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Our answer to modular polyphony: Supercritical Synthesizers
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next [all]
Author Our answer to modular polyphony: Supercritical Synthesizers
hzzzu


Hi! My name is Heikki and I’m from a new manufacturer called Supercritical Synthesizers. We started this as a hobby project with two other people (including our engineering genius Timo, tisaalho on MW) almost two years ago and now we decided to release it to public. The first product is the Demon Core Oscillator and accompanying it is the Demon Core Expander module.

The product itself is an oscillator, a digitally controlled one. But it is way much more. It has 16 configurable voices and some snake charming skills to control all the waves’ phases. It also might solve the long ongoing question of polyphony and paraphony in the eurorack context. We did label it as an oscillator while it wears the hats of: 1) An oscillator 2) A full synthesizer voice 3) Paraphonic sound generator to be sculpted with other modules. I believe the weirdest uses for this machine are yet to come. It surprises me every time I turn it on.

The main module makes the sound and has some traditional oscillator controls with some and-then-some. It has coarse and fine tuning with a handy indicator for concert pitch. The waves we’re dealing with are saw and pulse with PWM. The patty of this burger is that the 16 voices can be stacked in unison and/or in octave stacks. Picture a six octave stack of two oscillators each, I have no idea what to do with it. That’d be your job.

The timbral cheese comes from the spread and core stability control. Spread is a static spread (detune) and will adjust from a clockwork Juno via a creamy supersaw to a jazz player having a very bad day. Core stability is our drift control. Having played a couple of Jupiter 8’s and Timo having a dreamy OB-Xa we are fans of the VCO drift. The drift can be set from accurate modern poly drift to a broken and wandering VCO. Slightly below the middle is our favorite lush and pillowy 80’s-big-poly-machine-territory. This is the feature we crafted with care. FM, PWM, spread and stability have CV’s with offsets so you don’t need attenuverters if you don’t want to.

The bun this burger’s wrapped in is the concept of polyphony. The expander introduces us to polyphony. Connected, we can now allocate the voices to stacks, octaves and polyphony. 8x2, 16x1, 3x5. Decide on a polyphony, max the stack and divide to octaves. It’s entirely your choice. 4x4 is cool. Having four Mono/Poly oscillator setups in 20hp. It’s our favorite. We had this minimal setup in mind where the DCO would serve as the sound source and you can route it through your favorite filter modulated by an envelope and make your own tiny poly machine. I’m actively playing it in my band with the incredible Mutable Instruments Ripples filter as a poor man’s Jupiter 8. The Doepfer SEM filter is also delicious with this.

MIDI. The expander provides us with a midi interface with TRS-jacks. Midi in and a mirrored thru are accompanied with a convenient gate out. The expander has a gate switch which switches between a constant stream of sound and a gated mode. The gate mode is a polyphonic gating mode with ADSR-envelope for each allocated voice. The gate out has also a cool retrig for maximum searing funk. The DCO can played like a proper polyphonic keyboard. You don’t need extra 16 VCAs. The polyphony can be also controlled from the four FM inputs (with a global attenuator which has 1V/oct when full). We also hid some easter eggs with alternative CV modes for these four inputs.

The time sync thing: We encountered this anomaly by an accident in early dev stages. It was quite unusual so we decided to have controls for it. Since we know the phases of the waves, we start from stacked unison oscillators having all waves in the same phase. Over time the phases spread when the spread control is slightly opened. This causes a enveloped flanging effect which can be used as a thick bass sound or some flanging pads. Or something entirely else, we don’t know. It can be triggered via the main module sync trig jack or the midi note. The expander provides us also a time control which adjusts the time of the waves when they sync phases from past to future. Time travel’s always cool.

There’s a huge amount of options in this, we know. Some of them exist behind some button combos, but we tried to streamline it a bit. There’s no menu diving. There’s a magic combo to reset the module to get Dorothy and Toto back to Kansas. To trim the hedge between you and the music you can play a couple minutes’ WAV file to the FM input from your mobile phone to update the firmware updates enhancing the UI and fixing bugs in the future.

Main module tech specs:

    12hp, skiff friendly with 25mm depth.
    120mA +12V and 20mA -12V
    16 configurable voices (octave, stacks)
    Saw and pulse waves with PWM ranging from 0-100%
    Coarse tune for 6 octave range with half-step increments
    Fine tune for ± half step range
    A blinking tuning indicator for finding C note in every octave and A440 fine tuning
    1V/oct master pitch CV
    Linear FM CV (±8V) with attenuator
    Combined Spread / PWM CV (±8V) with offset function
    Stability CV (±8V) with offset function
    Trigger input for synchronizing the phases for all waves
    Mono audio output
    A function (shift) button to do magic for different controls!
    Software updates via audio
    Secure shrouded power connector with a supplied power cable


Expander module specs:

    8hp, skiff friendly with 25mm depth.
    Powers from main module, connects via supplied ribbon cable
    Connected, the oscillator draws now 130mA +12V and 30mA -12V
    MIDI interface with bipolar TRS-connector
    MIDI thru, polarity set with jumpers on the back
    MIDI channel learn function with pitch bend setting
    Gate output, 5v 4ms trigger in retrig
    Configurable polyphony, ADSR envelope for each voice
    Four pitch CVs (±8V) with global attenuator
    Control for phase sync timing
    We’re still working on the website, price and distribution but we hope to release them in a week or so.


We’re designing this by ourselves and we do most of the manufacturing locally. We’re trying to do this the eco-friendly way.

If you’re reading this far, thanks. We’re very enthusiastic about this. Ping me or Timo in this thread if you want to know more. Timo will talk for days about the technology.

Oh by the way. All of the sound coming out of the module is analog and we’re making this in Finland. Aliasing fans, sorry.

The 16 voice Demon Core Oscillator and Expander are available in May-June 2019 and the prices are: 16 Voice Demon Core Oscillator: 490€, Demon Core Expander: 280€ incl. VAT. US prices will be similar and be announced soon.

The DCO and Expander will be distributed by Alex4.

www.supercriticalsynthesizers.com

A teaser video of the Demon Core Oscillator on YouTube:


Demon Core Oscillator sound samples on Soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/supercritical-synthesizers/sets/16-voice-demon- core-oscillator-sound-samples
[s]https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/764762295[/s]
Summa
screaming goo yo screaming goo yo wow! just wow!

love the burger analogy and who wouldn't want to hear "a jazz player having a very bad day"

consider me more than interested in this and just ship one over the ocean once you're ready applause
Paranormal Patroler
Cool stuff!

What's the TRS mapping you're using?
hzzzu
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
Cool stuff!

What's the TRS mapping you're using?


We're using both. You can feed both polarities in and it will configure itself automatically. The thru polarity can be set with jumpers on the back so you can set it depending where you are routing the MIDI thru. For instance you can use a Beatstep via the Expander to a 0-Coast without adapters. We thought it would be handy this way.
Paranormal Patroler
hzzzu wrote:
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
Cool stuff!

What's the TRS mapping you're using?


We're using both. You can feed both polarities in and it will configure itself automatically. The thru polarity can be set with jumpers on the back so you can set it depending where you are routing the MIDI thru. For instance you can use a Beatstep via the Expander to a 0-Coast without adapters. We thought it would be handy this way.


Perfect, thanks!
Christopher Winkels
Sounds lovely in the demo.

"Supercritical"?
"Demon Core"?

I guess one could say the modular industry is....



..... at a "Crossroads".
southberry
WOOOOW MY ASS IS BLEEDING
Keltie
This looks really impressive. Look forward to demos, pricing and availability info in due course.

Well done!
hzzzu
Keltie wrote:
This looks really impressive. Look forward to demos, pricing and availability info in due course.

Well done!


Thanks! Did you check out the Soundcloud ones? Some video demos are in progress.
gwpt
Sounds great.
What will it and expander cost?
kay_k
hzzzu wrote:
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
Cool stuff!

What's the TRS mapping you're using?


We're using both. You can feed both polarities in and it will configure itself automatically. The thru polarity can be set with jumpers on the back so you can set it depending where you are routing the MIDI thru. For instance you can use a Beatstep via the Expander to a 0-Coast without adapters. We thought it would be handy this way.


The answer is so easy and yet not made it to a standard.
SlayerBadger!
Paranormal Patroler
kay_k wrote:
hzzzu wrote:
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
Cool stuff!

What's the TRS mapping you're using?


We're using both. You can feed both polarities in and it will configure itself automatically. The thru polarity can be set with jumpers on the back so you can set it depending where you are routing the MIDI thru. For instance you can use a Beatstep via the Expander to a 0-Coast without adapters. We thought it would be handy this way.


The answer is so easy and yet not made it to a standard.
SlayerBadger!


I told you Korg would be the standard. I still laugh whenever I realize there are only two ways to go about this, and both are now a thing hihi

Winkels, crossroads? How so?
kay_k
bit of googling:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_core

Btw, are you at SB19, Konstantine?
hzzzu
Christopher Winkels wrote:
Sounds lovely in the demo.

"Supercritical"?
"Demon Core"?

I guess one could say the modular industry is....



..... at a "Crossroads".


Glad you were Able to connect the dots!
mdoudoroff
Watching this one carefully, mainly because I’m in the market for a compact oscillator to offload Sinfonion chords to—all the cool extras are BONUS!

I’m not sure yet whether this is a good fit for my primary purpose, but it sure looks intriguing. Seems like I might have to CV-to-MIDI to use the envelopes, which sounds a bit daunting.
Paranormal Patroler
kay_k wrote:
Btw, are you at SB19, Konstantine?


Always! Mr. Green
franman69
Wow... very interested...
JohnLRice
hzzzu wrote:
A teaser video of the Demon Core Oscillator on YouTube:
https://youtu.be/VtylQKIf5Bk

Demon Core Oscillator sound samples on Soundcloud:
[s]https://soundcloud.com/supercritical-synthesizers/sets/16-voice-dem on-core-oscillator-sound-samples[/s]
WOWZA! Looks and sounds great!!!

FYI: If you wrap your YouTube URL with [video][/video] tags and remove the letter "s" from the "https" the video will embed here:


SoundCloud is a little trickier but doable. If the named URL has too many spaces in the title or is too long it wont work here. The way around it is to grab the embed code and then just copy and paste the ID number URL out of it, fix the ":" and then wrap with [s][/s] tags:
[s]https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/764762295[/s]
cackland
Very impressed. Nice entrance, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one also
kay_k
added this to the TRS midi list ..
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2620781#2620781
The Junglechrist
Wow ! Impressive and very good looking !
mnchrme
Oh. I am intrigued. Price? Looks so good. love love love love
donttouchmyrice
If i'm understanding the voice allocating possibilities correctly:

-Over the midi In/thru jack, each of the 16 voices can be played independantly via midi.
-And with the expander attached, you have 5 V/oct inputs adressable over CV. so you could make any possible division of the 16 voices, over those 5 V/oct inputs? Or are those all the ones you've mentioned already (8x2, 5x3, 4x4, 16x1)?
-What happens when you control the voices over Midi and over V/oct inputs at the same time? is this possible?

Looks like a very cool module so far, great work! thumbs up
lisa
Nice demos, sounds lovely. Cool concept too. SlayerBadger!
pinkflag16
I was just thinking of paring down my modular a bit to fund either a Polysix or Mono/Poly. Then the Matriarch was announced. Now this. Good year so far.
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