Low-Art Enforcement (an IME/Harvest Thread)

i’ve had a lot of discussions lately related to industrial music electronics (formerly known as the harvestman) and after releasing a thing recently, i got to thinking about it more and in an effort to find a way to participate more in the conversation here and, while there are thread(s) at The Other Forum, i thought i’d start a thread here dedicated to these designs.

i’ve spent the last, i dunno, 6 years delving into the euro world and it wasn’t till i had a fully assembled nuclear football that everything finally clicked (and sputtered, if i’m being honest.) something about these designs just made sense to me, let me translate the things i’ve had in my head for so long, and allowed me to have that moment of “i…just…don’t want to add anything else to this? whoa.” (except where there are small gaps in function of course)

scott’s stuff can do everything from grind-your-face-off to nice and chill, and i’d be curious to see if anyone else here has any fun experiences to share, or perhaps tips and tricks for navigating their way around some of these devices. how are you using them? how have you been surprised, or how has the ux changed the way you approached a certain tasks within (or even outside) the modular environment? i can’t be the only one, please share!

(and yes, those are my teeth)


WOW that nuclear football system looks like an absolute riot, and owning one in 2012 must have felt like owning a computer from another dimension. the 4 pressure points is so alpha

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i miss the mk2 designs :frowning:


What is it that you miss about them that MK3 iterations don’t bring to the table?

Always been really enamored with the feedback console designs. The fact the The Harvestman started with really aggressive 8-bit modules and a euro format matrix mixer w/ pedal adapter seemed to really get where my head was/is at. The Evin 209 and Stilton Adapter were the modules that got me into euro in the first place.

My first The Harvestman system was a blast. Had all the MK1 designs in a 6U with a pair of Double Andores. Covered a lot of ground - could be harsh and noisy but also really smooth and serene.

I skipped the MK2 iterations because I was committed to spending time with only a Make Noise system but honestly missed the way The Harvestman modules interacted with one another.

Back in the IME boat again now and really pleased with the variety of sounds I can get out of it all. The amount of flexibility within the MK3 units is really kinda crazy.

Presets are where it’s at.

Posted this elswhere in the forum already, but probably makes sense for it to be here as well.

I’m only utilizing one Stillson Hammer MK2 for pitch sequencing here. The two voices are Hertz Donut MK3 and Piston Honda MK2. I’d link to have 2 more Bionic Lester MK3’s because they are just that good, they also make a nice VCA in collaboration with the new Kermit.


@sellanraa Nah, the button combos are few and IMO are super quick to learn. It’s no Oktatrack…

@sellanraa Honestly that’s why I like them. I have a couple different presets in the Kermits and it’s super easy to set one up to load on boot. This way I’m not even adjusting anything before I start. Just turn on and boom, all tempo synched LFOs or enevlopes ready to go.

I had the Hertz Donut mk2, foolishly let go of it when I went all-in for the ER-301, wound up getting an HD mk3 and just didn’t enjoy it as much, picked up a mk2 and had them side by side for a while, and sold the mk3.

The preset system has no appeal to me. And I was annoyed that it didn’t even remember my preferred defaults on startup, unless I used the preset system and explicitly loaded a preset (and then stayed in preset mode… ugh)

I preferred mk2’s architecture, which was much more similar to the Buchla 259. It felt like using an analog module, “patch programmable” to some extent. I honestly didn’t realize how important that was to me until after I had sold it.

The mk3’s third operator could be useful, but the unison mode seemed a bit weaksauce next to the E352’s cloud mode (or the Shapeshifter’s unison). And when I had them side by side, I realized I preferred the mk2’s waveshaper over the mk3’s, and the intrinsic grunginess without having to devote a third operator to modulation to imitate that grunginess. The mk3 gave up on saw and pulse outputs, separate sync inputs for both oscillators, and a dedicated XOR output independent of the secondary oscillator output.

(I did wind up selling my HD mk2 after getting a Shapeshifter. I think Shapeshifter is pretty much the perfect digital complex oscillator for my needs. It’s not quite as one-knob-per-function as the HD mk2 of course, but it’s still pretty friendly to use overall.)

I have a Kermit, and love its “dusty” sound, its somewhat wonky sync/PLL mode, and its simplicity. The newer Kermit, despite having more features, really doesn’t appeal to me after my experience with the HD mk3.

I never had a Piston Honda, but based on the sound I think I would only be interested in a mk1 because of its really raw character.

Bionic Lester mk3… when it was announced, I was deeply disappointed it went digital instead of being a weird-ass switched-capacitor filter. I used to have a Synchrodyne and once in a while, I miss it. But I can’t argue with the sounds, and that comb filter is badass. I would probably enjoy BL mk3 it if I had one, but I have enough filters.

I have a Zorlon Cannon mk2 and like it quite a bit, for gate patterns and CV patterns and noise. I understand there won’t be a mk3.

I used to have a Tyme Sefari mk2 & A Sound of Thunder. I loved it for its overall concept and patch programmability. I just wanted a higher max sample rate, so I could go just slightly lo-fi most of the time and crank it down at other times.

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I thought that was the point, though? Scott has mentioned that it’s an homage to the digital VA filters of the 90s. And, as he said in the Perfect Circuit interview:

I also started working digitally to express contempt for the analog orthodoxy of electronic instruments with realtime control.

This is the reason I like IME stuff – it’s an explicit rebuke to analog fetishism in modular gear. I’ve intentionally built an all digital modular system: I don’t want analog unless it’s cheap & in a utility module (eg Veils). For me this is not just musical taste but a deeply held musical philosophy (a strong dislike of analog coupled with being very interested in the sound of digital), so IME is in line with what I want to do with my music.


Let’s not forget Scott also brought the Polivoks into Eurorack, and that’s analog :slight_smile:

The irony is that switched-capacitor filters may be analog circuits but they sound very much like lo-fi digital… some people go ahead and categorize them as digital. But most digital filters are imitations of analog circuits.

SC filters are still uncommon both inside and outside Eurorack – all I know besides the older Bionic Lester versions is Bi-n-Tic and Synchrodyne.

For digital filters, there’s:

  • Rossum Morpheus
  • Qu-Bit Prism
  • 4ms SMR
  • Vult Freak
  • Modor Comb Filter
  • Modor Formant Filter
  • Sequential DSM03
  • Nozoid Nozori
  • ER-301, Percussa SSP etc.
  • probably other Eurorack modules

…and of course a ton of fixed architecture VA synths and VST plugins.

So that’s why I kind of mourned for the old Bionic Lester.


while i am jazzed about all the advancements the mk3 line offers, there are definitely things that were ‘advanced’ in a way that ‘fixes’ things that i really enjoyed, like getting the 1 & 2 hondas stuck between wavetables. i’m not sure if this is just flat out not possible on the mk3, but i can’t get mine to do it.

big same. and thats why i hung onto a mk1 vs flipping it for a mk3. the mk1 is one of my all time favorite filters and i’m gonna be seriously bummed if it kicks the bucket.

i think one of the cool things about the harvesttech is a) there is really something for everyone. need some more stability or access to tools to help with melody generation? mk3. want some grime and for things to get ‘unexpected?’ mk1. though it silly in terms of naming conventions, he was smart to change some of these designs the way he did so as to add to the value of retaining each mk. lester mk3 is a totally different beast than mk1, and worth having one of each for different duties…vs a total reshaping like old-veils and nu-veils, where the functionality is more or less the lame, and the ergonomics are the focus (imo)

in other news, this weekend i smashed together this vactrol based cv expander to control the tyme sefari pitch/circuit bending functionality. prob not as accurate as having dedicated vcas but, hell, for what i had laying about, works just about as good!


(drag, IG vid embed don’t work it seems)


Would you explain, what you are doing over there on instagram? I watched it a few times but don’z really understand what you have written next to the video.

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Yeah I try to avoid posting personal negative feedback, but the HD mk3 was the fastest I’ve ever sold a module. I bought one used and sold it for the same price the next day. The mk2, meanwhile, was one of my primary modules for 2-3 years.

The main thing that drives me up the wall are controls that don’t show their current state. Possibly worse is the fact that the controls jump when you move them in the different modes, instead of doing a more graceful pickup.

I think most of my problems with the mk3 would have been alleviated if encoders were used for the controls instead of the sliders.


sure, so the tyme sefari just has a loop playing back at normal speed. then i plug a random clock into the direction input…but the main point of the video is the white module is connected to the tyme sefari’s sound of thunder connection on the back via a vactrol, so whenever the clock goes high on the little 3hp clock module there, it turns on the pitch bending function that the sound of thunder would normally do with a switch (or cv if you have a mk2) and causes the loop to play back an octave higher

basically its a passive 2p version of a sound of thunder’s cv controls. hopefully that helps?

I’ll second that I don’t believe the MK3 generation of modules were ever intended to be replacements of the MK2 versions, just as those were not intended to replace the previous. Variations on a theme, if anything…

Regarding Hertz Donut, I just ordered a second HD3, my HD2 is still here…

The main thing that drives me up the wall are controls that don’t show their current state. Possibly worse is the fact that the controls jump when you move them in the different modes, instead of doing a more graceful pickup.

I generally can relate to that very much though on the HD MKIII I got used to it after some time. I still have a mixed realtionship with it due to it’s more pristine sound though. In Isolation I relly like it and love to play around with it, but then I hardly use it in my music. To me the preset function is its main feature. Did not really convince me on the PH but on the HD it just opens up so many modulation oportunities that would not be possible otherwise and sounds can be more diverse than with the PH. I only whish the mod osc would go a little lower in frequency and the reaction to pitch CV changes would be more immediate. Also I prefer the beautiful waveshaper the MKII has. I never use the waveshaper on the MKI but it is still my favorite for plucky FM sounds. After all I think sound wise I am a MKII guy.

I am afraid I am not there yet - what are the vactrols for?

its just works as a very rudimentary switch. voltage goes into the jack, which lights up the led inside the vactrol, the light is then detected by the light-dependent resistor inside, which is what makes a connection of the tyme sefari. so in a sense, voltage going into the jack opens a “vca” of sorts, which tells the module to activate a function.

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I read that interview a while ago and I enjoyed it, but I can’t relate to the anti-analog stance. Maybe I don’t have enough digital in my case to appreciate it yet, or I’m just too much of a eurorack noob to get it. I’ve been working with digital synths for 20 years now, and it’s been really refreshing for me finding out what kind of horrible racket and emergent behavior I can drag out of gnarly analog feedback paths. For me, digital means predictability and latency and often I don’t want to have anything to do with those things.

The IME/Harvestman stuff seems really cool though. A few years back the Zorlon Cannon was almost the thing that made me get into eurorack, but it wasn’t the right time for me yet.

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Ah, okay - got it now. Nice idea! The gate would have a minimal lag then due to the vactrol response, right? I have the original expander but the MKI seems to be the last module I am really looking for on the market because of the different circuit bend options and having gate control over that would be great.

I would not say that I experience a lot of predictability nor latency with the MKI and MKII modules. In fact there is quite a bit unpredictability within them and took me a bit to get used to it before I somehow fall in love.

The MKIII line seems a lot more controllable and also shows a bit of latency in responce to CV in some situations. They still have modes and feaures reminiscent of the older sound flavour. They don’t really get there, though in trying to be a digital replication of an imperfect digital ‘vintage’ sound lies the strange beauty of electric sheep.


sorry, what is meant by the title “low-art enforcement”?