SEGS: Exploring the Classic Mutable Stages Clone by TLM Audio

TLM Audio takes an already established system to a greater level with their SEGS module, offering a 1:1 clone of the Mutable Instruments Stages. Tailored, calibrated, and tested to the highest quality standards, this module stands sixth to none. Assembled meticulously in Germany, and armed with the up-to-date firmware installed, SEGS integrates technologies that make it an essential tool for eurorack enthusiasts.

The unique charm of this module is its flexible input and output layout. Unlike its contemporaries that require rigid configurations, SEGS adapts to the presence of jacks in its gate inputs to group its segments. Depending on how you patch it, the module can fluidly morph between a complex 6-stage envelope, 6 unique envelopes or any combination thereof. Even dummy patch cables can lend a creative hand to tease out unorthodox configurations.

In multi-segment envelope mode, SEGS expands its scope by producing a segment activation signal across its secondary outputs. This feature triggers an external event when the ADSR envelope enters its decay, sustain or release stages. Where more than 6 segments become necessary, up to six modules can be chained together thanks to the connector at the rear end of the module.

SEGS offers three segment types—Ramp, Hold, and Step. Ramp segments transition between voltages in a CV-controlled amount of time, with dynamic curves that can be shaped for accelerating, uniform, or decelerating transitions. The Hold segments maintain a constant voltage—CV-controllable—for a set time period. Impactful for sustain or hold segments in envelopes. Lastly, the Step segments glide to a target voltage and remain at this level for a predetermined span until a trigger initiates the next segment. Stepping into the realm of step sequences, sequential switches, or a sample-and-hold becomes a creative playground with SEGS.

Looping gives this module infinite flexibility. A segment or a group of segments can loop on itself endlessly or it can exist while gate signal is still high and then continue past the last segment of the loop, offering the possibility of creating self-looping envelopes (LFOs) or emulating the sustain stage of a good old-fashioned ADSR envelope.

SEGS also provides impressive functionality for single segments. Each segment type can generate various effects: a Ramp segment can loop itself into an LFO, a Hold segment can delay a CV, and a Stepped segment can slew it. Moreover, introducing a trigger signal can convert: the self-looping Ramp into a tempo-synced LFO, the Hold segment into a pulse generator, and the Step segment into a sample-and-hold.

Key specifications make SEGS stand out in the field: a CV output ranging from 0V to +8V, and the possibility of generating a negative CV down to -8V either through a Hold or a Step segment if CV modulated. Segment duration spans from a brief 1ms up to a drawn-out 16s, with all inputs clocking an impedance of 100k, and accommodating DC to 2kHz. Its refresh rate measures up at 31.25kHz, and with its state-of-art 16-bit CV capture and 14-bit CV generation with a precise calibration, an error below 2mV is a rare occurrence.

In conclusion, SEGS by TLM Audio champions a unique take on envelope design by incorporating Mutable Instruments Stage's flexibility with german precision and a keen emphasis on innovation and quality. It is both a homage to what has gone before and a vision of what is yet to come; a versatile modulation tool that invites eurorack enthusiasts to explore uncharted sonic territories. Whether you are a seasoned modular pro or a beginner, the TLM Audio SEGS Module is an investment that will undoubtedly pay off in endless creative returns.

Example Usage

Novice-Level Usage Example:

To get started with the SEGS module by TLM Audio, let's explore how you can create a simple looping LFO. Begin by patching a trigger signal into the gate input of the SEGS module. Now, set the segment type to "Ramp" for the first segment. Adjust the segment duration to your liking, let's say 1 second. With these settings, the first segment will smoothly ramp up and down over the span of 1 second.

Next, activate the loop function by including the last segment of the envelope in the loop. This means that the loop will continue indefinitely as long as the gate input receives a high signal. Now, whenever you trigger the SEGS module, the ramp segment will act as a tempo-synced LFO, producing a repeating wave shape.

To add more complexity, you can introduce additional segments with different durations and curves. For example, you can add a Hold segment to create a pulse generator by setting the voltage to a constant value and adjusting the duration to the desired pulse length. Similarly, you can incorporate Step segments to create a sample-and-hold function by specifying a target voltage and trigger input.

Remember, even if a segment is not part of any group or receiving any external signals, it can still be useful. For instance, the Ramp segment can be set to loop on itself and turn into an LFO, the Hold segment can delay a CV signal, and the Step segment can slew the CV.

With these basic steps, you can start exploring the creative possibilities of the SEGS module. Experiment with different segment types, durations, and loop configurations to generate a wide range of modulation and envelope effects in your eurorack system. Enjoy the sonic journey!

Usage Example:

In this intermediate-level example, let's explore how to use the SEGS module to create a self-looping LFO with tempo-synced modulation.

To begin, patch a trigger signal into the SEGS module's gate input. This trigger signal will act as the clock for our tempo-synced LFO.

Next, set the SEGS module to operate in ramp segment mode. Adjust the segment parameters, such as voltage range and curve, to achieve the desired LFO shape.

Now, activate the loop function on the segment by including the last segment of the envelope in the loop. This ensures that the loop will continue indefinitely as long as the gate signal is high.

As you play with the other segments, such as hold and step, you'll notice that they can also be used independently to generate interesting modulations. For example, the hold segment can be used to delay a control voltage, while the step segment can be used as a sample-and-hold function.

Once everything is patched and configured to your liking, you'll have a versatile self-looping LFO that can be synchronized to your clock signal and provide dynamic tempo-synced modulation for your Eurorack setup.

Further Thoughts

Expert Usage Example:

In a complex modulation setup, the SEGS module can be used to create evolving and rhythmic patterns. Let's explore how you can utilize the different segment types and looping capabilities to generate unique modulation sequences.

Start by patching a gate signal into the SEGS module's Gate input. This gate signal will act as the trigger for the segments. Next, configure the SEGS module as a multi-segment envelope by connecting the gate output to the Gate input of an envelope-controlled parameter, such as a filter cutoff frequency.

Now, let's create an interesting modulation pattern. Set the first segment as a ramp segment with an accelerating curve. Adjust the time duration according to your desired modulation speed. This ramp segment will serve as the attack stage of the envelope, gradually increasing the parameter's value.

Following the ramp segment, add a hold segment. Set the hold segment to maintain a specific voltage for a programmable amount of time. This segment will act as the sustain stage of the envelope, holding the parameter's value steady.

To add more variation, insert a step segment after the hold segment. Configure the step segment to glide to a target voltage, and then stay at that voltage until a trigger is received. Adjust the time duration and target voltage to achieve the desired effect. This step segment can be used to create rhythmic patterns or sequenced modulation.

To further enhance the complexity, enable looping on specific segments. For example, you can make the ramp segment loop on itself by including it in the loop. This creates a self-looping LFO, adding cyclic modulation to the envelope-controlled parameter.

Lastly, experiment with CV modulation to add depth and movement to the modulation sequence. You can modulate the ramp or step segments with another CV source to introduce dynamic changes to the enveloped parameter.

By combining different segment types, looping capabilities, and CV modulation, the SEGS module provides a versatile tool for shaping complex modulation patterns in your eurorack system. Explore the endless possibilities and bring your patches to life with the SEGS module by TLM Audio.