Super Needle Dropper

This device is the secret weapon so important at Playertron, that possessing a digital versions of it (and the DIV Sequencer) was a primary motivator for getting into VM development. After a year of private use, it’s now here for you too.

Replicating a modified CD turntable, set up for pitch CV chromatic sample playback from multiple triggered cue points and with individual cue playback outputs, the Super Needle Dropper was built to turn a track into a musical instrument of its own. Sequence jumps around a drum break, write melodies from a solo note, chop songs into a collage of sounds, and use different signal chains for each cue point.

Four cue points are used to index playback positions within a sample file and they are set by the four large sliders. Each has a nearby set of concentric dials allowing you to specify cue points with increasing precision (“search”, “coarse”, “fine”). There’s also a blue “set” button that you can press during playback to automatically set the cue point. The four green cue buttons then trigger playback from each location, and a central start button can always be used to play from the track’s beginning.

All of these play buttons have neighboring trigger jacks so that they can be sequenced, connected to the keyboard’s trigger, or spurred by various modulation sources. There are central main outputs and additional cue outputs that only send sound when its cue is active. This provides incredible access for creating individualized effects chains for each cue — you could chop up a beat so that a cued bass drum is passed through a filter while the snare cue is channeled through a delay and the hihat comes through untouched. Or, just use the main output to keep it simple.

Playback can be pitched chromatically with pitch cv next to the top rate dial. Alternatively, there are jacks for pitching cue points individually, which can be especially useful when employing multiple sequencers. The neighboring dials can be used instead, allowing you to set a static pitch, which can be also specified for each cue point individually or as a group. At the top center, a switch can be used to rescale the pitch response for use with modulation sources instead.

Once you dig in, you’ll see how serendipity is the norm when you don’t have to pre-slice samples from tracks, when you can essentially recut them in continually new ways on the fly, and when you can experiment without prior editing. Complex editing can be accomplished generatively and performatively, and in real time. Looping the full track, you can use it as a sample-based oscillator to really push boundaries too. On the other hand, you could use a pair of these around the Battle Mixer for DJing a set via VM. The Super Needle Dropper is like using a turntable while having super-hero abilities to instantaneously drop the needle in exact places and set the playback speed with melodious precision and having hacked at the insides for advanced signal routing options.

(loads files with sample rates up to 48K, any bit depth)