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Component-level Buchla Music Easel with complex and modulation oscillators, dual LPGs and 256 presets
Please note this is available via DIGITAL DOWNLOAD only, your download code will be emailed to you in 30 minutes or less. There are NO returns on this product.
WEST COAST SOUND DESIGN PLAYGROUND
The Buchla Easel V is the first recreation of Don Buchla’s iconic instrument that helped define experimental West Coast modular synthesis in the early ‘70s. Our enhancements translate to vastly expanded possibilities for sound design and avant-garde music.
You’ve always wanted to paint with sound. Now you can with the Buchla Easel V.
One look at the Buchla Easel V and you know this is a different beast. In fact, it makes you think differently about sound right from the start—and the soundscapes you can design with it are as unique as the front panel array. To put that experience at your fingertips, we meticulously recreated the rare 1973 Buchla Music Easel right down to the component level. As you’ve come to expect from our other V-series instruments, we’ve gone the extra mile by designing in an enhanced feature set including polyphony, innovative new modulation/control sources, step sequencer, effects, and more.
If you like to paint outside the lines, Buchla Easel V is the perfect artistic tool for you.
Welcome to West Coast school of synthesis
Your music breaks from the pack. So does the Buchla Easel V.
The Buchla Easel V faithfully reproduces Buchla’s Music Easel that helped define West Coast synthesis’ focus on experimentation and breaking musical norms. We’ve applied our award-winning TAE™ modeling technology from the front panel to the resistors to capture it all with incredible realism.
Complex oscillator design, AM and FM synthesis, uniquely percussive gate/filter combos, and numerous ways to modulate and clock just about every parameter, all drop you right in the middle of a sonic sandbox. Design and perform soundscapes that burble, shimmer, pulse and evolve without ever touching a keyboard or pad—unless you want to add even more control. Nearly 300 presets by expert sound designers get you started with timbres ranging from hauntingly beautiful sonorities to clangorous pokes in the ear.
Whether you’re looking to experiment with simple sounds or build complex evolving passages, the Buchla Easel V is a constant source of inspiration for sonic adventurers.
Create sounds no one has ever heard before
In addition to faithfully reproducing a classic, we’ve infused the Buchla Easel V with even more of that vintage goodness to love.
We’ve made patching even more fun and foolproof. When you drag a color-coded patchcord between patch points, only valid targets light up, saving you the frustration of making invalid connections that do nothing. The original Music Easel lacked a noise source, so we’ve added one to the preamp—handy for introducing rhythmic elements. We’ve also designed a feedback loop into the preamp, so you can really get things howling. Up to four-voice polyphony greatly enhances your performance capabilities, too.*
With our extensions to Buchla’s original design, you now have an even more intuitive programming experience paired with additional sonic options.
* Note that while our extreme modeling at the component level on the Buchla Easel V delivers insanely great analog sound, each voice of polyphony requires significant processing power to pull it off—approximately 20 percent of an i7 CPU per voice.
New control, new inspiration
Electronic music is as much about expression as it is about sound generation—and Buchla Easel V delivers new expressive capabilities beyond your wildest dreams.
We’ve dramatically expanded the functionality of the original Music Easel while respecting the instrument’s unique personality and design philosophy. One click reveals all the new additions. The Left Hand section provides five full-featured Function Generators individually routable to any of 76 modulation targets. The Right Hand section gives you a modern step sequencer with innovative options. Gravity is an X/Y grid that uses the physics of a bouncing ball influenced by attraction, repulsion and collision with objects to generate unique, unexpected modulation signals. There’s also a two-slot Effects section for additional processing and animation right inside Buchla Easel V.
New additions to Buchla Easel V give you the power to create and perform complex, exotic sounds that were simply impossible until now.
Unique sound generation à la Buchla
Get your hands on an authentic replica of the definitive sound sources and signal processing that brought a different perspective to the world of analog synthesis.
1. Modulation Oscillator
The Modulation Oscillator is hardwired to modulate the Complex Oscillator, optionally patchable to other targets. You can set it for amplitude modulation (AM), frequency modulation (FM), or to AM-modulate an external signal like another track on your DAW. In low-frequency range, AM and FM produce effects like tremolo, vibrato, and trills. In audio range, they create distinctive sidebands that reshape the main sound source—anything from subtle harmonics to otherworldly ring modulation. Audio range also gives you the option of using the Modulation Oscillator as a second sound source, complete with it’s own timbre, pitch, and voltage inputs.
2. Complex Oscillator
Buchla Easel V’s main sound generator is the Complex Oscillator. Its core waveform is a sine wave to which you add harmonics through wave folding—a type of wave shaping (also found in Arturia’s Brute hardware synth series) where the peak of a wave is cut off and folded back onto itself. The number of folds determines the harmonic content. You can induce further harmonics by crossfading that with a square, triangle or sawtooth wave. The Complex Oscillator can either be under melodic keyboard control or fixed in pitch for rhythmic elements, drones and more. Pitch and timbre can be modulated.
3. Dual Low Pass Gates
Easel V features two low-pass gates—essentially 12 db/octave voltage-controlled filters (VCFs) configured to behave like gates, in that the closed state is actually just a sub-sonic cutoff frequency. This is yet another contributor to the instrument’s unique sound. You can switch each gate’s mode between filter, gate, or combination. Gate 1 is hardwired to the Complex Oscillator. You can switch Gate 2 to process the preamp’s output, Modulation Oscillator, or Complex Oscillator. In the latter case, the two gates operate serially for some unique effects.
Buchla’s gate design employs vactrols—optically coupled LEDs and light-sensitive resistors—exhibiting organic attack and decay properties ideal for imitating tuned percussion. No two vactrols behave identically. We’ve modeled these individual components, and even given you control over their response characteristics in our commitment to complete faithful reproduction of this iconic sound.
We’ve upgraded the preamp to give you more creative options. The new feedback option loops the output back into itself, making it possible to introduce overdriven analog resonances. Where the original instrument lacked a noise generator, we’ve added one to the Easel V that you can use as a source for percussive sounds, dirty atmospheres, and more.
Buchla Easel V faithfully recreates the original instrument’s unique sonic architecture, giving you access to the stuff of legends.
Buchla Easel V delivers a cornucopia of unique modulation methods that let you shape new sounds and bring driving motion to your music.
Many of Easel V’s modulation modules have options to determine how they respond to triggers from your keyboard and/or each other, giving you complex transients and motion with flexible performance control. For example, you can decide if you want to trigger the Sequential Voltage Source via the Pulser or vice versa—each exhibiting dramatically different results.
1. Envelope Generator
The Easel V’s ASR Envelope Generator features switchable operating modes. In Sustained mode, the sustain portion has a minimal duration that can be extended as long as a note is held. In sustained mode, the envelope completes regardless of whether the key is briefly hit or durably held—handy for percussion patches. Self mode—added to later hardware incarnations of the Music Easel—causes the envelope to repeat endlessly, resulting in cyclic effects more complex than you can realize with LFOs. You can also set the envelope to be triggered by the Pulser or Sequential Voltage Source, providing you with a variety of unique methods of realizing sonic animations.
2. Pulser and Sequential Voltage Source
The Pulser provides a straightforward source for simple or repeated triggers that you can route a number of places, including options for free running, clock sync, and more. It’s an easy way to create something like metronomically repeated gating. For more capability, the Sequential Voltage Source outputs three to five programmable voltage steps you can collectively route to modulate various targets—pitch for melodic variations, modulation amount for timbral changes, amplitude for a series of gain steps, and more.
3. Additional Modulation
The Random Voltage Generator is great for generating unpredictable voltages, including presenting different values simultaneously on each of its patchbay outputs. The Preset Voltage Source outputs one of four voltages according to the value you set for the associated pad—handy for performance functions like predictable transposition offsets. You’ll love driving the Easel V from external audio, such as using a DAW drum track to trigger parameters you connect to the Envelope Out of the built-in envelope follower. You’ll also find plenty of other patchable goodies, including clock pulse, voltage inverter, and MIDI-to-CV outputs for velocity, wheel, and key follow.
While some connections are already hardwired in Easel V’s semi-modular design, patching is where the real magic happens. With most modular synths, patching quickly results in a morass of cables that make controls difficult to see and signal flow hard to understand. With Buchla Easel V, almost all patch points appear in a common patchbay strip, making for much easier programming. They’re all color-coded for easy identification—and you’re only able to make the valid connections that illuminate as you’re dragging a patch cord. Sweet.