Pittsburgh Modular - Lifeforms Voltage Lab Black Box

  • $999.00

Complex Organism
The Lifeforms Voltage Lab Blackbox is a complete, standalone desktop format modular synthesizer featuring the Voltage Lab synthesizer voice. A full compliment of experimental analog tools created for deep sonic research stuffed into a portable, powered steel enclosure. The Voltage Lab Blackbox is a different type of analog synthesizer, where every function of the instrument has been influenced by the behaviors and systems of the natural world. Wildly experimental and extremely deep, the Lifeforms Voltage Lab Blackbox is a sonic playground created to explore the natural systems and lesser known fringes of analog synthesis.

The Voltage Lab Blackbox is more than a simple collection of tools and functions, it is a unique modular synthesizer designed to reward deep experimentation and encourage the creation of unique sonic systems.

Systems Overview:

The unique sound palette of the Lifeforms Voltage Lab originates with a complex oscillator pair that utilizes a wide range of shaping and manipulation options to move away from basic geometric shapes to more harmonically rich tones. A custom wave folder with enhanced waveform warping, linear FM, amplitude modulation, ring modulation, waveform cycling, hard sync, and more are available for extreme sonic research.

A set of multi-function generators work as interactive voltage processing systems to create and modify complex control voltages. The function generators act as voltage controllable envelopes, LFOs, slew generators, and more to produce evolving control signals.

Twin dynamics controllers pull everything together. A unique circuit expanding on the classic low pass gate, the dynamics controller with variable response adds an organic depth to the sound of the Lifeforms Voltage Lab by simulating the natural behavior of sound. The multi-mode signal processor features a 12db resonant filter, VCA, and percussive low pass gate modes.

Sound interacts with the world around it. The Voltage Lab uses analog delay to simulate this interaction and create an artificial sense of time and space. Manipulation of delay time and feedback add depth and warmth through reverb, chorus, flanging, Doppler, slap back, and echo type effects.

Chaos is everywhere. Random gates and control voltages spark uncontrolled reactions, disrupt systems, and generate ideas. The Voltage Lab utilizes noise, stepped random CV, a pseudo-random sequence generator, pitched random CV, pitched random sequences, and random gates to add multiple levels of unpredictability to any patch

A Closer Look:

Midi to CV converter with assignable CC/Modulation output and variable pitch bend paired with a multi-mode arpeggiator. The arpeggiator offers as played, hold, transpose, multiple octave, random, and 16-step sequencing with rest and note repeat modes. Octave up and down buttons shift the frequency of the oscillator(s) +/- 2 octaves. The arpeggiator can be clocked using the internal tap tempo, external midi clock, or external gate signal.

A pair of temperature stabilized, analog saw core oscillators create the foundation of the complex waveforms generator. The seed wave of the primary oscillator is switchable between sine, triangle, saw, and square. However, because the initial waveform passes through multiple wave shapers before reaching the output, the name of the seed wave should be thought of as more of a rough estimate of the actual wave shape. An alternate version of each waveform is available using the warp function. Warp mode changes the shape of a waveform without modifying the harmonic content creating previously impossible timbres when combined with the wave folder. The asymmetry and axis knobs control how the wave folder interprets the initial waveform while timbre modifies the overall intensity of folding. Combining these voltage controlled wave shapers together produces a wide range of unique and complicated waveforms. The primary oscillator also utilizes linear frequency modulation, seed wave cycling, amplitude modulation, and ring modulation to enhance an already deep sonic palette.

The functionality of the secondary oscillator is more focused. The oscillator core creates a fully sweepable frequency range from LFO to high audio utilizing linear FM for pitch modulation effects. MIDI pitch tracking can be disabled for independent frequency control and hard sync is available for frequency tethering to the primary oscillatory. Output of the secondary oscillator is switchable between sine, alpha wave, or both. The voltage controlled alpha wave shifts from a triangle wave with less harmonic content to a square wave with more harmonic content.

Twin multi-function, periodic control voltage generators fulfill multiple roles. Voltage controllable 2-stage attack/decay envelope generator, low frequency oscillator with variable wave shape, slew generator, envelope follower, and more. Input response can be set to sustain, trigger, or trigger cycle. Sustain adds a sustain stage between rise and fall and can be reset anywhere in the cycle. Trigger mode uses a gate or sharp rise in the incoming signal to trigger the envelope circuit. The trigger circuit will not reset during the rise stage of the cycle creating opportunities for skipped triggers. Trigger cycle mode retriggers the rise stage at the end of the fall stage. Trigger cycle mode can be used in combination with the input to create interesting shapes. The response curve of the function generator is variable from logarithmic to linear to exponential modifying the shape and feel of the output. Independent voltage control over rise and fall allows for highly controllable responses.

The two function generators interact in several ways. Multiple unison modes allow pseudo-quadrature responses triggering function generator b at the same time as function generator a, at the end of the rise stage, at the end of the fall stage, or any combination of the three. Two logical mixes combine the outputs of the function generators in useful ways. A logical or outputs the largest voltage from either function generator a or b. Logical contrast outputs the difference in voltage between function generator A and B.

Organic and percussive, the Voltage Lab dynamics controllers are an evolution of the venerable low pass gate. Three output modes, VCA, resonant low pass filter, and low pass gate offer a wide range of creative options. The VCA mode is responsive and energetic, with a transparent sound. The low pass filter utilizes a Sallen-Key topology to create warm and rubbery frequency sweeps while utilizing a smooth and bubbly resonance response. Low pass gate mode manages both timbre and loudness at the same time to replicate the natural transients and vibrance of the world around us. Pluck mode is available for both low pass filter and low pass gate modes adding additional impact transients to replicate a percussive strike. The pluck response can be modulated adding yet another dimension of control to the sound.

A true bucket brigade analog delay with voltage controlled time designed to add depth and warmth to every patch. A bucket brigade delay works by shifting the audio signal through a series of capacitors to delay playback. The Voltage Lab delay uses 8,192 stages to offer a maximum delay time of 0.33 seconds. Feedback is variable from a single repeat to infinite self oscillation.

Chaos and unpredictability are everywhere in the natural world. To simulate this, the Voltage Lab offers multiple types of random voltage. Noise normaled to a sample and hold create a stepped random CV. Random CV and gate outputs utilizes a six stage shift register to generate evolving, pseudo random CV patterns. The MIDI section offers a pitched random mode, random sequence generator, and randomized playback of sequenced notes.


Patch Cables: 6 Pittsburgh Modular patch cables.
1/8" stereo jack to midi connector cable.
Universal Power Adapter

Panel size: 48hp
Depth: 35mm
Weight: 3.5lbs. (1.6 kg)
Power Usage: +12v 525mA, -12v400mA. Does not require +5v. Reversed power polarity protection. Due to the complexity of this module, it requires a significant amount of power. Please use a clean, high quality power source for optimum performance.
Black Powder Coat Steel Construction.