what’s better than 4 operators?

The very day after I published my notes on Akemie’s Castle, another 4-op FM module made its grand entrance.

RYK Algo. This company definitely sticks to a certain dark minimalist 80s “banks of supercomputers deep in a nuclear bunker” visual aesthetic. I dig it.

More importantly, I dig the sound. It was shown off by Mylar Melodies, the very same gentleman whose video on Akemie’s Castle convinced me to get that one. He didn’t steer me wrong then, and he isn’t wrong this time.

No, I’m not replacing the Castle. It has that retro, grungy sound where this one seems super clean. It has the dual independent oscillator thing going on, and the chords, for massive clustery madness. I’m keeping it even though I’m also getting this one — its clean, shiny, modern younger sibling.

What’s going to step aside is almost certainly Shapeshifter. I did a whole study on it, but effectively, that shifted my habit from “use Basic1 with FM or ringmod and maybe Tilt” to “use Harmo3 or 2Tone6 with FM or ringmod and maybe Tilt.” Those two wavetables both are pairs of sines with different tuning options throughout the table.

Well… if you decipher the algorithm display in the photo above — a bit funky but it makes sense after learning it — what we have is two operators mixed and modulating two separate carriers. That is exactly what I’ve been doing with Harmo3 and 2Tone6. Except now I’ll have full control over the tunings, relative levels, and panning plus a little extra shaping. This isn’t even an algorithm that appears on any Yamaha 4-OP FM synths that I know of…!

Last year’s must-get module was Spectraphon, and Algo is this year’s. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’d like all the instrument makers of the world to get together and just chill for a while, you’ve done great work and deserve a rest. 😉