Burst modules tend to give you a bunch of triggers or gates in response to an event. It’s like a rattling, a ratcheting or a fast slap about the face. You could use them to add sudden explosions of activity or if you massage them correctly they can produce interesting and varying rhythms for running all sorts of stuff.
With the Multi Burst Envelopes you have an added element – the envelopes. You would commonly be triggering envelopes with a Burst module, and so AJH decided to build that in for you with a ton of versatility. It’s got modulation ready to go and so is perfectly poised to ratchet the heck out of your VCA, filter or modulation inputs.
- Thomann: https://thmn.to/thoprod/544406?offid=1&affid=1460
- Perfect Circuit: https://tinyurl.com/perfectcircuit-AJH-multiburst
You have 8 envelopes to play with that offer ramps in both directions, linear or exponential, and the P-Width knob gives you some control over the shape. You can knock it back to a mere tick or expand the width, so the envelopes flow into each other. You’ll discover that this module has a surprising range of outputs. An LFO sets the pace of the burst, but this can be turned off in favour of an external clock or a strangely unpredictable mix of the two.
The Slope knob controls how the series of envelopes behaves. They could fade in, fade out or be at the same level. Great for bringing in intensity or letting things drift away.
At a basic level, you stick in a trigger and you get out a burst of your chosen envelope. But once you start putting things into the CV inputs, all sorts of interesting things start happening.
I confess that my first impressions were that this was a bit of a one-trick pony. It did exactly what it said on the tin, trigger – burst, job done. But it felt a bit fierce, a bit too even and ordered, a constant rattling of zap-zap-zap-zap-zap gap zap-zap-zap-zap-zap. That may be what you’re after and certainly has its place, but for me, it comes alive with modulation.
If you push the LFO Rate, you get rhythms. If you play with the P-Width you get falling and rising steps interspersed with spasms of individuality. Slope brings in what feels like delay and reversed feedback while ratcheting up the intensity.
As you feed the sockets with LFOs and random voltages, the output gets delightfully bizarre, like the chattering of data streams or Morse with moments of clarity blended to form something quite beautiful.
Burst modules tend to find themselves in percussive roles, seeking out interesting rhythms through the mixing of bursts with established clocks. Multi Burst Envelopes can do that too. But it’s the envelopes that make this module interesting to me. They can be a bit sharp and intense on first inspection but quickly become a wandering of blips and pulses, filter sweeps and pulled wave folds.
It’s one of those modules that hold the essence of modular bleepiness in its circuits, and it makes you feel like you’re doing all this on purpose, to some kind of diabolical plan. When all you need to do is sit back and enjoy its influence.
- AJH Synth website.