The Moog Subharmonicon was originally seen as part of the engineers package at Moogfest some years ago. However with today's announcement we are seeing a new final release version which adds some more features to the original version.
We took it for a spin to see what we could get out of it.
The Subharmonicon is built around the idea of divisions, audio is a division of the master frequency and rhythm is a division of the master tempo. With these seemingly simple concepts we are able to create lots and lots of different variations in timbre and rhythm. It is a 2 oscillator synth with a low pass filter, two envelopes and two four stage sequencers with a poly rhythm generator for clocking the sequencers.
Each oscillator has two sub waves which are divisions of the master frequency of each VCO. The idea is that by using these divisions we are able to create chords that can then be run into the filter. The oscillators have three switchable waveforms, square waves, sawtooths and then a special PWM wave which takes the sawtooth of sub wave 1 and modulates the PWM of the master VCO. This creates an interesting harmonic over the master frequency and allows for an interesting shape.
The Sequencers are very simple in theory, you take two four stage sequencers and then clock them with four clock dividers that can be mixed to create interesting ways in which the sequencers are clocked.
The instrument has a fairly extensive patch bay which allows for lots of rerouting and patching possibilities. In this video we tried to explore this with a couple of patches that utilized the patchbay. One thing that isn't on the patchbay which we would have liked to see would be audio input into the filter.
The Subharmonicon is very simple if you take each thing in isolation however as it is presented to you in this fixed modular patch type architecture, you end up exploring the territory of the parameters you are given rather than just using it in a regular mono synth way. You can totally just use it as a simple two oscillator mono synth over midi however you would start to lose some of the eccentricities of the instrument and its design philosophy.
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