The modular world this month pivots to Befaco’s hometown Barcelona, and they were ready to host the home game. Pony is a stable, “through zero” oscillator with wavefolding, and it looks seriously feisty both as VCO and LFO.
This is another module that uses the excellent Sound Semiconductors integrated chip as the core of the fully-analog design. Befaco have designed a clever, elegant module around that both in standard 3U and horizontal 1U (Intellijel-ready) formats.
- 4HP (available in 3U and 1U formats)
- Analog oscillator
- Through Zero Frequency Modulation (more on that below)
- Functions both as oscillator and LFO (see range control)
- Built-in VCA (just feed it control signal, like an envelope)
- Sync in
- Switchable waveforms
- Timbre fader (and timbre CV in)
Fully-assembled €254.10 (incl. VAT); available as a pre-soldered DIY kit for €181.50
Okay, what’s that “Through Zero” bit about? In conventional designs, you control frequency only by applying positive voltage – add more voltage, get a higher frequency. With Through Zero designs, you can use negative voltages, too.
What that means in musical terms: funky phase stuff starts happening, and so you get some richer timbres in frequency range and wackier modulation patterns running in an LFO. This one does both.
A more technical explanation, from their manual:
In Through Zero oscillators, frequency is controlled by either positive and negative
voltage. Unlike regular VCOs, if the voltage at the FM Input goes below zero, the core will continue oscillating inverting its phase. Let’s say our VCO would be oscillating at 523Hz (C5) with 5V applied at its FM Input. In a TZ VCO, if we applied -5V at the FM Input we will obtain the same 523Hz (C5) with the only difference that the output phase is inverted. This “little” change of behaviour allows the core to create a whole new range of timbres that are just impossible to achieve with regular VCOs.
But honestly, while you can hook up a scope and see what’s happening, the bottom line here is the chance to mess around and get more out of your oscillator. It’s a cure for oscillator boredom.
And just in case it wasn’t doing enough, then they add a wavefolder to that. So this is exactly the kind of experimental oscillator I appreciate. I’ll see if I can get one in for review if you’re interested, too.
I’ve also just got their Lich module running, and messing with sticking SuperCollider and Pd stuff on it which is … insanely fun.
And wait, there’s more –
They’ve posted their presentations and live shows from Modular Day Barcelona:
Plus if you missed it, in July they just started shipping a class-compliant audio interface for Eurorack – complete with (of course) DC coupled I/O. That saves the hassle of bringing a separate audio interface if you want to connect your Eurorack to another device. And since it’s also based on the Rebel Technology OWL platform, it’s capable of loading custom patches.
Maybe the best way to show off why that’s cool is their video from July, working with Bitwig Studio:
Bitwig sends a CV/Gate sequence via AC/DC to Even VCO
Audio from Even VCO goes back to Bitwig
Bitwig filter, distortion and drum machine are modulated by Rampage
Bitwig’s stereo output is sent to our modular’s mixer