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Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Analog Storytime - Episode 1

The other day, I needed to make some room in my rack for the new Intellijel Quadrax and Qx modules that are (still) on their way (thanks FedEx for sitting on the package four days longer than you were supposed to, for some unknown reason). While I was reorganizing, I decided to load a couple modules into my Intellijel pallet case (62HP) that I wanted to get better acquainted with. I expanded my modular rig very quickly in a feverish rush of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and while so far I've only found one module that I'm not using as much as I anticipated (Grids) I have quite a few modules that I only really know in a cursory way, and I will occasionally pull one or two from the setup and plop them into this little case to experiment with.

I like this case because it lets me focus on a module or two in ways that I don't really get to as easily when working with my full modular rig. This time around, the modules in question were the Intellijel Steppy 1U, and the Klavis Twin Waves. I also wanted to explore more of the new modes on the Disting firmware update that I hadn't used yet.

So I put together this little setup to play with. In the 1U row is the Noise Tools (mostly for clock output in this case) and Steppy. Then, in order, the modules are Plonk, BIA, Twin Waves, Quadra, Extra Mullet, uO_C, and Disting. I recorded two videos with this setup before returning these items to my rack the next day. I'll be posting a second video in the next few days showing some of the patch exploration that lead to the piece shown here.

The piece is quite slow, and the full recording was closer to 20 minutes, so I've scaled it back quite a bit and just kept the most interesting sections. Hopefully the abrupt transitions aren't too terribly jarring.

I'm pretty impressed with the Steppy as a sequencer for the size. I didn't even get into programming any ratcheting, which it can do via a special mode (very curious to try this). But just the ability to set different sequence lengths, save presets, etc makes for a lot of complexity in a very easy to use module. I didn't find the interface all that intuitive at first (not all modes are easily discoverable or understandable without reading the manual) but generally I find that to be the case with all my Intellijel modules. I never have any trouble jumping in and getting interesting sounds out of them, but to understand the full operation I usually need to read the manual thoroughly.

Speaking of, I still need to do a more thorough reading of the uO_C manual as I am still not clear on the workings of all the algorithms. I also want to look into some of the alternative firmware out there for it once I am fully comfortable with the stock version.

In creating the links for this text, I'm slightly surprised to realize that both Quadra and Extra Mullet appear to be discontinued at this point. Quadra seems to have been superseded by Quadrax (at least I'm guessing so based on it's disappearance from the Intellijel website) which surprised me a bit because they're quite different in their operation in certain key ways. I'm happy to have grabbed a Quadra and the expander before they were no longer! I did not realize they were not long for this world a month ago when I scrounged around for one. It was a bit difficult to drum up, but at the time the release date for Quadrax was still unknown, so I didn't want to simply wait for it, and now I'm glad I didn't!

Similarly I just bought a second Extra Mullet because it's one of my favorite mults I've used so far, so I'm surprised to see that it, too, is no longer an offering from Noise Engineering. I'm pretty sure it was still available a month ago when I last checked! You can do some very interesting things with the additive outputs, like using as a summing mixer the way I did here for this patch.

I've got some other videos coming up this week, just need to finish editing. I'll be doing a series around passing CV and Audio to and from the modular to a computer, and the various ways to do this. It was inspired by trying to use Reason as an extension of my modular gear, so the series will start there.

More soon....


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