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Pittsburgh ModularLifeforms Voltage Lab - Module

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Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms Voltage Lab

The Lifeforms Voltage Lab from Pittsburgh Modular is the broken-out version of the vocal architecture of the Voltage Research Lab and the Voltage Research Lab Blackbox. The Lifeforms Voltage Lab is a full voice, West Coast-aligned synthesis platform with a lot of functionality under the hood.

The module's main voice is comprised of it's Complex Oscillator section. Composed of a Primary and a Secondary Oscillator, this submodule creates a timbrally complex sounds not unlike the Buchla Music Easel. The Primary Oscillator features a menacing waveshaper that is perfect for wave-folding chaos. The Primary Oscillator includes CV input for its Asymmetry, Axis, and Timbre controls, as well as a secondary Modulation CV input that can be routed to a number of signals. The Secondary Oscillator's CV inputs are comprised of Pitch Shape and FM control. The Voltage Lab can also respond to MIDI via its MIDI/ARP sections.

Another function of the module is its Sample and Hold. The section's outputs are comprised of noise and S&H out which is very useful for creating deeply interconnected webs of modulation. To round off the voicing section there is also a Random Generator that can output CV and Gate for smooth or stepped random voltages.

The Lifeforms Voltage Lab derives its envelope generation from a pair of identical Function Generators—labeled as "A" and "B." Both modules share identical functionality. See the curve of your envelope via the module's pair of Attack, and Decay sliders: a handy visual representation of your sound. These envelopes can be toggled between sustain, trigger, cycle, and MIDI responsiveness. The Response knob controls the curve shape of the envelope, all the way from exponential to logarithmic. The unison toggle hard syncs the two generators. The Function Generators' CV input sections are comprised of controls for Rise, Both, and Fall, as well as a signal input that unlocks slewing, pseudo-VCA, and VCF-like behavior. Their CV output sections are comprised of an Out function for envelope generation and modulation, an End of Rise output that triggers high when the function has reached its peak, or an End of Fall output which triggers when the generator hits low. Additionally, the Function modules share a comparator so you can have CV outputs for the "Or" between the two functions, or the "Contrast" of the two.

The Dynamics section of the module is again comprised of two identical modules called Dynamics Controller A and B. The Dynamics controller module is an analog circuit representation of the LPG Vactrol process. This means that the module behaves as an LPG or vactrol would, but with an adjustable response so that you can choose between rounded larger tones or plucky and brighter sounds. Included in the architecture of the Dynamics Controller is a resonant filter with controllable filter response. This gives the synthesizer a more abstract and heavy sound to its tonal character. The Dynamics controller provides CV inputs for Response and Dynamics for a wide range of sonic animations. The Dynamics Section also includes a summed output mix of the two modules. This busses both outputs down together which is very useful for processing, especially with our next section: the Analog Delay! The Analog Delay is a BBD-style delay that features CV control of the delay time, as well as knobs that effect feedback, and Dry/Wet parameters.

This list of functions coalesces into a module that is almost an entire modular ecosystem by itself, and is sure to expand your existing Eurorack system to its limit!

Lifeforms Voltage Lab Features

  • Full synth voice
  • Complex Oscillator
  • Dual function generators
  • Dynamics Complex LPG Filter combination
  • MIDI implementation
  • Analog BBD Delay
SignalRelated ArticlesBest Synths of 2019Favorite Standalone and Semi-Modular Synths of the YearDelving Into Synth Voices A Great Place to Get Started with Eurorack Modular Synthesizers
  • Eurorack module
  • Width: 48hp
  • Depth: 35mm
  • Current draw: 525mA @ +12V, 400mA @ -12V
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