Updated: Jun 6, 2021
SynQuaNon GK 13-Pin Demo System
Rick Burnett recently had an opportunity to experiment with our GK 13-Pin Demo system. He has an extensive synth and Eurorack modular studio, which he used to supplement and record the demo system. The guitar was equipped with a Cycfi Research Nu Multi 6 pickup and 19-pin connector; a Cycfi Research Nexus GK Breakout Box provides the 13-pin GK output for the demo system (our 19-pin demo system was on the West Coast at the time, otherwise he could have used it for a direct connection to the guitar).
Thanks, Rick! It is exciting to see how the SynQuaNon modules integrate with others. The possibilities for new guitar sounds are now endless!
Split the strings into two categories, three that came through the Hex Fuzz and then out into a mix, and the other three through the Hex VCF filter, with a Hex EF-Gate-Trigger envelope driving the cut-off. This was all just using SynQuaNon modules. The goal here is I wanted to see how it felt with the strings getting different dynamics. The ones coming straight out would ring longer, whereas I allowed the envelope of some strings to pull out those strings kinda quickly. Not a lot of Q so we didn’t get the cutoff being accentuated.
For this test I split the strings into 3 categories. Two strings were fed into the E520 from Synthesis Technology (Hyperion Effects Processor). Two strings were volume modulated with the combination of the Instruo øchd and the Erica Synths Pico Scale. The last 2 strings were allowed to distort with the Hex Fuzz. I wanted to see with a slower pattern, how my attention to the different strings changed the feel of each portion I was playing. This was definitely a lot of fun to experiment with.
This included the tremolo/reverb part from Sample 2 still setup, but I added a sequencer (Voltage Block from Malekko) driving the frequency of a Befaco BF-22 Sallen Key Filter. I had a high Q so I would get some self feedback playing against the guitar signal going through it. I added a little XO drums in Ableton Live and recorded 2 passes of guitar sound. I wanted the sequenced bit to get recorded first so I could play with it more.
Some strings have heavy distortion with Hex Fuzz from SynQuaNon. If you notice, when the clean strings come in, they cut out the fuzz strings which I did with an inverted envelope from the SynQuaNon Hex EF-Gate-Trigger envelope follower and into the Erogenous Tones VC8. Then, for the clean strings, their envelope was fed into a Sisters from Mannequins and a tight cut-off with a sharp Q gives almost a record scratch sound as the envelope dies out. Wanted to see how different envelope effects played against each other.
Again, added some drums on this track just to play against the guitar. In this, 3 strings are going to E520 to do a phase effect on those strings. The other three are feeding into Erbe-Verb from Make Noise. Here just wanted to see how those effects blended together.
Overall I find the multi-string guitar processing to be very interesting, it definitely opens up an area of sounds that is not easy to achieve any other way. The one part that is interesting to wrap your mind around is that when you place other effects on adjacent strings, if you are used to having the notes all be the same, it changes how you want to walk to different notes.
I found using strings in pairs of 2 worked really well for me because I had 2 strings and could at least get a partial chord of the same sound easily if I wanted a thicker sound. Even a 3/3 split was great for this. For things like ambient soundscapes, where you are REALLY making a full guitar sound, splitting the different notes really allows to thicken the sound in interesting ways without smearing everything like you normally do, or making an artificial cut-off that is just frequency based and not string based.
The ability to generate complex voicing is just so different, because in the past, a lot of effects processors basically use your guitar string as an envelope and some poor pitch detection. Then, you slowly play inside this “synth to guitar” like environment where you sacrifice the things that make guitar beautiful to basically “Vocoder” a synth sound.
But with this system, it’s just not that. Each string gets to do whatever you want, and while overwhelming at first, you start to see that something as simple as a chord or strum becomes so much more expressive.
About Rick Burnett and Erogenous Tones:
Erogenous Tones is an audio/video hardware and software company founded by Rick Burnett in 2015 to pursue his passions as an electrical engineer and musician. After being introduced to the Eurorack modular format at Moogfest 2012, his interest was drawn towards participation in the modular community – leading him to collaborate with Andrew Morelli and Steady State Fate on his first modular offering ‘GateStorm’, an advanced gate generator module. The mission of Erogenous Tones is the continual development and production of interesting and novel Eurorack module designs.