Synthfox announced SLEDGEHAMMER
Synthfox announced SLEDGEHAMMER (on MODULARGrid), a vactrol gate core experimental dynamics and harmonics processor. This module serves many needs, such as mixdown, wavefolding, waveshaping, distortion, VCA, suboctave generation, and much more.
SLEDGEHAMMER is intended for heavy feedback usage. The INPUTS section mixes down three signals (audio or CV) for further processing. The first and second inputs have dedicated attenuators. The third input is special: it is a voltage controlled crossfader that fades between the negative and positive copy of the input signal. The FOLD output is normalized to input 2, and the SHARP output is normalized to input 3, so patching audio to input 1 and adjusting other inputs’ volumes already creates a self-patched feedback loop.
The heart of this module is a vactrol-based dynamics processor (‘gate’) similar to the widely known low pass gates. It processes the mixdown of the three inputs from the INPUTS section: the big LEVEL knob, two Level CV (LCV) inputs and the PING input control both the amplitude and the slight filtering of the signal: from quiet and dark to loud and bright. The first LCV input has a dedicated attenuverter; the second one has a simple attenuator. The PING input expects a gate, and upon receiving one, will strike the gate with a sharp decay-only envelope. This input has a simple passive circuit behind it, which can be creatively exploited: for example, striking it with stepped voltages, e.g. a S&H output, will make the circuit skip some strikes, and the remaining strikes will have different velocity. The DULL / VIVID switch on the left chooses the type of the response: the DULL setting yields daker, quieter tones, while the BRIGHT setting makes the gate sound more open and loud. Both modes are useful in different applications.
Finally, the output of the gate core is passed through different harmonic processor to create the four SLEDGEHAMMER outputs: GATE, FOLD, BEND and SHARP.
GATE is a buffered pure output of the vactrol gate. It’s the most harmonically unaltered output of the module, and usually has a nice smooth tone.
FOLD output is the GATE output processed through a number of wavefolding units, resulting in a slightly amplified and mangled version of the signal. The color and depth of the wavefolding effect can be altered via feedback looping from mild to harsh.
BEND output is the GATE output after an esotheric transistor waveshaper/wavefolder setup. It does multiple harmonics-related actions at once, sounding like a combination of mild wavefolder, waveshaper, and – sometimes – distortion.
SHARP outputs a result of comarison of the BEND output with an arbitary voltage, resulting in all sorts of pulse waves. This output goes almost rail to rail for it to be able to trigger envelopes etc, so attenuation is required for audio usage. The threshold is set at the SHARP SENS. section with the sum of the knob and the unattenuated CV input. Modulating this threshold often results in PWM-like sounds.
The module has immense feedback capabilities and self-patching possibilities. To ease the process, FOLD output is normaled to Input 2, and SHARP output is normaled to input 3. Just put some audio to Input 1, and a multifeedback circuit is ready to go. But – don’t stop just there. Patch and explore!
More info here: Synthfox SLEDGEHAMMER at MODULARGrid