. You can tap the Learn button, play a series of notes on a keyboard or sequencer, and tap Learn again, and those notes will be your new scale. You also can dial-in scales using the knobs. It's quick and easy to make a new scale on the fly, as well as CV around between scales. The scales can be quantized to western intervals, or be free-form (some microtonal examples are in the factory defaults).

The way scales are treated also is interesting. A little background, consider that if a group of sound sources are precisely tuned and play in sync, they might be perceived as a single complex voice. If you know a little about physics you might know that any waveform (no matter how complex) can be represented by a sum of sine waves (harmonics, if you will) as well as the phase information. While this grey-area phenomenon between chords and waveforms has been explored in academic circles, I haven't seen it addressed in hardware synths. On the Ensemble Oscillator, we have a thing called "scales" and even though we call them "scales", they can equally be seen as a series of harmonics. So, each scale can be thought of as a recipe for a dynamic waveform. It's dynamic because as you change the root pitch or spread the oscillators, the harmonics are summed in different amounts. Instead of thinking about creating chords, you could think about creating complex waveforms.

Anyways, gotta get back to setting up for NAMM! We'll post more content soon!

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by ugokcen » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:23 pm

This thing sounds fantastic. Not overly complicated like the SWN, but still flexible enough to discover new sounds. Also, a nice clean design, not too big, not too small.

I noticed that it has 2 pitch cv inputs. That opens it up for duophonic playing, maybe?

Let’s see some more demos!

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by hawkfuzz » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:28 pm

Sounds like fun. I have a question about "scales". I noticed there are three, so does that mean the programmable scales are within that range? For example, a microtonal scale could not be programmed into the 12 TET section, or do the three different sections become irrelevant once programmed.

From the manual it seems that each section of ten is restricted to 12 TET, Octave, Freeform, but I wanted to ask explicitly.
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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by Homepage Englisch » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:26 am

I'm very curious about microtonal possibilities. Could you do any ED temperament? Say if you want 27ed5, could you do it?

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by flashheart » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:16 am

hawkfuzz wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:28 pm
Sounds like fun. I have a question about "scales". I noticed there are three, so does that mean the programmable scales are within that range? For example, a microtonal scale could not be programmed into the 12 TET section, or do the three different sections become irrelevant once programmed.

From the manual it seems that each section of ten is restricted to 12 TET, Octave, Freeform, but I wanted to ask explicitly.
From a quick read you can't program a microtonal scale into 12TET, the others you can. My read of it is they're always completely separate groups of 10 scales.
Homepage Englisch wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:26 am
I'm very curious about microtonal possibilities. Could you do any ED temperament? Say if you want 27ed5, could you do it?
The last 2 scale groups are completely freeform so I'd take it you can.
I'm not buying a maths though, not my idea of fun...

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by spinalbeatz » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:16 pm


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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by 4mspedals » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:48 am

flashheart wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:16 am
hawkfuzz wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:28 pm
Sounds like fun. I have a question about "scales". I noticed there are three, so does that mean the programmable scales are within that range? For example, a microtonal scale could not be programmed into the 12 TET section, or do the three different sections become irrelevant once programmed.

From the manual it seems that each section of ten is restricted to 12 TET, Octave, Freeform, but I wanted to ask explicitly.
From a quick read you can't program a microtonal scale into 12TET, the others you can. My read of it is they're always completely separate groups of 10 scales.
Homepage Englisch wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:26 am
I'm very curious about microtonal possibilities. Could you do any ED temperament? Say if you want 27ed5, could you do it?
The last 2 scale groups are completely freeform so I'd take it you can.
[/quote]

Yes, there are three groups of 10 scales each, so 30 scales total. Each group is slightly different. If you program a scale into the 12TET group, the notes will be quantized to western 12-note-per-octave (technically, the intervals you program will be quantized to semitones). If you program a scale into the other two groups, there's no quantization, so it's perfect for microtonal scales.

The other two groups, Octave and Free, are identical except that if you program a scale in Octave, the module will repeats those intervals up and down the entire range of human hearing by octaves. This means that whatever notes you program in, the same frequencies will be heard octaves above and below.

In the Free group, this restriction to octaves is lifted: whatever intervals you program in will simply be repeated up and down to fill the entire range of human hearing, and the pitches may or may not align with octaves, they may or may not line up with 12-note-per-octave scale.

Several of the factory scales are microtonal (Bohlen-Pierce tritave, Carlos Alpha and Beta), and several are better thought of as a harmonic series than a scale of notes.

Anyways, "Learning" (our word for programming) a new scale is the most advanced concept of the module. You don't have to understand it to use it to make cool sounds, but if you want to dive deep to program your own series of intervals or harmonics to define a custom scale, it's fast and easy.

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by 4mspedals » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:52 am



Also, we're proud to have received the MusicRadar "Best of NAMM 2020" award for Eurorack gear for the Ensemble Oscillator!

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by starthief » Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:21 am

Interesting, I'll be keeping my eyes ears on this one.

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by VanEck » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:52 pm

This thing is so fucking cool. I was curious at first but the sonic state demo really sold me, as well the rest of sysex dumpster crew. The demo displayed some really interesting sounds, and answered a lot of the important questions on our minds. Then theres the price tag... bravo. All 3 of us started geeking out over it.
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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by thebrotherspus » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:48 pm

I'm interested in this too.
Can you do super slow crossfades between oscillators?
Also, does it have to sweep through the oscillators in order back and forth, or can it fade between various pitches in the scale if you were to feed it a stepped random voltage for instance?
Sounds great!

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by KittenVillage » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:53 pm

I love the demos so far. I think you guys are into a sonic space all your own. I'm putting this on my wishlist.


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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by 4mspedals » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:01 pm

Thanks everyone!
thebrotherspus wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:48 pm
I'm interested in this too.
Can you do super slow crossfades between oscillators?
If you mean super slow crossfades between notes (that is, making the oscillators crossfade from one pitch to the next), then you can just feed a slow LFO into the Root CV or Spread CV jack, and it will slowly fade between notes. Or if you mean crossfading between oscillators, then you can use the Balance CV to crossfade from the lowest oscillator, to all oscillators, to the highest oscillator. And/or you can do both at once!
thebrotherspus wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:48 pm
Also, does it have to sweep through the oscillators in order back and forth, or can it fade between various pitches in the scale if you were to feed it a stepped random voltage for instance?
Sounds great!
Sure, it'll jump from pitch to pitch if you feed it a stepped random voltage (or a stepped voltage from a sequencer). In this way it's pretty much like any module with a 1V/oct input: it will play whatever pitch you ask it to. The difference with the Ensemble Oscillator is that there are two 1V/oct jacks: Root (pre-quantization) and Pitch (post-quantization). If you send a stepped voltage into the post-quantization 1V/oct jack (Pitch)0, it'll behave like a traditional analog VCO just playing exactly the pitch you feed into it. But if you patch a stepped voltage into the pre-quantization 1V/oct jack (Root), it will only play notes from the currently selected scale. This is where crossfading comes into play: if you tell it to play a pitch that's in between two notes of the scale, then the module will actually play both notes, with the closer note being louder (ie it creates a static crossfade between the two notes). Each oscillator has its own crossfader, so while there are 16 oscillators, you can actually be hearing 32 notes at once.

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by thebrotherspus » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:14 pm

4mspedals wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:01 pm
Thanks everyone!
thebrotherspus wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:48 pm
I'm interested in this too.
Can you do super slow crossfades between oscillators?
If you mean super slow crossfades between notes (that is, making the oscillators crossfade from one pitch to the next), then you can just feed a slow LFO into the Root CV or Spread CV jack, and it will slowly fade between notes. Or if you mean crossfading between oscillators, then you can use the Balance CV to crossfade from the lowest oscillator, to all oscillators, to the highest oscillator. And/or you can do both at once!
thebrotherspus wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:48 pm
Also, does it have to sweep through the oscillators in order back and forth, or can it fade between various pitches in the scale if you were to feed it a stepped random voltage for instance?
Sounds great!
Sure, it'll jump from pitch to pitch if you feed it a stepped random voltage (or a stepped voltage from a sequencer). In this way it's pretty much like any module with a 1V/oct input: it will play whatever pitch you ask it to. The difference with the Ensemble Oscillator is that there are two 1V/oct jacks: Root (pre-quantization) and Pitch (post-quantization). If you send a stepped voltage into the post-quantization 1V/oct jack (Pitch)0, it'll behave like a traditional analog VCO just playing exactly the pitch you feed into it. But if you patch a stepped voltage into the pre-quantization 1V/oct jack (Root), it will only play notes from the currently selected scale. This is where crossfading comes into play: if you tell it to play a pitch that's in between two notes of the scale, then the module will actually play both notes, with the closer note being louder (ie it creates a static crossfade between the two notes). Each oscillator has its own crossfader, so while there are 16 oscillators, you can actually be hearing 32 notes at once.
Thanks so much for the reply!
I definitely want to pick one of these up in April. :tu:

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by Umcorps » Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:57 am

This is really interesting and typically detailed.

One question - I've scanned the manual but haven't noticed much about controlling the relative amplitude of each oscillator. Is that possible, or would it be possible either through adapted firmware or via an expander at some point?

Thinking about the oscillators as additive partials....

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by forestcaver » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:09 am

This is such a cool module! Very tempted to get one!

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by interpolate » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:26 am

This has jumped to the top of my GAS list :yay:

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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by hawkfuzz » Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:36 pm

Umcorps wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:57 am
This is really interesting and typically detailed.

One question - I've scanned the manual but haven't noticed much about controlling the relative amplitude of each oscillator. Is that possible, or would it be possible either through adapted firmware or via an expander at some point?

Thinking about the oscillators as additive partials....
I think the Xaoc Odesa they just put out does this.
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Re: Ensemble Oscillator from Matthias Puech & 4ms Company

Post by bemushroomed » Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:06 pm

Drawbar organ for days, cool if you're into that i guess. On the other hand its just the osc i guess, no VCA/Envelope.. everything tends to get the organ type of sound when you do that. Want more demos :)

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