Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The Division Department 01/IV ANALOG DRUM SYNTH

The first batch of the new 01/IV ANALOG DRUM SYNTH will be limited to a run of 50.

"01/IV by The Division Department is a 4-channel analog drum synthesizer capable of synthesizing a wide palette of sounds. From usual drum hits like kicks, toms, snares, claps, hi-hats and cymbals to unusual and complex sounds like drones and weird modulated creations. The provided MIDI implementation lets the 01/IV be triggered via MIDI, which makes it a powerful piece of equipment in a setup.

The concept of 01/IV is unique as it has four identical voice channels with all the power of synthesizing various type of drum sounds. Any channel can play a kick, a cymbal, toms and congas, or even a bassline. Channels can even be combined, can modulate each others in pairs (FM) or can be layered to form complex sounds. All these achieved with a flexible routing system composed of slide switches and carefully calibrated synthesizer elements.

01/IV inherited genes from legendary drum machines and drum synthesizers like the Pollard Syndrum, the Roland 808 & 909, and Pearl Syncussion SY-1. It has a true analog audio path, but also added a very flexible digital modulation system of a multi-function LFO, ramp and retrigger generator.

Key Features:

60 panel controls: Knobs - Switches - Triggers Buttons
4 Voices - Chromatic via midi
Drone Mode
Midi note triggers and partial Midi CC controls
Mix / Individual outputs
Compact size / Light weight

Some details captured from The Division Department website for the archives follow. See The Division Dapartment label for additional posts.


The 4 identical voice channels are organized for a clear and accessible control surface. 8 knobs and 6 switches plus the trigger button per channel sums up to a total of 60 panel controls.
The 01/IV is compact, light weight, easy to carry. It ships with a AC/DC adapter and a MIDI adapter.

The following chapters will help you understand its synthesis methods, overall posibilities, and usage.


The 01/IV can be used standalone while using the trigger buttons or can be sequenced by other MIDI devices.
The workflow is flexible, either structured or free-form. Quick access of all functions without menu diving or patch cabling lets you focus on sound creation and tweaking.

Sounds can be defined individualy per voice. Another option is to create more sophisticated sounds by stacking and triggering the 4 voices together. The 01/IV can also be used in drone mode, generating evolving textures without the need of an external sequencer. Lastly, sequencing the 01/IV with chromatic MIDI, sending MIDI CC messages and using diverse functions such as repeat, can lead to very complex and sometimes unexpected patterns.

The key is practising, and experimenting.


The synthesis path includes various sound sources and modulation possibilities that favor sonic explorations.
Classic analog audio path with Voltage Controlled Oscillator - Voltage Controlled Filter - Voltage Controlled Attenuator - Mixer. Selection of 2 analog oscillator waveforms and 2 digital noise sources including a TR-808 like hi-hat noise. Multimode filter with low-pass, band-pass, high-pass option.
Two envelopes, one for pitch with up or down direction and one for amplitude with variable hold time. For the filter, either of the two envelopes can be selected as modulation source or - as a third option - the oscillator can modulate the filter frequency for audio range filter excitement. Powerful LFO for dynamic variations with frequency of 0.03 Hz to 2000 Hz, selectable waveform of triangle, ramp, sample and hold, just one shot or cycling. LFO can be routed to VCO, VCF, or VCA.

SYNTHESIS - Basic Routing

The trigger button is used to preview the sound

There are 4 waveforms on each voice to choose from.
TRI: Triangle waveshape (analog)
SAW: Sawtooth waveshape (analog)
NOI: White noise (digital - common for all voices)
HH: Hi-hat noise (digital - common for all voices)

The TUNE knob allows for base frequency adjustment of the oscillator between 18 Hz - 3000 Hz. When a noise type waveform is selected, it controls the filter cutoff thus allowing to shape the noise.

The filter type can be selected via Slide Switch.
LP: Low Pass (12db slope) useful for bass oriented sounds
BP: Band Pass (6db slope) with middle frequencies enphasized
HP: High Pass (12db slope) useful for high frequency tones

The FILTER knob allows for dynamic cutoff frequency adjustment of the filter.

The DECAY knob sets the duration of the sound produced.
The range is between 1ms - 5s.

The Volume knob sets the output level of the produced sound.

SYNTHESIS - Envelopes: Sweep - Repeat

The sweep envelope is used to create a decreasing or increasing pitch in the attack section of the sound. The combination of the Sweep and Range knobs allow to shape the effect.

• Sweep modifies the duration of the envelope.
• Range affects the intensity of the envelope. Left: increasing - Right: decreasing.

The repeat function can be activated to generate multiple triggers: rolls, flams, diddles. This feature is useful when emulating handclaps, snares or can be used in more unconventional sound creations.

• Mod sets the interval between the repeats
• Depth defines the duration of the effect. Left: fading out - Right: constant.

SYNTHESIS - Modulators: LFO/S&H - Ramp

The digital LFO and S&H envelope can modulate certain parameters of the sound. The LFO waveform is by default set to triangle, other shapes are available via a dedicated midi CC. LFO can reach the audio range.

• Mod sets the speed of the oscillation.
• Depth defines the intensity of the effect. Left: LFO - Right: S&H.


The ramp is a one shot envelope that is sync'ed to the trigger, that can be can be routed to VCO, VCF, or VCA. It is usefull to create more defined filter or tune effects.

• Mod sets the length of the envelope.
• Depth defines its intensity. Left: triangle - Right: ramp.

SYNTHESIS - Voice to Voice FM

Voices can modulate each other. This experimental feature is useful in drone mode as well as in a more classic usage, as it adds some sound interferences when 2 voices are emitting sounds at the same time. Voice 1 & 2, and voice 3 & 4 can be linked and cross-feed each other. Results are sometimes unpredictable, unexpected harmonics and noises can occur, which can add character to the patterns. When the FM switch is set at the middle position, the output of the voice is send both to the Mix output and to the linked voice.

With the FM switch set at the right position, the output of the voice is only sent to the linked voice. In some cases, and with particular settings, some high frequency noises can remain audible.

SYNTHESIS - Drone Mode

With the target switch set on AMP, the VCA is released and the sound is heard continuously. Pitch, filter or AMP itself can be driven by LFO or Ramp. This mode produces interesting results used in conjunction with cross voice FM.

Another option for drones is to use the Repeat mode set to Hold. By setting knobs Depth and Mod to their maximun postions. The decay becomes infinite. It is then possible to manually switch on and off sounds.

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