Exploring Vintage Analog Warmth: The Steady State Fate Vortices Character Mixer Eurorack Module

The Steady State Fate Vortices Character Mixer Eurorack module is designed to emulate the warm and round coloration effect of vintage analog consoles and tape machines. It features 14 inputs and 7 outputs, catering to both mono and stereo sources. The module offers two types of coloration and frequency response in its two mixer sections.

The Mono Mixer provides a warmer, over-driven sound with pronounced high frequency reduction and round tonality. This is achieved through the saturation-compression effect, which emphasizes low and mid-frequency saturation, distortion, and gain while reducing the harshness of higher frequency components. The Mono Mixer features four main mono inputs, each with a level/saturation control. Inputs 1 and 4 also offer manual and voltage control over stereo panorama, while inputs 2 and 3 provide manual and voltage-controlled cross-fading. The Mono Mixer also includes two auxiliary mono inputs with a -3dB pad for direct or externally attenuated monophonic sources. The output of the Mono Mixer can be further modified using the direct cross-fade mix breakout, which removes the cross-fade section from the main and master mix outputs, or through the split stereo output.

On the other hand, the Stereo Mixer offers a gentler saturation effect and a brighter overall frequency response. It features three main stereo input channels with attenuation and gain controls. Similar to the Mono Mixer, the Stereo Mixer includes a split stereo auxiliary input with a -3dB pad. The output of the Stereo Mixer is a split stereo output with an overall brighter frequency response.

The Vortices module is not limited to simple mixing tasks. It is designed to add character and variation in sound processing applications, including more complex effects chains, feedback patching, and distortion. By feeding mono signals into stereo effects and then back into the mixer, users can create unique and interesting soundscapes. The saturation-compression effect of the Vortices module adds punch and smooths harsh signals, making it a versatile tool for shaping and enhancing audio.

One notable feature of the Vortices module is the biasing feature, inspired by class-A tube/transistor amplifiers. Biasing allows for asymmetrical saturation and distortion effects, which add different tonal characteristics to the sound. By using an external CV processor or mixer with a voltage offset adjustment, users can introduce positive or negative DC voltage to achieve asymmetrical saturation. This results in increased even ordered harmonics, offering a different tonal structure to the audio.

For those who want more control over the module, the V-CV expander is available as an optional add-on. This expansion module adds voltage control to all the attenuated mixer inputs, allowing for precise control over the output levels.

In conclusion, the Steady State Fate Vortices Character Mixer Eurorack module is a powerful tool for sound processing and character enhancement. Its vintage-inspired warm and round coloration, along with the unique saturation-compression effect, provides users with the ability to add depth and complexity to their sound. Whether used in standard mixing tasks or in more experimental settings, the Vortices module offers a range of features and options that make it a valuable addition to any eurorack setup.

Example Usage

Example Usage:

In a Eurorack setup, the Steady State Fate Vortices Character Mixer can be used to add vintage analog warmth and saturation to your sound. Let's say you have a drum machine module and a synthesizer module that you want to process through the Vortices to give them a smooth and pleasing character.

First, you patch the audio output from the drum machine into one of the Mono Mix inputs of the Vortices. You adjust the level/saturation control to set the desired amount of saturation and distortion. You also play around with the stereo panorama control to position the drums in the stereo field.

Next, you take the output from the synthesizer and patch it into another Mono Mix input. This time, you use the voltage control cross-fading feature to blend the synthesizer sound with the drums. You create dynamic and evolving textures by modulating the cross-fading control with an envelope or LFO.

Now, you can take the final mixed output from the Mono Mixer section and patch it into the Stereo Mix section of the Vortices. Here, you can further shape the sound using the attenuation and gain controls. You might want to experiment with different levels and settings to find the perfect balance between warmth and clarity.

Finally, you can take the output from the Stereo Mix section and listen to the beautiful, vintage-inspired sound of your processed drum machine and synthesizer. The Vortices' characteristic warmth and roundness will add depth and character to your sounds, making them stand out in your mix.

Overall, the Steady State Fate Vortices Character Mixer is not just a standard mixing module, but a powerful tool for adding character, saturation, and variation to your sound processing applications. Whether you're creating complex effects chains, experimenting with feedback patching, or seeking to punch up and smooth out harsh signals, the Vortices will deliver the vintage analog warmth you desire.

To effectively demonstrate the intermediate-level usage of the Steady State Fate Vortices Character Mixer Eurorack module, we will explore how it can be used to add character and variation to a sound processing application. In this example, we will focus on utilizing the Vortices module within a feedback patching setup to create dynamic and distorted textures.

To begin, let's assume we have a mono source signal, such as a synthesizer lead, that we want to process and enhance using the Vortices module. Here's how the setup would look:

  1. Connect the mono source signal to one of the main mono inputs of the Vortices module.
  2. Adjust the level/saturation control on the corresponding input to set the desired input level and saturation amount. Experiment with different settings to find the sweet spot.
  3. If desired, use the panorama control on the input to create a stereo effect for the processed signal. This can add spatial depth to the sound.
  4. In order to introduce feedback into the patch, take the output from the Vortices module and route it back into one of the auxiliary mono inputs on the mono bus.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 with different settings on additional inputs of the Vortices module to create more layers of saturation and texture within the feedback loop.

At this point, you should start to hear the impact of the Vortices module on the sound. The saturation-compression effect will emphasize the low to mid-frequency range and add warmth and distortion to the signal. With the feedback loop, the sound will continuously evolve and transform as it passes through the Vortices module multiple times.

To further shape the sound, you can experiment with the biasing feature of the Vortices module. This feature allows you to introduce asymmetrical saturation and distortion by applying a positive or negative DC voltage to the input signal. You can accomplish this by using an external CV processor or mixer with a voltage offset adjustment or by summing the input signal with an envelope or LFO. This will add even more crunch and character to the sound.

Remember to always monitor the levels and dynamics of the feedback loop to prevent any unwanted clipping or distortion. Adjust the individual input levels and the overall mix output level on the Vortices module as necessary to maintain a balanced and controlled sound.

By utilizing the Vortices module in this feedback patching setup, you can explore the unique sonic possibilities it offers and create rich, textured, and dynamic sounds with a vintage analog warmth. Let your creativity run wild and experiment with different input sources, modulation techniques, and feedback routing to discover your own signature sound.

(Article Publication Date: June 10, 2023)

Further Thoughts

One expert-level usage example for the Steady State Fate Vortices Character Mixer Eurorack Module could be in the context of creating a vintage-inspired drum machine.

Imagine a scenario where you have multiple drum modules generating different percussive sounds, such as kick, snare, hi-hat, and clap. By patching the audio outputs of these drum modules into the Vortices Character Mixer, you can take advantage of its warm and round coloration effect to enhance the vintage analog warmth of each drum sound.

Start by connecting the kick, snare, hi-hat, and clap modules to the main Mono Mix inputs of the Vortices. Adjust the level/saturation controls for each input to find the desired balance and saturation level. Since the Mono Mix channels offer a warmer over-driven sound with reduced high frequencies, this will add a pleasing saturation and distortion characteristic to each drum sound, mimicking the sound of running drums through a vintage console.

Next, experiment with the panning and cross-fading features of the Vortices. By using the manual and voltage control over stereo panorama, you can create movement and spatialization within your drum mix. For example, you can automate the panning of the snare drum to add a dynamic feel to your drum pattern.

To add further variation and tonal coloration to the drum mix, utilize the amp 'biasing' feature of the Vortices. Patching an envelope or LFO into an unused channel of the same mix bus will introduce asymmetrical saturation and distortion effects, resulting in crunchier drum sounds with increased levels of even harmonics.

Finally, connect the split stereo output of the Vortices to a mixer or audio interface, and you will have a vintage-inspired drum machine with enhanced warmth, character, and variation. The combination of the Vortices' coloration effect, panning capabilities, and asymmetrical saturation will give your drum sounds a unique and captivating sonic quality reminiscent of classic analog drum machines.

With the Steady State Fate Vortices Character Mixer Eurorack Module, you can elevate your drum sounds to a new level of vintage analog warmth, creating an immersive and nostalgic sonic experience.