The Make Noise/soundhack Spectraphon is a dual Spectral Oscillator coded by Tom Erbe of soundhack. It uses real-time spectral analysis and resynthesis to create new sounds from those that already exist. It is inspired by classic electronic musical instruments of the past, including spectral processors, additive synthesis, vocoders, and resonators especially the Buchla 296 and Touché, but it takes a physical form more resembling the classic analog dual complex oscillator in the lineage of the Buchla 259 and the Make Noise DPO.
The Spectraphon is the first module to be built by Make Noise on its new digital hardware platform. This hardware, engineered by Jeff Snyder and Tony Rolando, provides more i/o at higher resolutions, and a lower noise floor than we have ever had access to in a digital module, allowing us to unleash Tom Erbe’s DSP code to a previously unattainable degree.
The Spectraphon has two nearly identical sides, A and B, which oscillate in one of two ways: Spectral Amplitude Modulation (SAM), or Spectral Array Oscillation (SAO). In SAM, instead of oscillating at all times like an analog VCO, sound at the Spectraphon’s input is used to modulate the amplitude of a set of harmonics. In SAM the Spectraphon can be sequenced and frequency modulated like any VCO. At any time the current spectrum can be used to create an Array for later use in SAO mode where the Spectraphon oscillates at all times, with the spectrum at the Odd and Even harmonic outputs being drawn from those stored Arrays.
The Slide and Focus controls are mode-dependent: in SAM, they determine how the Spectraphon responds to sound at the input for Spectral AM, while in SAO, they are used to modulate the Array.
In either mode (SAM or SAO), the Partials control works as a combined amplitude and timbre gate for the Odd and Even harmonic output and the FM Bus will create high definition internal frequency modulation from the opposing side of the Spectraphon. The two sides can also interact via the internal FM Bus, the Follow and Sync modes, and by patching them together.
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