ADDAC112 VC Looper and Granular Processor - ADDAC System

ADDAC112 VC Looper and Granular Processor - ADDAC System

by Brandon Ivers

ADDAC System are a Portuguese company that have been around since 2009, known to many for their distinctive panels and often unusual take on everything from rhythm generators to samplers and mixers. However, ADDAC’s latest offering, the 112, is perhaps their most ambitious module to date, described as a “voltage controlled looper and granular processor.” The description recalls similar functionality with other successful granular modules like Mutable Instruments’ Beads, Instruo’s Arbhar, and Qu-Bit’s Nebulae, but ADDAC strikes out in a very different direction with a massive amount of control and an approach that is more reminiscent of granular tools in software. I think the relatively large size of the ADDAC112 [two modules that comprise 45 hp in total] is justified and helps it carve out a very unique niche in Eurorack. Barring some very esoteric modules that I’ve never actually gotten to try, I don’t think there’s anything else in eurorack that allows such straight-forward yet deep editing of granular processes.
General use of the ADDAC112 goes a bit like this: You capture a loop from your source material using the looper section of the module. Once you have a loop going, you can pitch the loop up and down, or record more loops and select between them with the LOOP SELECT knob. You could stop here if you wanted to; the looper section can be triggered by CV to play, record, overdub, and select different loops in the buffer, which is quite fun to play with in and of itself. But we can take the loop concept a few steps further when we realize what it’s actually for: To record audio for splitting up into tiny audio chunks [grains] in the granular engine.
In other words, the looper feeds the granular section. But because the looper is so well represented on the 112’s patchbay, you could also think of it as a live-input sampler since it can be triggered and manipulated like one. You can also save [and load] loops from an SD card, so again the lines are blurred between looper and sampler. Regardless, if all this module did was act as a looper / sampler, I would still be happy with it.
But let’s jump back to the granular processor of the 112, which is the real reason this module exists. Once you have a loop captured, the granular section will automatically begin cutting the loop into grains that can be controlled by a myriad of knobs on the main panel. You can select the amount of active grains to be played, you can scrub the playhead of the granular engine through the loop, you can adjust grain size and pitch and speed and randomness and all sorts of things, all made visible by a surprisingly helpful OLED display. There’s really something to be said for being able to see [and hear] the changes when working with granular synthesis, and the ADDAC112 provides clear functionality compared to the other granular processors I’ve mentioned.
The workflow I landed on with the 112 that was the most fun for me was recording an oscillator into a loop [I typically used a Mutable Plaits for this], sometimes intentionally creating rough edges in the loop so that a sort of rhythm of clicks or gaps would emerge. I then let this loop bed run as a drone, changing its pitch with the loop pitch knob and forming it into something resembling a bass or lead tone. I would then mix in the granular audio derived from the loop, usually tuned up in pitch using the grain pitch knob.
There are a lot of sweet spots with the granular portion of the 112, but I often used very short grains with some random “intermittency” to create glitchy, splintered intervals. And because you can mix together the original audio input, the loop, and the granular portion of all audio with dedicated mix knobs on the 112, you can form chords and complex audio beds that are perfect for ambient washes and the like. Run it all into a nice reverb or delay and you can smooth out the rough edges for a less glitchy, smoother sound.
The 112’s SD card includes many different loops that you can use instead of live recording them, including an amen break, noise and other sounds that really showcase all the different ways this module can fit into a composition. Of course you can also edit such loops on your computer and load them into the 112 if you want more exacting control. Either way, you’re not stuck with ambient washy sounds; it works equally well when mangling beats or recombining samples into glitchy clusters.
One word of warning with the 112: like so many complex modules in Eurorack, the firmware is in flux and I tested this module using the latest [at the time] 1.4.3 beta. I imagine some functionality will be subject to change. I also would warn users that crashes do sometimes occur and you will very likely notice some odd behavior at times. I expect these problems will be sorted out, but it’s something to consider if you’re looking for an ultra stable module. For me, the functionality of the 112 far outweighs the issues and I think the 112 is a gem in Eurorack. If you have a deep appreciation for granular processing, it’s a must-try.
45 HP +12v 240mA −12v 70mA
Price: $699