MM Line of 1U modules
MM is happy to present you its line of 1U modules!
First of all a few thoughts on 1U format:
May seem unexpectedly, an adventure into the world of the smallest modular synth's format -1U, but at the same time it's somewhat a logical outcome bearing in mind that MM 3U modules are packing lots of features in a small footprints (like BLK BLX, VA2, ENA..) Nevertheless it's been a wile since MM is having a push & pull feeling about this format. In one hand there was an attraction because it's small and practical for some "don't know yet but something" stuff and it naturally imposes a horizontal aspect which is intriguing invitation for some possible ideas. Meanwhile other manufacturers came out with some interesting modules. It is also challenging designing something purposeful yet not too "banal" in a such a small space. Related to this and on the other hand MM didn't been fan of how this form factor was often advertised - as a space for utilities, which imply that, delegated to some additional small space- utility modules are something accessory. Referring to Jürgen Haible who once stated that utilities are the most important part of a modular synthesizer, it's rather obvious that in a large part it's due to utilities that the modular synths are - modular, without them the signal routing would be limited almost like in typical hardwired synths or semi-modulars. As a consequence of marketing targeting new public the term "boring utilities" have raised while the only thing that is really boring is capitalism's logic who always counts on ignorance to sell and therefore spread more ignorance :)) This without mentioning that the format is reduced from original Pulp format few millimeters just to not fit with others but with only one brand which proposes their cases exclusively to fit their own format. In the community rooted game like eurorack modular synth, this was probably not the coolest gesture. Or if using notoriety and once decided to change dimensions of the format why not make it bigger few millimeters to provide useful space for designs to makers so they could put two pots vertically and therefore conceive more purposeful yet still compact devices. This because generally 1U even in terms of practicality could often be a nonsense like having a 20hp multiple in a 60hp case where you can't have too much voices and stuff or you'll haven't got the place for anything else, or having 16hp dual VCA without controls so you need another 16hp of attenuators & offsets, etc. without mentioning that it costs twice than a simple dual VCA in 3U format that has all of that in 3 or 4hp...Anyway, as said at the beginning 1U is still an interesting format and MM took in consideration what've been said above to propose its vision of what would be cool to have in your 1U row. So here it is!
R / K
VC Bipolar Crossfader
Crossfaders are exciting tools in itself especially when they are voltage controllable. This means that the CV will determine which of two inputs will prevail on the output and with how much intensity and duration (amplitude) depending on the behavior/strength of the incoming CV. (This can lead to saturation when pushed to maximum) Here you have the attenuverter controlling the strength (attenuation) but also the bias (positive or negative) of the incoming CV. You've noticed that on most VCAs if you apply negative voltage, inverted envelope for ex. on the CV input it won't work until you go up with an offset (knowing by the way, that lots of VCA don't have offset controls). Here it happens simultaneously. While it's easy to understand that when one signal prevails it goes up when gets positive while simultaneously attenuating another that goes more negative, here the negative can prevail over positive also if wanted with an inverted shape of the incoming CV. (Bicolor led is indicating polarity/strength of the output)
In use this means that "crossfade" pot can give priority to one of two signals in their blend while the attenuverter ( "mix pol"pot) determines the intensity/polarity of their blending from the CV.
In difference of useful VC mixers (like on BLK BLX, BLC VCAs) where the cv sets/controls the level of the channel in the mix but don't attenuate the others, crossfader than covers a lot of other possible uses. Yes, guess you start to get some ideas of countless possible uses of this crossfader. You can for ex. improvise your own waveshaper, blending two waveforms you'll get a new one, while its shape and animation is controlled with CV (wave "morphing" effect), "Sidechain" effect, VC blending between your effects, filters, sends/returns, improvising ring mods or any kind of VC cross-modulations.. Without mentioning some basic utility uses like mixer, utility VCA, saturation, attenuator, etc. when needed. It's the beauty and the advantage of analog circuitry.
Otherwise, to improvise crossfader's functionality with your setup you'll need two VCAs with offsets, attenuverters, multiple/mixer, a bunch of cables and to scratch your head how to patch it if you're relatively new to modular, without mentioning that it will exhaust your precious resources in VCA/utilities, that's why MM believes that this is a perfect 1U addition.
A little demo of R/K possible uses by Audiorial on YouTube:
Multi - utility module
Aalat* is an amazing utility 1U module in ultra-compact form (10hp) It combines active multiple, unity gain mixer, attenuverter, offset generation control & voltage sources, mute 🤐, manual 5v gate. Its small expander Aalat x serve as two independent attenuators or to contribute to main Aalat module to have full levels control over all mixing channels (can be connected internally to save patch cables & for more comfort ;) or to transform fixed voltage sources on main Aalat into variable offset controls. Has selectable unity gain 1/3 (averager) or regular x1 gain.
A true wizard 🧙♂️ adaptable to many of most common patch situations!
May sounds to some like hell of complexity to use :) but in reality it is extremely simple, a video demo will follow.
Meanwhile here's how to use it:
When switch is in "MLTP" position module operates like buffered multiple: the signal patched into the 'mltp in' will be copied on the 'copy 1, copy 2 and copy 3' outputs while the third copy of the signal can be attenuated and (or) inverted via the attenuverter potentiometer situated right beside.
Also the 'copy 1' can be manually muted via neighbor latching push button.
Still in "MLTP" mode - the second way of use is when nothing is patched into the 'mltp in' input. Now this input is 'normaled' to 5V therefore the 'copy 1' output becomes a fixed voltage source (vs1) or 5V gate still thanks to its neighbor button, 'copy 2' is now a simple fixed voltage source (vs2) while 'copy 3' thanks to its nearby attenuverter, becomes a positive or negative controllable offset generation out (vs3).
(if you have Aalat x expander module you can patch fixed voltage sources (vs1,vs2) into those attenuators inputs and that way you have two more controllable offset generators)
When the module is in "UNITY (MIX)" mode it becomes a unity gain mixer: now what was previously input for multiple becomes now output of the mix (MIX OUT) and the 3 outs are now 3 inputs of the mixer (IN 1, IN 2, IN 3). The level and polarity of the third input is controllable with its nearby attenuverter.
The IN 1 can be muted via nearby push button.
(If you have Aalat X expander this can add level controls over the first two inputs** that way you'll have a fully controlled 3 channel mixer)
The small switch on the right allows to choose the gain of the mixer: 1/3 (averager) or regular x1 gain.
So Aalat is a transformable -modules inside the module- tool that you'll use all the time according to different and most common patch situations. Therefore (and seeing its size and affordable price) having 2 (or more in a larger cases) would be a wise idea.
*Aalat - Tools 🛠️ in Arab.
** If this becomes your favorite or usual way of use of the Aalat X expander you can link it internally to the main Aalat so you can save patch cables and have more comfort in use.
5 Band EQ
Eurorack world’s 🗺️ smallest EQ ? 🎖️This is a 5 Band Graphic Equalizer in 1U format, 12 hp. Together with R/K Bipolar Crossfader suitable for sidechain effect this EQ will provide a natural way to give more mastered allure to the mix coming out of the rack (and this without reading manuals, holding/pressing buttons ;)
Here is a little video demo of Isótita*. One of the reasons for releasing this small equalizer is that it is a nice match to waveshapers. Here illustrated with Tarot 🗿 module. You might noticed that waveshapers, folders, etc. rarely gives interesting results with LP filters after them, that’s because they’re inherently on the opposite poles, wavefolders being an anti filter by itself producing overharmonics that often won't stand well a bulk LP filtering whilst with fixed filter banks (EQ) they’ll give nice results transforming waveshapers into inexhaustible source of more mastered timbres ✅ Goes pretty much the same with wavetables (second video exemple) often very rich in harmonics.
Beside this EQs have always been an essential tool in music & sound working somehow a bit overlooked in eurorack world. Horizontal aspect of 1U is a natural format for EQ so here it is in very small footprint, only 12hp. A must have in a 1U row ✅
*Faithful to true internationalism this one has a Greek name, means "equality"
Isotita EQ provides controls over 5 frequency ranges: 100 Hz, 300 Hz, 1 kHz, 3 kHz, 10 kHz. The good practice will be to place the EQ after some attenuation (like after the mixer) to avoid clipping. Obviously if desired the clipping could be used in creative purposes. It will occur when more than one freq. control is pushed to maximum, especially in the frequency range area where the incoming signal is richest.
Since the module is very compact even for 1U standards, it is a nice option for stereo patches, to have two of those - one for each channel, giving nice results in EQ-ed panning of stereo effects, etc.
CV / Gate Keyboard
This 1U keyboard 🎹 is destined to our communist (and anarchist) youth and adults, to improve our musical culture. Although no particular skills are required - it will play only one note and won’t play another until you release the previous button - therefore you can’t go wrong and is well suited for synth-punk or some other of our avant-garde practices.
(If you have the ear of some of our most talented comrades like Chostakovitch this keyboard might not be** your cup of vodka or beer :)
Can go one octave up & down (covers second, third & forth octave on classic keyboard while you'll set your VCO to play more high or low) The keyboard have a built in glide control.
The glide have rise & fall control switch (the difference is very small, more perceptible in longer slew settings)
This also as the gate is constant, fixed (there's no velocity since those are the momentary on/off tactile switches, however the operation force is minimal to be more agreeable 'in use').
The normal aspect for a keyboard is horizontal so this is a nice solution to integrate one into your setup for the performance purposes for ex. or to work-out sketches of your future sequences ✅
*Klaviatura - Keyboard in Russian, Serb, Croate, Montenegrin, Sloven, Pollish,Bulgare.. probably in all slavic languages ;)
** The pitch is sensible thing especially if you are trained musician or composer (If that's the case than probably this is not your only keyboard :) This is the analog design which means that it is sensible to what analog devices are usually sensible concerning the pitch (like stability of power supplies, ambient/in case temperature, etc) The critical resistors of voltage dividers around precision trimmers are of 1% (however not 0.1%) which means, considering all those factors, that the small drift in order of millivolt (or two in the higher octave) is possible. If your able to notice this that means that you have a perfectly tuned high-end VCOs & stuff even you're into eurorack :) therefore, if critical, stay with your k$ keyboard :) Still if you're a pro but a geek who loves this small punk keyboard - know that there are precision trimmers on the back and you can tune it to your taste ;)
Here's a little video demo with some random playing on keyboard, switching through octaves, without & with glide..
(Sounds from Tarot through Isotita EQ)