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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Apr-18 > ERICA SYNTHS


Erica Synths momentarily steps away from Eurorack to offer a freestanding box of tricks for DJs and synth heads. Dave Gale sweeps some frequencies…

ContactErica Synths |

acidbox III €390

T he idea of a standalone box containing a filter is an intriguing prospect, particularly when you consider the popularity of such devices in the production world, so the new acidbox III looks to bring some helpful real-time options to users who want a filter for live use, or fancy having one at hand in the studio. Being well versed with Erica’s Eurorack offerings, I’ve always been impressed by the quality of its products. They’re well made, with a ruggedness of design which offers assurance when in use – and the acidbox is no different, other than being in a standalone metal box, which gently slopes toward the user. It feels industrial grade, albeit with rounded edges. An external power supply is included, presumably for practicality and to reduce noise.

The main event here is the filter, which is a Polivoks-based design, offering both low-pass and band-pass incarnations, immediately lending itself to some grit and crunch. So my first call was to reach for a drum machine and allow the filter to work some magic. The Cutoff pot is the biggest, closely followed by Resonance, with the Mod. Level pot being smaller still. This subtle, but helpful sizing will be useful in a darkened venue, where the accompanying legends may not be so clear. The filter has the usual Polivoks character; with all the resonance diminished, there is still a feel of character spiking as you move across the frequencies. It sounds great, with its distinctive grittiness. Increasing resonance introduces some very weighty sinusoidal tones, which move into a state of self oscillation when fully deployed. It’s funny how all self oscillations vary across filters, and there is no denying that here, it’s full of depth. It’s worth mentioning that the In level on the acidbox will overdrive once dialled in above 50% and this can obviously affect the resulting signal considerably, but even backed off, the self oscillation sounds huge.

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About MusicTech

Emulating the artists that inspired us in our many music-making ventures is as much about rekindling those feelings as it is knowing how the sounds were created. In our cover feature this month we show you how to get impossibly close to the sonic signatures left by your musical heroes. Continuing the theme we present our newest feature ‘Recording Spotlight,’ where we speak to Peter Franco, engineer on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, and gain insight into the complex, painstaking work that went into creating this modern classic. Additionally, we sit down with dance-music producer Stefano Ritteri and rising UK production star Rhiannon Mair, get into the meat of Cubase 9.5 and get hands-on with all the latest gear, tech and software. We hope you enjoy the issue…