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Poly Evolver : Design Background
There have been requests for both a rack mount Evolver, and for a polyphonic Evolver, so a 4-voice Polyphonic Evolver in a 1U rack seemed a logical choice for my second product. The 4 voices are each a complete Evolver, which not only provides backwards compatability with a monophonic Evolver, but also allows a number of cool features to play with.
Each voice still has its own sequencer. This allows some great wave-sequencing applications by gating sequences polyphonically from the keyboard. Each voice also has its own effects, such as feedback, distortion, and delay, which enables completely independent processing of each voice for a super thick sound.
The stereo audio inputs go to all four voices, each of which can select to process or ignore the external signals, so you can do quad parallel processing of any audio source. Or, since there are stereo outputs on each of the four voices, you can route the output of one voice to the input of another voice for some interesting effects.
Overall, the Poly, while retaining all of Evolver's wild capabilities, has emerged with its own personality. Many sounds that just didn't make much sense on the monophonic Evolver really shine when played polyphonically - this will be a real pad-monster machine. The wavesequencing is another. On the other hand, some Evolver sounds are actually too huge to play polyphonically, so I guess it works in both directions.
Once you play a Poly Evolver, you'll immediately hear what's missing with all those soft and virtual synths - this is real! Finally some personality and individuality in a polyphonic synth. As with the Evolver, the idea was not to create an analog retro synth, but to start with the benefits of true analog design, and then go well beyond with the tightly integrated digital features. You get all the old stuff (yes, these are Curtis filters) plus an all-new sound
The Poly Evolver is a four voice analog synthesizer in a 1U 19" rack. It is fully programmable from the front panel.
The following specs are for one of the voices:
Four oscillators in total: two analog, two digital
Analog Oscillator waveshape are Sawtooth, Triangle, Saw-Triangle, and Pulse (with voltage-controlled analog Pulse-Width modulation)
Digital Oscillators select from 96 wavetables from the Prophet-VS (128 x 12 bits), and 32 user-loadable (via MIDI) Wavetables (128 x 16 bits). The Digital Oscillators get trashy as the frequency gets higher, as with the original VS.
Hard Sync on the analog oscillators
FM and Ring Mod on the digital oscillators
Separate Glide per oscillator, with two glide modes
Real voltage-controlled analog lowpass filters - not digital recreations. 4-pole/2-pole switchable, fully resonant (in 4-pole mode). There are two separate filters, one for the left channel and one for the right.
Analog Voltage Controlled Amplifiers (VCA), again one for each channel.
Dual digital 4-pole Highpass filters (one per channel); place before or after analog electronics.
Stereo audio inputs; Noise generator
Envelope Follower and Peak Detect from External Input to use as modulation sources
External Input can be used to gate envelopes and/or step the Sequencer
Three snappy ADSR envelopes
Four LFOs (sync with sequencer and MIDI)
Dual (left and right channel) tunable feedback loops; modulate frequency and amount
Delay with 3 taps; each with separate time and amount modulation. Syncs to sequencer/MIDI. Normal feedback and additional feedback path through analog filters
Distortion! Digital, one for each channel, can be placed before or after analog electronics
3 Banks of 128 Programs for 384 total Programs - dump to/from MIDI
16 x 4 Analog-style sequencer - syncs with MIDI
Extensive Modulation capabilities, including audio-range modulation. Bipolar (+/-) modulation.
Easy to program matrix-style front panel with 8 endless-turn rotary encoders
A bunch of MIDI stuff
The internal controllers and DSP chips can be reprogrammed via MIDI, for easy feature additions
The Poly Evolver is 19" wide, 6" deep, and 1.75" high (27 x 15 x 4 cm). Yes, it is small!