Future Sound Systems FIL4 Timbral Sculptor, a unique filter wave folder combo

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Future Sound System FIL4 Timbral Sculptor is a unique analog sound shaping module that consists of a filter, wave folders, rectifier, and VCA.

In synthesis, there are two worlds. Either you work with the classic subtractive synthesis with VCOs, filtering, and VCA. This is about reducing the harmonic content by filtering. Or you go to the west-coast world where you can try to enrich harmonic content rather than reduce it.

Modular synthesizers are very suitable for discovering both worlds at the same time. Often implemented in different modules like wave shapers, wave folders, filters, etc. The British developers from Future Sound Systems today presented a module that merges both worlds into one module

Future Sound Systems FIL4 Timbral Sculptor

Future Sound Systems FIL4 Timbral Sculptor

The new FIL4 Timbral Sculptor is a new unique audio signal shaper that bundles classic subtractive and additive synthesis elements. It consists of a multi-mode filter, VCAs, a deadband wave folder, rectifier, and Lockhart wave folder in the resonance path of the filter. According to FFS, the module suits for altering the harmonic content of audio signals.

It starts with the subtractive part of the module, a -18dB/octave three-pole multi-mode filter based around the SSI2161 IC. Lowpass, bandpass, and highpass modes are available. You can control the filter using the cutoff frequency and resonance pots. There is 1V/oct control over the cutoff frequency and a CV-controllable attenuverter for the resonance. Plus, you get additional audio FM input with an attenuverter.

If you use the filter without the available non-linear extras, the filter has a clean timbre with low distortion. At maximum resonance, the filter will also self-oscillate. Future Sound Systems promises acid-style timbres like in the Roland TB-303.

If that’s too classic for you, you can put the filter on wild steroids by routing the rectifier and Lockhart wave folder in the resonance path. They can be routed into the path via dedicated on/off switches. With these, you can take the filter to other sound worlds that give you wild, noisy filtering and distortion effects.

Each individual state output from the filter is fed through an SSI2164-based VCA and can be routed further. Either to the chain output or further to the timbre section.

Additive Part

The FIL4 Timbral Sculptor’s timbre section is based on the best-known “west-coast” deadband wavefolder. Here you leave the subtractive level and enter the additive world. This section enriches the harmonic content of audio signals. Further, you can shape this section with a drive control in the pre-configuration mode or in the VCA at the filter output in the post mode.

The Timbral Sculptor also features an exponential-law VCA, which can be used completely independently from the other elements of the module if desired. Nice, you can play the VCA at the beginning or end of the signal chain.

An exciting module that offers two worlds of synthesis in one. The dampening side of the filter but also the wild, rich of the wave folder. Or in combination for the best of both worlds.

Future Sound Systems FIL4 Timbral Sculptor is available soon for $339 USD.

More information here: Future Sound Systems 

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1 Comment

  1. There was never a clear division between synthesis methods corresponding to this purported division of coasts. All synthesizer music both adds and manipulates harmonics in different ways. The only apt divisions involve favored electronics components, modularity, jack choices, and note- and control-specification devices.

    The rest of that bicoastal split is marketing and oversimplification.

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