Thursday, October 11, 2007
Plan B Model 15 Arrives
The Model 15 Arrives!!! My first oscillator that can track 1v/Oct. Color me ecstatic.
First off, let me say how bad ass Analogue Haven is. Shawn and Chuck and everyone there are the most incredible and nicest guys. I have always had a warm fuzzy feeling inside after giving them money; and it wasn't just because that meant gear was coming my way. If you are not currently giving them money, you should be. Shawn, you are the man!
Ok, so I've only played with it for a few hours last night, so the following is early impressions.
PWM. I see what people are griping about now. The "usable" pulse width range on the knob is pretty small. It's like from 10 - 2 o'clock on the knob, any further on the knob and the sound cuts out, presumably from the pulse being so small. HOWEVER, I completely see why Peter kept this feature. The sound that it makes as the pulse goes from really thin to kate moss thin sounds REALLY cool! It reminds me a bit of some of the sounds that Metasonix modules can make with the right knob settings. I think this feature of the Model 15 is very cool and really makes it stand out of the crowd. It's not your standard PWM, and I really like that. Personally, it would be nicer if it was spread out on the range of the knob a little more, like say 8 - 4 oclock. I don't mind the "dead" spots, just wish they were smaller.
Sync. I particularly like this Sync sound. I know people have complained it's not hard sync, but it has a unique character that is a nice timbral alternative. I have similar feeling towards it as I do the unique PWM; it's not the "standard" sound, but I like it. If you need the "standard" sound, get another VCO and now you have double the possibilities. Or for those who need to have a module that does everything; the Model 15A Expander sounds like it will clear up people's grips with PWM and Sync.
Waveforms. Holy waveshaping batman, these waveforms sound awesome! Granted, I don't have a lot of experience with the various available modular format oscillators, but I have played a lot of both analog and digital synths and I must say that this has the coolest sounding triangle wave I've ever heard. Normally, I hate triangle waves. To me they always sounded overly dull, almost as if something was not working correctly. It was like the inbred cousin of the sine and saw waves. In fact, I only listened to the triangle wave in this case because I accidentally plugged it in when I wanted to hear the sawtooth! Lucky me! Maybe the reason it has such a nice triangle is because it's the core waveform for the VCO. I don't know for sure, I just know I like it!
The sine wave is also incredible. It's very clean and loud, with the slightest touch of character. The sawtooth is still my favorite though. It's very "woody" and "organic" sounding. It pairs up perfectly with the Model 13 low pass gates for beautiful pluck sounds.
Bipolar Attenuators. I love bipolar attenuators. Love them. The only gripe I have about them is that very few modules (none actually to my knowledge) have knobs with detents at 0. This makes it very hard to actually have full attenuation (aka "0"), it's always a little positive or a little negative. This is especially true on the Model 15's Freq CV inputs because they are so sensitive. It's pretty difficult to actually have a CV patched in and have the knob set to 0; not without extremely gentle tweaking. You're not going to be able to turn it up during a performance and get it back to where it was very easily. This isn't really a problem with the Model 15 itself per se, more of a general problem with bipolar attenuators with non-detented knobs. And furthermore, maybe it's just me who gets a little bugged by this.
Morph Output. Man this is cool! I really dig the Sine - Saw morph, it's like another flavor of a PWM sound, but more unique sounding. Blending this output with the sawtooth outputs leads to some cool timbres; likewise doing Sine - Square and combining that with the square wave out. Audio rate modulation enhances this. Use of an envelop makes for a very cool "evolving sound".
Overall, this gets a glowing review from me. 2 thumbs up, if I had a third hand, I have that thumb up too. :D
I do plan on making a video demo, however, I want to spend more time with the module so that I really know it well before doing the demo. I'll also see about getting a loaner 15A Expander so that can be included in the demo since I bet a lot of people are going to want to see that as well.