Thursday, November 1, 2012

The White Dwarf hybrid modular synthesizer

Here's the latest iteration of my Eurorack modular, named The White Dwarf :

During the last months, my White Dwarf has undergone a quite significant downsizing.
The complete system (including the FriFri Deluxe patch matrix) once culminated at a (too) massive 1176hp.

I've now brought back the hp count to a mere 252, parting with some modules that didn't get much use and thus redefined the instrument, focussing on simplicity, efficiency, ergonomics and playability, limiting functionality to the essential. 
No more dedicated sequencing modules as I prefer to articulate my pieces using modulators only (mainly envelopes, LFOs and random CV sources).
Analogue oscillators (Plan B M15, Analogue Systems RS95e (x3) and Pittsburgh Modular Generator) were replaced by digital audio sources and processors. Still, I'm planning to extend the actual system with some complex analogue oscillators (considering Make Noise's DPO, Intellijel's Rubicon, SDIY, ...) in a not too distant future.

Here's a shot of a friend of mine playing The White Dwarf :

And here's a close-up :

Top row :
- Synthesis Technology E560 Deflector Shield
- Synthesis Technology E350 Morphing Terrarium
- SDIY expander for two E350s
- Synthesis Technology E350 Morphing Terrarium
- Synthesis Technology E340 Cloud Generator
- Synthesis Technology E580 Resampling Mini Delay

Central row :
- Make Noise/Wiard Wogglebug
- STG Soundlabs Post-Lawsuit Filter
- Doepfer A-156 Dual Quantizer
- Make Noise Maths
- STG Soundlabs Sea Devil Filter
- Synthesis Technology E355 Morphing Dual LFO

Bottom row :
- Plan B M9 Mixer/Attenuator
- Plan B M10 Polyphonic Envelope
- Oakley Sound Systems Classic Ring Mod
- Pittsburgh Modular Analog Delay
- Pittsburgh Modular Dual Index
- Plan B M10 Polyphonic Envelope
- Plan B M9 Mixer/Attenuator

This selection of modules provides a good balance between audio sources, processors and modulators to form a coherent, self contained, flexible, versatile and powerful yet compact modular instrument with a strong and unique sonic footprint. Like this, it is perfectly matching my own personal needs, production techniques, patching methods and it is delivering the sonic aesthetics I'm currently after. 

Module layout is optimized for visual symmetry, maximum ease of use and comfortable patching.
Visual unity and coherence is enhanced by reknobbing some modules.
Three types of knobs were selected :
Volcano knob VC-MINI 

As mentioned earlier, this 9U synth is to be further extended with another 3U for a total of 12U.
Once the last 3U will be filled up, I'll make a nice portable cab for the system so that I can easily take it on the road for performances. Maybe at a later stage I'll add some sort of skiff with controllers and performance tools...

Stay tuned !