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I came across a great post in the Eurorack Synthesizers group on Facebook, which featured a still image posted by Kalle Paulsson displaying a setup as shown in this video of his. It shows a rubber band strung around a few knobs over the new Mutable Instruments Ears module, a complex alternative design on the Music Thing Mikrophonie. Paulsson plucks the rubber band to get a string sound, which resonates through his system. However many users including myself were reminded of another technique using rubber bands; connecting them to multiple knobs like a bike chain so turning one causes the modulation of others.
I’ve demonstrated this with the new VCF-74 from Vintage Synth Lab, a take on the classic Univox (prior to rebranding as Korg) MiniKorg 700S Traveler filter. Combined high and low pass filters with resonance control, the module is effectively a variable band pass filter, shaped by the high and low cutoff (we’ll have more on the filter in a coming video). I’ve routed the Make Noise 0-Coast through the filter, for this example.
The rubber band technique can be employed here to maintain a band pass shape as both cutoff controls are modulated in tandem. A band is wrapped around both knobs, and as one is turned, the other turns along with it. A nice sharp frequency band can be shaped and scrubbed across the spectrum to create the telltale tonality of a resonant band pass filter. The band can be flipped into a figure 8 orientation to create opposing motion between the knobs. Different knob sizes can further expand this technique, changing the ratio of the speed of modulation, like the gears on a bicycle.
An imperfect technique, wrapping a rubber band between two potentiometers can be a potentially risky maneuver. Certain knobs may have weaker shafts or may not be bolted to the front panel of the module, and the tension in the rubber band can put strain on them. For reinforced knobs, this is not as much of an issue, but care should be taken when experimenting with this setup.
Getting any cool results from this arrangement? Tell us about it in the comments!