“Free” as in free jazz, inspired by a weird piece of luggage whose coiled wire led to a black bakelite device upon the mouth of a musician angling their way around a Sun Ra performance one summer night in Philadelphia. It was a long time ago, I was even too young to be there, but the sound was unforgettable. This synth comes from that memory, the spirit of early electronic innovation, and a sense of adventure.
But sure, it might as well actually be free too.
We at Playertron have been meaning to offer something that gets beginners off the ground quick (or speeds up the creative process of others too), so that one could get into VM’s great filter and effects offerings without all of the normal setup. In this way, the Impulse Free Synth offers a full instrument with just two imput connections (pitch & gate). Under the hood, you’ve got two uniquely-voiced oscillators, a noise source, a filter with an unusual slope, an envelope & LFO, hardwired modulation, a feedback-based “reverb”, and lots of customizable & randomizable settings. With intrinsic saturation, complex interactions, and other secret sauces, it comes alive with merits of its own that ensure it is worthwhile as an instrument and not merely a tool of convenience.
As for convenience, when you’re over it, you can disconnect the gate for a continuous sound source that readily serves as the basis for a complex modular approach. It’s also great for drones and explorative tinkering.
Use the random button (top left) to accelerate innovation and serendipity, but also, you’ll find that the device rewards exploration as unexpected treasures can be found when background interactions come alive.
Much was done to develop the sorts of idiosyncrasies of analog equipment, but rather than modeling whatever already happened to exist, a rich solution space of unimagined synths was explored. Because of “circuit” tolerances, slight variance in parallel behavior creates a stereo separation amongst the two outputs.
Hopefully, this synth will help experimentalists act on their impulses. free them from time-intensive setup, and reward exploration with inspiration.