Pittsburgh Modular Synth Review – Atonal Nintendo Zipper Fart Noises Galore

We haven’t heard much from Sonic State recently – and we suspect it may be because Nick’s got his hands on some interesting new synth modules from Pittsburgh Modular. 

Here’s his take on Pittsburgh Modular’s Oscillator, Generator, Outs and Audiomixer Attenuator modules.

Pittsburgh Modular promises that the generator and other modules offer “Tones, drones, textures, and drums to atonal, nintendo zipper/fart noises.” While Nick notes that he didn’t quite hit the sweet spot on the fart noises, the modules do deliver ‘a great deal of flexibility and functionality.”

Specs below. See the Pittsburgh Modular site for details and Sonic State for more of their thoughts on these modules.

Pittsburgh Modular Oscillator

A wide range, high quality, 8hp utility VCO.  It offers a full compliment of standard waveforms including Sine, Triangle, Saw, and Pulse waves. The Oscillator offers 5 octaves of 1 volt per octave tracking, and a frequency range starting as low as 7 seconds per cycle, allowing it to double as an LFO. Additional features include oscillator reset for hard syncing, attenuated linear FM input, pulse width, and pulse width CV input.

  • Excellent logarithmic conformance
  • Temperature compensated 1 volt per octave operation
  • Simultaneous sawtooth, pulse triangle, and sine wave outputs
  • Sawtooth wave based oscillator circuit
  • PWM Input: 0% to 100%
  • Hard sync input
  • below audio frequency operation.
  • Size: 8hp
  • Module depth with ribbon cable attached: 35mm
  • Power Usage: 30mA

Pittsburgh Modular Generator (Dual Oscillator FM Monster)

A dual oscillator built around two triangle core, wide range, periodic waveform generators. As a multipurpose signal generator, it can provide the basis of a wide range of complex sounds ideal for tuned percussion/noise, abrasive amplitude, frequency and timbral modulation. Tones, drones, textures, and drums to atonal, nintendo zipper/fart noises. This module was made for FM madness.

Pittsburgh Modular Outs

The simplest way to get sound out of a modular. Outs is a dual independent output module featuring a stereo 1/4″ headphone amplifier output and dual mono 1/4″ line level outputs.

Left and Right inputs are available. If only the left input is used, it is sent to both the Left and Right outputs.

Pittsburgh Modular AudioMixer/Attenutuator (Multifunction Utility Module)


  • 4 Channel Mixer
  • 4 Independent Attenuators
  • 2 Attenuators and a 2 Channel Mixer
  • 1 Attenuator and a 3 Channel Mixer
  • Width: 8hp
  • Module Depth 20mm with a power cable connected
  • Power Usage: 20mA

A flexible, low-noise four channel mixer and/or attenuator for audio and cv that can be used in several ways. Three of the four channels have an output that removes the channel from the mixer circuit and allows it to become a standalone attenuator.

5 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Modular Synth Review – Atonal Nintendo Zipper Fart Noises Galore

    1. I’m not sure he really likes the modular game. I think he bought it because modulars are popular not really because he wanted one. These days you seem to either modular synths or iphone apps and not much in between. Between VSTs and a healthy second hand market new keyboard synths seem to beomcing a rarity.

  1. just my 2 cents…. I got rid of most of most of my pittsburgh modules. that said the mixer module is pretty awesome as is the midi 2 interface….. now, I found the oscilators to be very aenimic (great if you are into industrial or noise however) the mod module shares this issue, didn’t really find it very usable, the envelope module has interesting curves and have kept it, how ever its not as strong as say the mutable peaks or the tiptop envelope which i use a lot. the low pass gate was ok again i find it thin sounding, but im comparing it against a tip top curtis filter and a modcan multimode respectively (also as far as osc is concerned im using a kilpatrick dual vco, serge neg slew, mutable braids, and serge osc modules as comparisons) Pittsburgh offers a very accessible entry in to modular synthesis but i think you may grow tired of its timbre rather quickly as i did and moved onto “boutique” modules as they just sound the part…. again. completely subjective, just my opinion. im glad Pittsburgh exists, they have gotten more people into this art than any other manufacturer.

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