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  Synthesis Technology considers the MOTM-440 to be its signature filter, and I can see why: it is one of the best-sounding filters I have ever heard. Like the MOTM-420 filter, the MOTM-440 has three audio inputs and two FM inputs, and, of course, you can push the filter into full resonance. You can also make it distort, and the resulting overdriven sound differs significantly from that of the MOTM-420. The MOTM-440 also includes a Bass Enhance switch that increases the bass frequencies for an absolutely huge, throbbing low end.

MOTM-410. Based on the Korg PS-3100 filter, the MOTM-410 Triple Resonant Filter complements the other two filters with its interesting formant-shaping abilities. The MOTM-410 contains three sweepable bandpass filters and two asynchronous sine-wave LFOs (one of the LFOs runs 20 percent slower than the other). The filters have a fixed resonance that lets them evoke the vowels of the human voice or impart shifting articulations to the source sound. Each frequency band has a dedicated tuning control and output, so you can pan a sweeping signal across several speakers or sum the output to mono.

The MOTM-410 allows voltage control over the LFO rate (from 0.02 Hz to 100 Hz), modulation depth, and Sweep. Sweep controls all three frequency bands simultaneously. Also, a Mix control varies the amount of unprocessed signal in the output.

A three-position LFO Mode switch determines how each filter tracks with the LFOs. When the switch is in the Single position, LFO 1 controls all three filters. In Dual mode, LFO 1 controls Filter 1, and LFO 2 controls Filters 2 and 3. In Dual Reverse mode, LFO 1 sweeps Filter 1 upward, while LFO 2 sweeps Filter 2 upward and Filter 3 downward.

I wish the module provided an output for each LFO. It would give me two free LFOs to use elsewhere. I also wish I could control the filters’ resonance. The circuit’s topology doesn’t allow for that, but that’s okay. As it is, the MOTM-410 sounds fresh and unique; I would need five simpler modules to get the speechlike formant shifts this module provides.

Sounds and Processing
MOTM-101. The MOTM-101 Noise/ S&H module performs several duties at once. The noise and the sample-and-hold sections are internally patched together, but you can use them independently, as well.

White, pink, and randomized noise are available simultaneously from the lower row of jacks. The module also includes a randomized vibrato output, created from band-filtered noise centered at 7 Hz. A vibrato control adjusts the filter’s Q, which creates a random signal, more or less. Although you can’t adjust the frequency of this random LFO, it’s useful as it stands.

The sample-and-hold part of the module has an internal clock and a rate control. It can also lock to an external pulse, and a control knob scales the output. A unique feature of the MOTM-101 is the Track/Hold switch. In the Hold position, the module steps to a new voltage every time it gets a trigger. In the Track position, it mirrors the moving input voltage while the gate is low (below 1.5V) but freezes that output when the gate is high. It’s like the child’s game of red light, green light played with voltages.

MOTM-110. Another dual-function module, the MOTM-110 VCA/Ring Modulator has a simple but high-quality VCA with audio input and output jacks, a gain control, CV input, and a corresponding sensitivity knob. Like the other modules, the MOTM-110 sounds impeccably clean and punchy. The gain knob boosts the signal above unity, which lets you use negative control voltages for attenuation. With two VCAs, you can crossfade between timbres—a nice touch, though confusing at first.
The Ring Modulator works independently from the VCA, with separate carrier and modulation inputs and associated level knobs (marked X and Y), modulation output, and two AC/DC switches to pass or remove DC offsets. An extra control lets you unbalance the modulator, which has the sonic effect of adding grunge and saturation to the sound while letting the carrier signal bleed through. That adds an extra timbre-shaping twist to the familiar clangorous tones of ring modulation.


Reprinted with permission from Magazine, March, 2001
2000, Intertec Publishing, A Primedia Company All Rights Reserved

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