MATRIXSYNTH: Noise Engineering's Desmodus Versio Goes Chameleon with Custom Firmware Support

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Noise Engineering's Desmodus Versio Goes Chameleon with Custom Firmware Support

You might remember when Noise Engineering's Desmodus Versio reverb module was announced back in August, there was this little included note: "Desmodus Versio isn’t just a reverb, though: it’s a DSP platform. Its firmware can be changed via USB, so it can be transformed into a completely different effect with new firmwares coming late 2020. Are you programming savvy? Open-source support will be released later this year."

Well, it looks like that time has arrived.

via Noise Engineering

"In August 2020, we released the Desmodus Versio, Noise Engineering’s reverb. Maybe you heard about it. We were pretty excited about a lot of things about it:

It’s a pretty kick-ass reverb.

It’s a DSP platform that users can update via USB, so we could create lots of alt firmwares for people (more on that soon. Very soon.).

It’s based on an open platform, so from the beginning, we knew we wanted to open it up so people could create their own firmwares too.

So we asked the software engineers at NE to help us less programming savvy folks talk about how this works.

First thing to note: writing custom firmware requires basic understanding of the C / C++ programming language. If you are not proficient in C / C++, there are plenty of resources or even other modular platforms to get started on!

Ok, onward.


If you look at the back of your Versio module, you should see a mounted yellow board with a micro-USB port. This is the Daisy Seed, an embedded audio platform created by Electrosmith. It is the main processing unit on the Versio hardware, i.e., where programs are downloaded, or 'flashed.'

We opted for the Daisy platform for a lot of reasons, but the biggest was that it would be the best customer experience. At the time that the Daisy Seed became a contender for us, we had been developing, in parallel, a similar board (called George). Moving to the Daisy Seed board allowed us to speed development, decrease cost for our users, and take advantage of the large (and growing) community behind the Daisy ecosystem

Daisy is powerful and handles stereo in/stereo out with ease with up to 24-bit, 192 kHz audio processing, 64 MB SDRAM, and 8 MB of flash memory. Got an idea that you want in Eurorack? If any embedded processor can handle it, it’s probably this one."

Click here for additional details on Noise Engineering website.

The following is a demo by Cinematic Laboratory of the Ampla Versio, an 'all in one' VCA, VCFA, ADSR with chorus running on the Desmodus Versio.

The Bat Verb | Part 04 | Ampla Versio firmware | Desmodus Versio

Here is the full playlist:

The Bat Verb | Noise Engineering Desmodus Versio videos by Cinematic Laboratory
Cinematic Laboratory


1. The Bat Verb | Part 01 | Noise Engineering Desmodus Versio
I am always curious when Noise Engineering comes with something new and they never disappoint. I love reverbs. I am lucky to have the Erbe-Verb, Milky Way, Z-DSP, Clouds and ZVERB but I was pretty confident the Desmodus (Vampire Bat) Versio (Versatile) would add something new to my collection. And it did. This is just a first-patch so there will be a part 2 soon. Trust me, this video is only scratching the surface.

Note: I wrote that the DV doesn't have a High Pass filter but that's not true. It has a filter that is neutral at 12:00 and becomes high pass CW and low pass CCW. What I mean it doesn't have a filter that makes sure the very low frequencies (below 80Hz) aren't 'reverberated' (high pass) which can go totally out of control and drives the module above the digital 0dB brick wall. Digital distortion is not pretty and you should be aware of it before going live. I also need to add that it happened only once during the making of this video. Just remember that infinite reverb and ultra low frequencies can cause serious trouble that goes way beyond 'mud'.
2. The Bat Verb | Part 02 | Noise Engineering Desmodus Versio
Desmodus Versio is a reverb - with a built in delay and distortion - and lots of other cool ways to turn your room upside down and fold a cathedral. DV's first batch had a little bug (I totally missed it), but NE's been working around the clock to create a fix and roll out the 'flash your DV' website. This also shows us how easy it is to install new firmware or future applications (which are coming soon). I am not sure, but I think the code will be open source so we can write our own reverbs and FX. I'll definitely dive into that when more info is available.
3. The Bat Verb | Part 03 | Desmodus Versio + Lyra-8
I had this idea of running the Lyra-8 through the Desmodus Versio and see what would happen. Then I realized it helped me (a lot!) to tune the Lyra-8 while playing live. So this video showcases the 'beyond infinity' setting on the 'regenerate' knob, where the reverb trail just plays on forever - but you can still hear a bed of the notes you've played - and add more. It can get pretty magical.
4. The Bat Verb | Part 04 | Ampla Versio firmware | Desmodus Versio
Noise Engineering promised to bring new firmware / applications to the Desmodus Versio reverb. Because it's not a reverb, it's a platform. This means you can completely change the application inside the module. Today NE released Ampla Versio, an 'all in one' VCA, VCFA, ADSR with chorus. In stereo. And this one is a worthy addition to the 'never too many' VCA's.
5. The Bat Verb | Part 05 | Imitor Versio firmware
"Noise Engineering has just released a new firmware for the Desmodus Versio, the 'versatile imitator'. It's a twelve tap delay with tempo sync, delay timing skew, circular stereo panning, distortion, tralis that rise and fall, shimmer and harmonically related pitch shifting. POB has done an excellent walkthrough on all features (see link in video), so I'll just focus on how it sounds in various patches. the IV is also available as a dedicated module with its own faceplate, and faceplates can be ordered for your DV if you're planning on permanent use.

Please note the IV is a delay that's designed to be discovered so make sure to spend some time with it. I noticed it features a lot of sonic textures which are also found on some of the best delays around. So this one may be the droid you've been looking for in just 10 HP. Highly recommended!"

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