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Destinator - utility event field manipulation
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Aether Machine  
Author Destinator - utility event field manipulation
4 6dB/oct LP/HP filters
2 sinusoidal wavefolders
artwork teaser:

Nice! Are the wavefolders like the Gilbert ones discussed in Guest's thread?
J3RK wrote:
Nice! Are the wavefolders like the Gilbert ones discussed in Guest's thread?

They are, where they make a perfect accompaniment to the VCOs. I've implemented a "luxury" edition with true current sources for the biasing network, and the whole thing is fully temperature compensated.
I'm surprised that people aren't frothing over this. Seems like an excellent complementary module for some good old fashioned Wiarding! (and by old fashioned, of course I mean new hihi )

J3RK wrote:
I'm surprised that people aren't frothing over this. Seems like an excellent complementary module for some good old fashioned Wiarding! (and by old fashioned, of course I mean new hihi )


A few audio demos might be a good idea?

Also, I'm gonna say this and then (hides) but much as I love the panel designs in themselves, I'd want to add something to my Wiard that was more visually in keeping with the rest of it. I love the conformity of MOTM, Wiard, Serge etc and in those systems I'll probably always stick to modules that fit the aesthetic relatively seamlessly. I'm sure there are many who would strongly disagree with me, and viva la difference, but perhaps there are some who think like I do and that is a contributing factor to the lack of much deserved frothing.
It would be a great loss for existing Wiard customers not to use these modules because of a small discrepancy in aesthetics rather than because of sound, compatability or useability.
slow_riot wrote:
It would be a great loss for existing Wiard customers not to use these modules because of a small discrepancy in aesthetics rather than because of sound, compatability or useability.

I agree that I would not add this to my system because of aesthetics. I have a Chaquo that is close to the wiard look, but not quite right, and even that drives me crazy. One of the things that attracted me to the wiard was that it looks, feels, and behaves like a single instrument. I'm sure this module will be wonderful, but I too wish it was closer to the traditional wiard look.
It would be unfair to the work I have put in not to mention several things. One is that whilst these modules of course represent a large investment to the customer, the business model is not viable in the conventional sense. The R&D costs for the oscillators, for example will not be recouped (that's 4 years of my life working 6 days a week and having nothing to show for it). I cannot use distributors because the profit margins are too slim (meaning you get more for your money), and I cannot crowd fund or get bank loans in such a niche marketplace.

We spent considerable time and expense making the panels, using one of the best living graphic artists on the planet, and using an independent metalworker from within the synthesizer community. We are also stocking 2 kinds of panels, one more compatible with the Wiard blue, and one for the longer term given that it seems improbable to be able to absolutely count on the support of Wiard customers. Could I be sure if someone with the mentality of not using a musical device because something as idiosyncratic as personal aesthetics will be willing to expend the patience in learning a complicated experimental device anyway? What happens if existing Wiard modules are no longer available for sale and I have spent thousands of £s on panels to match them?

It's also worth pointing out the similarities in aesthetics, the naming conventions, fonts, the alignment legending, as well as harmony with the Wiard philosophy on a system level.
Here's how I see the aesthetic angle. If I remember correctly, both Grant and Cary have mentioned that they'd prefer people didn't make commercial panels that matched the Blue Wiard aesthetic. So right off the bat, anyone attempting to add to this much deserving format is limited in what they can do visually to something that doesn't match. For me, I'd rather have a set of modules that have their own look, than "almost match, but not quite". (as JohnnyWoods mentioned above, something that almost matches can be annoying)

What I would say, is why not start a row of non-Wiard modules. Much the way people will have a row of Blacet or a row of black Wiard 1200 in their otherwise 300-series system. That keeps things consistent within their respective rows.

Also, while the Aether Machine modules don't match in color necessarily, their layout is the same, and the quality level is what one would expect from a Wiard module.

I'm pretty OCD, and even like to match things up when possible myself. It's kind of why the only modular gear I own is something I've made myself at this point hihi but if I wanted some new functions, but they didn't match something I have, I'd simply start another box, case, row, and interconnect them that way.

Everyone has different tastes, motivations, visual symmetry obsessions, etc. I understand that. Maybe people are happy with the same six or seven modules that have always been available, (more if you can get your hands on WFC and Omni of course) and that's fine as Grant designed a well thought out system that's not really lacking a whole lot in general. However, personally, I see several ways in which this system could be bolstered. It doesn't have to go down the wild-west road like Euro, but I wouldn't classify anything on offer here as such anyway. It's obvious the same care was taken in these designs as those of Grant himself. If I could afford to buy a Wiard system in the first place (probably could if I stopped designing and building my own stuff lol ) I know I'd want a few more well thought out functions to complement Grant's already ingenious setup. A different flavor of filter (especially since the Omni is no more), some different oscillators, wavefolders, and maybe some additional logic seem like they'd fit right into the Wiard flow. Wiard was heavily influenced by Buchla IMO, and some of these features are present there.

Anyway, just a cent and a half from someone that gets all sides of this. IMO if one wants to add to the format, and put in the hard work necessary to contribute on a level that matches the already great foundation, it's a shame if nobody wants to jump in and experience it. I've actually thought about laying out a 300-format module or two myself at times, but then realized that I'd have an overwhelming urge to startup a full system to go with it. Mr. Green Dead Banana
J3RK wrote:
IMO if one wants to add to the format, and put in the hard work necessary to contribute on a level that matches the already great foundation, it's a shame if nobody wants to jump in and experience it.

My point entirely. I'm a big fan of the quality that's being aimed at here and the idea of bringing interesting new models into the format. That's why I made the suggestion - to try and offer an opinion which is probably out there (i.e. not just me that thinks it) even though it hasn't been expressed.

I totally get the idea of starting a new row as well (I've done the same in my MOTM case to house a bunch of Modcan B modules), although I would venture that you're looking at a limited audience for that as there are two modules offered currently with a standard Wiard rack frame holding six. Perhaps when Aether Machine have six modules to offer people will start to consider this, but I'm guessing that's a way in the future right now.

And on Cary's opinion on making modules that match the format, you may not have spotted that she said this a few weeks ago on the Klee thread:

Let it be known that I don't personally mind what anyone does with their DIY stuff to make it look nice with their Wiard - I'm very happy for people to do that in fact - as long as they aren't cloning things I'm trying to sell, or using logos or trademarks, because that could create confusion.

I've even done a few custom panel design jobs for people who really wanted things to match...I'm open to that. I'd say making panels to match the blue is now cool by her.

The point I'm really making is that these modules should have the widest potential audience as they look very interesting with fresh designs. Having already chosen the Wiard format to go down the customer base is pretty limited to start with when compared to Euro, MU, Serge etc, so why not try to reach out to as many of those potential customers as possible? In an ideal world, slow_riot would be able to sell a decent number of each module to fund his next idea, and even be able to make enough to dedicate his time to doing just this. Such unique panel designs (which no-one has questioned the quality of) will ultimately put some people off and that's shrunk the customer base more than necessary. I totally applaud the idea of having a corporate identity in the artwork, but perhaps working with Cary to create a panel option that blends more seamlessly with the Wiard aesthetic would be a boost to sales.
Having said that, he seems to think that me raising this point is akin to admitting to being an idiot, so maybe my opinions on this are deeply unwelcome anyway! hihi
slow_riot wrote:
Could I be sure if someone with the mentality of not using a musical device because something as idiosyncratic as personal aesthetics will be willing to expend the patience in learning a complicated experimental device anyway?
No, those are all good points. I did see that quote from Cary, but took it a different way, but I think your assessment is probably more accurate. I think it would be very cool if Cary offered Wiard-style panels, or that some agreement could be made for those that really want a matched aesthetic. I didn't mean to imply that couldn't be the case, or put words in anyone's mouths either. I just remember Grant asking that the Euro Wiard modules not be blue as one example. Then took Cary's post a bit differently than perhaps it was intended.

I also love the look of the Aether Machine modules though. I'd love to see a full row of them with oozing yellows and blues. This is fun!

I'd also be willing to bet though that the current Oscilloplasm color scheme wouldn't look as off in a sea of Wiard-blue as one might think since the knob and jack fields match. I'd think it would look more at home than a blue module that doesn't adhere to the spacing of the Wiard modules.
There are many different products out there to suit a wide range of audiences, none are perfect, and none will fulfill all the demands we place upon them, and we must accept them on their own terms. We are all free to exercise perhaps the only democratic right we now have, how we spend our money!
I think its similar to food. It can smell & taste amazing & make you feel like a kid again, but if the presentation doesnt appeal, few folks are
Gonna eat it. Do your thing Slow_Riot, I can get over my appearance preferences if the product quality warrants it, but I see how its a deal breaker for some folks.....But if one day I were to design & build a module for this format I would do my best to keep somewhat to the Wiard motif; maybe a different solid color, and/or etchings of a different styling, maybe Persian or Khmer, etc...... I personally love the uniform aesthetic of the Wiard 300 & I feel it contributes greatly to the usability of the instrument, but hey in the end its about the sound & playability. And these are Your babies, you dress em up howevr you want!
Thanks, do apologise for my strong views on this and certainly did not wish to insult anyone's intelligence, but I feel like there is something deeper than just visual aesthetics. If the change in colour is dissapointing enough to stop them being considered, then there are other things that are dissimilar to the Wiard too, and indeed dissimilar to anything else, for which expectations about specific behaviour is something that I will need to work hard to set correctly. Whilst I appreciate the candour in being given the reasons for lack of interest on a personal basis, it will take resources that I don't have to maintain support for multiple versions of the same product, the same reason was behind using bantams only. I am working on the basis that this focus brings strength.

I'm confident in the designs and ready to accept criticisms on the basis of durability, reliability, useabilty etc., and I certainly do wish to maintain compatability with the existing Wiard product line. In the case of visual aesthetics at least the compromises made to balance the needs of all relevent parties is very obvious!
From my perspective your first two models are providing something that was among some of the founding principles of the format that are now missing, well not missing, but no longer made in the format.

The Waveform City once provided the complex wave source that is key to the whole approach to synthesis that Grant seemed to want to base this synthesizer on. There's nothing wrong with the Classic VCOs IMO, but they aren't necessarily going to provide the same breadth of tones to work with. It would take two Classic VCOs, and parts of additional modules to provide what either the WFC (or in Buchla territory would be a 259, 259e, etc.) Maybe two CVCOs and a Mixolator for example.

Your Destinator goes some way to providing the sort of filtering and phase shifting that the Omni Filter used to provide as well. The Borgs (and Boogie for that matter) are great filters, but I'm of the opinion that non-vactrol based filters are nice to have too.

If I was going to buy a new Wiard system now, I'd either have to wait for one of the rarer modules to pop up used, or I'd want to find a way to get these functions into my system with new modules. Yours are already in the correct form factor, too.

Anyway, cool stuff, and if I was in a position to start a Wiard system, I'd definitely want to include these.

completely agree .. hope to buy one in the near future !


DON´T TAKE ANY OF THE CUSTOMER/NON-CUSTOMER RESPONSES PERSONAL! (me the latter for primarily monetary reasons)

On a personal base I can tell you that I have read all things on your site, and think that the work you are doing, is one of the few really groundbreaking developments in synth-world (apart from e.g. what Ian Fritz is doing for a couple of decades eek! ). I subjectivly don´t care too much for plug-in implementation in hardware etc. and am fascinated by the tides and atmospheres that happen with analogue (meaning non-software) circuitry ever since I started out on Flower Electronics.

Look at mskala and his sinelfo modul, at on point I think he was really embarrassed by the desinterest, but his idea was totally viable and actually great for space saving on a small system.

You´re a musical instrument designer/luthier and your just starting out.
You have a vision.
Don´t get derailed. Don´t take on financial risks. Don´t take pills against it.
You´re not in a hurry. And the most important thing, I believe:
Better finished than perfect, put stuff out there on it´s way.

Just my unasked for 2-cent, had to fire it out Dead Banana
Thanks so much for your supportive comments, they really go a long way.

Yes, the analogue computing modules are unique, and other than for just sound there are a range of behaviours & features that are not possible in software, so I'm confident in the work too.

Have had my eye on Mskala too recently, his new filter is the first new topology in a long time.

thanks again, hope you can enjoy the modules yourself at some point.
I suppose it wouldn't be an Aether Machine module without a total redesign following a too hasty announcement.

4 gain cells are now linear responding log antilog LM13700 VCAs, rather than the 6dB oct filters based around the THAT exponential gain cell.

This is now followed by a 2 channel utility mixer with switch per VCA channel to direct output to either bus. Each bus has a single attenuator for
master level control to prevent clipping and zener diode hard limiting.

Switched mixing is done using relays for very high off isolation and very low distortion.

Suggested uses:

Sine, Cosine and their inversions patched in quadrature as control signals will give a 4 into 1 equal power scanner.

Quadrature signal source such as primary output from VCOs patched as audio signals into the above config can be used to get 360 degrees of phasing as the scanner fades from 0° to 90° to 180° to 270° and then to 360° i.e. 0°. Note that the carrier oscillator in the VCOs generates an analytic signal, where each partial is represented truely as clusters of sines and cosines at the quadrature outputs. This is in comparison to phase shifting a triangle/saw where the phases of the partials are aligned to the phase of the fundamental, which are at a different frequency and thus the phases move at different speeds.

So by using this with the VCOs each partial the carrier oscillator generates (which are chords) can be phase shifted from 0-360° in alignment. This is very powerful.

RRP for this one will be considerably cheaper than the VCOs.
This shit is interesting. Coming from the 5U/MU world, 6U/Wiard are entirely new to me other than having witnessed their icy blue fascia in an elusive image on the interwebz. I cannot comprehend the complex intellectual science of the Aether Machine stuff, but it still seems fucking cool, refreshing, and quantum in a way (as in metaphysically). So thank you for doing cool stuff.

Perhaps I might see 6U format with 100% of the abstract inspiration but 10% of the feature set? Mr. Green
You understand it perfectly! We are dealing more with the wave side of the quantum paradigm, so hopefully existing in a relevant niche (that's what I keep telling myself in despairing moments anyway). Thanks!
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