I don’t own a Quad Operator yet but it looks like a really cool module. I have a question about it which is kind of hard to formulate but I’ll give it a try. Maybe some of you people who own a QO can help me out.
I have a JoMoX Alpha Base (an analog drum synthesizer) which besides the analog drums has a little digital FM synthesizer with four operators and a 4x4 knob mod matrix which seems to work in exactly the same way as the QO mod matrix. What I love about this thing is that if I put a certain amount of feedback, meaning, for example, op 1 modulates op 2 and op 2 modulates back on op 1, then I can create these meta-stable states where from time to time (the time intervals in between can be as long as minutes) something becomes unstable and chaotic sound quirks self-amplify and then disappear again, especially if the envelopes of the oscillators are very long. I think this is a really cool effect, for example, for ambient music. The problem is that this FM synth in the AB is not very practical to use, the two main reasons for me are that the oscillators cannot be tuned and that the FM synth voices cannot be separately routed out of the AB. But I know that Jürgen (the guy who designed the AB) just thought of this FM synth as a “little digital gadget”, so I don’t complain (the AB is awesome!).
Now my question is: Can the QO make these chaotic sound quirks described above if one tweaks the feedback in the right way? Or put another way: Can the QO become alive?
Thanks so much for your insights!
Ya I have to agree the Alpha Base is a super rad piece of kit!
You can definitely cross modulate (op 1 modulates op 2, and op 2 modulates op 1) in the Quad Operator via the modulation matrix. This by itself will lead to fairly static sounds. However, if you do this along with some modulation of the operator’s gain CV, I think you’ll get some interesting instabilities and sounds crossing over from cleaner FM sounds into noisier stuff as you increase the amount of gain. Additionally, modulating the operator’s wave shape via CV can bring more harmonics into the underlying FM carrier and modulator wave shapes for some extra harmonic content for the cross modulation to grab on to!
I have both so I can comment.
The workflow is very similar to both as you guessed.
The alpha base though I find very difficult to program, is super sensitive and unstable, and very hard to keep a sound if you know what I mean, it always destroys the moment I want to keep. However, I like the sound, is very liquid and unexpected.
Quad operator can definitely do the same sounds yeah, but is very stable and has much more detail when programming the sounds. But since is modular, you need to add the envelopes, and FX to achieve similar results. Plus it has VCAs on board.
YES it can become alive!
Thanks a lot for your comments, this sounds very promising!
Playing with the gain CV to get instabilities makes perfect sense.
I guess the Quad Operator will be my final reason to start getting into modulars
Thanks a lot for your reply.
The alpha base though I find very difficult to program, is super sensitive and unstable, and very hard to keep a sound if you know what I mean, it always destroys the moment I want to keep.
I know exactly what you mean!
The Alpha Base FM synth is a little bit like playing with a cat!
But I also like it a lot.
So I think I will get the Quad Operator then, it must be a lot of fun!
The problem is that I’ve not done any modular stuff so far but I collected loads of info. I’ll just get a case with power first, a midi to CV module and a mixer module should get me started.