Zorx Electronics
​  H1 Analog Harmonizer - Weston Precision Audio

​ H1 Analog Harmonizer - Weston Precision Audio

by Ellison Wolf

Devin Weston’s modules have quickly become some of the most used (and yes…abused!) modules in my case and I was very much looking forward to being able to spend some quality time with his H1 Analog Harmonizer (and quantizer!) after seeing it at Knobcon last September. I didn’t get a chance to try it out that weekend as there was always a crowd around the Weston Precision Audio booth (Knobcon 11 was really well attended), so when it came in the mail I was pretty eager to pop it in my rack and get to work.

As usual for Weston modules, H1 has a sturdy black faceplate with a yellow, gray, and white motif, and is imbued with a strong sense of symmetry, with two nearly identical sides: Channel A on the left, and B on the right. The small light up buttons at the top of H1 are what catch your eye first, laid out like one octave of a keyboard for selecting notes, chords, etc., and they all have dual functions with text above them to state their secondary functions, all accessed by holding down the Option button, (strangely unlabeled) located to the right of the “keyboard” and pressing the chosen key.
Holding the Option button also lets you know what secondary functions are selected for the given channel as the corresponding LEDs will light up. The secondary functions are mostly self-explanatory and turn on or off a function like Sync, Detune, the -9 dB Mix Pad, etc. The C# functions as a Free/Track button and has to do with how the oscillators for Channels A and B track. There’s a chart included in the manual detailing how this works, as it’s mode dependent. It can be a little tricky, remembering what mode does what, depending on the setting, and it’s one of a few things I just was never able to memorize, though it actually makes perfect sense and is laid out well in the manual. Maybe you’ll have better luck here in the memorization department than I did.
Above the Option button on the top right are the Display A/B button and Octave select buttons. In the middle of H1 you’ll find Linear through-zero FM inputs with attenuators for each channel, a CV In for controlling each channel’s relative pitch, and Trigger In, which activates the quantizer (three modes available; equal temperament, micro-tune, and Off) with an incoming rising edge of a trigger. You can select which notes for a given channel you’d like quantized by accessing Editing Page 2, which you enter by holding down A/B + Option. In the middle of the module, pretty much dead center, is a Detune control with a +/- 1 semitone range for detuning oscillators A and B from each other, and LEDs on both sides of that signifying which channel you are controlling/viewing, corresponding to the Display A/B button.
The bottom of the module has the outputs in an enclosed area with the inputs outside of that. There are Triangle, Ramp, and Square wave outputs for each of the two channels as well as CV and Trigger outs for each. The left side, near the bottom of Channel A’s outputs, has the main Oscillator input; whereas in the opposite position near Channel B, there is an input for CV2. There’s also a main Mix output at the very bottom center of H1. Above the in/out section are four mix knobs; one for each pair of oscillator shapes as well as a volume control for the main incoming oscillators. It’s a nice touch, this ability to be able to mix the various shapes to taste; and if you want to separate the different oscillators in case you find yourself in Chord mode and are running with, say, the root (Main In Osc) and a third (Channel A Osc) and fifth (Channel B Osc) for a major triad, you can have the third louder than the fifth by using each channel’s dedicated waveform outputs. It’s pretty easy to get creative with the routing capabilities like this, and in other ways too, like running the third through a big wall o’ reverb or compressing the fifth to extremes with external modules.
In basic operation, H1 runs with two main modes: Normal, where you select each channel’s oscillator note interval with a keyboard button, and Chord, (which has two sub-modes of its own, stored or diatonic), where the note interval for each channel’s oscillator is dependent on one of the twelve stored chord tables or is chosen by the correct diatonic triad, determined by the incoming pitch, (either by Osc In when in the Track mode or by CV A In, when “Free” is selected).
Doing some basic patching into the Osc In and getting some harmonics going with Oscillators A and B was easy and fun. H1 is really tweakable, and it’s great to be able to generate harmonies of practically any color so quickly. H1 tracks extremely well and can take on many duties from creating chords, harmonizing (duh!), acting as a dual-channel quantizer, a drone/pad machine…it’s really versatile. It’s even got tuning capabilities built in.
In the Free setting I got some really cool drones on top of a slowly modulated VCO that I patched into Osc In, with a highly attenuated triangle LFO patched into the Lin FM in for Channel A and a random stepped LFO patched into the Lin FM of Channel B at full power. I used that stepped LFO coming from Five 12’s QV-L quite a bit with H1 to get some rhythmic stuttered effects in various capacities and it made for an interesting tandem. Patched into the CV input of either channel in Normal mode and timed just right and I got quantized, somewhat bubbly pitch changes at the transitions from note to note. Square waves patched into the CV In were also very cool.
Creating chords was fruitful, whether I was just using the single Mix Out or running through the independent outs for each channel. You can get major, minor, gnarly, detuned, micro-tuned, diatonically correct chords…all sorts of chords. H1 is up for most and it just takes some studying of the manual to unlock the potential that awaits. Again, the mix section is really cool here, with the first channel controlling the Osc. In volume, and the other three controlling the combination of both A + B triangle, ramp, and square waves, respectively. There’s no control over the individual outs, so those would have to be routed into a separate mixer if so desired, but that’s easy to do.
The inclusion of the CV and Trigger outs opens up a lot of possibilities for relative external modulation and more complex patching, to trigger auxiliary modules in sync with H1 in different ways. It was pretty cool to use the CV Out of a given channel to control a VCA that had some percussion running through it in order to accent said percussion at consistent points along a three-note sequence, but these outputs too have different ways of acting depending on what mode you’re in, where the CV Outs can either function as a frequency to voltage converter, or a quantizer of sorts where it will output a quantized version of the corresponding CV input.
I had many moments of epiphanic instances while testing out H1, some genuine “a ha!” moments where something I’d read in the manual finally made sense, and mostly this was in an operational sense—not necessarily synth theory or anything like that—and I spent a lot of time patching willy-nilly and then referencing the manual trying to figure out what was happening, what I’d done, and how H1 was responding.
There’s a lot to unpack on H1 and I did get lost sometimes when going deep. The more I settled in the more everything started to make sense and I was able to really dive in and enjoy it, to get into a flow with it. When I’d get lost it helped to remember that hitting Option + Chord until the Chord button was unlit would get me back into Normal mode, a home of sorts.
H1 excels as a harmonizer/chord creator, and this was my main use of it. Patching into the Osc. In and deriving two other notes to harmonize (or not) and chording it up was straightforward with the digitally-controlled analog oscillators in both channels, sounding nice and fat. Patching in CV for each channel and quantizing various notes of a sequence for each channel was also great and I used it in this way frequently, though I have dedicated quantizer modules that I’d go to first if that’s all I wanted. There are some button combos, mode/feature combinations, and light significations that were a lot to remember and I would have liked a little help in the way of more text on the faceplate for some of that stuff, but H1 is a powerhouse that will find a lot of use. It’s a great, flexible way to add flavor to lead lines, basslines, drones, melodies, harmonies, distortion, noise…

Price: $425