Qu-Bit Scanned: A New Approach To Wavetable Synthesis

Qu-Bit Scanned new eurorack module

Today those mad sound scientists at Qu-Bit Electronix released a new Eurorack module, Scanned, and as it often happens with this company, there’s something really unique and exciting about this new product (wait, you’re saying you don’t have extra free 16hp in your case? Check out the new 4ms Pods!)

What Is Scanned?

Scanned is an organic wavetable oscillator. It uses an unexplored technique known as Scanned Synthesis to animate wavetables that are created in real-time.

This synthesis method was conceived by the father of computer music, Max Mathews (to learn more about him, check out this article from The New York Times), Bill Verplank and Rob Shaw, as the next paradigm in digital oscillators, and until now, has never been implemented on hardware (software users might have come across this synthesis technique through its implementation in Csound and ‘old’ VSTs such as Humanoid Systems Scanned Synth Pro).

If you’re into nerdy reads, here you can download the original Scanned Synthesis paper, while below you can watch an old lecture on the subject, by Max Mathews himself:

So, How Does This Module Work?

The wavetables are dynamically generated from a set of “objects” tied together on a virtual string. These objects have physical properties including Mass, Stiffness, and Damping which affect the way that the string moves through space and time.

Unlike physical modeling, however, this algorithm is a means of creating new electronic sounds, not replicating acoustic instruments.
To animate the waveform, the objects are morphed into the currently selected hammer shape and then released. This excitation of the sound generates evolving timbral landscapes that contain harmonic movement without external modulation.

The hammer section also determines whether Scanned is a free-running oscillator, or a triggered sound source allowing it to function as a complete voice without additional filters or VCAs.

Scanned At A Glance

– First hardware implementation of Scanned Synthesis
– Size: 16hp
– Organic wavetable generation and animations
– Can be a free-running oscillator or triggered voice
– Inject input allows external audio or CV sources to excite the string
– Evolving timbral landscapes without external modulation
– Four hammer shapes with interpolation
– Aluminum front panel (black or silver)

Price and Availability

$349. Available now from Qu-Bit Electronix and major retailers.

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