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The 208C Stored Program Sound Source is at the Music Easel’s core. This module integrates a complex oscillator, a modulation oscillator capable of producing diverse waveforms, and a noise generator for intricate sound design. Alongside its five-stage sequencer, envelope generator, pulser, and modulation source with switchable triggers, the 208C empowers users to create intricate patterns and evolving textures. The dual low pass gate provides dynamic control over tone and amplitude, yielding decay and sustain that sound natural. Leveraging modulation sources like a random voltage generator, envelope generator, modulation oscillator, and envelope detector, musicians can modulate various parameters through the extensive patch field, introducing movement, texture, and complexity. Moreover, the 208C includes a mixer section with spring reverb for further sonic exploration.
To complement the 208C, the Music Easel Retro features the Touch Activated Voltage Source Model 218e (v3). This module, originating from the original 1973 Buchla Music Easel, boasts an intuitive piano-like key layout for seamless control. The latest iteration, the 218e (v3), integrates stable and modern electronics, providing heightened sensitivity and accuracy. Its adjustable sensor possesses a wide dynamic range and impressive durability, ensuring that even the gentlest touch triggers control voltages. The enhanced sensing capabilities and satisfying tactile experience further enhance its versatility. Adding pressure sensitivity introduces an expressive output, adding an extra layer of control.
With MIDI outputs for velocity, polyphony, and channel pressure, the 218e is a uniquely expressive controller. It also incorporates a portamento and an arpeggiator driven by external inputs, enabling interaction with automated notes to create complex patterns. Additional controls facilitate the blending of patterns and introduce randomness, resulting in surprising and unexpected outcomes. The classic preset voltage knobs offer diverse means of manipulating sounds, serving as convenient access points for voltages, arpeggiation mode control, and octave shifting. Pads on the module output pulses for further control.
Additionally, the 218e acts as an interface to play existing MIDI gear and software synthesisers, providing outputs for note names, channel pressure, and velocity for each note and sustain control from a pedal. Its polyphonic MIDI mode enables chord playing, while the touch strip can function as a pitch bend control or modulation wheel, adding enhanced expressiveness. Configuration is straightforward using the front panel controls, allowing for transmitting notes and controls on any MIDI channel.