Pittsburgh Modular Voltage Research Laboratory

I caved and ordered one. Great price and it sounds so incredible. Really looking forward to this.

1 Like

I ordered the controller - $299usd for that controller is a steal considering most similar touch controller modules out there are around $400-$500.

Slightly regret I didn’t get the whole system.

After several years in eurorack I’ve shifted towards wanting ‘instruments’ - apart from the fact that the Voltage Lab looks and sounds great, it is a thoroughly well presented ‘whole’ instrument, no doubt with the limitations of an instrument but also the offerings and delights of an instrument one can know. I find that appealing and attractive. I’ve been eyeing various ‘controllers’ for some time so for me it’s a bonus to have a controller that has some interesting features to it. I’m excited to get hold of this one. Roll on September!

1 Like

I went in on on the full system. I got into modular and purchased too much, too quickly. I’ve been overwhelmed and intimidated but also, very inspired and made some stuff I love.

Gonna sell about 2/3s of my stuff and hopefully, I’ll be able to focus, learn, and make more music as a result. Either way, love the idea of full instruments with opinions/limitations, yet completely patchable. Looking forward to Sept!

Looks like there is going to be a Blackbox version:

And Nick Batt’s review is as thorough as usual:

2 Likes

I have the SV-1 blackbox and I had asked them if they are interchangeable. The case is the same, but power requirements are different so if you have an SV-1 blackbox and want to use a voltage lab eurorack version in there you would have to contact them about ordering the voltage lab power connector.

1 Like

Does anyone on here have one of these? It feels like it would be a better fit for my brain than my 0-coast.
I’m curious about getting one of the standalone modules once they are available again but want to hear about people’s experiences.

2 Likes

I would be interested in getting one of these too, but they’re not going to be in production again until next year and probably not in the same form. This was mentioned at the very beginning of the SV-1B demo here https://youtu.be/MZKBA9vl7ow?t=137.
The module they released recently is the SV-1B which is a rerelease of the SV-1 with minor changes and the same panel aesthetic as the voltage lab.

1 Like

Wondering if anyone here picked up one of these and how they’re finding it. I must admit at least half of my GAS on this one is the panel design. Also attracted to the form factor. Based on the demos, this seems to pack a lot of creative potential in 8hp.

1 Like

Yes! I have one and I’m sorry to say it’s brilliant.
Sorry to say because I know they immediately sold out. It hits a wonderful sweet spot between flanger, chorus and springy reverb. The circuit will be featured in some of the upcoming instruments. Richard is a good friend of mine and I feel he and Michael Johnsen are continuously breaking new ground. The new designs are so cool and original. I can’t wait for them to be available.

8 Likes

That’s great to hear. I remember looking pretty hard at the original Voltage Lab. Was surprised to hear Richard mention that it was being updated as it still seems relatively new. Glad to hear the circuit will be making an appearance. I really like that mode-less approach to effects where use-case (flanger, chorus, delay, etc.) is determined by knob position. Not only can you find so many in-between sounds, but you can transition between them for even more experimentation.

1 Like

Yeah they’re doing great work straddling the line between “experimental” and “straightforward”.

I really should have jumped on Local Florist. It’s perfect for what I am looking for.

Do you put through it signals with a lot of harmonics? Xoac’s new BBD delay sounds incredible and they talk up that they were able to manage keeping signals with high harmonics in tact, something BBD don’t usually do well. I can’t imagine Pittsburgh wouldn’t have somehow achieved something similar since it’s going on the VRL2.

1 Like

So I was visiting the shop yesterday and was asking about that.
The module is voiced as clean and clocked as high as the BBD chip can go.
It says on the product page that the range is 6.2 to 28.5 ms although it feels a little longer. I’ve used some fairly bright sounds with it that translate well but I think the module still straddles the line between clean and dark analog tones if that makes sense. Richard has always maintained that as an analog circuit designer, there are certain limits of a BBD that you have to work within. There is as they say, “no free lunch”. The concept of the Cascading Delay Network was originally designed around a series of 8(!) (I think) BBD chips, but the circuit quickly became waaaay too noisy, so they switched to a really clever use of the Princeton Technologies digital PT2399 chip.

1 Like

i’m really curious to see what they do with the next iteration of the voltage lab.

1 Like

Hey there, wondering what aspects of the voltage research lab you feel like you would prefer to your 0-coast? I’m new to modular and semi-modular, but my research led me to decide the 0-coast was the best option for me… until I stumbled upon the VRL. Of course, I was too late to the party, since they’re seeming scarce these days.

I’m mostly looking for something I can make calming ambient melodies / soundscapes with (along the lines of artists like Emily A Sprague) as well as some less melodic, but organic-sounding soundscapes in the direction of some of Jim O’Rourke’s Serge-based Steamroom releases. Obviously, I realize those artists have much more advanced setups and knowledge, so I’m not suggesting that I expect to be able reach those heights as a beginner with a desktop semi-modular, but those are the moods and types of sounds I’m hoping to work toward.

I really loved the VRL’s nature sounds in their demo, and I like the idea of generating more of those at times instead of always using field recordings. I’ve seen some 0-Coast demos that are in the direction of what I like, warm twinkling generative melodies, nice pads, bird and wind sounds, noisy soundscapes full of natural/random-seeming movement, etc. but most of the sounds I’ve seen have been more kinda aggressive robotic sounding and not as appealing to me as what I’ve heard from the VRL so far.

So I guess this was a long winded way of wondering if I’ll be able to learn to patch more natural, acoustic feeling sounds into the 0-coast that can push it into VRL territory, or if those are more exclusive to the VRL. Also if it seems like the 0-coast would be a good way to get started toward the variety of sounds I’m going for. Sorry if any of this is phrased badly or if this is the wrong place to ask, I’m new here and still trying to find my footing in this world. Any help is much appreciated :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hey there @jfbm
I now no longer own an 0-coast or a Voltage Lab but I can say from my personal experiences with both that I found the Voltage Lab much better for my melodic ambient composition/improvisations. Part of that was the amount of control you have in the VL (many more patch points and modulation sources and really straight forward midi implementation). The waveforms were able to move from more glassy FM sounds to fizzy metallic tones very organically. I loved the addition of the delay as well. at maximum delay time I found it really nice for some subtle rhythmic movements or giving the impression of polyphony.

I love aspects of the make noise aesthetic but the way everything was organized on the VL made better sense to my brain.

Both are wonderful synths. I only sold the VL because I wasn’t working with it at the time and it was too good to sit collecting dust in my studio. I don’t want to horde things like that.
I’ll totally check out whatever comes next in the Voltage Lab family when the time comes.

1 Like

The VRL2 is really amazing. It’s part of a long range production rollout, but it’s a bit of a ways off with several new products ahead. I think there are some great and unexpected pieces coming up that are going to turn heads.

1 Like

I am really curious about all of that.
Pittsburgh were my gateway into modular and I’ve always enjoyed their output even if it doesn’t always fit my workflow. The VL was such a leap forward in their designs for me. Definitely building off what they had done before but striking a good balance of refined and adventurous with such a well designed layout.

2 Likes

What I’m loving so much about the work that Richard and Michael are doing is this great blend of innovative circuit design and the idea of fully self contained instruments. I think people are going to be really interested in the suff that’s coming up. Some of it very different from what’s come from them before. It’s wild to have seen so much of the behind the scenes development over the years. Concepts that become something else, projects that get scrapped, ideas that get set to the side only to germinate and become the “under the hood” core of a new thing… So many decisions and conditions that have to all line up, leading to the reality of actually manufacturing a product to put out into the world.

3 Likes

Hey Marcus,

Sorry for the delay, but thank you so much for the thoughtful feedback! That all makes a lot of sense. If the VL was more available at the moment, it would definitely be my first choice. For now, I’m thinking of giving the 0-coast + some of my pedals (maybe looper, red panda tensor, exh superego, some delay/verb, etc.) a shot to dip my toe into the world of modular and start learning how to move toward the sounds I’m looking for, but will likely keep an eye out for used VLs or the VL2 whenever it’s out. Thanks again for sharing your experience :slight_smile:

2 Likes