Monophonic Astronaut Versions 1 & 2

Version 1

Creator

Creator's Website

http://www.track0.com/wavelength

Creator's description

Simple monosynth, with lush delays...

features the Waldorf Osc.

made you a bunch of presets to get you started...

best with a keyboard that is velocity / aftertouch sensitive!

Picture (Click to enlarge)

Download:

Download 1.1mb 

DSP Usage:

1 Sharc (5 notches on a Pulsar 1)

Signal Flow:

Here

Presets:

5 new presets

Samples: Here

The Monophonic Astronaut is one of many Modular patches designed by Stephen Hummel and available for download at Planet Z. Stephen has also contributed many of the standard presets for Zarg music's Dark Star synth. Stephen is now developing devices of his own, including the Liquid drum box, the Sunburn Monosynth, the Plastic Polysynth and the Soaker reverb effect. More details on all of these can be found on the Zarg Music site. Stephen is also behind the outfit Wavelength, whose 'electronic, eclectic, soothing and energetic' music can be found here.

As this is my first attempt at describing the workings of a modular synth, I'll simply attempt a very basic outline of the synth and how things are connected up. The complete signal flow for the synth can be seen here.

The synth uses two oscillators for its primary sound source, the Waldorf Oscillator M2 and the Sine Oscillator M2. These are triggered by the frequency output of the MVC and their output is fed directly into a 4 Input mixer, so that you can control the level of each oscillator independently. The Waldorf Oscillator is modulated by aftertouch from the MVC. This controls the initial position of the Wavetable used.

The output of the mixer (ie, the output of both Oscillators mixed together) is fed through a 4-pole Lowpass filter. This lets low frequencies through and reduces the higher-frequency signal content of the sound. The filter is itself modulated by both Velocity and Aftertouch from the MVC.

The output of the Filter then goes through an Attenuator and into the ADSR stereo Amp (The mono signal from the attenuator is fed into both left and right channels of the ADSR Amp.) You can control (reduce) the level of the signal which reaches the Amp with the Attenuator.

The ADSR amp receives Gate messages from the MVC, which means that the Envelope of the ADSR is retriggered every time it receives a Gate Open message from the MVC (ie, every time you send a Midi note to the MVC.) The shape of the ADSR envelope determines the volume of the signal over time.

From the Amp, the Left (only) signal of the Amp is sent to the Fixed filter bank which can be used to filter certain frequencies even further.

From the Filter bank, a mono signal is sent to the Chorus effect, and the stereo output of the Chorus is then split and sent to two banks of two Mono delays, connected in serial, before reaching the Audio Out. It is these delays that allow the 'lush delays' described by the author. Feeding the output of one delay into another in this way enables you to create very rich and varied 'tails' for the outputs of the synths.

As you can tell from the description and signal flow diagram, it's really not a very complex patch, but even such a simple synth can be bewildering when you first examine it. It's only by actually following the various signal paths through that you can begin to work out what's going on. 

(I have left one detail out of the signal flow diagram - the connection from the E-Sync output on the ADSR amp to the E-Sync In on the MVC. This connection allows the synth to correctly allocate voices in a polyphonic patch, but need not concern us here. All we need to know is that it needs to be there and that it works without any need for user input.)

Samples:

faintlight (260 kb) - A Vangelis type lead Arpeggiated while changing cut off /freq & waveshape of Waldorf osc

long way from home  (190 kb) - A rich space cello-y sound. The sine Oscillator is set 5 octaves higher than the Waldorf Oscillator, and the filter set so that very little of the Sine OSC 'gets through' unless the filter is opened using aftertouch. Hear how a little aftertouch lets the signal from the Sine through, and a little more aftertouch modulates the start of the wavetable for  dramatic results. The example is just one note with aftertouch. Nice long delay setting.

contact (200 kb) - Nice and atmospheric, especially when you use portamento & lots of aftertouch 

Fifth of the way there (200 kb) - Sine OSC pitched 7 semitones (a fifth) above WaveTable. Another arpeggiated riff. The twp oscillators are slightly detuned in respect to each other. Listen to this: fifthway (160 kb), and then this: fifthwaystraight (150 kb)  which is a copy of the patch without the detuning. See how the first one oscillates slightly due to the detuning.

Version 2

Creator

Creator's Website

Modular Corner

Creator's description

A copy of the original patch, but recreated using Modular II

Picture (Click to enlarge)

Download:

Download 547 kb 

DSP Usage:

Signal Flow:

Here (version 1 diagram - but v2 is not significantly different.)

Presets:

Many included with the patch to get you started

Samples: Coming

There's not a lot to add about this patch really. The basic design is almost identical to the original (except where version 2 dictates slight changes (eg in Amp / Envelope usage) and I've used a 24db LowPass V filter, rather than the 4-Pole LowPass V filter used in the original, and the Free Filter Bank A as opposed to the Fixed filter bank of the original. I've not tried to replicate any of the original presets, but the patch is capable of producing a similar range of eerie SFX like tones.

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