Friday, May 18, 2012

A-137 Wave Multiplier

I might have underrated the A-137-1 Voltage Controlled Wave Multiplier a bit. Until lately...

The basic idea of a wave multiplier is to multiply the waveform of an incoming signal and add harmonics to a signal that contains none or only a few harmonics (e.g. sine or triangle waveform)
The A-137 can be used with signals rich in harmonics too (e.g. saw) but the effect is not as remarkable as for triangle or sine waves.
For rectangle signals none or only little effects are obtained.

The A-137 is a very interesting module, in a way it is quite similar to the A-136 Distortion/Waveshaper
You can compare it with four simple A136 modules in series. (The A136 is basically like a guitar distortion stompbox with different distortion levels for the positive and the negative parts of the signal.)
Only in this module you do not have separate access to the two half waves and to the parameters of the individual stages.

The parameters of the A-137 are:
- Multiples: defines the number of basic wave multiplications within one period.
- Folding Level and Symmetry: the upper and lower clipping levels of the wave folder units are controlled.
- Harmonics: adds some harmonic content by sharpening the waveform edges and adding overshoot peaks. It works a little bit like the resonance control of a VCF.

All 4 parameters can be manually adjusted and controlled by external voltages.
It is a lot of fun to experiment with this module, with all different parameters controlled by different CV sources like LFO, ADSR's, Ribbon Control pressure and sequenced triggers for example.

The only thing i dislike about this module is the unpredictability factor.
You should be carefull for a 'damping' effect that can occur when different parameters interact with eachother.
But on the other hand; the module is fully DC coupled, so even CV signals can be messed up with this module.

Check out the audio examples on the Doepfer site that explain the function of the module and its parameters.