Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds
Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds

Daily Roundup 9 Feb 2022: Erica Synths DIY VCA, ZeroBox 303, Klerphonik poly analog synth, Yamaha AR, Knobula Poly, Casio v Roland, Suzuki Omnichord

Erica Synths DIY VCA module launched

Erica Synths has announced its latest offering to the synth world, a DIY build dual VCA for eurorack systems.

It has DC-coupled inputs so you can use the VCA both for audio and CV signals. Inputs of the second VCA are normalled to the first one which allows to split the audio signal to both VCA or control both VCAs with a single CV. A 60-page build manual explains the electronics behind the module and provides step-by-step build instructions.

Available for €55 with shipping from mid-February.

ZeroBox analog modelling simulation of Roland TB-303

ZeroBox is an accurate analog modelling simulation of the legendary Roland TB-303, although Xhun Audio doesn’t seem to want to mention that fact explicitly anywhere. They simply refer to “a legendary, iconic, sequencer-driven bassline synthesizer that defined an era.” But we know what it is.

In addition to a meticulous replica of both the signal path and the physics of each of the electronic components found inside the original device (oscillator, filters, envelopes, etc.), an extended set of features, improvements and circuit-bents have been added, bringing the whole synthesis engine a step ahead. 

Last but not least, a redesigned sequencer front-end and the inclusion of a full set of modulation, analogue saturation and multi-type distortion effects units make ZeroBox an expressive, powerful, self-contained tool for use in any electronic music scenario.

ZeroBox mimics not just the behaviour and physics of all the electronic components and the signal path, but also the miriad of quirks and idiosyncrasies found on the original hardware. 

From the peculiarly shaped analogue oscillator’s waveforms to the iconic 4-pole diode ladder analogue filter, from the biased envelope generators to the so-called gimmick circuit, everything is faithfully preserved in ZeroBox – including the uncommon interlinks and interactions between the different components. 

The embedded digitally controlled sequencer is also modeled preserving the same vintage back-end logic and sub-pulse clock divisions of the original gear, while having the full benefit of a refreshed front-end with many easily accessible function improvements (triplets, shuffle, etc…). 

ZeroBox can be used in conjunction with its embedded sequencer as well as with external sequencers, or as a single-oscillator monophonic solo synthesizer with a very bold sound and an incredibly deep low-end. 

In addition to the main bassline synthesizer, a total of six insert effects and two master effects are provided, all accessible from the single-view rack interface. It is possible to choose between a chorus unit, a flanger unit, an analogue modeled vacuum tube distortion unit, an analogue modeled transistor-based distortion unit, a digital foldback distortion unit, a creative bitcrusher unit, a digital delay unit and a resonator-based reverb unit.

See the product page for full feature list and to buy.

Klerphonik polyphonic analog synthesizer emulation

Eplex7 DSP releases Klerphonik polyphonic analog synthesizer with virtual circuit emulation technology + world’s first time capsule technology.

After last year’s great success of the Klerhaim monophonic analog synthesizer that many users described as one of the most authentic emulations on the market, Eplex7 DSP received many requests to produce a polyphonic synthesizer.

Klerphonik, polyphonic VST analog-emulated synthesizer, is a brand new plugin instrument with world’s first time capsule technology.

Klerphonik is not only extended version / polyphonic version of Klerhaim N1! It is a brand new synthesizer with a completely different sound, color and extended options.

Klerphonik’s sound is different – more dynamic, more musical, subtle, more organic, colorful in the mids and highs, less bold and less saturated than Klerhaim N1.

However, Klerphonik is still very analog, dirty, colored and spontaneous.

hanks to analog circuit emulations is its sound constantly alive and ever-evolving. If you are looking for a organic analog sound, the opposite of digital sterility, try the demo version.

As you probably know in case of real analog synthesizers, it can happen that the same model sounds different not only piece by piece, but for example a 30-year synthesizer sounds different from the same model made a year ago. It is because many electronic components age / grow old and change their sound.

Thanks to time-slots, you have at your disposal like 6 different-sounding synthesizers in one! Thus, a wide range of sound colors. As different age or brand of used components such as resistors, capacitors, transistors, transformers affect the sound, the time-slot capsules do the same. Each time-capsule sounds differently, each has a different overall sound color, mid / treble color, different saturation level, boldness of sound, amount of higher harmonics, analog de-tuning etc.

Another specialty is the 4D Dimension analog chorus / flanger and a 14-bit digital vintage stereo expander which sounds completely different from regular choruses. The digital 14-bit stereo expander, modeled on 80’s devices, will also deliver original sound from early digital records and a very unique color / type of sound.


  • 2 analog type voltage controlled oscillators with saw, triangle, square, ramp, pulse 1, pulse 2 waveforms, volume control, octave selector, fine-tune control, lfo mod control, on / off switch (with complete analog emulation behavior like saturation, noise, harmonics, automatic pitch modulation / interference, etc.)
  • Analog temperature control (emulation of circuit temperature – more temperature = more noise and interference signals)
  • pink / white noise generator + on / off switch
  • Analog exponential amp envelope with attack, decay, sustain, release controls and 7 different shapes of envelope for different sound / different type of modulation
  • Analog exponential filter envelope with attack, decay, sustain, release controls and 7 different shapes of envelope for different sound / different type of modulation
  • Voltage controlled low pass analog emulated filter with 12 / 24db slope and slope selector. With cutoff, emphasis, tracking and envelope mod. Controls
  • 2x LFO (with saw, triangle, square, ramp, pulse waveforms) speed and depth control
  • Output analog saturation
  • Glide and pitchbend controls
  • preset manager with 75 presets (leads, bass, pads, brass, stabs, acid, fx, special vintage sounds, keys)
  • Time-slot capsules and init presets – these features are described in detail above.
  • 4D Dimension analog chorus / flanger and a 14-bit digital vintage stereo expander

Product page

Musicians rally to decipher 12-year-old pianist’s composition after his death

Seven months ago, 12-year-old Kyan Pennell from Brisbane, Australia, began teaching himself music theory, performance and composition.

He scrimped and saved in order to buy his first piano, and by using YouTube tutorials, he had soon learned to play 30 pieces of classical music by memory, including Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu, and Beethoven’s Für Elise.

Kyan tragically died in a freak accident caused by a gate closure on his family’s property in Mary Valley on 31 January 2022.

Kyan was neurodiverse, and his family described his diagnosis as a ‘superpower’ which helped him to focus on and achieve whatever he put his mind to. He loved classical music, and Brierley shared on Facebook that he even learned non-classical pieces just so he could “bring a crowd in, and then educate them [with] the beauty of classical music”.

Unbeknownst to his parents, Kyan had also begun composing classical music prior to his death. When his parents were going through their late son’s belongings, they were surprised to discover an unfinished composition in the middle of a blank exercise book.

Read more at Classic FM

Yamaha AR to visualise acoustic piano in your home

Last week we reported on Steinway’s new VR app which lets you visualise one of their grand pianos in your living space, and now Yamaha has announced its own web-based alternate reality (AR) solution for seeing how one of its grand pianos would look in your home.

The immersive experience is tailored to each individual user, offering realistic shadows and lighting. iOS users can actually listen to how the piano would sound by tapping on the keys after digitally placing the product in their space.

Currently, the Yamaha Piano AR experience can be accessed on any Safari, Chrome, Edge and Firefox browser support and is compatible with iOS or Android mobile devices and features U1 PE, U1 PM, U3, U3 PW, YUS5, GB1K, C1X, C2X, C3X models.

Guide to vegan instruments

They might not be the first thing you survey when thinking of veganism, but musical instruments can also vary in their eco-friendliness. This article on sourcing instruments without components derived from animals has a fairly short piece on the piano:

“According to the vegan piano lady, throughout musical history, it has been common for animal-derived materials to be used to make instruments. For instance, piano keys are sometimes made with ivory, and materials like wool, leather, suede, and silk are often used in other parts of the piano, from the pedals to the stool.

But according to PETA, two major piano companies — Baldwin and Steinway — both use plastic keys instead of ivory. That said, buying a used piano may be the best option here; or, if it suits your needs, you may choose to just buy a keyboard, which is typically made of plastic.”

Read more

8 Voice POLYPHONIC SYNTHESIZER.. For EURORACK!? | Knobula Poly Cinematic

Digital Piano Shootout! – Casio PX870 vs Roland RP102

Today we compare two more digital pianos at a similar price point, the Casio PX870 & the Roland RP102. Main thing is that the Casio PX870 is one of the high-end models in the Casio range, whilst the Roland RP102 is more entry-level in the Roland range.

Suzuki Omnichord | CME Gear Demo | Daniel Albert

This Suzuki Omnichord has been screaming to be touched since the ‘80s! While some may call it kitschy, don’t be fooled by this portable, battery-powered synth’s playful appeal. With options from auto bass, to preset drumbeats with adjustable tempos, to touch-pad controllable instrument voices, this virtual band-in-a-box has been embraced by the likes of David Bowie, Jim James, and Taylor Swift, to name just a few!