Make Noise & Soundhack Intro Spectraphon Dual Spectral Oscillator

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At Superbooth 2023, Make Noise has introduced the Spectraphon, a dual Spectral Oscillator, coded by Tom Erbe (@ebremot) of soundhack.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Spectraphon uses real-time spectral analysis and resynthesis to create new sounds from those that already exist. It is inspired by classic electronic musical instruments of the past, including spectral processors, additive synthesis, vocoders, and resonators (especially the Buchla 296 and Touché), but it takes a physical form more resembling the classic analog dual complex oscillator in the lineage of the Buchla 259 and the Make Noise DPO.

The Spectraphon is the first module to be built by Make Noise on its new digital hardware platform. This hardware, engineered by Jeff Snyder and Tony Rolando (@snyderphonics) and Tony Rolando (@tony_rolando) , provides more i/o at higher resolutions, and a lower noise floor than we have ever had access to in a digital module, allowing us to unleash Tom Erbe’s DSP code to a previously unattainable degree.”

The Spectraphon has two nearly identical sides, A and B, which oscillate in one of two ways: Spectral Amplitude Modulation (SAM), or Spectral Array Oscillation (SAO). In SAM, instead of oscillating at all times like an analog VCO, sound at the Spectraphon’s input is used to modulate the amplitude of a set of harmonics. In SAM the Spectraphon can be sequenced and frequency modulated like any VCO. At any time the current spectrum can be used to create an Array for later use in SAO mode where the Spectraphon oscillates at all times, with the spectrum at the Odd and Even harmonic outputs being drawn from those stored Arrays.

The Slide and Focus controls are mode-dependent: in SAM, they determine how the Spectraphon responds to sound at the input for Spectral AM, while in SAO, they are used to modulate the Array.

In either mode (SAM or SAO), the Partials control works as a combined amplitude and timbre gate for the Odd and Even harmonic output and the FM Bus will create high definition internal frequency modulation from the opposing side of the Spectraphon. The two sides can also interact via the internal FM Bus, the Follow and Sync modes, and by patching them together.

Here are examples of the Spectraphon in action:

Features:

  • Dual Digital VCO with eight simultaneous outputs, as well as two audio inputs, two gate inputs and ten CV inputs
  • Spectral Amplitude Modulation (SAM) creates spectral oscillations based on continuous analysis of the audio at the input
  • Spectral Array Oscillation (SAO) creates spectral oscillations based on stored sets of spectra called Arrays, which are created in the SAM mode
  • Each of the two VCOs operates independently in SAO or SAM, in any combination
  • High definition internal Frequency Modulation Bus with easy access to Harmonic Ratios via the Tuning Beacon
  • Sub-Oscillator/CV outputs give access to unique sub-oscillator shapes, envelope following, or clockable modulation sources
  • Sine and Sub operate independent of FM Bus modulation.
  • Follow and Sync operations on Side B for ease of use in dual oscillator patches, tuned FM, hard sync sweeps etc.

Pricing and Availability:

The Spectraphon is priced at $599 and is expected to be available soon.

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