Klang Werk Review


I got this little module last week, and have just finished soldering it together & playing with it ( if i was feeling dishonest, I'd put on an air of pompousness and say testing it...:)) - here's what I think of it, (for those of you who give a RAT'S ASS about what *I* think...;)

If you've looked at Blacet Research website, you'll know that the Klangwerk is a ring modulator with its own built-in carrier oscillator (you won't need any other modules to treat a signal with the KWerk).The module is small, but is laid out in such a way that the patchleads don't get in the way of the knobs, which is always handy....

I elected to buy the KW in kit form, because I'm mean and stingy..er... actually so that I could save money, to buy more synth modules with. Building the KW wasn't generally a problem, although the instructions were a little unclear in a few places, because of this I'd only recommend building the KW in kit form if you've already built one or two modules (I have Blacet frequency divider and Dark Star modules as well as some MOTM modules, and all of these were easier to build except for the MOTM VCO, which has a LOT of components) ie, you only need to be *moderately* adept at synth kit building to successfully finish the KW.

As far as the controls go, the KW is quite unusual. The two inputs to the ring mod circuit consist of your choice of sound source, and a sine wave oscillator with a very wide-ranging pitch sweep control. What makes it unusual is that the KW has an envelope follower built in which can effect the pitch of the internal oscillator, as well as its waveshape - there is a waveshaper as well, with a choice of three different shaping processes. The internal oscillator can be switched out, and replaced with anything you want to feed into it. In this case, the waveshaper acts on the external signal too. There is a switch to select between ac and dc inputs so you can use it with an envelope generator as a vca. All in all, this is a very versatile design.

The sound of the KW is very clean and pure using 2 sine waves, great cosmic radio static type sounds, much better than those on my synthi aks, came out of it, and I also got good sounds processing e-guitar and piano through it. Feeding clean electric guitar through both inputs and using the waveshape envelope follower yielded some interesting electric sitar sounds, and as an aside, overdriving the input with the mix control turned out a very nice 1/2 overdrive sound, which I expect I'll use on recordings.

Overall, IMO, the Klangwerk would be a great addition to anyone's modular synth setup as well as a handy processor for external sounds of any type. (BTW, the power requirements, & the connectors are completely compatible with MOTM gear)

Finally, I hope that when John Blacet develops his VCO, he includes the KW waveshaper section in it, and what I'd REALLY love to see is a Blacet frequency shifter...

Across the Atlantic next is a MOTM VCO and 4-pole VCF. I'll post my opinions on them when I get them built up UNLESS enough people find the idea boring, in which case, I'll desist!

Best wishes,
Electronically Yours...
norman fay/vietgrove