Noise Engineering is adding a new swappable Euroack module platform to its lineup: Alia joins Versio and Legio. That means some new ideas, starting with a new 4-op phase modulation module, but also the return of some old friends. Basimilus Iteritas and Manis Iteritas are back.
I’ve already sung the praises of Noise Engineering’s swappable platforms. Got a new musical idea or live set? Just swap out what the module does. In the case of their designs, some consistent interface ideas actually make that easier to learn than going between modules. I mean, don’t get me wrong – there’s still going to be some HP to save for modules that are designed to certain tasks or that exploit particular analog circuitry. But Versio and Legio very quickly earn a permanent space in a rack.
There were already oscillators on those platforms, but now Noise Engineering is devoting Alia to oscillators. It’s debuting with one new idea, but bringing back two modules a lot of you were sad to see go. (And yeah, since I never got the chance to fall in love with Basimilus Iteritas the first time round, I expect I will give it a go this time. I use the plug-in all the time.)
And yes, not only are these swappable platforms more flexible for us, but they’re good for the manufacturer, too – as it means they have built these modules around a common hardware architecture with reliable component supplies. (Chip shortages for the main processor doomed the beloved original Iteritas modules.)
These are tongue-twisters, so I’m glad I’m a writer and not a YouTuber, but here you go. There are three firmwares, and you can get three paneled modules (plus, I presume, separate panel overlays as on the past swappable units, though I’m not sure when those will be available):
Debel Iteritas Alia is a new synth voice built around an “additive phase-modulation architecture.” That’s Yamaha-style phase modulation – as used on the DX7. (Okay, okay, technically, there is a difference between phase modulation and frequency modulation – your hint to what that is is right there in the name – and yeah, the DX7 is actually a phase modulation synth not an FM synth as it was marketed. We’ll have to dive into this more, both the Noise Engineering module and that history. Especially since, yes, I think nearly every synth text and class uses the DX7 as an example of FM synthesis even when it’s not.)
Four-operator phase modulation on the Debel Iteritas firmware has four oscillators per operator. You can make traditional FM-ish sounds, but you also get also a whole lot of tweakability, especially putting the parameters under CV control. Just like NE’s Versio/Legio, you also get multiple modes – in this case, Taco, Nacho, and Diablo. (I very much hope we can swap something with Burrito mode.) More on this soon.
As you can see, you do get some nice controls – and loads of CV (plus a separate envelope out). Index, Grit, and Shape controls make this eminently tweakable – what the dear DX7 was really not – and you have time, detune, and octave controls, too.
Basilimus Iteritas is back. This wonderful drum synth with envelope, spread, wavefolding, harmonic, and morph controls (plus those great “skin” switches) is a total go-to hitmaker for a lot of producers. Now it’s back, with “nearly identical sound” and some extra features.
New on the Alia version is a pitch encoder, plus envelope out (as across the platform) and a slightly altered pitch input range.
Don’t miss the plug-in, too. Swoon.
Manis Iteritas returns, too, and it’s a “gritty, dark industrial” wonder, with all sawtooth wave, a lowpass filter, and great “bash,” “smash,” “profundity,” and mod controls for still more industrial grime and sonic aggression.
Again, you get envelope out as a new feature.
Plus, Noise Engineering is giving money to pangolin conservation with these modules. And pangolins are awesome. Even before we get to the demos, let’s pangolin a while!
Yeah, I mean, sure, videos of modules.
Kinda just want to watch more pangolin videos for a while, though, no? (Sorry, Noise Engineering!)
And yes, these are all up for preorder (shipping very soon) on Perfect Circuit:
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More on why these are beloved:
Oh, and if you want to understand how the FM7 worked, here’s an article by Ken Sheriff: