by Chadwick Wood
January 31st, 2020
Patch Base's third significant update this month (whew!) brings support for the first Dave Smith synths I've worked with since the Mopho: the Evolver and Evolver Keyboard. I was able to work on this one courtesy of a loan from Heckadecimal, who shipped his Evolver (pictured above) from Minnesota to Texas to make this happen. Many thanks to him, and give his music a listen! It has soundtracked multiple Patch Base coding sessions.
These synths are a wonderful hybrid of analog and digital circuitry: 2 analog oscillators, 2 analog filters and VCAs, combined with 2 digital oscillators, digital delays, distortion, 4 LFO's, envelope followers, a 4-track sequencer(!) and more. Thanks to there being a total of 4 oscillators, 3 delays, and panning effects, you can get some really fat and spacious sounds out of this monophonic synth. You can also get really dirty: the distortion, feedback routing, and "hacks" built into the Evolver make it really easy to get into screaming/howling/trashed territory. The Evolver is one of the more unique-sounding synth's I've worked with.
The Evolver has a lot of parameters (128, plus the sequencer). I wanted to get as much of that onto a single screen as I could, for ease of editing, so you can edit just about everything on this first screen (shown above), albeit with some toggling to access the different LFOs and Mod routings.
The second screen is dedicated to just the modulation capabilities. So a lot of what is on this page is also on the first page, but laid out so that you can see all of them at once:
And finally the third screen of the main voice editor shows you the 4-track sequencer in all of its glory. There are controls to quickly randomize or reset any of the tracks, as well as copy and paste. You can get really detailed here if you want!
Another interesting feature of the Evolver is that it allows user-edited wave shapes for the digital oscillators. So naturally I wanted to give you a wave editor in Patch Base. I borrowed a tool I initially made for the Yamaha DX200 sequence editor and adapted it for the Evolver. You can draw waves by hand, as well as draw line segments, randomize areas, smooth areas, and shift and scale the wave as well.
And as usual, there are bank editors for you to organize all 4 banks of 128 patches each on the Evolver, as well as the bank of 32 user waveforms for the oscillators. Every part of the Evolver is available to you in Patch Base now.
For the DSI Poly Evolver owners out there: sorry, no support for the Poly Evolver yet. I know, it's very similar! But it's got those Combos which need support as well, and I haven't had a chance to work with those yet. But stay tuned.