For any of you not on Facebook, Instagram or Discord, it’s possible that news of the serious upgrade/major overhaul & redesign of the Syntonie VU-006 Quadrature Oscillator has gone unnoticed.
I had the good fortune of giving the Animate & it’s expander a really good spin for a couple of hours at Superbooth & I was really really impressed.
There’s a nice video on YouTube by @Marizu but I think it mostly covers another debutant, the impressive Isohélie.
They are available to preorder directly from the Syntonie website and early orders should start shipping by the end of the month.
Isohelie really captured my attention (and money) in the first instance.
Modular really comes to life with modulation and Animate is a powerful and flexible modulator. It’s easy to be seduced by processing effects or voices in a system but I feel that the richness of expression is often in the modulation.
Isohelie… super cool high level module. I have virtually zero comprehension of Castle… are the modules even documented, how can I get my hands on it without building it myself, etc. Isohelie looks like the solution to all of that, at least for me.
Animate, also, super cool. The expander looks like an absolute necessity.
Unfortunately my budget is gone, rack space almost gone, so I’ll have to stand on the sidelines and cheer. But congrats to Bastien for some next level tools.
Thanks for creating this thread @Robbertunist, been a bit overwhelmed with production in the past weeks to get involved, though I’m done with the first batch of modules and started shipping them yesterday. Have to work on the user manuals, as I guess a block diagram would help to understand how Isohélie works in more depths, then the demo video already gives a good idea of how the outputs looks I think.
Castle/Fortress have definitely been an inspiration for Isohélie, also the FFG/Falsch Farben Generator which uses the same principle (8 comparators stage → 8 to 3-bit encoder). Then the FFG was taking a black and white video input, and assigning the 3 output bits to R, G and B (similarly to sending a signal to Castle ADC and taking the 3 outputs to R,G and B inputs of the encoder), so it ends up with 8 possible colors (black, red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow and white). Falsch Farben Generator means “false color generator” which is quite self explanatory, it generates arbitrary colors based on the luminance level of the input signal.
Since then, I’ve been dreaming to see how it would look by retaining the original colors of the input signal, so a way to do it was to triple the circuit to process each RGB channel individually, giving 8 possible shades out of each channels, resulting in 512 possible colors. So it can be seen as 3x Castle ADC and 3x Castle DAC (actually 1 and half Castle DAC module since it has two DAC per module), the bitswap feature being like swapping the cables going from one ADC to one DAC, and having it under voltage control, which meant adding 3 more ADC for the CV to be conditioned to control the switches that does the bitswap.
Having started my video synthesis journey with the Cadet and Castle, the VU serie was retaining the same idea of one module = one feature, with a lot of “patchability potential”, so Isohélie is kind of the first “high level” module I’ve released, which sacrifice having the exposed bits as Castle ADC or Ribbons does, meaning it cannot really be further processed in the logic world, as the 3-bits are internally tied to the DAC. Then, by performing live with the modular more and more in the recent years, I wanted some more performance oriented modules, that doesn’t require a lot of patching, as I see the Cadet/Castle/VU more as experiment oriented modules, which I love when patching at home, though I find it a little more difficult to use in a live situation. I guess that’s the whole dilemma of “how modular the module” needs to be, as Isohélie could be reproduced using 6x Castle ADC, 3x Castle DAC, 2x VU004 and some kind of juggler/switching module.
thank you for sharing your inspirations!
the 3x DAC 3x ADC patch is actually a favorite patch of mine. (I even made custom dual ADC panels for it)
but it requires a lot of patch cables and fine tuning.
I’m looking forward to using this awesome design!
the “crazy painter” module I’m still working on goes in another direction, more to do with free moving window-comparators that can cover the whole 1v band and can overlap, be mixed and stack on each other.