Exploring the Behringer ABACUS: Unleash Unlimited Creativity with this Analog Music Computer for Eurorack

Taking inspiration from Buchla's revered 257 and 281 analog synthesizers, and the community favorite Make Noise Maths module, Behringer has stepped onto the Eurorack field with its all-new ABACUS module – a 1:1 rendition of the Maths v2. If you've been craving the complex possibilities of Maths, but within the budget-friendly reach of Behringer's product line, the ABACUS is your answer.

Let's start at the core of the Abacus, the linear, logarithmic and exponential functions - be it triggered or continuous, which is the key ingredient in generating out-of-this-world sounds and sequences. It serves as your musical smithy, offering diverse and intricate building blocks for shaping any part of your sonic project.

As an analog music computer, the ABACUS goes beyond merely generating envelopes and low-frequency oscillations. With its wide-sweeping range — from a languid 25 minutes to a blipping 1 kHz — envelopes and LFOs have never been more flexible. Moreover, you can easily modulate backward, tweak the depth of the modulation, and manipulate the tempo directly from its panel – a feature that sets the ABACUS apart.

It is in the realm of signal processing that the ABACUS truly flares its feathers. With the ability to amplify, attenuate, integrate, and invert incoming signals, you're presented with a palette for unprecedented creative freedom. Imagine setting your sequences or synthesizer keyboard in motion with unique effects such as lag, slew, or portamento that have the power to morph your CV signals into unchartered sonic territories. Furthermore, the ABACUS allows a combination of up to four control voltages to fabricate even denser and complex modulations than ever.

Streamlined on the Eurorack chassis, the ABACUS guarantees ease of integration and expands the creative process like never before. It offers users an opportunity to work within the envelope parameters, to push beyond them, and devise a diverse array of soundscapes.

Overall, Behringer's ABACUS presents the Eurorack community with a compelling reinterpretation of pre-existing gems in the Eurorack landscape. It's a sturdy bridge between legacy and affordability – a testament to Behringer's focused vision of delivering high-quality musical instruments within the reach of budding modular enthusiasts and seasoned professionals alike. Whether you're a fan of Buchla, Love the Make Noise Math or just eager to dive into the realm of innovative audio modulation, the Behringer ABACUS is a module worth exploring.

Sources: Behringer ABACUS Product Page.

Example Usage

Novice-level Usage Example:

Let's say you have a basic setup with a sequencer and a simple synthesizer voice in your Eurorack system. You want to add some movement and variation to your sequences. This is where the Behringer ABACUS comes in.

First, connect the ABACUS to your system using patch cables. Make sure you have a basic understanding of patching and signal flow.

Next, let's start by using the ABACUS as a basic envelope generator. Patch the output of the ABACUS into the control voltage input of your VCA (Voltage-Controlled Amplifier). Now, turn the "Time" knob on the ABACUS to adjust the length of the envelope. As you turn it clockwise, you'll hear the envelope getting longer. Play some notes on your sequencer, and you'll notice the volume of the sound changing according to the envelope shape.

Now, let's add some modulation to the envelope using the ABACUS. Take another patch cable and connect the "Modulation Output" of the ABACUS to the "Modulation Input" of your VCA. Adjust the "Modulation Depth" knob on the ABACUS to control how much the envelope affects the VCA. Experiment with different settings to find the desired amount of modulation.

To make things more interesting, let's explore the ABACUS' ability to manipulate tempo. Patch the ABACUS into your sequencer's clock input to synchronize it with the tempo of your sequence. Now, adjust the "Tempo" knob on the ABACUS to change the speed of the modulation. Try turning it up for faster, more energetic sequences or slow it down for more subtle variations.

Lastly, let's dive into some creative patching possibilities. Take the output of your sequencer and patch it into one of the inputs on the ABACUS. Experiment with different combinations of the ABACUS' control knobs to amplify, attenuate, invert, or integrate the incoming voltage. You can create unique and unexpected variations on your sequences by manipulating these controls.

Remember, the key to unlocking the full potential of the Behringer ABACUS is to experiment and explore. Don't be afraid to try different patching configurations and adjust the knobs to find your own unique sounds. Happy exploring!

Usage Example:

In this intermediate-level usage example, let's explore how the Behringer ABACUS can be used to create complex modulations for a synth sequence.

To start, patch the output of a sequencer into the ABACUS's input. Adjust the control knobs to amplify the incoming signal, creating a more pronounced effect. Next, route the ABACUS output to a VCA to control the volume of your synth sound.

Now, let's add some modulation depth to the sequence. Turn the tempo control knob clockwise to increase the tempo of the modulation. As the tempo increases, the modulation becomes faster and more pronounced. To push it even further, try modulating the modulation! Use another CV source to manipulate the modulation depth, creating dynamic and evolving sequences.

To add some complexity, combine up to four control voltages using the ABACUS's summing feature. Patch different control sources into the ABACUS inputs, adjust the levels using the associated control knobs, and explore the intricate interplay of modulations. You can create intricate rhythmic patterns or evolving timbral textures by combining various control voltages.

For a more experimental touch, engage the ABACUS's warp function. This unique feature allows you to apply warped effects like lag, slew, or portamento to the control voltages. Experiment with different settings to create unusual and unpredictable modulations that add an extra layer of creativity to your sequences.

With the Behringer ABACUS, your eurorack setup will get an infusion of unlimited creativity. Unleash your imagination and explore the endless possibilities of complex modulations with this versatile analog music computer.

Further Thoughts

One expert-level usage example of the Behringer ABACUS is utilizing it to create evolving and intricate rhythmic patterns in a techno track. By patching the ABACUS to control the tempo of a sequencer or drum module, you can generate complex and dynamic rhythms that evolve over time. Adjusting the modulation depth and combining multiple control voltages allows for the creation of intricate polyrhythms that add depth and excitement to your music. Additionally, by applying unique effects such as lag, slew, or portamento to control voltages, you can create warped and glitchy rhythmic patterns that give your track a distinct and experimental character. The ABACUS truly unleashes unlimited creativity, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in eurorack composition and performance.