There are some great things to come from the Czech Republic more than its pretty European postcard scenery, amazing beer or Skoda motor cars! There’s been a little innovative team brewing some interesting electronic instruments for about 10 years called Bastl Instruments. They embrace the do-it-yourself philosophy, and it inspires them to make music technology that truly engages its user. I’ve been watching Bastl for years and my first taste of Bastl came from their pocket modular synth the Kastle many years ago. Today Bastl has built a sizeable collection of electronic assortments including some clever Eurorack modules! Enter Pizza, their FM and wave-shape oscillator, the flexible stereo dual-filter module Ikarie and the quad VCA mixer Aikido. The trio represent key Eurorack modules that every rack needs, so we took them for a hot lap around the block!
Pizza is a compact digital oscillator with powerful wave shaping applied to FM synthesis. Pizza offers a ton of flavour in a compact form, and it grants superb access with the assignable CTRL knob and CV, while its 3 different outputs allow for high patch flexibility.
Pizza is built around 3 internal oscillators – the Main Oscillator, which can be phase modulated (FM) and wave folded, and two modulating oscillators. The modulating oscillators are the Octave (sub) Oscillator, with dedicated output, and the Ratio Oscillator, serving more advanced FM duties. Both have square-sine-saw wave shape control for more timbral variety and can ring modulate the main oscillator.
FM INDEX crossfader applies phase modulation to the Main oscillator either with the Ratio Oscillator or the Octave Oscillator (can be replaced by an external signal). The INDEX MOD attenuverter for the CV controls the FM INDEX.
- Complex oscillator with 3 internal oscillators
- Main Oscillator with phase modulation (FM), wave folding, and ring modulation
- Octave Oscillator with independent output, square-sine-saw waveshaper, and independent output
- Ratio Oscillator for FM with user-adjustable ratios and square-sine-saw waveshaper
- 3 waveform outputs
- Pulse output of the Main Oscillator (or assignable to RATIO OSC output)
- FM Index crossfader between Ratio Oscillator and Octave Oscillator
- Index Mod attenuverter for the dedicated CV input
- SHAPE section with wave-shaping of operators, 2 flavors of wave-folding, and ring modulation
- Sync input to reset all oscillators
- Octave transposition and detune via Pitch knob
- Tune mode for adjusting semitone transposition and fine-tune
- EXT input to replace phase modulation of the Octave Oscillator with external signal
- V/OCT input with automatic calibration and quantization
- Assignable CTRL knob and CV (lin/exp FM, ratios, octave, detune, waveshaping, VCA, envelope VCA, second FM index)
- Firmware updates via micro USB
Ikarie is a uniquely sculpted, flexible stereo or dual peak filter module. It can continuously transition between lowpass and highpass filtering with a single knob. It also packs in an envelope follower for the incoming audio signal, which comes in handy when you’re looking to increase your sound’s internal animation.
Two parallel filter cores can be modulated in sync for work in the stereo realm, set apart for unique stereo effects (with either mono or stereo signal at the base), or chained together to make a 24 dB filter.
- Two parallel filter cores (left and right)
- Based on 12dB/oct state variable filter topology
- Unique lowpass/highpass switching control scheme
- Well balanced voltage controlled resonance circuit
- Envelope follower with 3 decay settings
- Input gain up to 5 times
- Stereo modulation – either panning of filter detuning
- Flexible patch programmable topology
- Beyond output for difference spectrums (twin peak filter)
- Modulation attenuverter
- V/oct input with scaling trimmer accessible from the front panel
- Output stereo VCA
Aikido is a performative quad VCA mixer with flexible submix routing and two styles of integrated envelope followers. Clever normalization allows ready-to-go sidechain compression, expansion, and rapid routing experimentation.
Clickless mute switches and level faders make for immediate performability, while dedicated attenuverters on each channel make Aikido a powerful and flexible quad VCA. The main mix output is accompanied by individual VCA outputs with patch-programmable cascading mix routing. The Side Chain envelope follower offers 3 different response curves, while the Spectral Follower can be set to focus on treble, mid or bass frequencies.
- 4 VCA channels, each with:
— clickless mute with light indication
— level fader with 6dB boost
— CV input with attenuverter
— input (DC coupled)
— output (DC coupled) cascaded mixing
- Mix output (AC coupled)
- Side chain envelope follower
— input (normalized to A input)
— output (normalized to CV inputs)
— switch to select response time
- Spectral envelope follower
— input taken from Channel D output
— patchable output
— switch to focus the follower to low, mid, or high frequencies
- Backside jumpers
— select whether direct VCA outputs are pre/post Mute
— cascaded mixing input and output (joins 2 Aikidos to 8 channel mixer)
— main mix input and output (for chaining the normalized MIX outputs), chainable with BUDDY