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Sample and Hold is a function that we get asked about regularly in our classes. An important synthesis technique, Sample and Hold effectively takes a variable or alternating current, such as an LFO or noise, and when triggered (as the name suggests) takes a sample of that incoming voltage and holds it. The voltage is held as a direct current, a stepped voltage amount that will not change until the Sample and Hold module is triggered again.
Generally, S&H functions require two separate input signals, a clock or trigger source and an alternating or variable CV source. For this example, we’ve used a triangle wave LFO from the Malekko Anti-Oscillator as the CV signal, and a clock source from the pulser section of the Sputnik Modular 5-Step Voltage Source. Whenever the S&H is triggered by the clock, the incoming CV signal is held at whatever voltage happens to be passing through at that moment. With slower LFO wave shapes and faster clocks, this results in a stepped version following the same shape as the incoming wave.
For our example, we’re using the Sputnik Modular West Coast Random Source module, a large 28hp panel with a number of random function tools. A loose clone of the Buchla Source of Uncertainty module, the West Coast Random Source features a Fluctuating Random Voltages section, Quantized and Stored Random Voltages sections, an “Integrator” (slew limiter), and the parts that are important to this tutorial, the Sample & Hold and Noise Source sections.
By combining the different sections on the West Coast, for instance, sending one of the noise outputs to the CV input on the S&H, a clocked random output can be generated. This method of voltage manipulation can be useful for beat synced modulation and randomization of drum parameters and all kinds of other functions.
How are you using Sample & Hold in your system? Let us know in the comments!