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Explore the Natural Systems and Lesser Known Fringes of Analog Synthesis
267 backers pledged $268,985 to help bring this project to life.

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$268,985

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An Organic Synthesizer by Pittsburgh Modular

The Voltage Research Laboratory is a completely different analog synthesizer where every function of the instrument has been influenced by the behaviors and systems of the natural world. Wildly experimental and extremely deep, the Voltage Research Laboratory is a sonic playground created to explore the natural systems and lesser known fringes of analog synthesis.

The Voltage Research Laboratory is 100% eurorack modular format compatible and is comprised of 3 separate eurorack modules housed together in a purpose-built, handmade eurorack enclosure. More than a collection of tools and functions, it is a unique modular synthesizer designed to reward deep experimentation and encourage the creation of unique sonic systems.

Voltage Lab Synthesizer Voice Module

Generation

The unique sound palette of the Lifeforms Voltage Lab originates with a complex oscillator pair that utilizes a wide range of shaping and manipulation options to move away from basic geometric shapes to more harmonically rich tones. A custom wave folder with enhanced waveform warping, linear FM, amplitude modulation, ring modulation, waveform cycling, hard sync, and more are available for extreme sonic research.  

Manipulation

A set of multi-function generators work as interactive voltage processing systems to create and modify complex control voltages. The function generators act as voltage controllable envelopes, LFOs, slew generators, and more to produce evolving control signals. Voltage controllable parameters and multiple unison modes create complex and intertwined modulation systems through time.

Interaction

Twin dynamics controllers pull everything together. A unique circuit expanding on the classic low pass gate, the dynamics controller with variable response adds an organic depth to the sound of the Lifeforms Voltage Lab by simulating the natural behavior of sound. The multi-mode signal processor features a 12db resonant filter, VCA, and percussive low pass gate modes.

Dimensional

Sound interacts with the world around it. The Voltage Lab uses analog delay to simulate this interaction and create an artificial sense of time and space. Manipulation of delay time and feedback add depth and warmth through reverb, chorus, flanging, Doppler, slap back, and echo type effects.

Unstable Systems

Chaos is everywhere. Random gates and control voltages spark uncontrolled reactions, disrupt systems, and generate ideas. The Voltage Lab utilizes noise, stepped random CV, a pseudo-random sequence generator, pitched random CV, pitched random sequences, and random gates to add multiple levels of unpredictability to any patch.


Interactive Touch Controller Module

Intuitive and inspiring, the Lifeforms Touch Controller replaces the creative restrictions of a traditional chromatic keyboard with a set of fully configurable multi-dimensional touch pads. A duophonic touch controller that utilizes two sets of five touch pads to offer a flexible and interactive performance surface. Performances can be interpreted with a unique combination of monophonic and duophonic responses. The channel animator is available to quickly generate complex sequences or glitchy chaos. Intuitive and inspiring, the Lifeforms Touch Controller is the perfect launchpad for an experimental journey.


Output Utility Module

A Voltage Research Laboratory exclusive, the Utility module adds a few welcome features to round out the functionality of the instrument. A unity gain signal mixer / splitter along with stereo headphone and line outputs.

 Research Console Eurorack Case 

A beautiful 96hp eurorack enclosure designed with the warmth of walnut and the strength of steel. The Research Console eurorack format modular case pairs classic desktop synthesizer ergonomics with a modern eurorack form factor and clean, reliable power supply.

A Little Bit About Richard and Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers

Pittsburgh Modular was founded in 2012 by Richard Nicol. With the help and guidance of analog designer Michael Johnsen, Richard has somewhat obsessively worked to create meticulously designed, beautiful instruments, which are both accessible to beginning sound experimenters, as well as infinitely extendable for professional musicians and producers. Have a question about the Voltage Research Laboratory? richard at pittsburgh modular dot com is a direct line to Richard's brain.

Available worldwide through authorized resellers, Richard and Michael's instruments include the unconventional Microvolt 3900 desktop mono synth, fully modular Lifeforms SV-1 Blackbox, a complete line of Lifeforms eurorack modules, and the professional grade Structure eurorack enclosures.


About the Rewards

Because the Voltage Research Laboratory is a collection of eurorack components, we are able to split apart the system and offer the individual case and modules as Kickstarter rewards. 

Voltage Research Laboratory

$1,249 Kickstarter campaign incentive price. Will retail for $1,599. Includes The Voltage Lab Eurorack Module, Touch Controller Eurorack Module, Output Utility Eurorack Module, Lifeforms Research Console Eurorack Case and Universal Power Supply, 18 Pittsburgh Modular Patch Cables, printable manual with patch examples. (Ready to start patching out of the box!)


Eurorack Module Bundle

$949 Kickstarter exclusive bundle. Includes Voltage Lab Eurorack Module, Touch Controller Eurorack Module, 12 Pittsburgh Modular Patch Cables, printable manual with patch examples. (ATTENTION! Reward bundle is for modules ONLY! Eurorack Case and power supply NOT included with this reward bundle. You will need to supply your own case and power supply!)

 Voltage Lab Blackbox Synthesizer 

$799 Kickstarter campaign incentive price. Will retail for $999. Includes Voltage Lab Eurorack Module, Blackbox Desktop Enclosure and Universal Power Supply, 12 Pittsburgh Modular Patch Cables, printable manual with patch examples. (Ready to start patching out of the box!)


Voltage Lab Eurorack Module

$699 Kickstarter campaign incentive price. Will retail for $899. Includes Voltage Lab Eurorack Module, printable manual with patch examples. (ATTENTION! Reward is for module ONLY! Eurorack Case and power supply NOT included with this reward. You will need to supply your own case and power supply!)


Touch Controller Eurorack Module

$299 Kickstarter campaign incentive price. Will retail for $399. Includes Touch Controller Eurorack Module, printable manual with patch examples. (ATTENTION! Reward is for module ONLY! Eurorack Case and power supply NOT included with this reward. You will need to supply your own case and power supply!)


Research Console Eurorack Case

$299 Kickstarter campaign incentive price. Will retail for $349. Includes Lifeforms Research Console Eurorack Case and Power Supply, printable manual. (ATTENTION! Reward is for case and power supply ONLY! Eurorack modules NOT included with this reward. You will need to supply your own modules!)


Pittsburgh Modular Voltage Logo Hoodie

$35. Long sleeve hooded pullover sweatshirt with pouch pocket. Black with dark grey Voltage graphic. 50/50 Cotton/Poly blend.


Pittsburgh Modular Voltage Logo T-Shirt

$15. Extra soft, short sleeve, crew neck T-shirt with Pittsburgh Modular Voltage graphic. Black with dark grey printing. 60/40 Cotton/Poly blend.


Stretch Goals!

$225k Goal - The Voltage Research Laboratory, Eurorack Module Bundle, and Voltage Lab Blackbox synthesizer were always going to ship with a nice set of 12 inch long, blue Pittsburgh Modular Nazca Noodles patch cables. At $225k we will enhance the patch cable offering by pairing the 12 inch blue cable with a custom new 5 inch cable in both red and black. The new short cables clean up the patch bay and prevent the wires from hanging over the touch controller.

The updated rewards will be as follows. The Voltage Research Laboratory will ship with 6x 12 inch blue cables, 6x 5 inch red cables and 6x 5 inch black cables. The Eurorack Module Bundle and the Voltage Lab Blackbox will ship with 4x 12 inch blue cables, 4x 5 inch red cables and 4x 5 inch black cables.



Why Kickstarter?

The Voltage Research Laboratory is the culmination of Richard and Michael's partnership and their largest, most complex project yet. Research and development of the instrument has expanded the limits of analog synthesis and consumed every moment of the past year.

The design and prototyping stages of the Voltage Research Laboratory are complete. The next step is a small production test run. Once the test run is complete and the systems are throughly tested and approved by Richard, full production will begin.

Using Kickstarter to finance the production of all the components at once allows us to lower retail costs and get the Voltage Research Laboratory into the hands of artists much sooner, without compromising the experimental creativity Richard and Michael have designed into the instrument.

Risks and challenges

Pittsburgh Modular has been professionally manufacturing eurorack modules and cases for over 7 years, and we are very familiar with the ups and downs of the production process. We have partnered with suppliers we trust to deliver the highest quality components on schedule. Part availability, supplier timelines, unit testing, and quality control are issues we take very seriously and have spent years developing the proper relationships and necessary internal systems to manage them correctly.

The Voltage Research Laboratory is a complex instrument with a large number of custom components. Because of this, we have extended our typical production schedule to allow for any minor challenges that may occur. We are confident our instrument can be manufactured to the highest standards and begin shipping to our backers on schedule.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    Pittsburgh Modular Voltage T-Shirt

    T-Shrts are fun. Extra soft, short sleeve, crew neck T-shirt with Pittsburgh Modular Voltage graphic. Black with dark grey printing. 60/40 Cotton/Poly blend.

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    Pittsburgh Modular Voltage Hoodie

    Hoodies are fun, too. Long sleeve hooded pullover sweatshirt with pouch pocket. Black with dark grey Voltage graphic. 50/50 Cotton/Poly blend.

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    Touch Controller Eurorack Module

    Save $100 off retail. Fully configurable non-chromatic, multi-dimensional touch controller. Touch Controller eurorack module ONLY. Eurorack case and power supply not included.

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    Research Console Eurorack Case

    Save $50 off retail. Classic design offers 96hp of powered eurorack space hand built using walnut and steel.

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    Early-bird Voltage Lab Eurorack Module

    Save $220 off retail plus get a T-Shirt. Ready to install in your eurorack system. This reward includes a Pittsburgh Voltage T-Shirt and Voltage Lab eurorack module ONLY. Eurorack case and power supply NOT included.

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    Voltage Lab Eurorack Module

    Save $200 off retail. Ready to install in your eurorack system. This reward is for the Voltage Lab eurorack module ONLY. Eurorack case and power supply NOT included.

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    Voltage Lab Blackbox Synthesizer

    Save $200 off retail. Complete synthesizer ready for patching. This reward includes everything needed to get started. Voltage Lab eurorack module, Blackbox enclosure, universal power supply, 10 Pittsburgh Modular patch cables.

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    Eurorack Module Bundle

    Save $350 off retail prices with this bundle. Ready to install in your eurorack system. This reward is for the Voltage Lab and Touch Controller eurorack modules ONLY. Eurorack case and power supply NOT included.

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    Pledge US$ 1,249 or more About US$ 1,249

    Voltage Research Laboratory

    Save $350 off retail with this bundle. The complete Voltage Research Laboratory organic modular synthesizer. This reward is for the full system and includes the Voltage Lab module, Touch Controller module, Utility module, Research Console case, and 15 Pittsburgh Modular patch cables.

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    Pledge US$ 779 or more About US$ 779

    Early-bird Voltage Lab Blackbox Synth

    Save $220 off retail plus get a T-Shirt. Complete synthesizer ready for patching. This reward includes a Pittsburgh Voltage T-Shirt and everything needed to get started. Voltage Lab eurorack module, Blackbox enclosure, universal power supply, 10 Pittsburgh Modular patch cables.

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    Early-bird Eurorack Module Bundle

    Save $370 off retail plus get a T-Shirt. Ready to install in your eurorack system. Early-bird special reward is for a Pittsburgh Modular Voltage T-Shirt and the Voltage Lab and Touch Controller eurorack modules ONLY. Eurorack case and power supply NOT included.

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    Pledge US$ 1,229 or more About US$ 1,229

    Early-bird Voltage Research Laboratory

    Save $370 off retail plus get a T-Shirt. Early-bird special includes the complete Voltage Research Laboratory organic modular synthesizer and Pittsburgh Modular Voltage T-Shirt. This reward is for the full system and includes the Voltage Lab module, Touch Controller module, Utility module, Research Console case, 15 Pittsburgh Modular patch cables, and a Pittsburgh Modular Voltage T-Shirt.

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Funding period

- (30 days)