Random SourceSerge Paperface 50 Modular Synthesizer (Helios + Tempo Di Roma)


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Random Source Serge Paperface 50

Commemorating 50 years of Serge Modular synthesizers, Random Source pairs their new Helios and Tempo Di Roma panels into the Serge Paperface 50: an immersive and exploratory electronic musical instrument. With freshly updated designs courtesy of Serge Tcherepnin himself, the anniversary Serge panels boast features never before implemented on the first generation of modules. Oscillators with 1V/Oct inputs and phenomenal tracking across over six octaves, precision clocking, and balanced audio output beneath classic Paperface-style graphics, these systems of 1st generation Serge modules have never looked, sounded, or performed better.

Helios is the first voice panel to be offered in the 50th Anniversary Paperface catalog, containing an essential assortment of audio and control modules for self-contained operation. At the left are two updated versions of the classic Paperface oscillators, with much care placed into improving their performance while retaining their signature, raw sound. One such improvement is the addition of 1V/Oct inputs—something notably missing from the earliest Serge Modular systems, but now making tonal music is easier than ever. Both provide sine and sawtooth outputs, while the second is an expanded Oscillator+ with a variable pulse-width output.

Further along the line is the classic Smooth & Stepped Generator, or SSG for short. This general-purpose slew and lag generator embodies the patch programming philosophy that Serge synthesizers would become known for, as the SSG's function is totally dependent on how it is patched into itself or other modules. To that end, a Serge noise generator with white, pink, and S/H Source outputs allows the creation of random voltage generators with the SSG. Further scaling and mixing of signals from the SSG and oscillators are handled with the Dual CV-Processor, with two 3:1 mixers with bipolar level controls and global offsets.

While Moog synthesizers were known for their filters, and Buchla for their wavefolders, Serge famously offered both in their catalog. Thus, here on Helios, you'll find Serge's earliest incarnations of both: the Triple Waveshaper and 1973VCF. As originally intended, the TWS offers three channels to convert ramp waveforms from slew generators into sine waves. However, by cascading channels together and using other audio and control signals, the TWS becomes one of the most intriguing and nuanced wave-shaping circuits ever devised. By contrast, the 1973VCF predates later hits like the VCFQ, but it established the signature sound of Serge filters early on. This resonant design handles both audio and low-frequency signals with ease, and the integrated 1/4" balanced output ensures that your patch is perfectly primed to be heard through an audio interface, mixer, or PA speaker.

Tempo Di Roma is the companion Paperface sequencer panel, containing the classic open-ended programmer that went on to become the core of later Serge designs such as the TKB. But like the other Paperface designs, this earlier and seemingly more primitive circuit affords some interesting opportunities thanks to its simpler and patchable architecture. An eight-step gate sequencer plus two 4-stage programmers offer a bit more flexibility in patching and configuration than a single, consolidated sequencer with the same functionality. Central to their operation is the new precision Metronomic Clock, an analog pulse source with temperature compensation for robust stability. A number of other utilities are available too, such as Bidirectional Switches and a condensed Peak & Trough circuit.

Helios and Tempo Di Roma are housed in slim boats and joined together with wooden side panels, and the included external power supply allows you to keep everything up and running whenever you decide to patch. Explore the sounds of early Serge synthesizers in a modern package with this Paperface 50 System by Random Source and Serge Modular.

Serge Paperface 50 Features

  • Modular synthesizer in traditional 4U Serge format
  • 50th Anniverssary of Paperface Serge systems
  • Updated 1st generation Serge circuits with modern appointments
  • Helios voice panel: Oscillator, Oscillator+, SSG + Noise, Dual CV-Pro, Triple Waveshaper, 1973VCF with Balanced Output
  • Tempo Di Roma sequencer panel: Gate sequencer, Sequencer/Programmer with Metronomic Clock, Bidirectional Switches, Sequencer/Programmer with Peak&Trough
  • 4U format
  • External PSU included
Random Source Serge Paperface 50 Modular Synthesizer (Helios + Tempo Di Roma) Reviews