Sonic LAB Review: Happy Nerding FM AID and Super Sawtor Modules

We take a look at two Eurorack modules      01/08/14

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13:48 mins    

These two modules are designed to give you some extra harmonic content to play with in your modular system. If like me, you only have your standard analogue oscillators, then these can really add some harmonic depth to your patches. Super Sawtor can do your standard super sawtooth sounds but it also makes some really beautiful string sounds, which I tried to demonstrate in the opening sequence. FM Aid really seriously gets me wet, it has been one of my favourite modules of the year so far, not only can you do some great sounding FM tricks, it also distorts and folds almost any signal quite beautifully.

Super Sawtor is designed to produce unison like waveforms from the incoming signal. The best results are achieved using sawtooth, triangle or sine waveforms as an input signal. Unison spread has been tuned to give almost the same type of harmonics smearing as the famous Roland jp80x0 supersaw oscillator. Thus feeding the Super Sawtor with a sawtooth waveform will result in a typical supersaw output.

Though having some common features with sawtooth animators, Super Sawtor gives that vivid tension of the supersaw waveform, which is different to imitation of the multiple oscillators sound most sawtooth animators capable of doing. The main difference is in the approach used: sawtooth animators tend to recreate continuously moving phase shift of the slightly detuned / drifting oscillators; Super Sawtor in its turn creates additional pitched shifted harmonics to the input signal, which gives a different sonic character compared to sawtooth animators.

It is also should be mentioned that Super Sawtor is a completely analog circuit free of aliasing.

FM AID is designed to perform through-zero linear  Frequency Modulation (FM) in the analog modular world. Any arbitrary signals can be used as a Carrier and Modulator.The module copies FM in how it is done in digital implementation, but in a completely analog circuit free of digital aliasing artifacts. Digital or software FM oscillators are mainly based on a ramp waveform which is then shaped to other waveforms. This is also represented in the FM AID module: sawtooth signal is expected on the Carrier input to give the indicated sine, triangle, sawtooth and square waveforms on the respective outputs. However the user is not limited to only use sawtooth for the Carrier and any other signal can be plugged giving many complex waveforms at the outputs.

All known FM tricks from digital implementation are also applied – you can endlessly experiment with the Carrier/Modulator frequency ratios, Modulation index (FM knob), Modulator's amplitude shaping (CV knob), feedback FM (output is fed back to the Modulator's input) and many other.

I will be very sad to see these two modules leave my case. Espcially FM Aid will be sorely missed as it just sounds so great in my opinion, not only on your standard waveforms but also on any arbitrary signal. It does some really great wavefolding/distortion sounds which I dont think you could get from much else.

Edd Butterworth




1 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Sean Dynan    Said...

Great review, Ed. The tune on the outro really helped show off how musical these modules can be. The FM Aid is relatively cheap too, for a module.

07-Aug-14 10:08 AM

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