The Swarmatron is a hand-built instrument that was introduced at NAMM in January 2010. As of March 2016, 83 Swarmatrons have been produced. Pre-order wait time is currently approximately 1-2 months. If you would like to pre-order, please contact us (sales at bigcitymusic dot com) and we will be happy to put you into the queue.
The Swarmatron was created to produce eight tones tuned approximately to one note, each tone slightly different in pitch to produce a complex and natural choral effect.
The current "Fine Tune" version has controls which allow more accurate tuning when connected with external CV sources. Earlier Swarmatrons can be upgraded with Fine Tune controls.
The eight oscillators can be played with a single ribbon controller (variable resistor) to move the pitch center up or down.
The span control expands the sound of a swarm of eight notes spread just a few cents apart into a wide chord of equidistant pitches spread over the entire spectrum. The player can "taffy pull" the resulting chord by using the span control and pitch ribbon in tandem.
Swarms of sine waves evoke swarms of angels congregating. Swarms of sawtooth waves evoke the swarming of bees. The sound of a host of voices, earthly or unearthly, has a unique character recognized by the ear even when they are folded together in unison.
Swarmatron Modifications Now Available:
CV Outs ($195): This mod gives the user access to the Swarmatron's internal pitch, tonal spread (swarm), and filter cutoff CVs along with the ADSR envelope and gate signal. These voltages come out through a 5-pin DIN socket on the left side of the unit, and a breakout box converting these to 5 1/4" phone jack outputs is supplied as well, along with a 3' connector cable.
FM Feature ($520): The Frequency Modulation feature allows one or more of the Swarmatron's eight voices to frequency modulate the center point as well as the tonal spread of the cluster. This is controlled through 3-position rocker switches for each voice (off, on, on and sending to fm bus), an FM on/off switch, a modulation amount control, a pitch/swarm modulation balance control, and a phase inverter switch to invert the phase between simultaneous pitch and swarm frequency modulation.
Note: FM option is $520 extra when ordered before Swarmatron is built, or $650 as an upgrade to an existing Swarmatron.
Stereo Feature ($1300): The stereo Swarmatron has two output channels in the form of a TRS jack, each with their own VCA and filter stages. The eight voices of the Swarmatron spread through the stereo field as the tonal separation increases. The ratio of the tonal separation to spatial separation can be adjusted by use of the Swarm range control (the internal stereo separation CV comes directly off the Swarm ribbon before it is attenuated by the Swarm range control) and can be further adjusted with an additional control directly to the left of the Swarm ribbon. The Swarm CV input jack is now a TRS jack so that external control voltages for spatial swarm and tonal swarm can be fed in separately.
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