SOMA LaboratoryPulsar-23 Semi-Modular Drum Machine - Andrew Huang Edition


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SOMA Laboratory Pulsar-23

We're pleased to present the new Pulsar-23 Andrew Huang Edition: a vibrant yellow version of the one-of-a-kind, organismic semi-modular drum machine made in collaboration between SOMA and the producer and YouTuber himself. SOMA's Pulsar-23 has become a go-to instrument for subverting the expectations of what a drum machine can or should do, attracting the interest of curious musicians looking for something a little bit different out of their drum synthesizer. With this version finished in a vibrant yellow personally chosen by Andrew Huang, the Pulsar-23 has become a favorite part of Andrew's studio due to its open-ended patching structure and rejection of standard drum machine tropes. The results may not always be what you expect, but like many other SOMA devices, Pulsar-23 creates a seemingly organic connection between the musician and instrument, tapping into the deeper parts of your subconscious mind to rely on instinct and reaction rather than conscious decision-making.

Unlike most other semi-modular instruments out there, Pulsar-23 foregoes the 3.5mm, 1/4", and banana cables for its patch points in exchange for simple binding posts connected together with alligator clips. The included cables still allow you to bridge connections from one side of the instrument to the other, but with the ability to clip multiple close pins together with one clip and even touch them directly with your hands for momentary connections, complex interactions are so easily achieved. If you're worried about bridging outputs to outputs and damaging the Pulsar-23, fear not—this was a conscious design choice by SOMA, fulfilling their goal of always producing instruments that foster "organismic" systems.

Pulsar-23 features four voices, which allow it to cover not only percussive sounds but melodic and sustained tones as well. The four sound generators are BD (bass drum), BASS synth, SD (snare drum), and HHT (hi-hat)—all of which are adorned with numerous controls and plenty of patch points. All voices feature tuning, level, attack/release controls, and FX send level, but many specialized and unique parameters are also present for each element. For example, the Kick's Drive control is a waveshaper for adding grit and grunge, whereas all other voices feature more traditional filters specifically chosen for their application: lowpass on BASS, bandpass on SD, and highpass on HHT.

BD also features the recently redesigned oscillator circuit, where depending on an internal switch, the waveform may be optionally reset upon each trigger as a classic drum machine would do or left free-running in a more unconventional style. The difference is subtle, but in applications where you truly need a driving kick this change is very welcome. As for the BASS voice, it's an open synthesis block that can be shaped and controlled as needed. Use the Pulsar-23 MIDI input or control voltages to control its pitch, or engage PRC mode to treat it like a fourth percussion voice.

For further shaping your sounds, Pulsar-23 features a DSP effects section plus a main output distortion. The delay's capabilities range from standard echo to smeared multi-tap and pitch-shifting repeats, while the reverb offers some hall-type sounds. And with posts for modulation and control, they may be as dynamic and lively as any other part of the Pulsar-23. Meanwhile, the drive features a gain and dry/wet mix control, ensuring that some solid foundation and clarity can remain in your sound where needed or slip into full decimation.

We've mentioned MIDI and CV, but how can Pulsar-23 itself trigger its sounds? Rather than using a traditional step sequencer, Pulsar-23 utilizes a sort of event looper, with a high resolution that allows for notes to be as in or out of time as you'd like. With the touch plates at the bottom, it's possible to define long or short notes—and because they only track note events rather than recorded audio, tempo changes will perfectly track without otherwise changing the sound. This looper may be synced to an external clock source, such as a MIDI sequencer, for locking in with other members of your studio or live rig.

Beyond its sound generation capabilities, Pulsar-23 is packed with CV generators and utilities to enhance the patching experience. SHAOS is a multiple output shift register tied to a pseudo-random generator or external input, allowing any range of looping or drifting "sequences." Attenuators, VCAs, LFOs, and more are also available, along with several bidirectional 1/4" jacks for linking with other studio pieces, and 3.5mm jacks for modular integrations.

In addition to an abundance of included cables plus a power supply, the Andrew Huang edition of the Pulsar-23 comes with an exclusive alligator clip hat—ensuring that everyone knows your affinity for raw patching methods. Otherwise, it's the same Pulsar-23 that you know and love in a fun, signature yellow. If, like Andrew, you're looking for a percussion synthesizer that inspires and interacts with you like no other, then the Pulsar-23 is a one-of-a-kind instrument that transcends traditional drum machine techniques in favor of the mysterious, the unpredictable, and the organismic.

Pulsar-23 Features

  • Andrew Huang special edition Pulsar-23
  • Unique neon yellow finish
  • Patching interface features binding posts and alligator clips
  • Interface with cables or even your hands for circuit-bent-like interactions
  • Four synth voices: BD, BASS, SD, and HHT
  • Four-channel tape-style event sequencer
  • Digital delay + reverb FX sends, plus analog output drive
  • Robust MIDI implementation: MIDI Learn on parameters, pitch tracking for BASS voice, four independent and assignable MIDI-CV converters
  • Clock divider with seven outputs, syncs to internal or externak sources
  • Bidirectional adapters to 8x 3.5mm and 6x 1/4"
  • VCAs, LFOs, and numerous other switching and processing utilities
  • SHAOS shift-register-based pseudo-random source
  • Includes 30 alligator clips, international power supply, and exclusive alligator clip hat
  • Input and output range: 0-10V
  • Seven 1/4" TS jacks: 6 two-way assignable + 1 dedicated main output
  • Eight 1/8" (3.5mm) TS two-way assignable jacks
  • 1/8" (3.5mm) TRS headphone output
  • MIDI input: 5-pin DIN MIDI
  • 12V power supply (included)
  • 380 x 280 x 80mm/15 x 11 x 3"
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Product Demo Videos
WEIRD GEAR: Pulsar-23 Organismic Drum Synth
Honored to be partnering with Soma and Perfect Circuit on the Andrew Huang Edition of Pulsar-23! Thanks for watching today and a big hug to you if you share this video with someone!
SOMA Laboratory Pulsar-23 Semi-Modular Drum Machine - Andrew Huang Edition Reviews