MATRIXSYNTH: TRAX RetroWave R-1...modulated by Ants!

Dave Smith Instruments

Sunday, July 09, 2017

TRAX RetroWave R-1...modulated by Ants!

Published on Jul 9, 2017 Nice and Synths

"This is a video! All audio comes from the RetroWave, which was recorded direct into a Focusrite Scarlett 18i6. Ants! is just used for modulating stuff. Mostly at audio rates. Whee. This video in no way show all the sounds possible with the RetroWave, but it does contain sound, which is important for a synthesizer demo.

0:00 - Ants! provides various audio-rate modulation of the RetroWave's VCF. Arpeggiator pattern from Casio XW-P1 controls the R-1 via MIDI, velocity modulates filter cutoff.

2:02 - Slight low frequency pulse width modulation from Ants!, changing to audio-rate PWM.

2:42 - Various modulations of the VCO as well as complex triggering of the RetroWave's envelope.

3:30 - Back to the audio rate PWM, but now with VCO and VCF modulation as well. A suboscillator and noise are added, as well as the RetroWave's overdrive.

3:59 - Ants! is used to modulate the VCO, both low frequency and audio-rate. After a while of that kind of crap, I cut to where filter resonance was added and I turned on the RetroWave's overdrive. In addition, I move my arm around aimlessly.

The TRAX RetroWave R-1 is a single oscillator analog synthesizer with a heap of knobs. Despite having just one oscillator, the RetroWave has some interesting features, like two square wave suboscillators (-1 and -2 octaves,) two LFOs with variable waveshapes and the ability to go into audio range (if I remember right they max out at around 170 Hz) and a dirty fuzzy sounding overdrive. On this last point, I should note that I have the original RetroWave, I think the current model has a "softer" distortion. I have no idea what it sounds like.

The RetroWave also has inputs for external CV control of the VCO, PWM, VCF, and VCA. This allows a device like Ants! to modulate the crap out of stuff, the only caveats are the inputs are on 1/4 inch jacks (1/8 to 1/4 inch cables to the rescue), and there are no attenuators.

The TRAX RetroWave R-1 has a very long name and is also a nice sounding synth. It has a fuzzy vintagey sound, and while the LFOs can go into audio range a little bit, using another device to get full audio rate modulation really shows the depth of sounds possible from the R-1. Not that this video shows that, it's kind of lame. But in the hands of someone with a clue it could really sound good.

Finally, I can't decide if it is TRAX or Trax. On the website ( it is written Trax, but on the instrument itself it is TRAX. I thought TRAX looked better so I went with that. :)"

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