Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Expert Sleepers announces advanced DISTING mk4 ‘many-in-one’ multifunction Eurorack module

Following a successful showcase at The NAMM Show 2017, January 19-22 in Anaheim, California, Eurorack module-maker and audio plug-in developer Expert Sleepers is proud to announce availability of disting mk4 — the latest (fourth) improved iteration of its award-winning ‘many-in-one’ multifunction Eurorack module based around a PIC® Microcontroller (MCU) offering an amazing amount of CV (Control Voltage) and audio processing algorithms belying its super-slim 4HP panel width (with two algorithm function-dependant input sockets, two output sockets, a CV input socket paired with a push-button-functional knob, and a rotary encoder/push button alongside an all-new dot matrix display and a MicroSD card slot all available to connect and communicate with the outside world).

Who better to introduce the new and improved disting mk4, then, than its creator, Expert Sleepers Director Andrew ‘Os’ Ostler: “The Expert Sleepers disting mk4 is the newest incarnation of the disting concept. Compared to the previous mk3, the most obvious change is that it now has a screen, rather than a small number of LEDs, so you can see what’s going on much more easily. It will scroll words at you and let you understand what you’re doing much more easily than ever before. The MicroSD card is now on the front — easily accessible; from that, you can play back WAV files, MIDI files, and more functions to come in the future. For example, an audio recorder function, recording WAV files to the MicroSD card, is in beta and will be added soon. The mk4 is also compatible with the SELECT Bus mechanism, allowing you to simultaneously store and recall settings from a number of distings and other compatible modules at one time. The mk4 is also capable of some extra algorithms over the mk3, such as the tuner, and pitch and frequency references.”

Speaking of algorithms, disting mk4 currently features five banks, beginning with 16 ‘classic disting’ ones: Precision Adder (with integer voltage offsets); Four Quadrant Multiplier (with integer multiply/divide); Full-wave Rectifier; Minimum/maximum; Linear/Exponential Convertor; Quantizer (with selectable scales); Comparator (with adjustable hysterersis); Dual Waveshaper (wavefolder and triangle-to-sine shaper); Sample and Hold (with noise source and adjustable slew rate); Slew Rate Limiter (with linear and exponential slew); Pitch and Envelope Tracker; Clockable Delay/Echo; LFO (with through-zero frequency control and waveshaping); Clockable LFO (with multiply/divide and waveshaping); VCO with Linear FM (sine and saw outputs); and VCO with waveshaping (saw/triangle and pulse outputs).

Onwards and upwards, bank two holds the following algorithms: Precision Adder (with fractional voltage offsets); Voltage Controlled Delay Line (vibrato/chorus/flange effects); Clockable Ping Pong Delay; Clockable Ping Pong Delay (with input pan control); Resonator (for drum synthesis); Vocoder (12-band); Phaser (up to 10 stages); Bit Crusher; Tape Delay (with voltage-controlled tape speed); State Variable Filter (smoothly variable filter type); LP/HP Filter; LP/BP Filter; BP/HP Filter; and BP/Notch Filter.

Watch Expert Sleepers’ disting mk4 new feature highlights video
Furthermore, these are the bank three algorithms: AR Envelope; AR Envelope (with push); AR Envelope & VCA; AR Envelope & VCA (with push); Dual AR Envelope; Dual AR Envelope (with push); Euro to Buchla Convertor; Buchla to Euro Convertor; Clockable AD Envelope (with mute); Clockable AD Envelope (with gate); Clockable AD Envelope (with trigger); Clockable AD Envelope & VCA; Shift Register Random CVs; Shift Register Random Quantized CVs; Shift Register Random Triggers; and Shift Register Dual Random Triggers.

Turn to bank four for finding those earlier-quoted (ES-1 Emulation; ES-2 Emulation; Pitch Reference; Frequency Reference; Tuner; and Crossfade/Pan) extras; thereafter, the fifth features functions relating to playing back audio and MIDI files from the MicroSD card: Audio Playback; Clocked Audio Playback; Audio Playback with V/Oct; Audio Playback with Z Speed; MIDI File Playback (clocked); MIDI File Playback (free-running); and Audio Playback with End CV.

Clearly, if that’s not enough to whet the appetite of even the most seasoned Eurorack enthusiast, Expert Sleepers’ eye-catching red and blue backlit sockets should surely seal the deal when it comes to making room for distinctive disting mk4 modules! After all, they pack a whole lot of functionality into very little Eurorack space.

Seeing is believing; better still, Expert Sleepers will be displaying and demonstrating disting mk4 on Booth H251 at SUPERBOOTH17, April 20-22, Berlin, Germany. Get down there to check it out. “We will be showing an additional feature not demoed at NAMM,” notes Andrew Ostler. “The disting mk4 has a pair of MIDI ports (in and out), allowing it to both receive MIDI (for additional control over the algorithms) and generate MIDI (to control external MIDI gear from its algorithms and CV inputs). New dedicated MIDI-to-CV and CV-to-MIDI algorithms have been added; existing algorithms have had MIDI output added — notably the Quantizer and MIDI File Playback. The MIDI ports are accessed by an expansion header module, which will be shown at SUPERBOOTH17, and details will be made available so people can make their own DIY version, which is a very simple project.” Witnesses will surely be impressed by what they see and hear.

disting mk4 is now shipping and available from Expert Sleepers resellers (http://expert-sleepers.co.uk/store.html) worldwide with an MSRP of £139.00 GBP (inc. 20% VAT)/$189.00 USD/€189.00 EUR (inc. 19% VAT).

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated disting mk4 webpage here: http://expert-sleepers.co.uk/disting.html

About Expert Sleepers (www.expert-sleepers.co.uk)
As a one-man (Andrew Ostler a.k.a. ‘Os’) operation, British brand Expert Sleepers started life back in 2002 as an audio plug-in developer — its amusingly-named Augustus Loop tape-based delay effect emulation (with extra features to facilitate its use as a looping device) quickly found favour with ambient music pioneer Brian Eno, who was moved to kindly comment: “When I hear anything by ES, I get excited by what I’m hearing.” 2009’s Silent Way suite of plug-ins designed for use with analogue synthesisers — especially as part of a modular analogue synthesiser system — soon led to a move towards the ever-expanding Eurorack modular marketplace with the first hardware product — the (now-discontinued) ES-1 audio/CV interface module designed for use with software such as Silent Way — making an appearance in 2010. Since then, the company continues to innovate in its core business of computer-synth interfacing, albeit admittedly going off-tangent in 2014 with the award-winning disting — a ‘many-in-one’ multifunction module based around a PIC® Microcontroller (MCU) offering a variety of CV and audio processing algorithms, including a selection of oscillators (LFOs/VCOs), alongside a sample (WAV) file and MIDI file player with a variety of options for sample triggering and playback speed — that continues to be Expert Sleepers’ best-seller by far, now in its improved mk4 iteration.

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