Zorx Electronics
ACRONYM - WORNG Electronics

ACRONYM - WORNG Electronics

by Ellison Wolf

Reading through this issue’s interview with Morgan McWalters of WORNG Electronics before it went to print, I lost track of how many times his comments made me laugh. Morgan obviously has a good sense of humor—and a good sense for the absurd—and both are on display with the naming of his newest module, ACRONYM, which stands for “Analogue CoRe Oscillator New tYpe: Morphing.” I mean, it’s a bit of a stretch, but it works, right? Besides, it’s just a name, whether one finds it right know…WORNG. Somewhat strangely, ACRONYM is the first module released by WORNG that actually produces sound; every other WORNG release either shapes, routes, filters, EQs, spreads it out, or does something else to it.
ACRONYM is an all analog triangle-core-based VCO that tracks over eight octaves and has waveshaping capabilities. It can morph between four waveforms (triangle, square, saw, and a folded sine wave) via a knob or CV, and with five outputs—a main Wave out, a Sine out, a Triangle out, and two Sub outputs (one at -1, and one at -2 octaves)—there are plenty of options for syncing, layering, and self-patching. As for the Subs, they’re reminiscent of a 303, with a curved square wave that produces a somewhat aquatic toothy sound. There’s a Sub-Level control to mix the Sub outputs into the main Wave output to create really unique waveshapes with a lot of heft, and this is just one of many ways to get your waveshaping on in ACRONYM. The Subs also work great for modulation duties as they provide more animation than the usual on/off functionality that a square wave provides, which is normally the shape you get for a sub out, if you get one at all.
As for features/controls, there’s also Fine and Coarse tuning, a V/Oct input, Hard Sync—which syncs the negative part of the incoming wave—and a Through-Zero Phase Modulation (TZPM) CV input with attenuverter for phase modulation that tracks in key. Yep, phase—not frequency—modulation. Always their own thing, that WORNG. ACRONYM is a nice looking, sturdy module with all of the usual WORNG flourishes and aesthetic properties: angular, scribbled heavy metal-ish text, a spacious and ergonomic layout, and animated light-up panels—three in this case—one for indicating the main waveform in the Morph CV section, another that shows the -2 Sub frequency speed, and a small circle with a slash through it that shows the TZPM strength. WORNG modules are inviting, both in terms of how they look and how they play, and their functionality is displayed entirely on their front panel, meaning that there’s nothing to memorize or look up. I actually don’t mind menus/memorization, but it’s nice to have a mix of modules with different levels of playability/depth/diving.
The lack of menus/memorization does not mean that ACRONYM is a shallow module, by any stretch. It’s a beast that sounds huge and is packed with a ton of sonic and modulation possibilities. The self-patching possibilities are immense, and modulating the main waveform, cycling through the waveform options with either Sub out or Sine or Triangle out via the Morph CV input, brings some nice movement to output, creating interesting changes to the timbre. I like to cycle through slowly to hear how smooth the transitions are, and what kind of in-between shapes are made. The Morph CV input was made for a voltage range from -5V to +5V, and is an attenuverter, so it can be tweaked to accept almost any Euro signal, but this input can be also pushed with a voltage greater than +5V or -5V. Of course, what kind of waveshapes it outputs depends on a few factors, but this only adds to the surprising and fun qualities that ACRONYM exhibits; it’s kind of like an easter egg, a hidden secret/tactic that some modules (and a lot of video games) have, and it contributes to the sonic palette and exploratory excitement on hand here.
The Sub Outs are particularly cool, and since they’re not identical in octaves, but tied to the main frequency, you can put them in a stereo situation, and with some modulated panning—I liked putting one hard left and one hard right—with the main output (with some reverb and delay) in the center. By modulation of the panning, you can get a lot of really cool stereo movement. I bring up this stereo aspect, not only because there are two Sub Outs and it seems like a somewhat obvious thing to try, but because WORNG is obsessed with stereo; this is their only module that either doesn’t offer stereo ins and outs specifically, or warp the stereo space in some way.
Using another VCO (I used the Blue Lantern TPC Slim VCO) running with the same V/Oct sequence as the input to the TZPM can bring about some really odd atonal pitch shifts. Like ACRONYM, the TPC VCO lets you CV through the waveforms and I did that for the input into ACRONYM’s TZPM CV input, while—of course—slowly modulating through ACRONYM’s waveforms as well, and I synced everything up so that the changes would be happening in tandem. It made for some very cool sound transformations, from 80s video game sounds beeps to robot vocals to fat acid basslines and far, far beyond. Being able to watch where the ACRONYM’s waveform was shifting to via the light-up LED panel made for some quick and easy light show entertainment, and being able to attenuvert the Morphing CV meant that you could subtly switch between two waveshapes, cycle through all of them, or inject more than the +5/-5 voltage and fritz out the Morph.
Why it took WORNG so long to come out with a VCO is beyond me, but it was worth the wait. I really love their stuff and this is a great VCOt. I’ve always felt an affinity for the hands-on experience that WORNG modules offer up, and ACRONYM follows that tradition. There’s something intrinsic about their modules, part of their being that makes them fun to play and experiment with, and I find myself reaching for them A LOT.

12 HP +12v 95mA -12v 72mA
Price: $399