At a glance
- Organismic semi-modular drum machine
- Alligator clip and binding post patching interface
- Four unique drum voices: BD, BASS, SD, and HHT
- Unique four-channel tape looper-style sequencer
- "Shaos" pseudo-random voltage generator with multiple step lengths
- Digital delay and reverb effects with CV over most parameters, including DSP clock rate
- Facilitates circuit bending using internal and external connections
- Deep MIDI integration: MIDI learn on many drum parameters, MIDI pitch tracking on BASS voice, four assignable MIDI-to-CV converters
- Internal or external clock with 7 unique clock divisions
- Optional distortion on final output
- Main output volume control
The Soma Pulsar-23 reimagines the world of analog drum machines with its ingenious design. It's a semi-modular instrument that you can start using right away, no patching required. However, its extensive interconnectivity capabilities open up a world of sonic and rhythmic experimentation and discovery.
A Flourish of Connectivity: The Pulsar-23 introduces a unique method of making connections, using alligator clips and binding posts instead of the usual ⅛” and ¼” cables. This system offers unmatched flexibility, allowing multiple cables to connect to the same post while encouraging tactile interactions through binding post connections using your fingers.
Surprisingly, many binding posts can serve as both inputs and outputs, enabling signals to blend automatically. This enables simultaneous clock and modulation signals to create intricate and interconnected relationships, aptly termed "Organismic" by the designer.
Powerful Sound Options: The Pulsar-23 comprises four distinct voices, each designed for specific purposes:
BD (Bass Drum): Tailored for crafting analog bass drums, this section includes Pitch and Tune controls, as well as a Drive unit for shaping waveforms, offering a wide range of sounds from subtle to gritty industrial tones.
BASS: This voice features a comprehensive subtractive mono synth section with waveform selection and a low-pass filter. It can also transform into an additional percussion instrument with a simple switch.
SD (Snare Drum): Designed for snare drums and clap applications, this section offers a band-pass filter, clap control, and traditional analog snare adjustments.
HHT (High Hat): Utilizes white noise as its primary sound source and a high-pass filter to control tonality.
Each voice has dedicated Attack and Decay parameters with independent binding posts for modulation between voices. FX controls allow you to assign each voice to the DSP Reverb and Delay section.
Additional sound-shaping capabilities are provided by the distortion module on the master, allowing control over Drive intensity and a Mix knob for selecting the amount of dry signal to pass through. The DSP Delay and Reverb section adds depth and space, offering various delay options and a reverb with a "hall" sound. These effects can be used independently or in series, with numerous modulation controls via the binding posts.
Sequencer: The Pulsar-23 introduces a novel approach to sequencing, departing from the conventional step sequencer in favor of a tape loop-inspired method. This innovative approach allows you to effortlessly record sound events, reacting to both start time and length.
These "loops" offer exceptionally high resolution, injecting a human touch into your compositions. Each voice features its rhythmic quantizer to synchronize with a chosen grid. Furthermore, an internal memory stores four banks of four sequences for easy recall.
The device's robust MIDI integration enables you to assign MIDI messages to drum parameters through the Learn function or one of the four MIDI to CV binding posts. Notably, the Bass voice can be entirely controlled via MIDI, enabling precise pitch tracking across five octaves for external keyboard playability.
External clocking is achievable through MIDI and an analog clock for seamless synchronization with external devices. Internal and external clocks can be divided into seven distinctive clock divisions, providing versatile triggers for inputs, LFO synchronization, and more. Patching clock divisions between themselves creates unique swing patterns, and modulation of clock sync can be achieved by controlling the LFO frequency with an external CV.
SHAOS: As if the Pulsar-23's capabilities weren't enough, the SHAOS module adds an extra layer of unpredictability. It harnesses a pseudo-random voltage generator powered by shift registers and a sample and hold circuit, producing sequences of stepped voltages. SHAOS offers three modes: 1-bit mode with two states, 2-bit mode with four states, and 3-bit mode with eight states. Users can select the length of the pseudo-random sequencer from 63, 16, or 217 modes.
A Plethora of Utilities: In addition to its core functions, the Pulsar-23 offers a range of utilities typically found in traditional modular systems. These include four attenuators for fine-tuning parameters, and the VCA accepts both audio and CV signals, allowing for dynamic variation. With eight 1/8” to binding post adapters and six 1/4” to binding posts, it facilitates seamless bidirectional communication with modular systems.
Supplementing these utilities are CV-controllable inverters, gate-controlled electronic switches, triggered impulse generators, and a wealth of features waiting to be explored within this extraordinary machine.