just when I thought I was o̶u̶t̶ done

Okay, I know what my priorities are going to be with gear stuff.

That Pod 60 case arrived, and it’ll fit fine in the intended space. I’m waiting on the Sweet 16 module before setting it up — and hopefully, that custom snake cable so when I dig around inside the 3U box that has the PDU and audio interface in it, I can switch everything over all at once.

Paul from SynthTech showed off a completed black-panel E520, so I’m expecting my shipping notification any day or hour now.

After that, the next thing I will try is the Intellijel Shapeshifter.

Early on in my modular journey, I look at this thing and my brain shut down. I saw that 2-line LCD and the word “Preset” and thought of desktop synths I’ve used in the past that didn’t work out. From that day forward, I blocked out all awareness of the module entirely.

Yesterday I happened to start reading a thread about it and then watched some videos and then, strictly metaphorically you understand, slapped myself on the forehead. Because this thing is most of what my favorite oscillators are, plus more. It is:

  • a complex oscillator with TZFM (like Hertz Donut mk2)
  • that uses wavetables (like the E352)
  • and also does phase modulation (like the E352)
  • and can do unison detuning (like the E352)
  • and has a chord mode (like Akemie’s Castle)
  • and has a logic output (like the HDmk2) but which can do multiple different types of logic, not just XOR
  • and has a wavefolder (like HDmk2/E352), but it’s analog and can independently process external audio
  • and can use an external signal to do waveshaper-like table lookup (like Jena)
  • and has a sort of bank-spanning interleave mode
  • and can do a form of phase distortion
  • and has a delay synced to its modulation oscillator, which can go into audio rates and act as a comb filter
  • and can do ring modulation and other combinations of two inputs
  • and can act as a vocoder

And sounds pretty fantastic in demos. I will have the space to try it next to everything else I already have, but it may displace some of those old favorites.

E352 does have some features Shapeshifter doesn’t, though in theory I strongly favor Shapey’s feature set. I fully expect that this is a battle that’s going to come down to sound character, I expect.

Whereas HD mk2’s survival in my case is likely to be more about feel. I tried to replace the Donut with several different things and finally circled back to it — I don’t want to make that mistake again — but if Shapeshifter feels as comfortable and inviting to use, there we go.

Akemie’s Castle is a somewhat different beast and Shapeshifter is not really a direct replacement… but it could still step into a similar functional role, especially paired with some other option. I like what Castle can do for me, but I always have in the back of my mind that it’s big and consumes a lot of power. I can imagine replacing my E352/HD/Castle with a Shapeshifter and a Verbos Harmonic Oscillator perhaps. (VHO is another one that I have loved in other peoples’ music and in demos; it’s large but not quite as large as Castle, and a bit pricey but if I’m replacing three major oscillator modules with two it could make sense.)

Of course there’s also a chance that I won’t actually like the Shapeshifter, and everything else will stay as is. I had a Rainmaker for a while, another complex Intellijel module, and found I preferred working with something simpler. But I feel like this is a bit different. We’ll see.

After working this out, the next step is likely to be a Casper/Bastl Waver. I doubt I would then go for Drezno and Jena, since Shapeshifter will have covered the Jena side of things. And then, well, we’ll see what happens. So much for being “almost finished” with changes to my modular 🙂

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