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 is a testament to innovative design, a harmonious fusion of organismic semi-modular drum machine and synthesizer components, boasting an impressive array of twenty-three independent modules. Within this intricate ensemble, you'll find four distinct drum voices, each with its unique architecture, four envelope generators, and four looper recorders, all orchestrated alongside a clock generator with dividers and a remarkably controlled chaos generator.
The true essence of the Soma Pulsar-23 lies in its ability to revolutionize the conventional paradigm of analogue drum machines. Its brilliance shines through its ingenious design. At the same time, it can be used straight out of the box without needing patching; the Pulsar-23 unveils a boundless realm of sonic and rhythmic experimentation when exploring its rich interconnectivity.
A Network of Connectivity
Gone are the days of conventional ⅛" and ¼" cables; instead, the Pulsar-23 employs alligator clips and binding posts for patching connections. This unconventional system offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing multiple cables to connect to the same post and inviting human interaction through finger-based connections. Many binding posts can function as either inputs or outputs, and inputs can blend multiple signals automatically. This groundbreaking feature allows clock and modulation signals to seamlessly weave intricate, interrelated relationships, a phenomenon called "Organismic" by its visionary designer.
The Pulsar-23 unveils four distinct voices, each meticulously tuned and designed for specific applications:
BD (Bass Drum): Engineered to craft analogue bass drum sounds, this section goes beyond the usual Pitch and Tune controls, incorporating a Drive unit for shaping waveshapes, adding a touch of heft and grit, with the versatility to traverse from subtle tones to gritty industrial beats.
BASS: Housing a subtractive monosynth section with waveform selection and a low-pass filter, this voice can transform into an additional percussion instrument with a simple switch.
SD (Snare Drum): Tailored for crafting snare drums and clap sounds, this section features a band-pass filter, a dedicated clap control, and the standard analog snare parameters.
HHT (Hi-Hat): Leveraging white noise as its primary sound source and a high-pass filter for tonal control, this voice is dedicated to hi-hat sounds.
Each of these four voices boasts dedicated Attack and Decay controls, each with independent binding posts for modulation. Furthermore, FX controls enable the assignment of each voice to the DSP Reverb and Delay section. This master module also houses a distortion module that offers precise control over Drive and a Mix knob to balance dry signals. Additionally, it features a DSP Delay and Reverb section for adding depth and spaciousness, with delay options including 1-tap, 2-tap, dual, and pitch shift, while the reverb imparts a rich "hall" ambience. These effects can be utilized individually or in series, with numerous modulation options accessible via the binding posts.
The Pulsar-23 brings a fresh perspective to sequencing. It departs from the traditional step sequencer approach and adopts a method reminiscent of tape loops. Users can effortlessly record sound events using responsive pads, allowing for precise start times and lengths. These "loops" boast exceptionally high resolution, imbuing your compositions with a human touch. Each voice includes its rhythmic quantizer for synchronizing to a chosen grid, and an internal memory stores four banks of four sequences for easy recall.
Additionally, the Pulsar-23 offers robust MIDI integration, permitting the assignment of MIDI messages to drum parameters via the Learn function or one of the four MIDI-to-CV binding posts. The Bass voice can be fully controlled via MIDI, enabling external keyboard playability through 1V/octave pitch tracking across five octaves. External clocking via MIDI or analogue clock ensures synchronization with external devices, and seven unique clock divisions facilitate creative possibilities, including creating distinctive swing patterns. Clock sync modulation can be achieved by adjusting the LFO frequency with an external CV signal.
SHAOS: Unpredictable Creativity
Soma Synths introduces the SHAOS module to further elevate its creative potential, infusing an element of unpredictability. SHAOS combines shift registers with a sample and hold circuit to generate sequences of stepped voltages. It offers three modes: 1-bit with two states, 2-bit with four states, and 3-bit with eight states. The pseudo-random sequencer's length can be selected from modes ranging from 63 to 217, ensuring a wide range of creative possibilities.
A Multitude of Utilities
Beyond its core features, the Pulsar-23 offers many utility functions commonly found in traditional modular systems. These include four attenuators for precision depth control of various parameters. Additionally, the VCA accepts audio and CV signals, allowing for dynamic variation. The device provides eight 1/8" to binding post adapters and six 1/4" to binding post adapters, enabling bi-directional communication with modular systems. It includes CV-controllable inverters, gate-controlled electronic switches, triggered impulse generators, and more, inviting exploration and discovery at every turn.
The Soma Pulsar-23 stands as a testament to innovation and boundless creative potential, an instrument that beckons artists and sonic explorers to uncover new realms of musical expression.