Freak update, panels, PCBs and shirts
Sadly, the semiconductor shortage is making impossible form me to get parts to build more Freak modules. This has put my business in pause for an undetermined time. My apologies for the people that is still waiting to get (arguably) the best Eurorack filter.
For the people that already has Freak, I have to inform you that it's going to get better. Version 3.0 of the firmware is ready. Here is a small breakdown of the new features.
The big update is the addition of two new operation modes: Duplex serial and Duplex parallel. These modes add the possibility of running two filters per channel. The possible routings are shown in the following figure:
These new modes are controlled similar to Dual mode where the attenuverters take the role of controls. You can check the all the details in the Freak User Manual.
These new modes do not come without compromises. Since we are effectively running 4 filter instances, you can only select a limited number of models; the most CPU efficient. Currently, you can use Stabile (State Variable) and Boomstick (Sallen-key) filters. The number of configurations that these two filters can provide is varied enough to create very interesting sounds.
My friend Robert, the designer of the CTAG modules, pointed out that the CODEC that I'm using in the Freak filter has a hardware bug that makes it produce noise at the input. Fortunately, it is possible to turn off, by firmware, the HP filter of the CODEC and reduce significantly the noise.
This update includes that fix. That lowers significantly the noise and makes possible to use the high gain/drive models without degrading that much your signal.
I have included two new models: Nitrous and Wolv. These two are based on the hardware modules I developed.
Nitrous is a model of the TB-303 filter. I have had many requests for this filter. Even when Lateralus can be configured as a 18dB filter, the feel of it is not the same as a dedicated 303 filter.
It took me some time to get this one right. The main reason was that I managed to make quite a few silly mistakes in the hardware and I required three revisions :) The last one is not entirely correct, but I managed to fix it with a few jumper wires.
You may have already seen Wolv. I added a slightly modified version of this module into Freak. The main difference is that the Freak version only supports audio rate signals (no DC, no LFO). Second difference is that the Freak version can produce aliasing. Some of you may consider this a feature.
Some of you have the Freak module ON for long periods of time. The OLED screens like the one in the Freak can "burn" and change the appearance of the pixels. In order to reduce this effect, I have added a screensaver.
The screensaver is a generative pattern based on the Wolfram cellular automaton. Since I work at Wolfram Research, it seemed appropriate to generate graphics this way. The screensaver is a showcase of the different rules picked in a random order.
Other small improvements
There are a bunch of small fixes and improvements. Among those, it worth mentioning a new option to sum all a the modulation inputs. This effectively provides three inputs to control the Cutoff of the filter. In addition, there are a few optimizations and stability fixes.
There are a few new things in the store. First, I have added Vraids panels. These panels have the Vraids artwork in one side and the Freak on the other.
During the lasts months, I sold a limited edition of the Wolv module. I ended up having a few spare panels and PCBs. I have put them on sale in the store. Since they are very few, they may not last. If you don't manage to get one, but you really want it, you can opt in to receive a "back in stock" notification. If I receive enough request, I could produce a few more.
For a long time, I have wanted to have a Vult T-Shirt. In the past, I added a few designs to a printing service, but this only worked in the US. For Europe, I needed a different service. Now I have integrated a new one that works on almost all countries. Here you can get the T-Shirt. If you want an specific Vult branded product, just send me a message and I'll check If I can add it.
For the people that already has a Freak, I have to inform you that it's going to get better. Version 3.0 of the firmware is ready. Here is a small breakdown of the new features.s.I hope to have the latest revision ready in the coming weeks.