New Module: Rabid Elephant NATURAL GATE

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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JES
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Post by JES » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:52 pm

I know this isn’t the point of the thing, but how does it sound as a low pass filter? Can it be used that way like some of the other LPGs? Thanks.
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Post by PM33AUD » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:10 pm

JES wrote:I know this isn’t the point of the thing, but how does it sound as a low pass filter? Can it be used that way like some of the other LPGs? Thanks.
It can! It is -12dB/oct slope with zero resonance (resonance on LPG doesn't sound natural to us) with some minor 'VCA' action. That being said, NG is almost entirely 'filter' than 'VCA.' This balance was determined empirically, by listening. The desired result ended up being mostly filter. And while the filter is rather basic in nature, we use really good parts - even the ones the size of grains of sand. Thin film resistors for excellent linearity, quality caps, and op amps with distortion too low to measure. These op amps also feature rail to rail IO so you will get nearly 4V additional headroom over pretty much any other op amp used in any electronic instrument you own.

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Post by PM33AUD » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:16 pm

concretic wrote:
PM33AUD wrote:
concretic wrote:guys you really did a great job with this one. i am definitely going to get one and test it out. there is just one idea: jacks could be in the upper part and faders down. at least that is logical layout for my brain. i mean these faders works as a mixing tool too..
i will switch the module upside down for this application and place it in lowest horizontal control row in my system. is there any mod to flip the faders?
Thanks for your positive comment. We are always looking at our modules now in context of the whole RE system. From this module onwards, anything that goes in the bottom row gets jacks on top and anything in the top rows (tuning/tweaking/setting/basic playing) gets jacks on bottom. NG will go in the top row for our system - the highly playable bits we're working on are much more instrument like and not just faders, etc. So when we look at these components together, it makes a lot of sense what goes where. That being said, this is modular so we understand folks will be doing whatever they see fit! But far as flipping the directions you would have to either 1) making an interface UI board/manual wiring or 2) redoing the whole PCB (which we cannot do). The PCB is 4 layer and high density with SSOP and 0402 parts. About 350 of them! So it wouldn't be super DIY friendly but surely not impossible if you really wanted to do something like option 1).
Oh wow, thank you, that is a thorough answer. Okay than, looks like manual wiring is simplest way to go (i got some diy skills), anyway I will try to learn to use it how it is and see how it works out.

btw that is a lot of parts for a LPG, can't wait for these boards to see them with my own eyes.
Most of our modules end up using a lot of parts. Haha, each LED in our Knobs module requires about 40 total components so that there is zero ground/rail disturbance current that might get cross-coupled into a close audio signal.

If you do take the back panel off (read our Warranty policy), as I'm sure I can't stop everyone from doing, please use the correct bit, which will be a PH1-50. The Wera part number would be 851/4-J. These screws are installed with a proper torque with a production driver so make sure you install them with the correct torque so they do not vibrate loose. The screws are very small but do not assume the correct bit is small too! If you don't want to risk damaging the module/your warranty (the cover is there for a reason!), I can simply send you picture of what it looks like without the cover :) But whatever gives you pleasure!

guestt

Post by guestt » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:00 pm

Big ups for Rabid Elephant, I have Knobs, it's a brilliant module and this looks like it is following the same very high standards.

I agree that it sounds absolutely amazing - congratulations on developing this, I wish you every success.

Also, really excited to hear the bus board is becoming reality. I sincerely hope this catches on as it will improve the one area of Eurorack I think everyone agrees needs improvement.

Kudos to PM33AUDfor taking the risk with this. It's not a small thing, non-standard connectors are inevitably going to be a concern for some folk. I admit I wasn't convinced at first, but having used knobs with the new connector without any issue I can vouch for the inherent compatibility (just pay attention as always!) and am sure once the bus boards are available other manufacturers will follow suit, at least, I hope they do, it's a vast improvement. I guess swapping old modules out is never going to happen, but any new projects would be wise to adopt these new connectors. For the transition period I'll be happy to use converter cables where needed.

Metaphorically speaking, I'll be first in line for the new bus boards.

:cloud:

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Post by starthief » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:17 pm

So much attention to detail, I feel like some of my other modules don't deserve to be in the same rack :hihi:

I was kind of skeptical of the power thing too; I have that exact bus board shown in the video but mounted upside-down, as well as a couple of flying bus cables still. It's going to be a bit inconvenient to not be able to connect it by feel, and I hope it stays securely attached to the IDC header while upside-down. It'll probably be fine though.

Depending on price, compatibility with existing power cables or cost of replacing them, etc. I could see getting one or two of these bus boards to eliminate the rest of my flying bus cables. 8-)

guestt

Post by guestt » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:20 pm

starthief wrote:Depending on price, compatibility with existing power cables or cost of replacing them, etc. I could see getting one or two of these bus boards to eliminate the rest of my flying bus cables. 8-)
I think a lot of smart thinking folk will... imagine never having to worry about misalignment ever again - yes please!

It's such a brilliant leap of faith :)

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Post by Funky40 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:00 pm

Your descriptions sound awesome.
much appreciated that you take the time, PM33AUD !

first time GAS since a looooong time. ........HUGE GAS :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:
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Post by osyrus11 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:35 pm

JES wrote:I know this isn’t the point of the thing, but how does it sound as a low pass filter? Can it be used that way like some of the other LPGs? Thanks.

We use it for Low Pass Filter duties alllllllll the time, it can go from brassy to soft and muted etc., depending on the the high frequency content of whatever you're passing through it, You can use the "ctrl" input with nothing patched into "hit" to offset the OPEN level (and this is pre E.G. as explained above, so "decay" setting will still apply) You can hear Natural Gate bite into it in a really satisfying way. We'll be posting examples showcasing this sort of thing soon :)

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jonkull
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Post by jonkull » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:45 pm

PM33AUD wrote:Also! For those that will be getting their Natural Gates soon, you will discover a different power scheme.
Looks like a cool module but eurorack already has a power standard. What's the advantage of not using a standard 16 pin header? Aren't you risking people plugging these in incorrectly when the pins don't match up?
If only someone would invent a synth that would allow the end user to determine the functionality. You could pick which functions were important to you in 'modules'. A 'modular', if you will. - Stretta

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PM33AUD
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Post by PM33AUD » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:55 pm

jonkull wrote:
PM33AUD wrote:Also! For those that will be getting their Natural Gates soon, you will discover a different power scheme.
Looks like a cool module but eurorack already has a power standard. What's the advantage of not using a standard 16 pin header? Aren't you risking people plugging these in incorrectly when the pins don't match up?
The advantages are longer life, lower losses, it's keyed, latching, and fully shrouded. The disadvantages? Higher cost. I am not calling 'plugging it in wrong' on the dirty end as I call it a disadvantage because of how the 'standard' you speak of is (or isn't) implemented - it leaves a similar risk I full well know judging from how many modules I have in my 'fix' pile. The standard doesn't even *demand* shrouded headers are used!

The 100% solution uses a correct connector on both ends but you have to buy and install (a much, much better) distribution board we will release at some point. This adapter I ship is only for typ. euro distro schemes to my modules and is the 50% solution, admittedly, but still better than ribbons. So it's part of a bigger plan to reduce noise and increase longevity and reliability in eurorack. But it's all backwards compatible with these cables so everybody should be happy - even me!

Anywhoo, not really much point in debating this... I will never use ribbon cables as the primary power cable on my modules. I've looked at enough of the pros-cons and the pros outweigh the cons on this one!

:party:

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Post by Turboblast » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:10 pm

Yayyy! Someone is finally adressing LED bleed issues!

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Jari Jokinen
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Post by Jari Jokinen » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:22 am

Natural sound and apparently no bleed! I hope this will be converted to MU.

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Post by strange tales » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:06 pm

Got to spend a short amount of time with this today (pulled a muscle in my neck so movement = pain), but this thing is wonderfully expressive. Akemie's Castle sounded so alive through this.

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Post by funkyjunky » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:46 pm

The module is AWESOME :rock:
Looks like it's in my wish list already :yay:
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Post by PM33AUD » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:42 pm

strange tales wrote:Got to spend a short amount of time with this today (pulled a muscle in my neck so movement = pain), but this thing is wonderfully expressive. Akemie's Castle sounded so alive through this.
So glad to hear! We love the ALM voices... we have the AT and DT and love how NG processes them. The Castle is on my short list! And FYI, I did consider a personal delivery of your module but someone warned me that could come off a bit creepy :despair: :ripbanana: :miley:

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Post by NewNewRon » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:30 pm

strange tales wrote:Got to spend a short amount of time with this today (pulled a muscle in my neck so movement = pain), but this thing is wonderfully expressive. Akemie's Castle sounded so alive through this.
Mine just arrived too, but my Akemie's is awaiting a new case so instead A/B Natural gate with Optomix with DPO and STO. My expectations were high for this module and they are already surpassed. I'm actually feeling slightly sad that my 6 year love affair with Optomix may be over....

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Post by Hovercraft » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:27 pm

Natural Gate arrived today--just as I was leaving the house to work on a project. Got back tonight and was running some straightforward tests with an Octone-sequenced Z3000 oscillator. I tried the square wave out and a sine wave with some waveshaping. The range of timbres and sounds out of the Natural Gate is impressive--plucked strings, blocks, metal chimes, kicks, leads, bass lines. The controls maximize the playability. The internal enevelopes triggered by the hit input are awesome--haven't had a chance to try my own envelopes yet. Happy to use NG as a combination filter/envelope/vca.

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Post by Funky40 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:18 am

i wonder how cool the Natural Gate is on gating some FM-modulation VCO ?


looking forward to get the NG + the E370 sometimes this month !
hope i don´t need a second NG for the FM. oh well, i hope i will............ :lol:


Signal Sounds UK was btw. a pleasure to deal with !
shipping to swiss is very reasonable
For sale:........it won´t sell, so i stopp bother you ;)

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Post by PM33AUD » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:50 am

Glad those who've fired Natural Gate up are enjoying them!

Some tips are in the manual once you get a hang of the basics. While we've musically constrained Natural Gate, there are lots of little nuances that are highly musical. Using CTRL with HIT, adjusting CTRL bias, and the differences between CTRL and OPEN which are outlined in the manual. And of course, the 'memory' in the softer material settings (OR! reduce CTRL) with longer decay times.

Another thing we have been doing to even moreso promote 'resonant' behaviour is to slightly bias CTRL positive past zero or bias OPEN slightly past full closed. It's of note that 'closed' is just a non-infinite attenuation (as with anything that 'shuts off'). So you can get away with quite a bit of bias in some applications and this extends even further the ringing out. I'll try and keep tabs on this thread and post small tips as applicable.
Funky40 wrote:i wonder how cool the Natural Gate is on gating some FM-modulation VCO ?

looking forward to get the NG + the E370 sometimes this month !
hope i don´t need a second NG for the FM. oh well, i hope i will............ :lol:

Signal Sounds UK was btw. a pleasure to deal with !
shipping to swiss is very reasonable
NG envelopes have been the only envelopes I like to use anymore but that's rather subjective. But I use them for FM, filtering, EG, etc. So much so that I've already started a new EG module featuring these envelopes but with variable attack (which NG is nearly zero attack). Also going to revisit the whole 'ADSR paradigm' and update it for the future. Or so I hope :) Never got on with ADSRs.

Not that this is a Buchla 'anything', but in that system, you would use LPGs for modulation probably more than actually passing audio through them.

As an aside and little bit of a related 'what's to come' Natural Gate has inspired us to make our own drum voices - we have a wonderful and new sounding kick nearly finished and HH/Cym started. A bit tired of the 808/909 clones, etc. For those with Natural Gates, use the OUT to LPF FM input and adjust FM scale for some excellent kick FM'ing that really sounds special to us.

Jason at Signal Sounds is such a great guy and a real pleasure to work with. Schneiders has also been just as great and are a sort of a standard as far as retailers are concerned!

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Post by PM33AUD » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:55 am

Here is some work experimenting with NG in the earlier stages of development. The track has probably 'gone full modular' as we call it :doh: but showcases VHF chimey bits as processed by Natural Gate:

[video][/video]

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Post by buzzbuzz » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:00 pm

I first learned of natural gate after downloading the manual for knobs a couple months back and have been excited for it's release since.

I've spent the majority of the day running NG in various configurations (serial/parallel/envelopes/am) and I can say with great certainty that it has more than exceeded my expectations. The expressiveness and consideration in design is simply astonishing.

I'm not really a doubles guy but damn.

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Post by starthief » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:25 pm

PM33AUD wrote:I've already started a new EG module featuring these envelopes but with variable attack (which NG is nearly zero attack). Also going to revisit the whole 'ADSR paradigm' and update it for the future. Or so I hope :) Never got on with ADSRs.
Interesting :mrgreen: I've gone through many different Eurorack envelopes in the past year, and I'm finally at a point where I feel pretty good about the set I have. But then I was pretty happy with my Sputnik QVCFA until I played with Natural Gate, so I look forward to things being disrupted again. :hihi:

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Post by phosfiend » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:11 pm

This module totally fills a hole in my system, been eying the Sputnik QVCFVCA & maybe an Optomix as almost solutions, but this looks and sounds perfect.

Ballpark shipping to North America? Anyone got one in Canada yet?
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Post by PM33AUD » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:34 pm

Just a quick heads-up: I am almost out of stock on these. Signal Sounds and Schneiders should still have some left and I'm sending more over. We've already started on the next batch but it will several months before they are available again
phosfiend wrote:This module totally fills a hole in my system, been eying the Sputnik QVCFVCA & maybe an Optomix as almost solutions, but this looks and sounds perfect.

Ballpark shipping to North America? Anyone got one in Canada yet?
Shipping is between 30-40.
Last edited by PM33AUD on Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by starthief » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:38 pm

My NG just arrived and I don't think I've ever fallen in love with a module so quickly. :tu:

It's beautiful to look at, feels good to play, offers a lot of control and sounds great.

It plays well with other envelopes if you want to use them, but except for slow attacks, I'll stick with its internal envelopes. You can mult a gate to both Ctrl and Hit to get a wide variety of decay-sustain-decay envelopes.

One quirk: with no input, even with Open and Ctrl at minimum and no envelope active, it has a positive DC bias of about .072V to .108V depending (oddly enough) on the Decay slider. It can be an issue with some other VCAs and modulation inputs unless you can offset it. I think for the few times when I want to use it that way, rather than using both channels for the fantastic LPGs, I don't really have a problem with that :D

phosfiend wrote:This module totally fills a hole in my system, been eying the Sputnik QVCFVCA & maybe an Optomix as almost solutions, but this looks and sounds perfect.
I replaced a Sputnik with a Natural Gate and Dynamix, and have no regrets. (With one vanilla linear VCA for AM and other things, a Sinclastic Empulatrix for the weird chiptuney clipping as it closes, which I might not keep long-term, and a couple floating passives that usually act as gates for modulation.)

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