Recently we found this quite cool and interesting projekt on Kickstarter. AE modular, a true analog modular synthesizer – small in size, small in price, big in sound.
For sure, you want to know first “how does this thing sound?“, so here are some Demo-Videos that give you a first impression (the first one together with a Groovebox):
And here a YouTube playlist with all demos:
How did it all started?
It started with the idea to build a Lunetta style synth (a synth based on digital logic chips (mis)using them for creating sound, a creation of Stanley Lunetta, therefore the name). For me it is also appealing to have the devices very compact (the KORG Volca series gave me lots of inspiration here), so I defined a small module format (about 10 x 2.5 cm). I liked the concept of abusing electronic parts, which gave the project it’s name (AE: abused electronics).
Over the time I felt the wish to add this or that “conventional” module, like Filter, Envelope, VCA, and one by one I ended up building a “standard” modular synthesizer!
Compared to the usual Eurorack Modular Synths, we have some differences here, mainly to get a small form factor and cutting the price:
- Modules are not mechanically Eurorack compatible, they are smaller (but via the minijack sockets on the MASTER module you can interface to a eurorack system, with the only limitation of a 5V maximum voltage)
- The Oscillators module is not working in 1V/octave standard (due to the roots in the Lunetta approach); but a 1V/octave VCO will be added soon to the modules palette
- Patching is done via simple patch-wires and small pin-sockets (not minijack-cables as in the eurorack-world); this cuts the cost drastically and also saves a lot of space on the module. Another advantage: Module outputs are mostly dual or triple, which makes “Multiples” modules obsolete
Generally, AE modular follows the “not-so-perfect” approach; circuits are sometimes simplified and show their own character in some points – it’s intentionally a contrast to the high-polished stuff we get from digital synths / DAWs / plugins. But always the usage as an artistic tool is considered!
The design style is also a little special: The frontpanels are not (expensively) printed, but rubber-stamped; I like this somehow “unperfect” look – I hope you too! (Don’t worry: a special, durable color is used.)
More info here: AE modular | Kickstarter