Tiptop Audio è un’azienda specializzata nella creazione di sintetizzatori e accessori modulari di alta qualità per appassionati di musica e professionisti.
The company was founded in 2006 by Gur Milstein, a musician and engineer who wanted to bring his passion for electronic music to the masses.
Tiptop Audio offre una vasta gamma di prodotti, da moduli e custodie di base a sistemi ed effetti complessi.
In this post, we will share with you the information we have gathered at Roma Modulare 2022 talking to Tiptop Audio guys present at the event.
Our attention was mainly focused on the Buchla Tip Top Audio Eurorack 200 Series Modules that were available at the show for hands-on tests.
As we have been mentioning in our Don Buchla’s biography, the Buchla Series 200 Electric Music Box was released in 1970 and manufactured until 1985.
Now these modules are available again thanks to the collaboration by the two companies as Gur Milstein explains in the following video:
Each module is produced separately as production schedules and component availability allows.
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Let’s give a close look at the most interesting modules.
Table of Contents
Tiptop Audio Model 258t
The Tiptop Audio Model 258t module is a dual analog oscillator for the Eurorack format, inspired by the classic Buchla Model 258 oscillator.
The module offers two independent oscillators, each with controls for coarse and fine tuning (5Hz to 20kHz), the waveshape, the FM attenuator and the bipolar CV attenuator.
The upper oscillator has sine to sawtooth wave shaping, while the lower oscillator has sine to square wave shaping.
Each oscillator has a CV input for pitch tracking (1V/oct.) and two audio outputs.
The module drains 70mA (+12V) / 40mA (-12V) and occupies 18 Hp. It is 45 mm deep.
The Tiptop Audio Model 258t module is ideal for creating organic and analytical sounds, exploiting the possibilities offered by FM modulation and waveshaping.
Tiptop Audio Model 292t
The Tiptop Audio Model 292t module is a faithful reproduction of the legendary Buchla 292 module, designed in collaboration with Don Buchla and converted to the Eurorack format.
The module combines a mixer, filter, gate and VCA, providing multiple possibilities for shaping and interacting with sounds.
The module features four low-pass gates that impart acoustic qualities to input waveforms, varying the pitch of the sound based on the strength of the controlling signal.
The module is capable of producing the classic Buchla bongo effect by sending short triggers, without the need for external envelopes.
The module can also be used to mix up to four mono signals.
The module is ideal for sound designers who want to capture Buchla’s signature acoustic-style sound.
Tiptop Audio Model 281t
The Tiptop Audio Model 281t module is the Eurorack version of the classic Buchla Model 281 quad function generator.
This module offers four identical function generators that can produce envelopes and LFOs with variable attack and decay times from 1ms to 10ms seconds, controllable via CV or knobs.
The module also has a mode switch for each function generator, which determines the module’s trigger and gate response (cyclic, transient, or sustained).
In addition, the module has a quadrature function that enables two coupled generators with functions offset 90 degrees from each other, and an adjustable analog OR function to create complex waveforms.
The 281t is a versatile and powerful module that can add a lot of expressiveness and dynamics to any modular system.
Tiptop Audio Model 266t
The Tiptop Audio Model 266t module is a faithful reproduction of Buchla’s classic Source of Uncertainty, a random voltage generator and modulator for the Eurorack format.
This module offers six independent sections for creating and manipulating voltages, pulses and noise in various ways. The sections are:
- Fluctuating Random Voltages: two random voltage generators with adjustable speed and CV modulation, ideal for creating timbre variations, frequency modulations or drift effects.
- Quantized Random Voltages: a stepped random voltage generator with adjustable number of steps and modulable in CV, with trigger input and two outputs with different random distributions, useful for generating random sequences, tunings or harmonizations.
- Stored Random Voltages: a step-by-step random voltage generator with adjustable amplitude and CV modulation, with trigger input and two outputs with different value selection probabilities, suitable for creating rhythmic patterns, grooves or melodic variations.
- Sample & Hold: a sample and hold circuit with four alternating trigger and CV outputs, perfect for synchronizing the other sections or creating glitch or stutter effects.
- Integrator: an attenuator of the transitions between the voltage jumps with adjustable speed and modulable in CV, which acts as a slew limiter or a low-pass filter, to make random modulations softer or harder.
- Noise: an analog noise generator with three differently colored outputs: white (flat), pink (with high frequency rolloff) and blue (with high frequency boost), which can be used as audio sources or as control signals .
The 266t module is a powerful tool for exploring the possibilities of random synthesis, adding movement, variety and unpredictability to your modular system.
Tiptop Audio Model 245t
The TipTop Model 245t module is a four-row five-step analog sequencer based on the Buchla 245 model.
Each row outputs a control voltage that can be used to modulate the pitch, filter, envelope, or any other parameter of an oscillator or another Eurorack module.
Each step also has a gate output which can be adjusted in pulse width manually or via a control voltage.
The module has an internal clock generator with CV control, which can be synchronized with an external signal via the start/stop inputs.
It can also be used as a waveform generator when driven by an oscillator in the audio section, creating new square waveforms based on the values of each row’s pots.
The 245t module is a versatile and creative modulation source for the Eurorack format, offering the unique possibilities of the Buchla design.
At the show we had the chance to also try products from other series.
Very interesting was the Z-DSP NS. This is a digital signal processor module that offers a range of high-quality effects, including reverbs, delays, choruses, and more.
What makes the Z-DSP NS special is its ability to be programmed with custom algorithms, giving users access to an almost infinite range of effects.
The Z-DSP NS also features voltage control over many of its parameters, making it an incredibly versatile and creative tool for sound design.
Circadian Rhythms was also very interesting to play with. The module features eight channels of trigger outputs, each of which can be programmed with its own pattern and parameter settings.
It also has eight sliders, one for each channel, which allows users to adjust the level of each trigger output in real-time.
The Circadian Rhythms also has a variety of editing features, including copy/paste, fill, and reverse functions, making it easy to manipulate patterns on the fly.
One of the unique features of the Circadian Rhythms is its ability to store up to 64 patterns, each of which can be up to 64 steps long.
This makes it easy to switch between different rhythms and patterns during a performance or recording session.
In addition to its pattern editing and storage capabilities, the Circadian Rhythms also has a number of performance-oriented features.
It has a built-in quantizer that allows users to easily create rhythmic variations and fills, as well as a clock divider and multiplier for creating complex rhythms.
As Todd Burton says in the following video, the Eurorack 200 Series Modules can be thought of as the node of a neural network whose synapses are the patch cable.
With this idea, the system should be used leaving the sound guide you to find ever increasing ideas for music production.
Thanks a lot to Tip Top Audio for having brought back in the Eurorack format the magic of the Buchla 200 Series!