Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You had me at "HELO"

Tiptop Audio's Z3000 to be exact.

Having had the opportunity to utilize not just one, but for a short time, up to four of these newly minted oscillators in my own system; I have to say the Z3000's utilitarian & highly convenient frequency counter was, as with most who first look upon the module, the initial draw and drool factor. Let alone its ability to also show the note & octave state the module is currently outputing with the bonus of an external in to utilize the frequency counter with all your existing oscillators to boot! 

The unit is completely analogue aside from the frequency counter. It is rich and warm with one of the best sine waves I've had the opportunity to use. It's by no means pure & that's most likely the reason for it sounding so good to my own (& the others) ears who've been fortunate enough to test and play with these lovely modules ahead of time.

The other wave forms are very good & for me the pulse especially, with its full sweep pot that dosen't dead end or drop off near the limits of the pot's radius. Would I have liked a dedicated 50/50 duty cycle square wave output too? Of course, but at this price point to feature ratio I am not about to complain!

A nice feature that helps alleviate the need for a multiple is the CV out thru-put on the unit. You can cascade multiple Z3000's or send that CV to another oscillator without the need for a middle man to make the connection. (hush you banana jack users, I know already what your going to say) There is even a jumper on the PCB to allow you to connect it to the Doepfer CV bus, all the while still having the 1v/oct input active for use.

You'll notice another feature that is unique to
 this particular oscillator & that is its HSM input. Hard Sync Modulation allows you to input not just the saw or square waves that have a hard edge but also triangle and sine waves with varying effect from each waveform. You can even input whole tracks and external audio signals from you DAW or other source to distort and rectify the waveform according to the incoming signal. Also worth noting is the fact you can use both inputs at the same time, having frequencies fight it out in a duel to the divisible-death if you will. Nifty stuff. :) 

Below is a simple example of that very thing. Only four modules and three patchcords are in use here. Two Plan B Model-15 oscillators as the sync sources. The sine wave output from the Z3000 is going directly into a VCA set wide open. One M-15 is used for its pulse out going into the Sync input & the other M-15 has its sine out going into the HSM input. The frequencies of the two M-15's are set as the Z3000's frequency is slowly swept up and back down again. Then random frequency changes are applied manually to the individual M-15s as well as the HSM input source being changed from sine to triangle to sawtooth.

The FM is also lovely. It's not as "out there" as the Plan B Model-15 can get but it's a new and very choice color to add to an existing color scheme. If I had the brain power left tonight i'd upload an audio demo but that will have to wait until later, unfortunately.

With that said I can definitely say I would not want to be without this guy from now on. Especially with it's handy frequency counter allowing me to subdivide & multiply frequencies with greater ease to create harmonic overtones as well as adding or subtracting by a set integer for inharmonic overtones both of which come in great handy not only for FM but for rhythmic beating of the tuning when mixed together, etc. etc.

Oh, and this last image is for Surachai: Super Devil Brutal Metal Frequency


Pete Shambler said...

Great write up-- I imagine having four of these must have been a blast!!

felix said...

Awesome. I was hoping the manual would be available when they started shipping, but I can't find it anywhere yet.

I guess it doesn't matter now though, since I couldn't help myself...and ordered 2.

brandon daniel said...

I'm a bad, bad boy and just put in for one.