Pittsburgh Modular came to the NAMM show with a huge (yet compact) surprise: A semi-modular desktop synthesizer named Microvolt 3900. Its concept is somewhat similar to the Make Noise 0-Coast, as it combines east coast and west coast philosophies. In detail, however, the two instruments differ significantly from each other.

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The Microvolt’s VCO generates four waveforms. Besides a saw-tooth and a pulse with variable width, there are two kinds of sine waves. One of them is editable via button. In detail, the negative half-wave can be inverted into the positive range. This results in a slightly richer and warmer sound. The second sine wave is transformable via a wave folder. Using a slow LFO, it was very easy for us to achieve subtle to lively sound variations. All of the oscillator’s waveforms are usable in combination. An external signal can be added to the mix as well. For processing audio material, there is a binary filter and a dynamic amplifier. They can work as a VCF/ VCA combination or in a low-pass gate mode. The filter’s sound character can be varied using the stable / unstable button. The resonance of the NAMM prototypes was quite harsh in both modes. Thanks to transistor based circuits, the LPG behavior can be adjusted to taste.

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As for modulators, there is a LFO / random generator combination, a function generator and an ADSR envelope. Thanks to the Microvolt’s 39 patch points, the circuits can be used very flexibly. Other features include a MIDI / CV interface with arpeggiator and an inverting mixer / splitter / offset section.

The Microvolt 3900 will be available in two to three month. The MSRP will be 629 USD.