Pittsburgh Modular Releases Scary Modules

US Series #4 of their Safari Series: The Wolf, A Filter of Crows, and Dynamics Controller Bat      03/05/22

Pittsburgh Modular Releases Scary Modules

Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers has released Series #4 of their Safari Series Eurorack format modules. This is the story in their own words...

Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers is heavily invested in continuous research and development into discrete component driven analog synthesis.

Coupling Michael Johnsen and Richard Nicol's research with modern components that have stricter tolerances and smaller footprints, they are endeavoring to develop interesting new instruments that are also providing solutions to issues that have plagued legacy designs.

The Safari Series provides users with an advanced preview of innovative new concepts stemming from their research and design process.

Series #4 of the Safari Series, affectionately nicknamed "The Scary Series", is comprised of the following 3 modules, The Wolf, A Filter of Crows, and Dynamics Controller Bat.

A Filter of Crows

A Filter of Crows is a unique filter module that builds on the concept of the highly sought-after Safari Series #1 module, "Crow". It combines three Pittsburgh-designed 100% analog technologies.

Ultra-high-gain preamp:
The first is an ultra-high-gain preamp circuit. The preamp, taken directly from the original Crow offers a unique up to 75x of variable gain overdrive. This circuit provides unmatched dimensions of overdrive without sounding harsh. Additionally, the circuit can be completely bypassed to allow for a completely clean exploration of the other aspects of the module.  

PGH Filter:
Next is a 12db State Variable "no-dead-spot" Filter, The classic PGH Filter with manually selectable and stackable filter responses. Lowpass, bandpass, and highpass filter responses can be enabled or disabled individually for instant parallel processing.

The PGH filter has been continually refined over the last 12 years of research and altered to fit the demands of each system that it has been a part of. One of its unique defining characteristics is its ability to offer a complete sweepable range without any noticeable dead spots. Dead spots are uneven / muted portions of the swept range due to non-linearities in the circuitry.  The PGH filter has no noticeable dead spots and is voiced to interact well with the high-gain preamp circuit. The result is a rich, even, fully sweepable range.

Resonant Stability Circuit:
Lastly is Pittsburgh's Resonant Stability Circuit. This circuit enables the PGH filter to provide near-infinite resonance without slipping into self-oscillation, unless the user wants it to. Set to stable, Crows will not self-oscillate. It operates as a clean, organic filter. Set to unstable mode, the character of Crows changes dramatically. At normal settings, the incoming signal modulates the self-oscillating filter to produce harmonically complex sounds. In more extreme settings, Crows will start to struggle with controlling the oscillating resonance, adjusting the resonance shifts from ringing fuzz to heavy distortion to an extremely musical total failure.

The Wolf

The Wolf is a Channel Strip VCA designed to improve and provide more control over any input source. It does this through another three unique circuits.

Wolf Preamp
The Wolf's Preamp is a custom preamplifier with variable gain control shifts between .5x and 7x gain followed by a soft-clipping limiter. The soft-clipping limiter is a way to control the amplitude of the signal while avoiding harsh distortion. Depending on how hard it is pushed, the results of running a signal through this circuit range from fully transparent to warm saturation to overdrive.

Wolf three-stage Semi-Parametric 15db EQ
The Wolf also has a three-stage Semi-Parametric 15db EQ featuring sweeping low and mid-range channels, as well as a fixed frequency high shelf. The EQ section is followed by an additional soft-clipping limiter identical to the one in the preamp. This evens out the signal keeping the audio sounding smooth.

Wolf VCA
The Wolf's VCA is a low noise, high quality, linear voltage controlled amplifier with both manual level and CV attenuator controls.

No channel Strip would be complete without metering. Wolf's LED Meter provides Green, Yellow, and Red LEDs for fun and informative listening. Located after the EQ and before the VCA in the signal path, the LEDs offer useful insight into the audio signal.

 Dynamics Controller Bat

Both a resonant filter and a VCA, the Pittsburgh Modular Dynamics Controller Bat is a modern reinterpretation of Don Buchla's famous "lowpass" gate.

Unlike a VCA, which simply changes the loudness of the sound without modifying the harmonic content, the lowpass gate circuit uniquely simulates the characteristics of how sounds interact in natural environments.

When used in lowpass gate mode, louder sounds contain more harmonic content and quieter sounds contain less harmonic content. The result is a more organic, complex, and rounded sound.

Don Buchla's original lowpass gate (LPG) was limited to a static response time that varied from unit to unit. For better or worse, this made each lowpass gate a little different. Pittsburgh's research that has made its way into the Dynamics Controller Bat solves this issue. It modernizes Don Buchla's concept by adding a unique voltage controllable response curve and variable resonance to the lowpass gate. This allows for all the sonic depth of the LPG while providing the same kind of sustain control offered by a more traditional VCA. The resulting Pittsburgh innovation is the best of both worlds, natural and alive sound, that's completely controllable.

Richard Nicol Live Stream on May 3rd

Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizer founder Richard Nicol will be hosting a live stream on the Pittsburgh Modular YouTube page at 8 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) USA time. He will be discussing the technology & research behind these three Safari modules, demoing their capabilities, as well as hosting a Q/A session. A recording of the live stream will be posted afterward to the Pittsburgh Modular YouTube page.

Pricing and Availability:
"Scary" Safari Series #4 is available now and is exclusively available from pittsburghmodular.com. Only 200 pieces of Filter of Crows, 200 pieces of The Wolf Channel Strip VCA, and 250 pieces of Dynamics Controller Bat modules will be made available for purchase.

More information:


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