Listen To Songs of the Sky Courtesy of The Northern Lights

Listen To Songs of the Sky Courtesy of The Northern Lights
Naomi Bolton
Fri, 01/15/2021 – 08:04

Lira•8 Is A Free Digital Version of SOMA Lab's Lyra-8

Lira•8 Is A Free Digital Version of SOMA Lab’s Lyra-8
Naomi Bolton
Wed, 01/13/2021 – 08:09

Ambika

Ambika

Specifications
Polyphony –
6 Voices
Multitimbral –
6 Parts
Oscillators –
2 VCOs
Waveforms –
Pulse, Pulse Variable, Saw Down, Saw Up, Sine, Square, Sub Oscillator, Super Saw, Triangle, Wave Table, White Noise,
Filter Slopes –
24dB Slope (4-pole), Band Pass, High Pass, Low Pass, Resonance
LFO –
4 LFO with Sample & Hold, Saw Up, Saw Down, Sine, Square, Triangle,
VCA/Envelopes –
3 VCA with ADSR envelope
Controls –
MIDI In/Out
Sequencer –
32 step sequencer
Arpeggiator –
Up, Down, Random, Combinations

Naomi Bolton
Fri, 01/08/2021 – 11:20

Ambika is a 2012 synth from Mutable Instruments although the French manufacturer has since dropped their support for it and distanced themselves from the instrument. It is a multi-voiced hybrid synthesizer with six voices that can be played as a six-voice polysynth, an ensemble of six monosynths, or just about anything in between. It dates back to the DIY days of Mutable Instruments and since it has a Creative Commons license it can be built by anyone who has the design.

Due to the DIY nature of the Ambika, the build quality is very much dependent on the materials and craftsmanship employed by whoever made it. Since it features hybrid sound generation you get the warmth and sonic character of a true 4-pole analog filter along with all the waveforms available through digital wavetables. Thanks to the digital control of the analog filter and VCA there is no shortage of modulation options.

The Ambika was quite a feature-rich synth for its time and had six voices with individual outputs along with two digital oscillators per voice and 36 oscillator algorithms/wavetables. The sub-oscillator could also be configured as a transient generator and it had a pre-filter overdrive as well as bit-crushing effect. Depending on the type of voicecard used it had an analog 4-pole filter or 2-pole multimode filter, and VCA. You also got 3 ADSR envelopes, 3 patch level LFOs, and a voice-level LFO. Furthermore, it had a modulation matrix with 14 slots and four modulation modifiers. Finally, it offered an arpeggiator, note sequencer, and two-step sequencers per part. Of course, thanks to SD-card storage, everything patches, programs and multis to your undo/redo history could be saved with ease.

The rear panel of the Amika is one to the SD-card slot, the MIDI In and Out connector, the mix line output, six individual outputs, and the AC power jack. The front panel featured a 2×40 character LCD with a clickable encoder next to it that is used to scroll between parameters and pages or fine-tune values. It has eight potentiometers, organized as two rows of four above and below the LCD. Below the bottom row of potentiometers, there are 8 LEDs, which are used to indicate which page is active. Just below the LEDs are eight switches, which are used to display synthesis pages. To the left of the switches are six LEDs to indicate which parts are active and which voicecards are currently playing while the status LED above them visualizes the rate of an LFO or the beats in a sequence. The layout is clean and practical and all the parameters are organized in pages with each displaying up to eight related synthesis parameters.

Overall, the Ambika was a great instrument for its time and still holds up really well if you can find one or have the skills (as well as parts) to assemble your own. Its flexibility is still very useful, but finding one in the wild can be quite costly.

Year
2012

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Sound types

Price range

Image
Ambika

Files
Ambika User ManualMutable Instruments Ambika User Manual

YouTube

Sounds of Ambika – No 1

by

SYNTHWAY

ambika chords

by

phase57

User Rating
Texture
Polyphonic instruments

Disqus comment

ATCX

ATCX

Specifications
Polyphony –
1 Voice
Multitimbral –
1 Part
Oscillators –
2 VCO
Waveforms –
Pulse, Pulse Variable, Saw Down, Saw Up, Sine, Square
Filter Slopes –
12dB Slope (2-pole), 24dB Slope (4-pole), Band Pass, High Pass, Low Pass, Resonance, Serial, Parallel
LFO –
2 LFO with Noise, Saw Up, Saw Down, Square, Triangle
VCA/Envelopes –
3 VCA with ADSR envelope
Controls –
MIDI In/Out
Memory –
512 patches Internal RAM

Naomi Bolton
Wed, 01/06/2021 – 11:32

The ATCX is a 2U high rack-mounted monophonic synthesizer from Studio Electronics. It has two analog oscillators along with four analog filters and two LFOs. It features triangle, sawtooth, and variable square waves for the oscillators and these can all be active at the same time. Studio Electronics also added a new analog distortion effect, which is enabled via the Noise Level button. The ATCX also has three envelopes that are used to control the VCF, VCA, and modulating tasks. With this synth, it is also possible to switch between different hardware filters at the touch of a button. These filters share the same characteristics as those of the Moog Minimoog, ARP 2600, Roland TB303, and Oberheim Synthesizer Expander Module, which are all good choices.

The standout feature of this synth is the single rotary encoder in the center that is used for making all the edits. It is operated via several membrane switches on the front panel, which displays a value on the 3-character display above the encoder. This value can then be altered using the encoder, but bear in mind that some options are hidden away behind several pushes of a switch. Unfortunately, this means that the ATCX is not quite as smooth and fast to tweak as something with a bank of knobs. The limitations of the display also mean that you will need to consult the user guide to figure out what some of the abbreviations mean. For example, numbers are used to denote various waveforms. It’s not exactly intuitive, but the ATCX came with a quick reference guide that explained everything.

Moving away from the front panel, the back panel features the AC input for power on the left with the MIDI Out and In next to it. Then there’s a Ring Mod section with In and Out ring modulator connectors. Next is the Audio section with an Audio out to connect an audio cable and Ext In which is routed to the filter, LFOs, and VCA for timbre and modulation processing.

The overall style and design of the ATCX is a step back from the original ATC, which shared similarities with the Moog Source. Instead, with the ATCX Studio Electronics did away with the colored membrane switches and pastels colors for a look that is overall very blue. This synth was also on the expensive side for its time but can deliver a powerful sound that is appealing to many enthusiasts.

Year
2006

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
ATCX

Files
Type
File

Title
ATC-X Operation Manual

Description
ATC-X Operation Manual

YouTube
by

User Rating
Texture
Monophonic instruments

Disqus comment

More Synthesizers For Do-It-Yourself Enthusiasts (Part One)

More Synthesizers For Do-It-Yourself Enthusiasts (Part One)
Naomi Bolton
Sun, 01/03/2021 – 07:37

Online Piano Lessons That Can Be Useful To Synth Fans

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Naomi Bolton
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Synth Bird Mixes DIY Electronics, Music and Biology

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Naomi Bolton
Thu, 12/24/2020 – 09:03

VOC-25 Is A Conceptual Vocal Synthesizer With Teeth

VOC-25 Is A Conceptual Vocal Synthesizer With Teeth
Naomi Bolton
Fri, 12/18/2020 – 09:00

The Chemical Brothers Donated Their Roland TB-03 To Raise Money For Stage Crew Charity

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Naomi Bolton
Fri, 12/11/2020 – 09:53

Anyma Phi Kickstarter Funded In Less Than Three Days

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Wed, 12/16/2020 – 09:50

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