make room! make room!

I have emerged from deep contemplation and have plotted a course for the next leg of the modular journey:

I really don’t want to give up Akemie’s Castle. So I won’t.

But the more I think about it, the less sure I am that the E520 is the best use of its space. I have told myself that it does things I haven’t been able to replicate elsewhere in hardware or software, and convinced myself that those effects are valuable to me. But my findings are, in short:

  • Spectral Crusher/Threshold is my favorite effect by far… but I recently found I can get very close in Unfiltered Audio SpecOps, with the MP3ify and Decapitate filters.
  • Spectral Crusher/PeakHold is a bit more unique, with SpecOps’ Freeze and Resonant Freeze being closest perhaps, though without the decay time. But I haven’t used this one in any recordings.
  • Spectral Time Machine is unique! But I haven’t used it that much. SpecOps does cover freezing, which seems like my most likely use for it.
  • Spectral Delay can be almost covered by two instances of Melda MSpectralDelay. Close enough.
  • Granular Pitch and Dirt: I can cover these with Bitwig or plugins quite well.
  • All the delays, all the modulation: some of these are very good, but I have so many options here that I rarely use the E520 for them.
  • The rest: not my cup of tea really.

So I’m thinking, despite my initial excitement and ongoing appreciation for the E520, I will probably sell it and free up a lot of space to give myself options.

And then there’s… the bits.

Give us the bits!

I’ve been considering the Xaoc Devices “Leibniz Binary Subsystem” off and on since it was first announced. It’s a bit esoteric in usage, but the basic pieces are:

Drezno: an 8-bit analog-to-digital converter paired with a digital-to-analog converter. It provides jacks for each bit (out and in) as well as scale and offset controls and external clock inputs for both of the converters.

Lipsk: an expander with buttons and gates to invert/XOR individual bits. Or it can connect to Odessa instead, to enable individual spectral banks.

Jena: an expander that acts as a lookup table of various waveshapes, rhythms and Walsh functions, addressed by the 8 bits from Drezno (or Lipsk), returning 8 bits as output, with a phase offset CV.

I’m thinking I would skip Lipsk (unless using the other two shows me it’d be super useful). With those, I could:

  • Extract individual bits from an LFO for rhythmic gates, or from audio for “Atari noises.”
  • Skip low-order bits to decrease resolution, or skip high-order bits for a crude wavefolding effect.
  • Tweak the scaling and offset to clip/decimate.
  • Rearrange bit order, skip middle bits or use logic to change the shape of waves.
  • Use high-order bit as a comparator.
  • Use the DAC separately to create stepped CV from other gates.
  • Clock the DAC and/or ADC at lower rates for sample rate reduction, or sample-and-hold.
  • Use Jena for wavetables or nonlinear distortion, alternate rhythms and noise, override some but not all of the original bits, etc.
  • Feed the DAC output back to the ADC, and use scaling, bit order changes, Jena and/or analog shaping to create a (non)linear feedback shift register, to produce patterns of CV and gates/squarewaves. Possibly externally clocked, possibly just at its maximum internal rate.
  • Clock the DAC from one of the bits of the ADC, effectively holding values for different lengths related to their level…???
  • Probably other things I haven’t thought of!

In fact, I have just talked myself into buying Drezno, without even the Jena at first. I am betting that its flexibility will beat Zorlon’s dual clocks and multiple (but less flexible) LFSRs. A new Drezno is less than the resale value of the Zorlon, and a little smaller — I could rearrange things to fit Jena without even selling the E520. But I’ll see how it does on its own first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.