What is the FloriVoxTron ?
|The FloriVoxTron running wild in the paddock|
Basically, the FloriVoxTron is a sample playback keyboard. It has 16 note polyphony. At its heart is the Robertsonics Tsunami sample player module. This is followed by a familiar format of a subtractive synthesiser, VCFs, VCAs with lots of LFOs, Valve Overdrive and effects units.
If you'd prefer to see a video instead of reading - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYeXDhLF1S8
What's with that name ?
The name FloriVoxTron is derived from another Amongst Projects project. The Florian Vox was a project that was to be a MIDI controlled speech synthesizer with a nod to Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk. The hardware was pretty straight forward as was the programming of the speech patterns but the one major floor was that it was not very fast in responding to commands. This is how the speech chip was made. The intended use of the Florian Vox was for my Kraftwerk cover band at the time and was to be controlled live. Alas the Florian Vox was shelved along with the band. The FloriVoxTron has several sample sets derived from the speech synth and one of the early intentions of the FloriVoxTron was to be a vocal sample player.
Some more in-depth information please !
Working from the source. We have four voice layers. These are named in German (of course), voice 1 being Eins followed by Drei, Zwei and Vier. Being a sample player based sound source, each of the these voices can access any of the 120 sample sets. Each sample set is a set of samples which covers the 36 note keyboard. These voices each contain a VCA to control their own level. The first three voices are mixed together where they pass through a VCF and onto a Valve Overdrive. The signal then goes to a master VCA and an effects module before joining the signal path of voice four and out of the unit. Voice four has a similar path to voices one to three with its own VCF and VCA but no valve overdrive unit.
What makes this unit so different is that the unit is stereo from the start to the end. The samples are stereo, the VCAs are stereo, the VCFs are stereo, the valve overdrive is stereo and the effects are stereo. To top it off the Modulators are stereo as well.
|Graphic of the Modulator Section|
What I think makes the FloriVoxTron a rather unique instrument is its stereo signal path from the start. Though what makes this work to great effect are the Modulators. The FloriVoxTron contains many LFOs. Each Voice VCA has one, each VCF has two, one for the Cut-off Frequency and one for the Resonance, Pitch Control and the effects also have one each. These LFOs are all independent from each other. These are not your standard LFOs, I have called them Modulators because each LFO is in fact two LFOs.
The Controls of the LFO:-
- Speed - most LFOs need a speed control. The FVT has the addition of a Speed Multiplier control which allows the Speed control to cover a greater speed range.
- Waveforms - there are ten waveforms at the moment. They are pretty standard - Sine, Triangle, Square, Sawtooth, Ramp, Random and some not so basic ones - Rectified Sine, Chirp4, Quad Square and Quad Triangle.
- Pulse Width - controls the width of the Square wave pulse
- Delay - is a one control envelope generator which can be used to delay the start of the LFOs output.
- Rez - is a backwards Sample and Hold in that as the value is increased the less samples are taken of the LFO's waveform
- Wave Delay - this is another way of doing a stereo LFO without the Pan LFO. It's a way of delaying the right output of the LFO. It's a percentage control from 0 to 100%.
- Invert - of course there's a output waveform inverter
- ADSR - each LFO also has its own ADSR of course - seemed like a no brainer to be honest
- Xmod - Cross Modulation - this controls the amount of the LFO output that is used to control the Speed of the second LFO.
- Cross modulation ADSR - this controls the amount of the ADSR signal used to control the second LFO speed and it has its own Invert control.
|Graphic of the Filter Section - you select between the filters by pressing the touch switch under the Filter LED which changes from Cyan for VCF-A to purple for VCF-B|
|VCF-A is made of four boards which can be seen on the left tower, VCF-B also uses four boards and can be seen on the right tower.|
|Graphic of the Effects Section|
|Front view of the FloriVoxTron|
|Closeup of the front panel without the case|
|Cross section of the front panel where the two layers of printed circuit board can be seen|
The front panel is quite complex. Each of the sections laid out have two layers of printed circuit boards behind them. The control of the RGB LEDs comes from the MCU after it's received information from the Main MCU. The MCU also reads the touch switches and rotary encoders and passes this information back to the Main MCU. In some cases I have used two MCUs due to the amount of digital I/O pins needed. Most of the MCUs are Arduino Pro Minis of the 168 variety. In this instance I have used I2C to send data to and from the Main MCU. I2C works well between Arduinos.
|The rear of the FloriVoxTron without its case. The foot controllers, MIDI, Power Input and Audio Outputs are clearly shown. The SD Cards containing the sample sets and patch data can be seen also.|