Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

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hzzzu
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Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by hzzzu » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:19 am



“We have it.”

Some of you might’ve seen our Superbooth HE interview with Sonic State about this filter. Now we’re releasing it.

Specs for TL;DR

SUPERCRITICAL SYNTHESIZERS
Neutron Flux
8 Pole Variable Character Filter

12hp / 25mm deep / 150mA +12V / 120mA -12V
Analog stereo filter with digital control.
4 pole stereo / 8 pole mono
Traditional filter ui with cutoff, bipolar FM, resonance, mode controls with CV.
Analog CV for FM and 1V/oct.
Pole control.
Variable character control with five classic characters: Fat, Crisp, Liquid, Sour and Mean.
Stereo control for inducing drift and offset for widening mono into wide stereo image.
Drive control with a boost function to overdrive the filter by 20dB.
Firmware updates via audio.
Two user banks and character upload via audio coming in further firmware updates.

It’s priced at 495€ and we’re aiming to ship in October 2020. Ask your favorite synth dealer!

NeutronFluxFront_small.jpg

And now the story behind it.

The development started right after the Demon Core Oscillator which we put out last year. Well actually the first prototype of the filter core was made on a DIY synth voice Timo made roughly five years ago. It was a single four-pole filter which had the analog circuitry and digital control over some parameters and connections in and out. At some point we accidentally ran the input a bit too hot and immediately thought that we should try this out as an eurorack module. Why not! But the question was how to capture the core’s capabilities in a smart package. And which features to supercharge?

Digital control, Analog heart. That’s the way we tend to go. All analog signal path and full analog, fast and deep FM. Everything else can be controlled digitally. They’re very quick too.

At some point we had a 4 pole module in mind with a screen. Planning the menu UI turned out to be very complex for our taste. We decided to minimise the “digital” UI and add a variable character control. One knob which would transform the feel of the filter. Otherwise the filter should just have a familiar classic UI. No menu diving, just tactile controls. It has only two buttons. Or one pole switch and one powerful multifunctional Button to use the digital stuff. I just HAD to name it “Button”.

What about the supercharged features then? The overdrive characteristic which we discovered by accident was too good not to use. Why not overdo it? Let’s borrow something from the guitar amp world. We’d want a distortion channel behind a toggle switch. Something to separate the drive control to have two different ranges. One for a clean volume control and one ranging up to hard distortion. We also wanted the distortion to have a tight low end so it would serve the frequency spectrum a bit better. It’s a +20dB boost we’re talking about.

Make it stereo. Why not add a second four pole filter core and make the whole crazier? We did. We took a little bit of a different path from the usual “dual VCF” one in the modular world. We wanted it to be easy stereo. This way it could be easily used as a stereo in, stereo out device. One cutoff for both. Analog filtering in a tiny 12hp device which fits almost anywhere. Now the stereo thing serves a couple of other use cases. They can be internally chained in mono 8 pole (48dB/oct) configuration. That’s a steep one. No hassle with syncing two cutoffs and other settings. And this works in all of the different characters in the classic bank.

There’s also an entirely different use for the stereo thing. This came from the synth patch in Rush’s Tom Sawyer. The filter closes at different rates in LR. Of course that’s eight voices of OB-X in unison but we thought that a stereo topology could do something like that. We included a stereo control. It combines ideas from the Demon Core’s spread and stability controls. It induces static and drifting instabilities between left and right cores and the effect can be used for spreading a mono signal to binaural. Even when using a single envelope or LFO. Also when splitting mono into stereo and driving the cores hard, both sides distort separately. If they’re driven into instability, the difference between left and right is huge.

The topology also provides certain quirky tricks. The drive boost circuits are separate so you can, say first run four poles clean and in the middle of the filter run a boost before the last four poles. For an acidic squelchy patch, use the first side lightly driven in LP mode and then run the second core in flat mode with distortion. This is built-in to the 6 pole slot in the Sour character. That’s one alternative to using a silver box and an orange distortion pedal.

Oh, the characters! Variable, blendable characters.

This is not a 1:1 replica, clone thing of anything vintage and classic. Neither is it a digital modelling device. We think the IR3109s and CEM3320s rule on their own. But something we want to provide you with this module is an easy way to induce certain familiar characteristics. The small nuances that make the classic filters tick. For instance liquid, squelchiness, thick and warm tones. We’ve provided a (green) factory bank of five classic characters. Fat, Crisp, Liquid, Sour and Mean. Some of these contain little hints of the legendary circuits we look up to. This is only to provide a base camp. You can always climb down for a warm night with a laddery Fat patch. Or blend between it and screamy Mean. As I said before, no modelling here. Selecting a character changes the whole core’s functionality.

There’s something we’re still working on which we’ll try to get done before the initial release. It also might come in the first software updates (easy peasy audio update). Alongside the green bank, the module will have two user banks of five characters each. We’ll provide some weirder characters there with the firmware, maybe like formant, eq band, polyphonic quad resonant peak, phaser-like or just plain distortion modes. We have tons of ideas for filter modes.

We’re also doing a feature where you can play a very short audio clip from our website directly into the module and upload characters in the user bank slots on the go. Without cycling the power on the module. That way you can setup a bank of your favorite characters.

We're looking forward to your suggestions for interesting characters, and the best ones we'll implement and publish on our website. We’d like this device to be an evolving machine with a long future.

The circular graphic was designed by Tomi Leppänen. Aside from his amazing graphic design work, he’s a synthesizer enthusiast and an amazing drummer. You can hear his work on albums by Aavikko, Circle and K-X-P.

https://tomileppanen.com

So there we have it. A supercharged vintage filter from the future. Here’s a Soundcloud playlist featuring the filter and a short teaser video. Follow us on social media for more patch videos and other peeks behind the scenes. If you read this far, thanks. The development process has been almost as long as this text.

As with the DCO: We’re trying to do this ethical and sustainable as we can. We do our design, assembly and QC here in Finland. The packing materials are biodegradable. Me and Timo @tisaalho are here to answer your questions so please do ask or send us an email.

It’s necessary to mention that this project is a part of R&D project funded by European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund.

http://supercriticalsynthesizers.com/neutronflux/

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/supercrit ... utron-flux

https://soundcloud.com/supercritical-sy ... eutronflux



Last edited by hzzzu on Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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cackland
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by cackland » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:38 am

Interesting.... was looking for a new filter. Might have to consider this...

dimleaffall
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by dimleaffall » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:03 am

Looks and sounds fantastic. Y'all knocked it out of the park with this one. I'm gonna have to save up my pennies

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pekbro
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by pekbro » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:33 pm

Snazzy! Sounds great, might just be something I need :yay:

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by vouna » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:37 pm

exciting stuff this will definitely be on my radar. Any word on restock of demon core and expansion

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by tisaalho » Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:08 am

vouna wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:37 pm
exciting stuff this will definitely be on my radar. Any word on restock of demon core and expansion
Cool!

In the US, at least Perfect Circuit seems to have the DCO in stock, although not the expander right now. Our distributor has plenty of stock, so just keep asking your favourite retailer to stock / order them for you, they're available.

Also, if you're interested in the filter, you might want to preorder now, as the first batch will be quite small 🙂
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mvdirty
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by mvdirty » Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:46 pm

tisaalho wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:08 am
Also, if you're interested in the filter, you might want to preorder now, as the first batch will be quite small 🙂
When might the following batch be expected?

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Prunesquallor
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by Prunesquallor » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:51 am

DIY option?
If at first you don't succeed read the instruction manual.

RIP Ziggy, the companion in my avatar.

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by tisaalho » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:06 am

mvdirty wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:46 pm

When might the following batch be expected?
We hope to ship it about 6 weeks after the initial batch.
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mvdirty
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by mvdirty » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:40 pm

tisaalho wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:06 am
mvdirty wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:46 pm

When might the following batch be expected?
We hope to ship it about 6 weeks after the initial batch.
Great, thanks! That’ll be getting close to when I’m allowing myself to start shopping again. ;)

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by tisaalho » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:42 am

Prunesquallor wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:51 am
DIY option?
Sorry, no DIY planned at this stage.
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far
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by far » Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:34 am

Damn, wearing a Sunn )))) shirt in the interview makes me interested.

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by Bots » Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:14 am

Love my Demon Core and can’t wait to try this filter!!!

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by Robrecht » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:23 am

Yes, if the Demon Core is anything to go by, this will be amazing. So many clever touches, eminently playable.

hzzzu
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by hzzzu » Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:00 am

far wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:34 am
Damn, wearing a Sunn )))) shirt in the interview makes me interested.
O))) forever! Can't wait to breath the frequencies in a live situation again.

Thanks for the kind comments people!

Now that I got my video setup up n' running again, what kind of patch ideas would you be interested to see of the VCF?
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by mvdirty » Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:39 am

hzzzu wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:00 am
Now that I got my video setup up n' running again, what kind of patch ideas would you be interested to see of the VCF?
I’m sure we’d all love to hear more varieties of input fed through it with different settings but, for me, I‘m most interested in coverage of its CV control, especially for a filter like this with selectable character. Various CV inputs, individually or in combination. Stepped or smooth. Control rate through audio rate. Sequenced or random. etc. Whatever you feel best communicates the range of possibility without having to show hundreds of permutations.

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by tisaalho » Fri Sep 25, 2020 3:41 am

Thanks for all the nice comments! We were thinking of posting a little bit of a “development blog” here, just to let you guys see how things are going forward 🙂

So, we've built a module tester (officially, a "Supercritical Synthesizers Neutron Flux 8 Pole Variable Character Filter Production Test Doohickey Thingamajig Whatchamacallit", if you must know) for programming and testing the modules in production. One of the important features of the tester is a sauna, for two reasons:
  1. all Finns are born in a sauna (actually, that was true maybe 60 years ago...), and so must our modules be
  2. we want to calibrate the filter tracking at a temperature that corresponds to typical temperatures inside a eurorack case, which is quite a bit above room temperature
Now working on writing the test code that exercises all functions of the module (UI, CV’s etc is done), and then onward to code for calibrating the filter cores and the self-oscillation tempco trims.
Tester.jpeg
TesterSauna.jpeg
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hzzzu
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by hzzzu » Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:39 am

Some updates from the workshop:

We did some major work on the classic characters. The series modes on the 6 and 8 pole settings on each characters were reworked. Some interesting stuff is happening there.

- Sour mode - Since we have two filter cores, we can do some tricks here. The 303 has the usual use case that a DS-1 or a RAT is used afterwards. The 6 pole mode has a flat filter before so there's a distortion before the filter. The 8 pole mode has a flat-ish overdrive after the filter. The core acting as a normal filter can be run clean and then distorted afterwards. It gives a nice, edgy distortion.

- Fat mode - We really got some ladder-ish character on the 4 pole mode with some fine tuning. The 2 pole is just a less steep version of that. The 1 and 3 pole modes are a bit quirky. When you plug your sound source in the left input, you get a filter output from L where resonance works as usual. The right input has a duplicate of the same filtering, without the resonance. Thriller anyone?

- Liquid mode - The 8 pole mode now has a really steep-steep character. When resonance is turned down it still sounds like it has some resonance. Some bass patches we tried, were extremely punchy.

- Crisp mode - The 1 and 3 pole modes have a BP mode in the middle of the mode pot. The 2 and 4 pole modes have a notch.

It really does matter where the boost is used when the filters are wired in series. Some weird stuff happens when the first filter core is run clean, then boosted and then slammed hard into the second core. With a 48dB/oct slope it's really reckless.

The pole thing may have got a bit out of hand. The characters may now have some special stuff planted in the different pole modes but they should be easily found (and documented). The main point is that the pole switch goes from shallow to steep, from light to dramatic and the quirky stuff should not be in the way when the filter is in "normal" use.
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by elektrokick » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:08 am

The filter seems amazing. Looking to add a stereo filter to my rack hopefully by the end of this year and this is a very strong contender atm. Keep up the good work!
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by hzzzu » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:13 am

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by Ivo Ivanov » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:43 am

Nice one - keeping a very close eye on this... :sb:

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by hzzzu » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:04 am

We did some rework on the "Fat" mode. Some ladder action here!

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by Gringo Starr » Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:15 am

After watching the superbooth video the only three things I can think of is how cool their modules are, which modules I’m gonna sell and that the Finnish are the Canadians of Europe.

hzzzu wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:04 am
We did some rework on the "Fat" mode. Some ladder action here!
Sounds sweet!!! Nice! :yay:

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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by hzzzu » Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:39 am

Gringo Starr wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:15 am
After watching the superbooth video the only three things I can think of is how cool their modules are, which modules I’m gonna sell and that the Finnish are the Canadians of Europe.
That might be the nicest thing ever said.
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Re: Supercritical NEUTRON FLUX 8 Pole Variable Character Filter

Post by Gringo Starr » Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:41 pm

hzzzu wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:39 am
Gringo Starr wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:15 am
After watching the superbooth video the only three things I can think of is how cool their modules are, which modules I’m gonna sell and that the Finnish are the Canadians of Europe.
That might be the nicest thing ever said.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Canadians are the nicest people. Ive met so many over the years and all of them have been nice and very polite. It was indeed meant as a compliment.

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