Moog Subharmonicon

Ableton Echo, VintageVerb, Ableton’s M4L Color Limiter and Analog Heat on the Master.

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I recently got my grubby hands on a Subharmonicon, Model:Cycles, and Xaoc Odessa, and figured I’d clobber together a video of a short improvisational. It’s the first video I’ve ever shot and edited of a jam, so I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on the video aspect too.

I realized afterwards that my arm blocked a lot of the eurorack, and I’m struggling to figure out where to place my camera that isn’t a “top down” view, is horizontal, and isn’t blocked by me :expressionless: I also tried to do a sort of “in-my-mind” walkthrough, but I’m not sure if the angled text on the side shot worked well or looks tacky.

Some initial thoughts - Subharmonicon is a magic melody-making machine, and despite my initial fears that I wouldn’t connect with it, it feels like it can do no wrong - every random tweak I did sounded good, so that was a bit of a surprise considering new pieces of gear are usually the opposite experience :stuck_out_tongue: On the other hand, I struggled with trying to get Odessa to do triad chords with Hel and Harmonaig - a quick email to Xaoc indicates to me that Odessa+Hel was not intended for harmonic tones, which… makes me wonder if I’m using it properly :grimacing: As I mentioned in the video, I’m really struggling to get Cycles’ FM bass drums to give me a good thudding techno kick - I had to really crank the low EQ on my Xone and compress the track to get it to an acceptable point.

Some setup notes:
Elektron Model:Cycles - Drums
Moog Subharmonicon - Melodic and bassline elements
OTO BAM - Reverb
1010music Blackbox - Sampler
Novation Launchpad Pro mk3 - Master sequencer
A&H Xone 96 - Master mixer
Eurorack - Everything else :slight_smile:

More eurorack details:
Main voice - Moog Subharmonicon, Happy Nerding FX Aid
Bass voice - Erica Synths Fusion VCO2, Frequency Central Raging Bull 3.0
Arp voice - Instruo Ts-l, Mutable Warps, Xaoc Tallin, Qu-Bit Prism
FX/Pads voice - Xaoc Odessa, Sinc Bucina, Pico DSP

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Lovely thanks. Kinda gasing a model cycles. One knob per function elektron stuff sounds like a live performance dream

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What?! How are you supposed to use the chord function if not harmonically?

Well, they’re back. Apparently my Subharmonicon gets shipped today.

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I’ve watched so many videos of the Subharmonicon the past few days and I think it sounds just wonderful. I would really love to see one, actually, many, in the hands of Steve Reich!

My late night Subharmonicon YouTube binge, ended with @oora’s videos and to be honest, I think I’ve fallen in love with this beautiful bouncy song :heart::

Hopefully he won’t mind me posting the Subharmonicon EP he’s released too: https://oora.bandcamp.com/album/the-subharmonicon-ep

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Hi there!
This is really flattering. Thanks for your kind words.

Subharmonicon is an interesting instrument, not for the control maniacs though, as it is pretty wild and unpredictable !

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Yeah, this did NOT curb my desire for one of these little guys. Beautiful as usual, @oora

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Anyone else find it strange that you can’t change the root note of the quantisation?

If you want to play in any scale other than C major, A minor, or the modes on the white keys you’re out of luck unless you set the quantise to chromatic. It makes the Subharmonicon much less playable outside of those keys… Tuning the VCOs and doing pitch sweeps live on the panel is really difficult if not impossible.

Am I missing something really obvious?

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I guess you could just patch something together outside of the Subharmonicon.

Set the Subharmonicon quantiser to 12-ET, and then have a couple of external offset generators going through two quantisers set to your desired key, then on into the VCO1 and VCO2 inputs. Then you’re able to use your offset generators instead of the VCO pitch knobs on the Subharmonicon. Any reason that wouldn’t work or any downsides other than the large number of modules needed?

Still seems like an oversight…

I think this reddit thread is discussing the same thing here, if you haven’t seen it: https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/h79fjq/comment/ftrsg48

Doesn’t look like they have a definitive answer though.

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All of these issues can be resolved through external patching. The Just Intonation tuning issues could be worked around by bypassing the subharmonicon quantiser and using ornament and crime (which has custom microtonal scales) or similar, for example. It just seems odd to need to do this.

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First issue to raise for a firmware update maybe.

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Having fun so far!

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Question for other Subharmonicon people out there.

Setting up a hypothetical patch. In which all of VCO2 including it’s subs are turned all the way down. I then have SEQ1 tied to RHYTHM 1 (red light is on under RHYTHM 1 for SEQ1). The RHYTHM 1 knob is a little past noon.

I then turn RHYTHM 2 all the way clockwise and assign it to SEQ 2.

I notice the rhythm of SEQ 1 changes, but I did not assign the RHYTHM 2 to SEQ1 so, why? I feel like I’m missing something and if someone could help me understand that, it would be appreciated.

My guess is something broke (unlikely) or it has to do with the VCG/EG section.

Cannot reproduce: https://youtu.be/f7S4wUi1Qyc

Thanks for taking the time! Does that video have audio? If you mute all of VCO2 channels and then toggle RHTYHM 2 to SEQ 2 do you notice a change in the audio of SEQ1?

I think what you’re hearing is that Rhythm 2 is still triggering OSC 1, which it will. The SEQ 1 ASSIGN and SEQ 2 ASSIGN buttons allow the sequencer to affect the pitch of either main oscillator, but the VCOs are going to fire on every hit of either rhythm generator either way. The SEQ 1 and SEQ 2 buttons in the polyrhythm section just pick which sequence the rhythm information is assigned to.

Try deactivating the OSC 1 and OSC 2 buttons under each VCO. You’ll notice that they still trigger but don’t change pitch.

Does that make sense? I’m still figuring this thing out myself, and may not be explaining it clearly (or I may misunderstand myself).

EDIT: Or do you mean that the actual LEDs of SEQ 1 change speed when you assign a rhythm to SEQ 2?

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@mattlowery is right. There is only one EG on the unit so both sequencers will trigger both oscillators (and their respective subs). If you’d like to decouple the oscillators, which I agree makes the instrument much more powerful, you need to use external EGs, like I explained in this post (press the chevron in the top right corner to expand the entire content):

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Okay I believe I understand it now. I think what happened is I did watch your video (a while back) and then internalized that it could work that way. So now I will see if my modular can help support what I want the Subharmonicon to do.

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