MATRIXSYNTH: Sonicsmith SQUAVER P1 & CONVERTOR Patchable Analog Desktop/Pedal Synthesizers

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sonicsmith SQUAVER P1 & CONVERTOR Patchable Analog Desktop/Pedal Synthesizers

namm17 kazoosynth Published on Jan 24, 2017 sonicstate

Note the ACO rather than VCO. ACO stands for Audio Controlled Oscillator. Square and Sawtooth waves that play in unison with input frequency provided. Includes a VCA and VCF, all analog.

Some details via Sonicsmith

"Semi-modular, audio controlled analog synthesizer.

Using our proprietary chip the Audio Controlled Oscillator already grants you many benefits, but when you add PWM, VCF, expression pedal input and foot-switches this analog synth turns into a performance craze.

Offering one ACO with it's square and sawtooth waves mix, the Squaver P1 pulls the whole analog audio - synth - CV performance together. Along with a rapid envelope follower that can be assigned to either the VCA, PWM or the VCF and still have all the important CV ins and outs on the front panel.

Expression pedal input can be assigned to one of three destinations via the 4 position switch or to any other destination with it's dedicated CV output. The ENV is generated from an ENV follower that can extract the dynamics from the main audio input and a second ENV follower extracts dynamics from the side-chain audio input. Both the main input and side has their thru jacks for chaining an infinite ammount of synths together for a multi voice synth chain. An ENV amount knob can determine how much you want to mimic the input dynamics from 1:1 to a completely flat response or completely reverse the ENV

Harmony CV inputs for octave and semitones are accessible via front panel knobs or stereo minijack for easy arpeggiation from external CV sources like analog sequencers and LFO's. Two foot-switches "Harmony CV In" and 'Side-chain on' give you real-time control over activating the Harmony CV input and engaging the side-chain audio input to the ENV follower instead of the main input."

And on the ACO tech:

"Sonicsmith announces their debut product line using their proprietary Audio Controlled Oscillator.


If you followed our first article you must know that the new ACO chip can extract Control-Voltage signals from an analog audio source while synthesizing a couple of analog waveforms of its own. But along with an envelope follower, a powerful voltage-controlled filter, voltage-controlled amplifier, PWM and flexible routing possibilities these debut synths earn the title: Semi-modular analog audio controlled synthesizers. This title may be a lot to digest but Sonicsmith is out to make sure that controlling these synths will be as easy as your own instrument.

Talk to your synths. They actually listen now

Using the ACO chip, jamming with analog synths has never been easier. The smallest of the range (the ConVertor) has 4 CV outputs and 4 CV inputs. This 9V-powered Audio Controlled Synth can synthesize 2 waveforms at the pitch of the input audio and harmonize from it within a five-octave range.

The Product Family

Thanks to the ACO’s rapid reflex-response, these synths suffer no perceivable latency of their own. This is something to look forward to in this computer-driven age where operating system, drivers, format wars and latency are issues that need your attention as much as a prima donna Rock-star. A few other benefits include: Analog oscillator that never goes out of tune (the ACO), being able to arppegiate the oscillator from external CV and dual envelope follower can further modulate any parameter of this synth either with the front panel destination switches or with the CV ENV output minijack.

With the ACOs, these synths are able to do what very few analog synths in history (with questionable success) have done: Converting analog audio into analog synth waves while giving you CV representations of the input audio’s Pitch, Envelope, Gate and Trigger for further control. With those CV signals you can control other Eurorack-compatible modules. The envelope follower can be assigned to the internal VCA and gradually change from total square response to fully following the input level. It can also reverse the envelope by turning the ENV-amount knob to the left. An audio side-chain input via minijack lets you play a separate audio input into a second ENV follower to control the output dynamics and generate cool effects such as modulating the amplitude of the synth output while the pitch continues to follow the behavior of the main input audio. 2 CV inputs via a stereo minijack that can control the harmony shift of the source within its range of -2.6 to +2.4 octaves. That Harmony CV input control lets you arpeggiate your input pitch from any analog sequencer if you choose. The Gate CV input lets you plug in an external sequencer’s gate while bypassing the internal gate of the ACO if you want to play around with gated articulation. The synth’s Pitch CV output is 1V per octave, Gate & Trigger CV are 9V and it’s ENV CV out covers a 0-8.5v range that should work with most Eurorack units.

High Quality Audio Path

The synth’s unique and raw sound character has a lot to do with its ultra-fast tracking behavior and transient response of the analog envelope follower. A high quality low noise +40 db preamp via instrument jack input ensures clean path for detection from line tape recorders, electrical instruments and even dynamic microphone levels. A 4-element LED meter shows you the input level from below its -48dBu threshold of the internal gate to maximum +4dBu before clipping. A thru jack output lets you chain more units together or record the source directly for later “re-synthesizing” at the mixdown stage, connected much like an external effect.

The ConVertor, The Squaver P1 and the Squaver P2 are designed in a retro style that is especially intuitive to use for those who like 80’s analog synths. The design is influenced by today’s trend of modular synth control.

Interesting highlights:

1 or 2 ACO models give you analog pitch tracking and synthesis with CV control
Works with 9V standard effects pedal power supplies or a 9V battery
Output waveforms can vary smoothly between square and sawtooth waves.
Low noise of preamp of 40 dBu range can handle line, instrument and dynamic mic levels
Envelope follower can control the internal analog VCA to mimic the input envelope or can be fed from a side-chain audio input
4 CV outputs: Pitch, Envelope, Gate & Trigger are Eurorack compatible
2 CV inputs control Octave and Harmony shifts (4.5V) for external CV arpeggiation.
External gate CV input for extra modulation effects in addition to the input-controlled gating plus VCA.
Thru jack copies the input for direct recording or further chaining of other audio controlled synths without the need for a splitter."

"The ConVertor is our first and smallest of our ground-breaking synthesizers. With a simple 9V power it can turn analog audio input into analog synth waves and CV outputs.

With our revolutionary Audio Controlled Oscillator, the ConVertor is capable of synthesizing two wave forms as well as extracting the pitch, envelope, gate and trigger CV signals from analog audio input.

The ConVertor’s main audio input can receive audio at line level, intrument level and even dynamic microphones with a preamp gain of +40db. A second audio input called "side chain" on the back can feed the 2nd envelope follower separately if you wish for more control over the level behavior of the synth. Two 4 character LED meters will reflect the input level of the main audio input and the side-chain input separately. The envelope amount knob can dial between totally square response to fully following the input envelope and even reverse the envelope by dialing the knob to the left. The ConVertor will play square and sawtooth waves together which the user can blend continuously via the WAVE mix knob. Two knobs can control the harmony interval of the synth within a 5 octave range on a just tuning scale. Octave CV and Harmony CV inputs duplicate the knob’s functions but enable the user to arpeggiate the synth from any external CV source like an analog sequencer or an LFO. All CV outputs are accommodated via 2 stereo minijacks and a thru jack duplicates the input for further chaining of other audio controlled synths and simply for recording direct instrument."

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