MATRIXSYNTH: Frostwave Quad MIDI to CV Converter

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Frostwave Quad MIDI to CV Converter

via this auction

I don't believe I've posted one of these before. Interesting bit of gear from Frostwave's history.

"Control up to 4 of your favourite CV-equipped, analogue synthesizers at one time with a MIDI-source computer or digital instrument with this incredibly versatile MIDI to CV / Gate conversion unit.


The Frostwave Quad MIDI-CV Plus is a rack mount four channel MIDI to analogue CV convertor, designed and manufactured in Australia. The unit operates in three different modes:

1. As a basic four channel convertor, it interprets MIDI note number, velocity, and note on/off on any four adjacent MIDI channels and produces corresponding control voltages and gate voltages to drive up to four analogue mono synths.


Switches enable each channel to be either V/Oct (Roland, Moog, Arp etc) or Hz/V (Korg MS series). Gate polarity can be either positive or S-trigger (Moog) type. Pitch bend information is interpreted on each channel via a 16-bit DAC and added to the control voltage to give smooth glides. There is a DIN sync output for early drum machines, locked to the MIDI tempo.

2. The second mode is for modular systems, with various MIDI controllers being interpreted from one channel. Eight continuous and four gated outputs are available.

3. In the third mode, the unit is used as a MIDI controller. Plugging a standard analog games joystick into the unit allows samplers etc. to be triggered by the fire buttons. Moving the joystick changes the notes and volume.

Other Uses:

Apart from the obvious, the Frostwave Quad MIDI-CV can be seen as a source of MIDI controlled 0-10 volts for lighting controllers, voltage controlled amplifiers, voltage controlled filters etc. Much pre-MIDI studio gear such as Lexicon used this type of control.

Any analogue mono-synth can be converted to a MIDI controlled filter processor by modifying the synth to give an insert point between the VCA and VCF. This enables modern effects processors to be used on the basic analogue signal, while the filter frequency cut-off now is under MIDI control. Also, any sampler can be given a resonant analogue filter, by sending the sampler audio out to the filter input and simultaneously triggering the analogue synth via the Frostwave Quad unit! If two voltage controlled amplifiers are available, they can be arranged to give a MIDI-controlled "flying pan" effect by driving them out of phase from MIDI continuous controllers.

The Quad MIDI-CV makes an ideal 'front end' for specialist effect devices, since all the most difficult part - converting MIDI information to stable and precise logarithmic or linear voltages and switching level outputs - is already done.

It is also possible to use the device in its reverse mode to generate MIDI information from transducers giving control voltages in the 0-5 V range."

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