Theseus

New Modular Electronic Music System

Theseus is a modular platform for generating musical and visual compositions. Building on the Eurorack analog synthesizer standard, the platform uses 3.5mm patch cables to interconnect modules. However, unlike the Eurorack standard, Theseus is entirely digital and produces MIDI/OSC control messages rather than CV signals. This simplification in fidelity greatly reduces the cost and complexity of the electronic circuits, making patch cable systems more accessible to users. Thirteen modules were designed to demonstrate the potential of such a platform.





Life Oranges

Life Oranges is the main trigger and gate signal generator for Theseus. The module produces five square waves. The topmost controller determines a main frequency. The remaining four channels produce signals at varying divided rates of the main frequency. The value of the divisor is set by a corresponding rotary controller.

Divided signals are crucial in developing rhythmic patterns, syncing modules, and offsetting sequences. Life Oranges works well with the Muxquencer, Boolean Logic Matrix, and Mandalatron modules.





Don’t Care Now

Don't Care Now is a three channel square wave generator with inputs for frequency modulation. The switch located on each channel toggles between coarse and fine frequency adjustments. 




Wavefriends & Friendshaper

Wavefriends takes the four output channels of Friendshaper and pairs them together. These paired signals are averaged or multiplied to create a summed waveform as an output. The final rotary controller determines the ratio of how much either waveform is present. This can be used to create interesting waveforms or as a mixing tool to smoothly transition between two waveforms.





Ripple Me Timbers

Ripple Me Timbers is one of the more complex modules in Theseus. It records incoming waveforms and plays them back at a reduced speed. The playback speed is determined by a divided frequency rate. The result is a rhythmic harmonic of the input signal. An offset controller on each channel sets the starting point of each sample in relation to the original.





Muxquencer

The Muxquencer is a union between a step sequencer and a multiplexer. Four binary selection bits are used to pick one of the sixteen steps to be routed to the module’s output. The order of the selection inputs can be permutated. Blue LEDs indicate the original selection while green LEDs represent the permutation. This allows the same information to create two entirely different pattern sets. The permutation controller is also voltage controllable; feedback from the Muxquencer's values can be used to alter its own pattern.





Mandalatron

Mandalatron is a four channel ten step sequencer. Each channel possesses the same values set by the ten central rotary controllers, but with isolated clocks and sequence lengths. When the clock input is triggered, the sequence will advance by one step and reset to the first step at the point designated by the sequence length controller.





Eyes

Fire Emblem, a 2003 Gameboy Advance Game from Nintendo and Intelligent Systems, features a collection of heavily armored warriors engaging in combat to save their world from the forces of evil. In cut scenes between combat events, four characters are presented from the chest up with text bubbles above whoever is speaking. During these scenes, characters will blink intermittently. These blinking events are the driving force behind the Eyes modules. 

An hour long portion of the game was recorded using screen capture software. Processing was then used to count the milliseconds between each character's blinks to produce a data table. This data table was then uploaded as firmware to the Eyes module. The blinking LEDs are perfect copies of the original blinks found in the game.





Lowfo

Lowfo is a four channel low frequency oscillator. Each channel is capable of producing square, triangle, ramp, sawtooth, and random waveforms. The frequencies of the oscillators are determined first by a rotary controller and second by a modulation input. Waveforms are selectable by a small pushbutton. The leftmost and rightmost oscillators can have their signals reset by an external trigger.





World Clock

World Clock is a simulation of birth rates. Data points from the United Nations Children's Fund's 2013 report were used to calculate the frequency at which births occur in a variety of places across the planet. Essentially, LED flashes indicate live births in simplified real-time for the year 2013.





Neat TV

Neat TV is the only utility module in the collection. It acts as an oscilloscope by receiving waveforms and producing a graphic visualization. Neat TV supports two voltage inputs, each with a bypassed output and individual refresh control rates.





Boolean Logic Matrix

The Boolean Logic Matrix accepts gate signals on each of its axes. A logic operation at the XY coordinates of the inputs is performed and a processed signal is output. The Logic Matrix offers AND, OR, NOR, NAND, XOR, XNOR, and NOT logic functions with the last pertaining exclusively to inputs on the X axis.





Maht Dvdr

Maht Dvdr is driven by a master clock signal. With each trigger it receives, an onboard counter increases by one. Sixteen frequencies, each a division of the current counter value, run in the background. These channels are accessed and routed to each output using three inputs. The first receives a voltage that determines which of the ten output positions to select. The second determines what divided frequency to assign to that output. Lastly, a latch input locks the selected divided frequency to the selected output channel.





Missing No.

Missing No. is the strange mutable module of the collection. It uses both literal and random routing systems to generate outputs.