The Sangre de Nieve is a Eurorack distortion module which I believe in synth-speak is a waveshaper or VCA or something along those lines. Not being totally lock-step into the world of wires, I really couldn’t tell you. At the same time, to call it just a distortion really doesn’t do it justice either. Usually when you think of distortion, the whole premise is to make it loud and kazoo-ey – you know, like that Rebirth software from days of old that emulated those two even older techno machines, but with an emulation of a buzz box to make the squelching bass filter more… acidy. Yeah, this doesn’t do that. Not to say that it isn’t heavy.
If you pardon my techno jargon for a second, here’s what it does do: In stage 1, it hits your average, run of the mill, kinda-sounds-tube-ampy boost stage. If we were to simply output the sound here, yeah, you’d have that hard-hitting acid squelch. I think. Maybe. To be honest, I really don’t know or care. Not my thing – because after stage 1, it hits stage 2 – which takes the resultant clipped signal and drops it either one or two octaves before it feeds it into stage 3, which is 4 linear amplifiers in series. Meaning the loud, poorly tracked, albeit significantly fattened signal gets even louder to the point that the poor components responsible for said amplification just can’t keep up… and in their efforts, magic occurs. And by magic, I mean errors, stutters, arpeggiations, squeaks, random feedback, chirps, hiccups and other seemingly broken sounding things that make the world go round. All said, it’s quite fun.
Rounding out the controls on this unit, seeing as the working theory for modular synth folk is that these instruments may potentially be construed as some sort of analogy for the control in their personal lives that they either lack or desire are the following knobs: Gain controls the input trim – meaning that you can use this for things other than oscillators. For instance, guitars, drum machines, hacked toys and other accoutrements that would make the average synth purist cringe. As a bonus, with the trim all the way down, the module will make all sorts of sounds on its own recognizance. I wouldn’t dare say that it oscillates, but it does indeed do things. The drive knob controls the gain stage further down the chain, because why not. Likewise, the octave control shapes the blend between the first gain stage and the octave drop. The voltage knob drops the voltage to the first gain stage ever so slightly to let extra magic seep through and the switch toggles between your respective octaves. Finally, the volume control does exactly what you think it would do as in it controls the volume. Always a good thing when you’re banking on chaos being a mixable element of your nu-tek club anthem or whatever style of music you’re making on your suitcase.
Oh – right, the controversial part: there’s absolutely no voltage control at all on this thing. This is quite intentional and by design. It’s entirely OK for things just to do things and not have to control other things. In people, we call this at one extreme, being an individual and at the other, simply not being a jerk. True, we may be in some sort of interconnected web of existence, but its also ok to just go off and do your own thing and be a part of the universal choir on your own terms without the electrical prods of several other entities. Take that as you will, spiritually, electrically, musically, etc. Besides, this thing is pretty crazy – try just setting it, forgetting it and letting it do its thing – treat it well and it may just take care of you.
Info from ModularGrid