At ANR we’re big fans of Analogue Solutions (see our Nyborg-12 One Synth, One Song article) and we’re happy to announce the availability of Mr Hyde and Dr Strangelove — the first two items of a new synthBlocks series of small and affordable desktop signal processors.
The synthBlocks are squarely aimed at laptop and audio plug-ins-focused digital musicians wishing to apply analogue, hands-on hardware processing to their computer- based creations. They are all-analogue affairs — albeit with some lo-fi digital effects thrown in for good (musical) measure.
Menus and software are all eschewed in favour of a hardy hardware approach. Cue simply plugging the synthBlocks in question into an audio interface’s I/O connections, then routing drums, synths, vocals, or whatever out of the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and through the transistors and op-amps of the synthBlocks and recording the results back into the DAW.
Something similar can be achieved by connecting the synthBlocks to the auxiliary buss of a mixing console — just like any other effects processor.
Mr Hyde was the first out of the starting blocks in its synthBlocks series as an analogue filter effects box bringing subtle to extreme filtering and modulation effects to the analogue processing production table.
To further aid ease of use, Mr Hyde has quarter-inch input and output jacks on its rear, so can be connected straight to an audio interface or mixer without the need for adaptors.
The topside of its distinctive blood-red panel features minijack sockets to patch with a semi-modular synth, such as Analogue Solutions’ relatively recently released Fusebox, Eurorack small-format modular systems, or other modular systems.
Mr Hyde boasts a two-pole 12db/octave analogue multimode filter (featuring lowpass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch filtering options); resonance with a Q BOOST feature to make it SCREAM (self oscillate); LFO with triangle and square wave signals; and a range switch (to bring the modulation speed into audio frequencies).
Hands-on control comes quickly, thanks to a selection of switches and knobs — not least the largest knob of all: FREAQ (filter cutoff frequency). Furthermore, the smaller Q knob sets the resonance level, CHANGE changes the frequency range of the LFO from SLOW to FAST at the flick of a switch, SPEED sets the LFO modulator’s speed, and LEVEL controls the modulation level/depth that affects the filter cutoff. More meaningfully, Mr Hyde can change sounds subtly, such as satisfying sweeping filtering, right up to mangled FM (Frequency Modulation) mayhem — perfectly in keeping with its naughty name!
Analogue Solutions’ Dr Strangelove is a compact, high-quality analogue ring modulator (with two audio inputs) and an analogue LFO capable of going into audio range (with two waveforms), plus a lo-fi echo (giving an ‘analogue’ bucket brigade-style sound).
The ring mod itself does not have any controls as such, since a ring mod does not have parameters that can be altered — other than input and output levels. Just plug in audio cables and it does its thing!
Ring mods do need two audio sources, however — namely, the main signal to be processed (carrier) and the signal that will modulate the carrier (modulator).
In the strange case of Dr Strangelove, one of those sources, the MOD (modulation) input, can be audio or a low frequency signal (from, say, an LFO).
Literally switching switches — HARD/SOFT (selects between square and triangle wave modulation signals — triangle resulting in softer modulation while square results in sudden, harder changes) — and turning knobs — CHANGE (sets the modulation depth or ‘loudness’ of the modulating signal fed into the ring mod’s modulation input), RATE (sets repeat rate), and MIX (sets the mix level between fully dry and a 50/50 balance between wet and dry) — makes music mangling child’s play. Other controls clearly allude to the aforesaid film: FALLOUT alters the speed of the analogue LFO modulator while HALF LIFE sets delay time. All told, then, Dr Strangelove is ideal for subtle or extreme modulation effects.
Like its Mr Hyde synthBlocks sibling, Dr Strangelove includes minijack (Eurorack-accommodating) audio and CV (control voltage) I/O for direct connection to modulars.
UK pricing for the Mr Hyde and Dr Strangelove synthBlocks is £255.00 GBP (including VAT) apiece, available from dealers and Analogue Solutions directly.
North American availability of the Mr Hyde and Dr Strangelove synthBlocks is being handled via Voltage & Company with a retail price of $279.00 USD, while (most) EU distribution is being handled by Sonic Sales, priced at €279.00 EUR (including VAT).