Objavljamo kratek plonkČIP listek v angleškem jeziku s ČIPkaste delavnice Modularni sinti z Alisso Derubeis, ki je narejen po zgledu Modular Synth Glossary ter dopolnjen z zapiski z delavnice, ki je potekala med 15. in 17. aprilom v Rampa Lab-u.

Illustracija: Maggie Negrete

SYNTHESIZER: A synthesizer is a machine that uses electronic circuits to create signals to produce sound.

EURORACK: Eurorack is the 3U modular synthesizer format introduced by Doepfer and Analogue Systems in the 1990s. The Eurorack format calls for modules of 128.5mm (slightly over 5″) height and modules have the same operating voltages.

SIGNAL: an electronic wave, characterized by variations in voltage-the amplitude of the wave.

PATCH CABLE: a cable that makes a connection between an input and an output of a patch bay or on the panel of a modular synthesizer or semi-modular. In Eurorack modular synthesizers 3.5 mm mono cables are used for interconnection. Stacking patch cable is a cable where each end has a male plug and  female jack so you can mult signals without needing the space of a multiple.

MODULE: a component of a synthesizer that performs a function, typically with an audio signal and/or control voltages. The basic modular functions are: signal, control, logic/timing. Modules can usually be categorized as either sources or processors.

  • Sound sources: VCO [voltage-controlled oscillator], noise source [white, pink, low frequency noise], sampler, drum module, LFO [low-frequency oscillator], EG [envelope generator], sequencer, human voice, guitar etc.
  • Processors: VCF [voltage-controlled filter], VCA [voltage-controlled amplifier], LPG [low pass gate], mixer etc.

EFFECTS: filter, delay, reverb (also space on some synths), distortion, looper etc.

CV: Control Voltage is an electrical signal used to manipulate the values of components in analog circuits. If you send a specific electrical voltage to a module of your synthesizer, you can specify what you want the module to do. We like to think of CV as our “ghost hands” (Thank you, Bana Haffar.). Turning the knob, but not really turning.

VCO: A voltage-controlled oscillator or VCO is an electronic oscillator whose oscillation frequency is controlled by a voltage input. The applied input voltage determines the instantaneous oscillation frequency. Some common waveshapes you’ll find are triangle, saw, sine, and square. Different waveshapes have different harmonics.

VCA: A voltage-controlled amplifier is the last functional block that a signal goes through before being sent to the synth’s output.

VCF: Voltage-controlled filters block some frequencies while letting others through. There are several different types of filter you can choose from depending on which frequencies you need to block/pass to achieve your desired sound.

FILTER: It adjusts the harmonic content/timbre of the sound. You can make the sound bright or filter it and make it darker. Some of the filters are:

  • Cut-off/Frequency (filter cut-off point): This is the part where you set the cut-off point for the filter. Some synths also allow you to set the slope of the filter cut off point. The cut-off sets the working edge of the filter.
  • Low pass (high cut): allows low frequencies to pass through.
  • High pass (low cut): lets the high frequencies through while cutting out the more rumbly tones.
  • Resonance: gives the frequency a little boost at the point of the filter cut-off. This adds some harmonics and can make filter changes more noticeable.
  • Envelope amount: This sets the value in which the filter envelope (more on envelopes later) has effect on the original sound.
  • Comb filtering [phaser, flanger, chorus]: blending the original signal with a slightly delayed version of itself which creates a series of notches through phase cancellation.

Envelope Generator: The most common envelope generator produces a four-segment signal corresponding to four phases of a note’s dynamics.


  • Attack:time it takes for initial run-up of level from zero to peak.
  • Decay: time it takes for run down from the attack level to the designated sustain level.
  • Sustain: the level during the main sequence of the sound’s duration.
  • Release:the time it takes for the level to decay from the sustain level to zero.

TIMBRE: tone quality of the sound, warmth of a tone.