PULSAR-23 is an organismic drum machine that is currently in development at Soma. It has a semi-modular structure and consists of 23 independent modules:

– 4 drum channels: Bass drum, Bass\Percussion, Snare drum, Cymbals\Hi-Hat
– 4 envelope generators with the unique ability to generate a sustain for the drum channels, turning them into noise\drone synthesizers.
– 4 independent loop recorders with the option for individual clocking. They record triggering events, not audio.
– Clock generator with an array of dividers as a very powerful tool for rhythm synthesis.
– Wide range LFO (0.1 – 5000Hz) with variable waveform.
– Shaos – a unique pseudo-random generator based on shift registers with 4 independent outputs, sample and hold and other cool features.
– FX processor with CV control incl. CV control of the entire DSP’s sample rate.
– Distortion.
– 2 CV-controlled gates.
– 2 CV-controlled VCAs.
– 2 controllable inverters.

Also, it has MIDI control and synchronization and a lot of smaller modules such as 3 assignable attenuators and 2 dynamic CV sensors for CV generation etc.

In general, there are 52 knobs, 11 switches and over 100 inputs and outputs for patching, Eurorack integration, external mixing and processing, live circuit bending!

Here you can see the demo video of the laboratory prototype of PULSAR-23. It does not have the final look, the enclosure or the final panel design. The design will be developed later. Also, some minor features may change and some control options will be added. I’ve done the development of the main sound design and circuitry, and now I would like to introduce the project to the world. The most important things – the sound, the structure, the philosophy – are done.

When I started the project, my intention was to make it patchable as much as possible and to have control points everywhere it made sense. It meant not being too concerned about the number of those points. But every socket takes up additional space on the enclosure and on the PCB, while also increasing the risk for construction problems and of course significantly adding to the price as we need good ones. When the number of sockets exceeds 100, like in this drum machine, the dimensions and price of the instrument will be increased several times. Using breadboard sockets and connectors that are small and cheap would not be reliable or comfortable… And then the idea to use crocodile clips + M3 screws came to me, and that resolved all of those problems!

The benefits of this solution:
1. Space-saving design on the surface and the PCB. It occupies just several square millimeters.
2. As cheap as M3 screws and nuts plus several washers.
3. 100% reliable as it’s very simple and nothing to break.
4. You can attach several clips to one pin.
5. You can connect the clips together.
6. You can easily connect the clips to individual electronic parts like capacitors, diodes etc. or a part of external circuit, that give you the possibility of circuit bending and experimentation and is very efficient, as including even a single capacitor to some open nodes of PULSAR-23, may change sound drastically.
7. You can easily connect it to any type of jack connector – just attached it to the jack tip.
8. Ready wires with crocodile clips are cheap and easy to find.

So despite it not being a standard format of connectors in musical gear, I decided to design it this way as this solution addresses all problems and actually provides a lot of benefits.

However, all main connectors such as MIDI and main audio out will have standard professional connectors and it will have a line of adapters from 3.5mm mini-jacks (Eurorack connectors) to the M3 pins

The expected net price is 1,200-1,500 Euros. The exact price will be known when the industrial mass production version is ready. We always try to make price as low as possible, but good construction and good production cost money. PULSAR-23 will have the famous quality of parts and assembling of LYRA-8.
The expected date of release is autumn\winter 2018\19.
The drum machine will be manufactured in Russia and Poland.

If you like the sound and the project you can get on the pre-order waiting list and be among the first ones who will receive PULSAR-23. Just send your request to [email protected] with subject “PULSAR-23 pre-order”. In your mail, please mention the country where you want the synth to be delivered to and your phone number (it could be useful if our mails go to spam). No deposit is required.

Vlad Kreimer
13 June 2018