Our Techniques are small educational videos that focus on a single technical aspect of modular synthesis. They explore a specific module’s section, suggest unusual tips, and show some exciting combinations.

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Three Random Picks


  • All
  • 321
  • 333
  • brenso
  • CGM
  • sapèl
  • usta
We had to do it. Imagine if the oscillator becomes the clock and the sequencer becomes the oscillator. The question isn’t “why?”, but “why not?”
Today we explored another way of using FUMANA’s ALL E.F. output. We used it to tame our reverb send and clear up the mix!
We took advantage of the 321 to scale, invert, and offset it, then patched the result to the QSC effect send.⁠
That’s an easy way to avoid an overcrowded reverb tail!
Another popular embellishment is the trill, where you play a rapid succession of notes before or instead of a longer one.⁠
To do so, we used FALISTRI’s force loop input: check out the trick in today’s Technique!
Grace notes are notes that you play to ornate a melody. Every musical tradition has its own grace notes, so why should we modular players stay away from them?⁠

In Western music you don't write them as part of the melody: instead, you use tiny notes or symbols on top of it.

Since USTA is the Voltage Score, we want to stick with this concept!⁠

In this Technique, we wrote a plain sequence and used a tiiiiny little envelope patched to the CV A input to add some grace notes here and there through pitch shifting. Happy experimenting!
Sometimes you can think of USTA’s gate outputs as a modulation source rather than just a stream of impulses to fire some envelopes.⁠

In this patch, we used them to clock SAPÈL’s yellow generator so that one new gate = one new random voltage. We also set the gates to the green color to create a denser rhythm on top of our melody.
An effortless technique for the USTA sequencer: while playing, hold Set All and push a CV or gate button while playing. It will keep the value played at that specific moment until you release it!⁠
Time to use those 16 outputs up there! In this patch, we used some individual bands to feed a shimmer reverb, thus obtaining a different harmonic feel every time.
FALISTRI Clock Manipulation #2
FALISTRI Clock Manipulation #1
Inverted V/Oct #2
Falistri Fake Delay
More messing around with USTA’s clock! Now CV B of track changes the clock tempo so that every stage has a different speed. It’s great for creating rubato and accelerando effects!⁠
We always showcased the stage shift function with a random S&H in sync with the current track.⁠ Now we play with different ratios: when the track is faster than the stage shift CV, USTA will play some sequence fragments before shifting again!
The Stage Shift function doesn’t shift just the CV, but also the CV values: pair it with some green LEDs to recall some ratchets!
Today we want to mess around with that one thing you aren't supposed to touch: THE CLOCK.⁠
The Stage Shift allows you to pick other stage values within the pattern – even from stages that you're not playing! It can be nice to add a very controlled variation to your melody while still being able to get back to the original version.⁠
This time we want to use a pattern as a probability-based random sequence – and it’s possible through USTA’s Stage Shift parameter!⁠
By routing an external random signal to USTA’s Stage Shift (like SAPÈL’s S&H out), we can randomly scramble our stages’ values. This means that the more a note is present in the sequence, the more likely it will be picked!⁠
Did you know you can get polyrhythms with USTA even if you don't mess with Time Ratios?
You just have to set both your Gates tracks to the green color, and play with different ratcheting combinations.⁠
For example, you can set Gate A to output three gates, and Gate B to output 2 gates during the same stage, thus getting a 3:4 polyrhythm.⁠
The cool thing about this trick is that you can have a different polyrhythm for each stage!
Let's play with phase and do some extreme cross-patching!⁠
It is nice to see how much of a difference can a small number make.⁠
In this patch, we had two tracks playing the exact same melody. What we did was just change the Clock Ratio of one track, to achieve a nice 3:2 polyrhythm.
There's at least another way to get polyrhythms out of USTA, but we'll see that in another video!
If we run out of VCAs (and we do...) we like to push BRENSO a little bit further and use its red section! By using all the four quadrants and a unipolar envelope, we can obtain quite a realistic VCA (even if it's technically a four-quadrant multiplier).⁠
Let’s get some clicky percussive sounds through BRENSO’s exponential FM input – it’s DC coupled, so we can patch envelopes to it!⁠
This is a patch that could play for HOURS! USTA’s four tracks can play at different BPM values, and sometimes it can be really nice to shift everything by one BPM only.
Today we played with the Symmetry parameter of BRENSO’s wavefolder section!⁠
BRENSO’s Through-Zero FM circuit is built on semi-normalizations, but we can break them at any time and combine FM with waveshapers and wavefolders. Here’s a brief example!⁠
Another use of #BRENSO’s red section! Patch any CV to its input and use it as a sort of VCA (just like FALISTRI’s four-quadrant multiplier)⁠.
Ok, this is a little risky... Instead of using the group FX section, try to patch the FX return to another channel, and then play with this channel’s FX send. You’ll create a very dangerous feedback loop that can also provide some gentle overtones! If you have a QSC, you can even achieve this without a group by using its internal FX mono output.
By linking more channels, you can “safely” arrange a section to solo through the solo-in-place switches or buttons, then use the Safe Solo switch on the group modules to put that into practice. You can also think of it as a multi-mute tool!
The first and last channels of the QSC feature a voltage-controllable panpot, just like the C channel. However, by combining this feature with the pan/crossfade switch, you can obtain a voltage-controlled crossfader! In this patch, we demonstrate both behaviors with the same CV, a bipolar LFO coming from FALISTRI’s green generator.
By patching unipolar gates such as the two EOFs to FALISTRI’s four-quadrant multiplier, it outputs a gate-high signal only when both its inputs are high. It can be very useful in non-standard rhythmic patches!
With the Quad Stereo Channel, we introduced the pan/crossfade function! If you patch two sound sources to the left and right inputs, you get them panned by default. But if you activate the crossfade switch, the panpot now blends the two sources into a mono output! (Yes, this makes the QSC a rudimentary eight-channel mono mixer...).
Today we’ll create some complex waveforms with FALISTRI! Using both generators at audio rate, and patching one’s EOF to the other’s trig/gate input, we can obtain a sort of flip sync, where an oscillator forces the other to its rising stage.⁠
Time for some advanced FALISTRI techniques: today we’ll create a sort of arpeggiator out of nowhere!
We said that this input forces a generator’s behavior to loop. What we didn’t say is that it can work at audio rate! Let’s feed it with a square oscillator, then, and see where it can lead us. Beware, it’s not something that common!⁠
Today we play with the subharmonic series! By taking advantage of FALISTRI’s ‘on rest’ behavior, we can use it as a sort of formant oscillator and achieve some odd frequency divisions. Have you tried yet?
Let’s start exploring the force loop input on FALISTRI! If the generator is set to Transient or Hold, a gate high signal patched to this input will force it to the Loop behavior. If we use an LFO that we patched elsewhere, it can start and stop a second LFO, creating some rhythmic interconnections. That’s what we did today!
Duplicate the V/Oct signal with the 333 and invert it with the 321. Then, patch the inverted signal to BRENSO’s wavefolder CV input so that the higher the note, the milder the wave folding.
Today we used the 321 as a plain offset generator: we distributed it to SAPÈL’s modulation input, USTA’s pitch shift, and BRENSO’s Mod Bus CV input. Then, we inverted this last one, so that when the 321 offset is negative, timbre modulation is high and the sequence is low and slow. When the 321 offset is positive, the sequence is faster, higher, and with no modulation!
By using the yellow oscillator’s Sync input and setting the PCB jumper to Flip, we can sync the yellow oscillator to an external one. Then, we can also sync the green oscillator to the yellow one!⁠
Here’s another fun(k) use of the integrator and its CV input! This time, we used it to create some sync sweeps, and we also used the USTA sequencer to change the integration time at every stage.
By routing BRENSO’s yellow V/oct signal through the integrator, we can control the green oscillator as well, with the advantage of a linear slew limiter. It can introduce a lag between the two oscillators, which can create some temporary dissonances when using the FM modulation, like here!
We didn't have enough PWM, so here's another trick! This time, without even patching a cable.
The Lock Sync is excellent when we want to remove any beats between the yellow and green oscillators. It provides a subtle and precise synchronization, excellent for blending multiple waveforms. The Flip Sync is more aggressive and changes the green oscillator's timbre dramatically because it forces the green waveform to the rising stage at every yellow wave cycle.
Who doesn't love pulse width modulation? This is the first tip on how to do that with our BRENSO oscillator.
What do you use your noise sources for? We can't have enough so this time, we used the white noise to frequency-modulate BRENSO's green oscillator, which is also flip-sync’d to the yellow one. It's almost like tuning the noise!
If we set SAPÈL's random clock output to Less than mode, we obtain some random clocks that are always synced to the main one. Randomness, but with a groove!⁠
In this patch, we used SAPÈL's blue noise to do some thru-zero FM over BRENSO's yellow oscillator. By controlling the FM deviation through an LFO we're able to bring the noise in and out and obtain a soothing seashore effect.
We've seen SAPÈL modulating pretty much everything, but what about a stompbox? Today we explored how it pairs with the Empress Zoia – and it's NICE!
The best way to copy a clock is through the 333 module. But what if you don’t have it? Check out this workaround to get two clocks out of the same SAPÈL’s section!
Let's talk a bit about FUMANA's Unvoiced input!⁠ We use it mainly to add a realistic sibilant effect to vocoding tracks. We patch a
By setting a QSC channel to Crossfade, we can blend the ODD and EVEN bands with a single CV, opening up new sonic routes!
Today we created this percussive patch with FUMANA and mixed it with a BRENSO bassline. To give every sound the space it deserves, we used the ALL EF out to duck the bassline. It is a simple but very natural sidechain effect!
Did you know that you can use USTA as a quantizer?⁠
Who said that the effect send should be patched back to the return? What if we patch it to another channel?⁠ Well, that works, but what if we route this channel as well back to the effect send? That's right, a feedback loop!⁠
This time we had USTA controlled by ONE envelope of the FALISTRI! The attenuated envelope controls the clock speed, while the EOR gate plays and stops the sequence.
Here’s another example of USTA’s CV B used to create some funky envelopes to spice up this acid sequence!
Thanks to USTA, we could create an evolving rhythmic structure with just two BRENSO sine waves playing in unison.⁠ The key, here, is removing just one stage from one of the sequences.⁠
BRENSO is all about access. Here's why we separated the Timbre Modulation Bus from the actual Timbre section.⁠
Use the AM/RM Crossfade to bring in your FINAL output an amplitude-modulated copy of the sound coming out of the Wavefolder.⁠
This is another thing that we absolutely wanted in our BRENSO: an
On the USTA sequencer, the Pattern Shift function allows you to change the pattern order with external CV, but still within the Pattern Loop of your choice!
You can break the internal semi-normalization and patch any AC or DC input to the Timbre Modulation Bus!
That’s exactly how it sounds like – this tiny little trick allows you to have a clock output straight out of a USTA’s Gate output, regardless of how syncopated your melody was!
Variating variations for advanced minimalism! Use the Varishift control to change the probability that the stage values will change, and add even more unpredictability to your patches.
Everybody loves the harmonic series! We like it so much, that we wanted to beef it up with some sub-octaves. We made our synced-oscillator sing its song, too!⁠
Pick random notes, but only among those YOU defined! With the Stage Shift function, USTA will use any external CV to pick other notes from the pattern than the ones associated with the stage. The cool part is that the rhythmic structure of the Length layer will stay the same!
Quadrature Mode is more than just ADSR: in this patch we use it to create two interconnected LFOs, which animate the stereo image of our BRENSO oscillator.⁠
Even harder – a groove with BRENSO alone!⁠ Set the green oscillator’s frequency range to Low, open the Timbre Modulation Bus, patch the green square output to the Ping input, and you’re ready to go.⁠
That’s another fun trick to add articulation to your patch when you’ve already run out of control sources.⁠ Set USTA’s CVB to its green color, then play with its values to create rising and falling voltages.⁠
Here's what BRENSO’s green oscillator is capable of when used as an LFO!⁠ We patched its square out to FUMANA’s mod input: this will excite the envelope followers and “ping” the filters.⁠ We then patched its saw out to the parametric scanner CV input, and let the phase relationship do the rest!
BRENSO as carrier AND modulator! Here's what's happening:⁠ the yellow FINAL output is FUMANA's carrier⁠, the green Saw output is FUMANA's modulator⁠, BUT the yellow oscillator is also modulating the green one!⁠ So, the yellow oscillator is frequency-modulating the green one which in turn is performing spectral transferring over the Final waveform.⁠
Sometimes it's all about having fun. And with SAPÈL and BRENSO, it's A LOT of fun!⁠ Simply patch the Random Clock out to the Ping input, then route the S&H out to the four Timbre parameters through the Timbre Modulation Bus.⁠ Then, sit back and enjoy this ever-changing rhythm!
USTA has 16 outputs, FUMANA 16 bands. Let's take advantage of this coincidence!⁠
Another dialogue between USTA and BRENSO: this time, we patched some Raw CV outputs to various CV inputs of the Timbre section. As a result, the fairly simple sequence of the beginning becomes surprisingly alive!
High note=fast clock, low note=slow clock!⁠
A simple, yet effective way to get some arcade-like chord stabs with the USTA sequencer!
In this patch, we use two sequences to achieve a complex, through-zero FM BRENSO patch.⁠
In this video, we’re throwing some gates into the Wavefolder Ping input—and nothing else. No envelopes, no VCAs... all the articulation comes from these two modules!⁠
In this patch, we’re doing some massive linear FM: the yellow oscillator is our carrier, and the green one is our modulator.⁠
BRENSO’s waveshaper gets a mixture of the two wavefolders, which you can control through the Source knob. Then, it folds them again, and again, and again, in an explosion of overtones. You can use the symmetry control to push it even further!⁠
Here’s Brenso’s second waveshaper, and there’s a lot under the hood!⁠
The Triangle Shaper is the first part of BRENSO’s Timbre Section. It morphs the triangle wave to a quasi-sine and a sort of logarithmic waveform.
USTA allows you to use ANY CV to shift the phase of one sequence in relation to its clock. You can use a DC offset to obtain a more laid-back sound (if you feel like Dexter Gordon), or any random CV to add some non-destructive degree of unpredictability.⁠
Time to play modal!⁠ The Root Shift is a modulation that takes any incoming CV and shifts the root of your quantization mask. The result is a dramatic change in the song mood, but if you route the same CV to the Pitch Shift modulation, you will transpose the whole scale!⁠⁠
We’ve seen the 333 as an audio mixer, but it does pretty well also with CVs!
USTA features two independent CV inputs, whose signal can be internally routed to several destinations (independently per track, of course).
Blip-blops are fun, but what about playing actual melodies?⁠ The USTA sequencer allows you to quantize your sequence to a selected scale and root note. You can also choose the quantization direction!⁠
The three sections of the 333 are semi-normalled, meaning that each one is routed to the first input of the following one. If you patch three sources to the second or third inputs of the three separate sections, you can combine the functions of the three -6dB switches, thus making the red section 1/4 lower than the green, and the yellow one 1/2.
We’ve seen how to change the pattern loop settings, and how to recall other patterns on the fly temporarily, but there’s another option that let you organize your sequences in a fixed form: the Song Mode.
In this patch, we’ll use the yellow envelope to control the decay of our kick drum. By inverting the envelope and adding an offset (with the 321), you can use it to sidechain other sounds (such as the bass, or the reverb). But what if you want to control the response time of the sidechain control? Correct, the slew limiter output!
The Coarse/Fine button lets you change the pitch of quantized voltages by intervals of 1 octave, or the value of the unquantized ones by steps of 0.5V. Add the ‘Esc’ button, and it will become the Fine control: now you can fine-tune your notes by cents of semitones or your raw voltages by 1mV steps.
Stage Loop is a special feature that allows you to repeat a specific section of your sequence. You can define the first stage of this section, the length (up to 16 stages) and the number of repetitions. Whenever the playhead crosses the Stage Loop section, it will start looping, then it will move on to the rest of the sequence! You can activate this function anytime by pushing twice the button.
Want to add some spice to your groove? It’s time to check the Gate Variation, then!
In music as in cooking, some degree of unpredictability is always welcome. This patch explores the other two CV layers, called ‘Variation Index’ and ‘Variation Range’. They allow you to add some motion to your sequence, without going too much off the track!
Learn how to play any pattern by pushing a button!
If you enter Composition Mode, patch a Gate signal to the AUX input, and a pitch CV to the CVA input, USTA will store the notes you are playing on your controller – stage by stage!
When USTA is not playing (and you are not in any of the menus), just push twice the track buttons: all the gate channels will immediately get high, and you will be able to hear the individual stages one by one. Use the navigation encoder to skim through the sequence, check if everything is all right, and carefully edit every parameter – you can take all the time you need!⁠
USTA has two buttons whose primary function is to perform global tasks: ‘Set All’ applies the selected value to all the following stages, while ‘Shift All’ applies the same offset. They can be used to change colors, too!⁠
Virtuous cycle or vicious cycle? In Pattern Mode, it’s up to you!⁠ Each track of the USTA sequencer has 32 patterns of 16 steps each. By editing the First and Last pattern, you can choose the ends of your pattern loop, on the fly!⁠
In this patch, we demonstrate how CVB can add expressiveness and dynamics to a series of musical events by controlling the scan position of the FUMANA.⁠
Composing and performing are closer than they seem – both in life and in USTA!⁠
Push the rotary encoders when any Gate layer is selected to switch between the gate colors.⁠ When blue, the encoder defines the time a gate stays high, from very short to an actual tie with the following stage, when green, the gate value determines the ratcheting number, when red, the gate is not generated.⁠
Every CV value of every stage can be played in three ways: in the ‘Blue’ one, the USTA sequencer outputs the generated value; in the ‘Green’ one, USTA slides from the previous stage’s value to the current one; in the ‘Red’ one USTA skips the current value and plays the previous one again.⁠
Each of the four tracks of the #USTAsequencer can work at its own internal clock, or with a common external one.⁠ Once the clock is defined, you can select which ratio (multiplication or division) the track should run at.
Gate length or stage length? Are they the same thing? Not with USTA. If you are a little confused, fear not! This video explains everything you need to know about these essential concepts.⁠
This simple patch explores the main features of the USTA: how to select tracks, how to edit CV, Gate, and Length – but most importantly, how to get your sequence running!⁠
It’s time to push those buttons!⁠ It is true, we added buttons to FALISTRI and SAPÈL so that you can manually trig the envelopes or the S&H. But there’s another reason: if you hold them pushed, you can give to your patch a very dramatic effect by momentarily “freezing” it…⁠
Random trigs with some SAPÈL self-patching!⁠ In this patch we’ll use the yellow main clock out to control the green one, then we’ll add some cross-patching within the yellow section to achieve some unpredictability.⁠
What about trying some random repetitions? In this patch, a random ratcheting-like effect is obtained by using SAPÈL’s Random Clock to trig the envelope controlling the amplitude, while the clock density (or the ratcheting number) is varied through cross-patching.
In this video, we’ll see how to recreate the classic ‘Bouncing Ball’ patch – using only two FALISTRI!⁠
Patch the EOR output into the first frequency divider input, mix all the (bipolar!) outputs into your 321 and fatten up your sound with every possible blend of three octaves!
Patch the EOR output into the first frequency divider input, mix all the (bipolar!) outputs into your 321 and fatten up your sound with every possible blend of three octaves!
Clock randomness and dummy cables! Normally, the external clock input doesn’t handle fluctuating voltages as trigs. Fear not! You can still use the Gate / CV in to trig your SAPÈL! This works together with the internal clock: if you want total randomness, you can use a dummy cable to block the clock generation and use only the external CV.
What about a FUMANA Feedback AND a spectral transfer – at the same time? In this patch, we’ll use the feedback trick to emphasize the modulation of an oscillator over a pink noise. It works great when vocoding, too!
Parametric scanning for creative percussion sounds. In this patch we’ll take advantage of two separate envelope outputs of the same FALISTRI channel to shape a pink noise into some percussive sounds. The key element here is the Parametric Scanning function available in the lower section of the FUMANA filter bank!
Creative kick drum sound with FUMANA’s envelope followers! In this patch we’ll process a low sound from FALISTRI through FUMANA’s filterbank, we’ll use a random trig from SAPEL as modulation source and then feed some of the resulting envelopes back into FALISTRI to modulate the tone.
Clock Bursts #2
Fumana Feedback #2
FALISTRI can work as a self-sufficient synth voice! The four-quadrant multiplier can work as a pretty simple VCA. The yellow unipolar output and the green bipolar one are semi-normalled to the two inputs: this means that the yellow generator can work as an envelope, and the green one as an audio-rate oscillator.
How to make a non-resonating filterbank resonate. In this patch we’ll set two separate feedback loops using the ODD and EVEN outputs and the Direct Out of the CGM Channel. It is possible to flip the phase to get more interesting tones. Add some reverb for instant-70s-psychedelia! Watch out, screaming tones ahead...
Fluctuating random is not just fluctuating random… Each of the two fluctuating knobs (marked by a dice ⚄) also controls the density of the random clocks. It can be very useful in crowded patches!
More percussion sounds with FUMANA and various noise sources Fumana’s modulation input welcomes trigs as well, which provide a lovely “woody” tone reminding some kind of lopass gate.
This patch explores the different behaviors of FALISTRI’s green generator, but at audio rate! When it is is set ‘On Rest’, it will ignore all the incoming trigs until it has reached its ‘Rest’ stage; when its frequency is lower than the master oscillator, it will divide its frequency in a ‘formant-like’ effect.
Explore this “hidden feature” of FALISTRI’s green generator! A switch on the PCB lets you choose between two different retrig behaviors: ‘on rest’ retrigs the green envelope only if it has reached its End of Fall; ‘to rise’ simply recalls the rising stage from whichever level the envelope is in, just like the yellow generator.
It is possible to make the two sections of FALISTRI interact with eachother: in this patch, the yellow generator’s Loop state is activated by the green envelope, which controls its frequency and amplitude as well.
A simple but effective way of creating clock bursts with SAPÈL. Use the unquantized S&H to modulate the clock rate, and the probability distribution to regulate the clock density.
Use FUMANA with FALISTRI and SAPÈL to create cool percussion sounds! FUMANA can transform a simple noise source into many different percussion sounds – at the same time! In this patch we’ll go through a handful of possibilities: claves, shakers and cymbals.
Another way of adding some spice to your patterns! Use SAPÈL’s S&H to modulate the Fall time of FALISTRI’s envelope: when applied to some white noise, it will provide a sort of open/closed HiHat sound.
Add some dynamics to your patterns through FALISTRI’s MAX out! This patch uses both SAPÈL’s clocks: the main one provides the steady pulse by triggering FALISTRI’s green envelope, the random one trigs the yellow envelope which adds some extra accents: the two envelopes are blended through the MAX output.
This time we’ll get a more spicy ratcheting-like effect! SAPÈL’s n+1 output provides voltages tuned in octaves. If the target oscillates below audio rate, it will simply double its frequency, with interesting ratcheting effects.
Get some ratchets out of that envelope! FALISTRI’s frequency divider provides gates out of incoming trig signals. In this patch, they are used to automatically change the generator’s mode, from transient to cyclical, and back.
Some bell-like sounds with two FALISTRI together! The left Falistri generates an articulated modulation thanks to its MAX output, the second one provides a ringing tone with a sort of exponential FM, modulated by Sapèl.
Here are some behaviors of FALISTRI’s four quadrant multiplier! Its two inputs are normalled to the yellow unipolar and the green bipolar outs. This means that if the green generator is used as audio oscillator, the yellow one controls its amplitude.
Here are some behaviors of FALISTRI’s four quadrant multiplier! Its two inputs are normalled to the yellow unipolar and the green bipolar outs. This means that if the green generator is used as audio oscillator, the yellow one controls its amplitude.
Get a simple but heavy synth kick drum out of your FALISTRI! By using the green generator as oscillator and patching the yellow attenuverted in its V/oct input, you will generate a very snappy drum sound with controls over decay time, pitch modulation and tone! Add some SAPÈL for a wilder sound.
Infinite wave shapes at your fingertips when Falistri is used as oscillator! Both generators can morph their rise and fall shape from EXPO to LOG, independently and regardless of their times – at audio rate, this becomes a fully functional wave shaper.