Sonic LAB: Erica Synths Modular Techno System

US The ultimate modular for rhythm based music?      11/12/18
    MP4 32:18 mins    

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The Erica Synths Techno System is a 10 voice drum machine with a single monophonic bassline synthesizer in Eurorack format. The system has everything you could need to make beats and bass for the dance floor. As this is a modular drum machine, you get a lot of patch points to play with and the design of the system is well thought out.

On the top row, we have all the drum voices and the bassline synthesizer, along the bottom row we have the mixing and effects section. As it comes, everything feels like it is in the right place though of course you can move things about yourself. The sequencer is really where things start to get busy, this thing is deep and although I tried to give you an overview of what it can do, it is highly likely that I missed some things...

You can get started with the sequencer very quickly, but to get the most out of it you are really going to need to read the manual, helpfully Erica synths provide one with the system, it is also very simple to follow and use. 

The system comprises of:

  • Bassline – fully analogue synth voice module, which can be used for basslines or lead lines. The bassline sounds very good and has a wide range of acidic textures. It doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, it does what it does and it does it well....
  • Bass Drum – An absolute stomper of a kick once you get it in the mix. 909 inspired but with much more functionality and range.
  • Snare Drum – Again this is 909 inspired but gives you a lot more range, loads of snare sounds in here.
  • Toms - the module contains Low Tom, Mid Tom and High Tom, each with individual Pitch and Decay controls and outputs plus CV control, 909 toms in a modular realm. 
  • Clap - Classic sounding clap, not gonna change the world but highly functional and sounds good. 
  • Hi-Hats D – Great sounding 909 hats with some unique features which make them very useful in a live situation. 
  • Cymbals – Wicked module with loads of percussive textures available, everything from hard hitting clangerous sounds to soft whitenoise type cymbals....
  • Modulator - A useful LFO module with lots of LFO shapes, sync and ways evolving the shapes with CV inputs... 
  • Drum Sequencer - This is really the heart of the instrument, you've got a shit load of trigger and accent outputs, which are helpfully already connected to the drum modules, this is really one of the best drum sequencers out there. It has everything you would expect from a modern drum sequencer. 
  • Mixer Lite is a compact 6 input version of a Drum Mixer. Built in vactrol based compressor settings can be adjusted to a taste via trimpots through the front panel. 
  • Dual Drive features two independent distortion circuits with gain and overdrive parameters, each with three overdrive flavours. Thanks to CV inputs, it is possible to create very lively distortion and great stereo effects.
  • Dual FX combines two Spin FV-1 chips in one module, each filled with eight custom effect programs with two adjustable and CV controlled parameters per effect and analogue dry/wet circuit. The effects repertoire of the Dual FX has been specially tailored to drum sounds and all parameter settings can be saved with the effect.
  • Drum Mixer – compact, 7 input mixer of unique design provides greater dynamic range and built in vactrol based compressor for high clarity of each drum sound in the mix. The first three inputs have selectable allocation - to the Main output or Main output + Aux Send
  • Stereo Mixer comes equipped with four channel strips, each containing two inputs (L / R).Thanks to some clever routing options, mono signals can be placed nicely in the panorama as well. All four stereo channel strips feature a level potentiometer and a limiter provides protection against very hot signals.
  • LINK is the module that bridges eurorack to stage mixers — it has 5 sections that attenuate eurorack signals to line level signals and send them to 6,3mm jacks for quality connection to the performance mixer.

All of the modules in the Techno system are available separately however some of them are not quite available yet... but they will be in due course... 

Overall I would I have very much enjoyed getting to know the Erica Synths Techno System, it is billed by Erica Synths as "ultimate tool for rhythm based music production, live performances and sound design", I would say that line is correct if the music you want to make is Techno and the sound design you want to do is hard hitting... 

A pricey piece of gear but if you're gonna jump into the modular game and want to make some gnarly hard dance tunes then this could be your best weapon... 

Techno System retails at £3690/$4199/€3799

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