Sinope Dual VCA - IO Instruments
by Ian Rapp
IO Instruments line of Eurorack modules boast a build quality that far exceeds their price point. With a nice, heavy metal faceplate, great feeling knobs [even the small attenuators are nice and sturdy], and well thought out features, the Sinope is no exception. At 16hp it is by no means tiny but those who favor the ergonomics that extra real estate can provide will welcome the well spaced controls and uncluttered panel.
The Sinope is a straightforward two-channel VCA. It is clean sounding with a good deal of head room and can provide some nice warmth when pushed. IO has opted to label their modules with symbols as opposed to text, but thankfully the panel doesn't stray too far into hieroglyphic territory. Both channels of the module are identical in control and function, and each feature two CV inputs; one with a linear response and the other with an exponential curve. The inputs sum together and I found that I had to adjust the level of each attenuator up fairly high in order to get the VCA to open up. This aspect is a bit confusing at first as it seemed that I should be able to get a strictly linear or exponential response depending on which input is patched [with the unpatched attenuator fully counterclockwise]. I did find that having the two separate inputs is advantageous for experimenting with two simultaneous CV sources, and it makes it very easy to get some interesting tremolo effects going, for example by combining your envelope in one channel and an LFO in the other. Below the two CV inputs is an offset knob with a range of +/- 15dB, a nice touch.
The Sinope is perfectly content with both audio and CV and handily has an inverted output alongside each channel's main output. This signal input also features an attenuator and an overload LED. Both outputs offer up to 6db of gain and can be pushed for some pleasant analog clipping.
Sinope’s build quality is fantastic, especially considering its relative affordability, though if I had to nitpick I would say that the way the input levels normal together is a touch confusing at first but also has its advantages. To be sure, there are thinner dual-channel VCA modules out there but I appreciated the great ergonomics that the extra space affords. The Sinope's good looks and smart additions help to elevate it from a basic utility to something even more useful.
16 HP +12v 120mA -12v 105mA