Envelopes

Since i have been a more or less successful Modularist, i keep asking myself something like “Hell, if modular Synths are the leading Edge of Synthesis, warumderGeschlechtsverkehr are there only ADSR or even less capable Envelopes?”.

I got so used to the more complex Envelopes found in my ESQ-1 or the Wave Envelopes from the various MicroWave Incarnations that i felt a bit limited.

Lets have a look on the traditional ADSR:

ADSR

Attack, Decay and Relese Pots have influence on the Time, the Sustain Pot sets the Sustain Level. We could label it as well like this:

3 Stage Envelope

Attack has become Time 1, Decay has become Time 2, Release has become Time 3, Sustain has become Level 2 and Level 1 is a new , you wont find any Knob for this on your Synth as this is traditionally fixed to 100% so no need for a Knob. Saves Money…

If we name the combination of a Time and a Level a Stage we can name the ADSR a 3 Stage Envelope.
Its inherited from the Loundess Curve a Piano (and most other Plucked, Hit or Blown) classical Instrument has: first it gets very loud, then it fades gradually away. But a Synthesizer isnt a classical instrument, right? So no need for a classical Curve!

Now lets add 2 Stages:

5 Stage Envelope

Here you can see a 5 Stage Envelope that Sustains on Level 3 and is animated thereafter, with the classical ADSR this wouldnt be possible. Now think yourselves what you could do if you were able to set any Stage as the Sustain Stage. When you are done we will take it a bit further:
5 Stage Envelope Looping
Theres no need to have a static Sustain Phase, why not let the Envelope instead loop between any 2 Points instead of just holding the Sustain Level?
So you can do rich textured, animated, cyclic Sustain Phases to your like. Or use the Envelope as a versatile LFO.

So i have been working a bit on a 5 Stage Envelope Eurorack Module with the following Features:

  • 5 Stages so there are 5 Pots for Rates and 4 for the Level, Start and end are always 0% Level
  • Linear Respons with an Exponential last Release Stage
  • Real Snappy with times that can be as low as 1ms
  • Sustain on any Stage
  • Loop forward between any 2 Points
  • 4 LEDs show Sustain or Loop Mode and are animated while the Envelope is playing
  • End of Envelope Trigger Output so you can chain Envelopes or just make a LFO
  • CV out from 0 – 10V and additional an inverted CV out 0 – -10V

All this has been implemented in a small PixAxe 20X2 Chip with very few additional PArts, the whole Magic is in the Software.

After breadboarding a Proto i am currently soldering a Prototype to take it to a bit more testing, it looks something like this:

 

Ill post more Pics and Scope Shots as soon as my Workbench doesnt look anymore like R2D2 exploded……