Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Doepfer NAMM 2018 A-100 Polyphonic Module Announcements

Right in time for the upcoming NAMM exhibition later this week (January 25/28 2018, Anaheim, Hall A, booth 10706), Doepfer announced a few more interesting A-100 modules (next to the Dark Energy III news). Too many new modules for one blogpost, so I had to split it up into multiple blogposts... The next one will contain their new 'standard' modules.

The magic word for Doepfer this year seems to be Polyphony, because most of the new products are perfect companions for the highly anticipated A-190-5 Polyphonic CV/Gate Interface, a module that has been in pre-production for a loooong while now. 
On the Doepfer website we can still read the message We cannot yet specify a definite release date but hope that it will be available in 2011, from the early prototype stages.
We already know most of its features, i have been blogging about it since 2011, but here are the details once more:

A-190-5 is a Midi/USB interface that generates 4 gate signals and 12 control voltages to control up to four synthesizer voices (i.e. VCOs and associated modules like envelope generators, VCFs and VCAs) for polyphonic sound generation. 
The A-190-5 will be equipped with different polyphonic, duophonic, paraphonic and monophonic modes which are selected by means of menu buttons and the display.
For each channel a gate, a note controlled CV (1V/Oct.) and two auxiliary CVs (e.g. for velocity or controlled by midi control change messages) are available. In play mode the states of the four gates are displayed by four LEDs integrated into the buttons 1-4.
Firmware updates are possible via USB.

The A-111-4 Quad Precision VCO will be available soon too... adding 4 wide-range precision-VCOs to complement the Polyphonic module and was already announced at Superbooth 2017. Read all about this at

Brandnew is the A-105-4 Quad SSM VCF filtermodule, their first polyphonic filter and contains four identical 24dB Lowpass filters (SSM2044 type).
The special feature of the 4 pole low pass SSM2044 is the patented so-called "true open loop design that delivers a characteristic fat sound not available from other devices"
This chip was used e.g. in these synths: Korg Polysix, Korg Mono/Poly, Fairlight II, PPG Wave 2.2 und 2.3, Emu SP-1200, Siel KIWI,  DK600, Siel Opera 6, and the Simmons SDS5.
The first Prophets 5s used the SSM2040 - the precedessor of the 2044 - that generates a very similar sound. (source)  Version 3 of the Prophet 5 switched to the thinner sounding Curtis CEM3320. The Pro One also used that chip.

It has available common manual controls and CV inputs with attenuators for these parameters:
• Frequency (F)
• Frequency Modulation Intensity (FM)
• Resonance (Q)
• Audio Input Level (L)

Each filter has available a separate FM input as well as an Audio Input and Output. The FM input is typically connected to the output of the associated envelope
generator (e.g. A-141-4). The envelope amount for all four filters is controlled by the FM knob and the CVFM input by means of four built-in VCAs, which are controlled by the FM control and CVFM input.

This allows also voltage control of the envelope amounts. In addition common frequency modulation for all filters is possible (e.g. by an LFO). For this the CVF input with attenuator can be used.
The range of the audio input level control (L) allows also clipping/distortion with typical A-100 audio levels (e.g. from A-111-4) at the filter inputs.
Even this parameter is voltage controllable as well as the resonance (Q).
Application: polyphonic patches (four VCFs with same parameters)

Another new Polyphonic module is the A-132-8 Octal VCA:
The A-132-8 contains four VCA pairs. Each pair includes two daisy-chained VCAs. One VCA has a linear control scale, for the second VCA linear or exponential control scale can be chosen by means of jumpers.
Doepfer decided to provide two VCAs for each voice because usually one VCA is required for loudness envelope and a second one for velocity (or another function).
For each VCA these in/outputs are available:

• CV Input VCA 1
• CV Input VCA 2
• Audio Input
• Audio Output
Audio Sum Output is also available.
The module features two Initial Gain controls, that enable the opening of the first (G1) and/or second VCA (G2). This is necessary when the VCA in question is not in use (i.e. no external CV available). Otherwise the VCA would close. They are also useful for testing polyphonic patches.
Application: Polyphonic patches with two VCAs per voice.

The A-141-4 Quad Poly VCADSR contains four ADSR type voltage controlled envelope generators with common manual controls and CV inputs with polarizers for the parameters Attack (A), Decay (D), Sustain (S) and Release (R).
Each of the four envelope generators has available a gate input, a control LED and an envelope output.
Application: Polyphonic patches (four envelope generators with the same envelope parameters to control four VCFs, VCAs or other modules)