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 concept of analogue drum machines with ingenious design. It is a semi-modular instrument that can be immediately employed without patching. Nevertheless, its extensive inter and intra-connectivity capabilities unveil a realm of sonic and rhythmic experimentation and discovery.
A Flourish of Connectivity
The Pulsar-23 introduces a unique method of patching connections, employing alligator clips and binding posts instead of conventional ⅛” and ¼” cables. This system offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing multiple cables to connect to the same post while encouraging tactile interactions through binding post connections with fingers.
Remarkably, many binding posts can serve as inputs and outputs, enabling inputs to blend multiple signals automatically. This paves the way for simultaneous clock and modulation signals to create intricate and interconnected relationships, aptly termed "Organismic" by the designer.
The Pulsar-23 encompasses four distinct voices, each tailored for specific purposes:
BD (Bass Drum): Designed explicitly for crafting analogue bass drums, this section incorporates Pitch and Tune controls and a Drive unit for shaping waveforms, allowing for a range of sounds from subtle to gritty industrial tones.
BASS: This voice boasts a comprehensive subtractive mono synth section featuring waveform selection and a low-pass filter. It can also transform into an additional percussion instrument with a simple switch.
SD (Snare Drum): Tailored for snare drums and clap applications, this section offers a band-pass filter, clap control, and traditional analogue snare adjustments.
HHT (High Hat): Leveraging white noise as its primary sound source and a high-pass filter to control tonality.
Each voice has dedicated Attack and Decay parameters featuring independent binding posts for modulation between voices. FX controls allow for the assignment of each voice to the DSP Reverb and Delay section.
Further sound-shaping capabilities are afforded by the distortion module on the master, providing control over Drive intensity and a Mix knob for selecting the amount of dry signal to pass through. A DSP Delay and Reverb section adds depth and space, offering various delay options and a reverb based on a "hall" sound. These effects can be used independently or in series, with numerous modulation controls via the binding posts.
The Pulsar-23 introduces a novel approach to sequencing, departing from the conventional step sequencer in favour of a tape loop-inspired method. This innovative approach allows users to record sound events effortlessly, reacting to both start time and length.
These "loops" offer an exceptionally high resolution, infusing 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 effortless recall.
The device's robust MIDI integration empowers users 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 external keyboard playability with precise pitch tracking across five octaves.
External clocking is achievable through MIDI and an analogue clock for seamless synchronization with external devices. Internal and external clocks can be divided into seven distinctive clock divisions, offering 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.
As if the Pulsar-23's capabilities weren't ample enough, the SHAOS module introduces an additional 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 an array 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, seamless bidirectional communication with modular systems is facilitated.
Supplementing these utilities are CV-controllable inverters, gate-controlled electronic switches, triggered impulse generators, and an abundance of features waiting to be uncovered and explored within this remarkable machine.