Hi! My name is Heikki and I’m from a new manufacturer called Supercritical Synthesizers. We started this as a hobby project with two other people (including our engineering genius Timo, tisaalho on MW) almost two years ago and now we decided to release it to public. The first product is the Demon Core Oscillator and accompanying it is the Demon Core Expander module.
The product itself is an oscillator, a digitally controlled one. But it is way much more. It has 16 configurable voices and some snake charming skills to control all the waves’ phases. It also might solve the long ongoing question of polyphony and paraphony in the eurorack context. We did label it as an oscillator while it wears the hats of: 1) An oscillator 2) A full synthesizer voice 3) Paraphonic sound generator to be sculpted with other modules. I believe the weirdest uses for this machine are yet to come. It surprises me every time I turn it on.
The main module makes the sound and has some traditional oscillator controls with some and-then-some. It has coarse and fine tuning with a handy indicator for concert pitch. The waves we’re dealing with are saw and pulse with PWM. The patty of this burger is that the 16 voices can be stacked in unison and/or in octave stacks. Picture a six octave stack of two oscillators each, I have no idea what to do with it. That’d be your job.
The timbral cheese comes from the spread and core stability control. Spread is a static spread (detune) and will adjust from a clockwork Juno via a creamy supersaw to a jazz player having a very bad day. Core stability is our drift control. Having played a couple of Jupiter 8’s and Timo having a dreamy OB-Xa we are fans of the VCO drift. The drift can be set from accurate modern poly drift to a broken and wandering VCO. Slightly below the middle is our favorite lush and pillowy 80’s-big-poly-machine-territory. This is the feature we crafted with care. FM, PWM, spread and stability have CV’s with offsets so you don’t need attenuverters if you don’t want to.
The bun this burger’s wrapped in is the concept of polyphony. The expander introduces us to polyphony. Connected, we can now allocate the voices to stacks, octaves and polyphony. 8x2, 16x1, 3x5. Decide on a polyphony, max the stack and divide to octaves. It’s entirely your choice. 4x4 is cool. Having four Mono/Poly oscillator setups in 20hp. It’s our favorite. We had this minimal setup in mind where the DCO would serve as the sound source and you can route it through your favorite filter modulated by an envelope and make your own tiny poly machine. I’m actively playing it in my band with the incredible Mutable Instruments Ripples filter as a poor man’s Jupiter 8. The Doepfer SEM filter is also delicious with this.
MIDI. The expander provides us with a midi interface with TRS-jacks. Midi in and a mirrored thru are accompanied with a convenient gate out. The expander has a gate switch which switches between a constant stream of sound and a gated mode. The gate mode is a polyphonic gating mode with ADSR-envelope for each allocated voice. The gate out has also a cool retrig for maximum searing funk. The DCO can played like a proper polyphonic keyboard. You don’t need extra 16 VCAs. The polyphony can be also controlled from the four FM inputs (with a global attenuator which has 1V/oct when full). We also hid some easter eggs with alternative CV modes for these four inputs.
The time sync thing: We encountered this anomaly by an accident in early dev stages. It was quite unusual so we decided to have controls for it. Since we know the phases of the waves, we start from stacked unison oscillators having all waves in the same phase. Over time the phases spread when the spread control is slightly opened. This causes a enveloped flanging effect which can be used as a thick bass sound or some flanging pads. Or something entirely else, we don’t know. It can be triggered via the main module sync trig jack or the midi note. The expander provides us also a time control which adjusts the time of the waves when they sync phases from past to future. Time travel’s always cool.
There’s a huge amount of options in this, we know. Some of them exist behind some button combos, but we tried to streamline it a bit. There’s no menu diving. There’s a magic combo to reset the module to get Dorothy and Toto back to Kansas. To trim the hedge between you and the music you can play a couple minutes’ WAV file to the FM input from your mobile phone to update the firmware updates enhancing the UI and fixing bugs in the future.
Main module tech specs:
- 12hp, skiff friendly with 25mm depth.
120mA +12V and 20mA -12V
16 configurable voices (octave, stacks)
Saw and pulse waves with PWM ranging from 0-100%
Coarse tune for 6 octave range with half-step increments
Fine tune for ± half step range
A blinking tuning indicator for finding C note in every octave and A440 fine tuning
1V/oct master pitch CV
Linear FM CV (±8V) with attenuator
Combined Spread / PWM CV (±8V) with offset function
Stability CV (±8V) with offset function
Trigger input for synchronizing the phases for all waves
Mono audio output
A function (shift) button to do magic for different controls!
Software updates via audio
Secure shrouded power connector with a supplied power cable
- 8hp, skiff friendly with 25mm depth.
Powers from main module, connects via supplied ribbon cable
Connected, the oscillator draws now 130mA +12V and 30mA -12V
MIDI interface with bipolar TRS-connector
MIDI thru, polarity set with jumpers on the back
MIDI channel learn function with pitch bend setting
Gate output, 5v 4ms trigger in retrig
Configurable polyphony, ADSR envelope for each voice
Four pitch CVs (±8V) with global attenuator
Control for phase sync timing
We’re still working on the website, price and distribution but we hope to release them in a week or so.
If you’re reading this far, thanks. We’re very enthusiastic about this. Ping me or Timo in this thread if you want to know more. Timo will talk for days about the technology.
Oh by the way. All of the sound coming out of the module is analog and we’re making this in Finland. Aliasing fans, sorry.
The 16 voice Demon Core Oscillator and Expander are available in May-June 2019 and the prices are: 16 Voice Demon Core Oscillator: 490€, Demon Core Expander: 280€ incl. VAT. US prices will be similar and be announced soon.
The DCO and Expander will be distributed by Alex4.
A teaser video of the Demon Core Oscillator on YouTube:
Demon Core Oscillator sound samples on Soundcloud: