Doepfer has just announced availability of its A-111-4 Quad VCO, A-105-4 Quad Poly SSI VCF, A-132-8 Octal Poly VCA, A-141-4 Quad Poly VCADSR, and A-190-5 Polyphonic USB/Midi to CV/Gate Interface — a quirky quintet of polyphonic modules.
Who better to throw light on the thinking behind this quirky quintet than company CEO Dieter Doepfer himself. “Modular synthesizers are almost exclusively monophonic structures since true polyphonic patches require a lot of modules — at least four VCOs, four VCFs, four VCAs, and eight ADSRs for a ‘classic’ four-voice patch,” he begins. “But even then it’s difficult to control filter resonance or modulation depth of all the filters, for example, or the attack and decay time of all the envelope generators simultaneously. So now it’s possible to integrate these functions into the modular synth world with our polyphonic modules, though the idea is not just to recreate a standard polyphonic synth within the modular system but rather realise new polyphonic structures that go far beyond a standard polyphonic synth and also far beyond the typical monophonic structures of a modular system since they still offer access to all parameters via CV or gate.”
Getting going, then, the A-111-4 Quad VCO module features four precision CEM3340-based — triangle core — VCOs (Voltage Controlled Oscillators), each with its own separate internal +/- power supply (to ensure stability and prevent unwanted VCO synchronisation).
Each VCO has the same individual controls, and inputs/outputs. Typical applications include: fat-sounding monophonic VCO with the ability to adjust any intervals; paraphonic patches — when working in combination with the A-190-5 Polyphonic USB/Midi to CV/Gate Interface and all four VCOs being processed by one VCF/VCA section; fully polyphonic patches — when working in combination with the A-190-5 Polyphonic USB/Midi to CV/Gate Interface and four complete VCF/VCA sections; complex VCO patches with up to four VCOs by means of the — exponential and linear — frequency modulation features and sync functions.
Following in (traditional subtractive synthesis) sequence, the A-105-4 Quad Poly SSI VCF module is Doepfer’s first polyphonic filter, featuring four identical 24dB lowpass (SSM2044-type) filters. Applications include polyphonic patches requiring four VCFs with the same parameters.
Perfectly named, the A-132-8 Octal Poly VCA module is an octal VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier), primarily primed for polyphonic applications. As such, it includes four pairs of VCAs — each pair including two daisy-chained VCAs, with one VCA having a linear control scale and the other a linear or exponential control scale, selectable via internal jumpers.
Again, as implied by name, the A-141-4 Quad Poly VCADSR module is a quad voltage-controlled envelope generator — again, primarily primed for polyphonic applications. As such, it features four ADSR-type voltage-controlled envelope generators with exponential curve shapes (charge/discharge curves of a capacitor). Applications include polyphonic patches, such as four envelope generators with the same envelope parameters to control four VCFs, VCAs, or other modules.
Last, but by no means least, by providing four voices with a 1V/octave-standard CV Note (pitch control voltage) to control VCOs and a Gate output (to control envelope generators), alongside two additional (CV2 and CV3) control voltages, the appropriately-named A-190-5 Polyphonic USB/Midi to CV/Gate Interface module does what it says on the tin. Those two additional control voltage outputs can be controlled by MIDI velocity, volume, modulation, pitch bend, aftertouch, or freely-assignable MIDI controllers. Multiple — four-voice monophonic (to control four monophonic voices by four successive MIDI channels); four-voice polyphonic (to control four monophonic voices by one MIDI channel) with several (rotating/non-rotating) sub-modes; two-voice polyphonic (to control two monophonic voices by one MIDI channel); and unison — modes are selected by switches with the result shown in the LCD. In play mode, for example, the LEDs of the first four switches display the gate states, while certain parameters of each mode can be edited.
How To Order
Within Germany, the A-111-4 Quad VCO, A-105-4 Quad Poly SSI VCF, A-132-8 Octal Poly VCA, A-141-4 Quad Poly VCADSR, and A-190-5 Polyphonic USB/Midi to CV/Gate Interface modules can be ordered online from Doepfer directly or via one of its German dealers for €400.00 EUR, €200.00 EUR, €160.00 EUR, €160.00 EUR, and €300.00 EUR, respectively.
Outside of Germany, the A-111-4 Quad VCO, A-105-4 Quad Poly SSI VCF, A-132-8 Octal Poly VCA, A-141-4 Quad Poly VCADSR, and A-190-5 Polyphonic USB/Midi to CV/Gate Interface modules can only be ordered from Doepfer dealers in the territories listed here (Note that residents in countries without representation can, however, order from Doepfer directly.)
About The Author
Founder & main editor here at ANR, 'non-musician' and music-tinkerer. His first keyboard was a cheesy Yamaha PSS-270. He still loves it.