This week, the much anticipated 4MS Spectral Multiband Resonator began to appear in stores across the country. Of course, 4MS is a known player in the modular community, producing some of the most sought after devices in the field. From the Rotating Clock Divider and its sister, the Shuffling Clock Multiplier, to the Maths-alternative Pingable Envelope Generator, the unflappable Quad Clock Distributor, to their robust Row Power modules, 4MS has already carved out a niche in the modular market.
At NAMM in Anaheim, California back in January of this year, the new Spectral Multiband Resonator was the buzz of Hall A. With the Roland Aira modules and the Make Noise Telharmonic (more on that soon!) drawing a great deal of attention as well, 4MS found their own way to stick out from the crowd with the SMR.
The Spectral Multiband Resonator is a resonant filter with some special, ingenious features. The six sliders act as bandpass filters, each representing a different frequency range. The Resonance or “Q” knob is then used to widen or thin the range of each frequency band. But the interesting thing about the SMR is it’s ability to select which frequency bands the sliders are controlling using traditional and non-traditional scale shapes to force the frequency bands into harmonically friendly combinations. With six different bands operating at once, the result tends to sound like a chord.
The module produces white noise when nothing is routed to the Inputs. White noise has a flat frequency spectrum, so by employing the bandpass filters, the SMR can start to shape that noise into something more palatable. When the Resonance knob is turned to maximum, the frequency bands will become so small, that clear tones will start to emerge from each band, reminiscent of sine waves. This can be seen in the video below, and is a great demonstration of exactly how the Spectral Multiband Resonator operates, by taking small frequency bands of the signal and nudging them around to fit harmonically with each other.
From the 4MS Spectral Multiband Resonator page…
The frequency of each channel is treated like a note in a scale, and the six bands form a chord. Spin the Rotate knob and the “notes” circle around the scale, rotating back to the bottom once they’ve reached the top. Adjust Spread and the distance (interval) between each note changes. Triggers for up/down motion, CV inputs for sequencing and scale selection allow for flexible control with external modules. Morph, which automatically cross-fades between frequencies, together with variable Slew allows rhythmic clocks drive the SMR as a variable-speed evolving resonant filter.
Using the Rotate encoder button, the user can select between a large range of scales from Western, Indian, Chromatic, Micro-tonal, Equal tempered, Just intonation tunings or by creating their own scales. Then the Rotate encoder can be used to cycle through 20 notes in that scale through the frequency range. This video of Dan Green, the founder of 4MS, giving a tour of the Spectral Multiband Resonator from a modular meetup in Japan, demonstrates some of the vast possibilities with the SMR.
What do you think of the Spectral Multiband Resonator? Will it find a place in your rack? Let us know in the comments!