MATRIXSYNTH: Future Sound Systems Introduces Gristleizer Based Eurorack Modules

Dave Smith Instruments
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Future Sound Systems Introduces Gristleizer Based Eurorack Modules


via Future Sound Systems

"FSS is proud to announce a new series of Eurorack modules based around The Gristleizer, a coveted effects unit used and adapted by Chris Carter of Throbbing Gristle. Originally based around Roy Gwinn's "Guitar Effects Pedal" design, as published in the July 1975 issue of "Practical Electronics" magazine, The Gristleizer was used throughout Throbbing Gristle's recorded and live catalogue, and is seen as a vital component of their pioneering sound.

Four decades on, after several calls from the Eurorack community, FSS met with Chris Carter and Roy Gwinn to discuss the potential of an updated Gristleizer circuit. From one module came four; the oscillator, filter and VCA sections of the original "Guitar Effects Pedal" circuit have become their own distinct modules, whilst a pre-amplifier inspired by Jonny Reckless' discrete FET-based designs has been added to the line-up. The Gristleizer series, therefore, not only presents the sound of the original effects units, but also additional features which ensure optimum compatibility with modern Eurorack systems and artistic workflows. This has all been made possible through Roy Gwinn's meticulous attention to detail, coupled with Chris Carter's expertise as a pioneering electronic artist.

Further information on each module is available below. FSS is now taking pre-orders for the four individual modules for release and shipping in November 2017.

"TG2 Gristleizer Generator

The Gristleizer Generator has been designed to replicate the original functionality of the Gristleizer's oscillator section, but with many new additions. With a brand new design from Roy Gwinn, the TG2 Generator is far more stable than its predecessor, featuring 1V/Oct tracking amongst other features. However, as with its original, the TG2 spans from low frequency ranges into the audible range, and makes for a killer bass oscillator as well as a fully featured LFO.

The core of the oscillator is based around a shape-variable ramp generator, with similar functionality to that found in the Korg MS Modulation Generators. Here, the Shape control takes the Ramp output from a descending sawtooth, through triangle, to an ascending sawtooth shape. This varying ramp waveform is then input to a wave-folder, which outputs both Fold and Pulse waveforms, based on how the Gain and Offset controls are set. Lastly, the original ramp waveform is fed into a comparator for the Clock output, the pulsewidth of which is variable using the Shape control.

The Gain and Offset of the TG2's wave-folder are both voltage controllable, as well as its Frequency via an attenuated control input and a 1V/Oct control input. The TG2 can also be reset by external sources via the Sync input.

Price: £200.00 + shipping"


"TG3 Gristleizer Filter

The Gristleizer Filter presents one of the key components of the Gristleizer in a Eurorack module - its JFET-controlled multi-feedback band-pass filter. Its characteristics are not unlike a wah-wah pedal, whilst also being able to create other vocal tonalities, especially with several summed in parallel. Whilst originally controlled by the Gristleizer's oscillator, the TG3 can be controlled by any control source available in a Eurorack system.

As well as a couple of Frequency control inputs, the TG3 also adds Register and Resonance controls to the original filter circuit. The Register control shifts the resonant frequency of the filter core itself, whereas the Frequency control affects the gating of the filter's JFET. The Resonance control allows the circuit to self-oscillate easily, allowing for the TG3 to be used as a sound source as well as a filter. The TG3 also incorporates a Drive parameter (with final clipping circuitry added for taming the filter core) as well as an output Level control.

Price: £150.00 + shipping"


"TG4 Gristleizer Modulator

The Gristleizer Modulator presents another key component of the Gristleizer in a Eurorack module - its JFET-controlled voltage-controlled amplifier. Whilst originally controlled by the Gristleizer's oscillator to achieve tremolo (or amplitude modulation) effects, the TG4 can be controlled by any control source available in a Eurorack system and, therefore, be used as a conventional VCA with some added features.

The Bias control sets the initial control point of the amplitude modulation, whilst a control voltage attenu-verter for CV2 allows for full control over how the amplitude is modulated. On top of this, the TG4 features a Dirt control, which allows the user to fade between the VCA's clean output and the distorted output of the JFET. Note that the JFET tends to exhibit second-harmonic distortion, similar to that of vacuum-tube amplifiers. Therefore, the TG4 presents not just a VCA, but also a module for adding distortion and character to audio signals.

Price: £150.00 + shipping"


"TG5 Gristleizer Pre-Amplifier

The Gristleizer Pre-Amplifier is a new addition to the existing circuity of Roy Gwinn's "Guitar Effects Pedal" design. After Chris Carter's suggestion of a guitar pre-amplifier for use with the rest of the Gristleizer series, the TG5 came into being. Based upon Jonny Reckless' FET-based discrete amplifier circuitry, Roy Gwinn has designed a pre-amplifier with a high quality VCA back-end which allows for any external audio source to become fully integrated into a Eurorack system.

The Guitar or Line input is firstly fed through one FET stage of the pre-amplifier, and then into a super-clean THAT VCA, the direct output of which is available at the Clean output. This source is then fed through two more FET amplification stages and a tone section (featuring the typical Bass, Mid and Treble controls found on many guitar amps) to the Master output. Bite and Boost controls allow for further control over the tone of the input signal.

An RMS detector (found as part of the THAT VCA) is employed as an envelope follower, as well as a gate detector. The Sensitivity control allows the user to set how the RMS detector reacts to the incoming signal's level. Access to the THAT VCA's Gain control input allows the two Envelope outputs to be used as control sources for the pre-amplifier itself, turning the module into a dynamic compressor (Inverted Envelope) or expander (Normal Envelope).

Price: £250.00 + shipping"

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