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Midweek Modular: Touchplate controllers and Fyral baroque computers

May 13, 2023

Midweek Modular · Source: Gearnews

This week we encountered an oval drone machine capable of touch and banana jack patching, a synth controller with many shapes and a MIDI interface.

We’ve had a couple of big reviews hit the site this week. First, we have the stunning Erica Synths SYNTRX II, which builds beautifully on the original. And then the exciting semi-modular Cascadia from Intellijel, which definitely leans heavily into the modular workflow.

We also saw The Biggest Foot module that wants you to jiggle about on a Nintendo Balance Board to generate CV signals. That's a lot of fun. More about that here.

Onto the picks of this week's modular gear that's popped up on my radar this week.

Herlichlabs has been working on a number of tactile controllers for Eurorack, but the MMI (Man Machine Interface) Maxima really takes the cake. It incorporates nine different touch plate segments into one desktop controller that you could patch into anything.

The patterns and gradients within the shapes offer unique ways to interact, form connections and generate voltage. The different patterns will mean that what's produced will vary depending on your approach.

Herzlich MMI Maxima

The patch sockets on the front panel create a connection to the touch plates. So if you plug a sound source into the big circle and then plug the small circle socket to your mixer you will only hear the signal if you connect the two circles with your fingers. The signal varies depending on the amount of conductance your fingers are causing. So, the harder you press, the more signal gets through. You can patch these connections however you like to influence the flow of audio or CV enabling you to expressively control signals in your rack.

There are no helpful videos on the Maxima at the moment but YouTuber OscillatorSync did a really useful one on the simpler MMI module that explains the concept.

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The MMI Maxima is available for about £162.

That's not a very snappy name for a very remarkable-looking synthesizer. Fyral is a baroque analogue computer working as a drone synthesizer featuring both physical patching and touch nodes. You can patch the many sockets with banana plugs, or you can use your own conductance to make connections using your fingers on the solid metal banana jacks.

The two paddle-sized knobs on the front control the pitch and envelope of the two oscillators. But more than that, there's some strangeness going on with hysteresis, positive transition, learnable sample & hold and a capacitor that decouples the knob gesture to differentiate into intensities of acceleration separated by direction. Or some such.

The single button triggers an active component to energise the circuit. Something about transistors, proximity, electrical fields and MOSFET gates. Fyral turns itself off after a few seconds and interacting with the button is vital for keeping the thing alive.

Finally, we have the Nodes in the form of banana jacks. They represent both inputs and outputs. Inter-sandrodes bring forth the very innards of analogue process cells. Whereas Intra-sandrodes arise from connections between larger blocks.

There's no narrative, no goals or intentions; it is whimsical and interwoven. That all sounds pretty bonkers to me.

Hainbach did a beautiful video of the Stubar version which uses banana jacks for patching but doesn't have any touch nodes. It will give you a good idea about what this is.

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Vintage-styled modular maker Wavefonix has been focusing on polyphony in analogue modular for a while. It's just launched a "Poly-4" series of modules that centres around producing 4-voice polyphonic signal chains. To make this a playable endeavour, we have the new P401 Poly-4 MIDI interface to convert your MIDI keyboard chord stabs into four channels of CV, Gate and Velocity.

Each gate can output 5v or 10v, depending on what you need. There's a 10v modulation output that takes cues from your mod wheel. Voice allocation can be done via lowest note or round robin and note priority for monophonic and unison modes can be last, highest or lowest. You don't have to use it for polyphony; unison and mono modes can be fun too!

Wavefonix P401

There will be more Poly-4 modules to come to tie in with the P401 but whatever your setup this MIDI Interface could be a useful way of bringing keyboards and controllers into your modular.

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This week we encountered an oval drone machine capable of touch and banana jack patching, a synth controller with many shapes and a MIDI interface. Erica Synths Intellijel Herzlich website. Inter Intra Patch Point website. Wavefonix website. More from Wavefonix. Rating: ø: