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Are modulars getting smaller, and is it important?

Modulars are hugely popular right now, but, so far, as far as I’m aware, there isn’t a really mobile version, and you might ask, why you would you want one. That’s probably a good question, and one that could only really be answered once someone has created a really compelling mobile modular.

For now I’m interested in talking about some of the smaller modulars that are appearing at the moment. Like the AE Modular on Kickstarter right now.

This is a smaller format than Eurorack and is not compatible either, so it’ll be interesting to see if it takes off and gets adopted by other manufacturers. It’s passed its funding goal so it’s going to happen, but where it goes from there will be the real test.

Another similar development is the Erica Synths Pico Modular System, which is Eurorack compatible, but is just nice and small and tidy. This actually looks pretty cool and quite a lot of fun, and also as a nice way to get into modular in a compact format.

Of course there are other ways to get into modular. You could just use one of the many excellent modular apps for iOS, like Audulus, Model 15, Reactable ROTOR, or the excellent zMors Modular for example. If nothing else then these are very good ways to keep a modular synth in your pocket at all times.

But for many the app route isn’t quite enough, and they’d prefer a real modular that can be portable. Well, there is one. When I was at Loop earlier in the month I bumped into Tom Whitwell from Music Thing Modular, and he showed me this.

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And this is battery powered and very portable. He called it a lunchbox modular, and it was very cool.

Is it the shape of things to come? I’m not sure. I think that there’s still a space for a modular that is battery powered and portable but perhaps that doesn’t look like what we have now.

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Audulus 3(.3) arrives with goodies

Audulus is one of the best modular music apps around right now, and modular, in all its forms is big, let’s face it. Audulus goes from strength to strength adding and developing, and, most importantly, responding to what its own community is asking for. Version 3.3 is a case in point. Here’s what’s new:

  • New Audio Engine! Thanks to FANCY ALGORITHMS, you can now use z-1 without slowing down your entire patch.
  • New Patch Library! A revamped patch library including some great new examples.
  • Search by tag in the Patch Browser.
  • New node/module addition UI. Tap on the background and select Create. Removed the toolbar.
  • Support for split-screen and portrait orientation on iPad.
  • Support for iOS 10.

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Video: Audulus + Gristleizer + Minimoog VCF + AD4096 + Ampex ATR-102

Video description:

“In this video, I set up a simple 2 oscillator output from Audulus (no filters, no effects) – the majority of what you see on the iPad is the sequencer, clock, and the LFOs that are modulating various parameters.

The oscillators from Audulus are sent into the Endangered Audio Research Gristleizer, and then on into the Minimoog VCF through the external input (the oscillators and noise generators are turned off).

The output of the Minimoog is sent into the Endangered Audio Research AD4096 analog delay pedal.

Finally, the delay is routed into the Apollo 8 where, after passing through a Neve 1073 preamp and a Studer A800 tape machine, it is processed with the Slate VCC Neve Console, the Manley Vari-Mu Compressor and Massive Passive Mastering EQ, and finally the Ampex ATR-102 running at 3.75IPS and with a smattering of wow and flutter, and a bunch of stereo delay.”

Video publishing by Bimini Road.

Audulus on the app store:

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Video: Audulus – 5U Module Preview

Video description:

“This is a preview of some of the new modules and techniques that are coming in an update for Audulus 3. Lots of overdrive; plenty of modulation.”

Video published by Bimini Road.

Audulus on the app store:

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This is brilliant!

I would love to go to this, and I would if I were eligible and lived anywhere near Huddersfield. But seriously, this kind of event is absolutely brilliant and I wish there was a lot more of it going on, not just in Huddersfield but everywhere.

Go check it out here.