Erica Synths Intros Black Classic System

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Erica Synths has introduced their first complete modular set – the Erica Synths Black Classic System.

The Black Classic System offers the functionality of classical two oscillator synthesizer, plus features to address contemporary needs of modular users.

Here’s a video demo:

The heart of the Black Classic System is two Polivoks-inspired Black Varishape VCOs. Unique waveform mixer, PWM circuit and transistor based suboscillators will bring you, according to the developers, ‘one of the fattest sounding VCOs you can get around.’

Shape sounds with Black Polivoks VCF and Black VCA. Black Polivoks VCF has famous resonance screams in self-oscillation and can also be used as sine VCO. Versatile lin/log response VCA with CV bias control gives great tremolo effects.

Black Digital Noise delivers a range of noise options: from almost pure white noise to Atari console-like one bit noise and other more-less predictable noises. Its CV control over various parameters and clock sync feature give infinite explorations in non-musical sounds.

Black HADSR/AHDSR envelope generator has unique looping functions and CV control over each parameter and lin/log envelope option.

The two Black LFOs offer a broad range of functions, including 6 waveforms + S&H, TAP tempo, sync, start on GATE function and built in VCA with LFO amplitude hold/attack and decay function. Moreover, it can be used as envelope generator.

Other modules include the Black Output module, which has manual and voltage control panning, balanced outputs and headphone amplifier; and the monophonic/duphonic MIDI-CV interface, which has analogue GLIDE, master TUNE, modulation CV, key velocity CV, CV IN (adds CV from midi controller to external CV for arpeggios).

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Erica Synths Black Classic System includes:

  • Black Varishape VCO1
  • Black Varishape VCO2
  • Black Polivoks VCF
  • Black VCA
  • Black 8-multi
  • 2 Black LFO
  • Black Digital Noise
  • Black Mixer
  • Black Output module
  • Black CV Processor
  • Black Mixer/Splitter
  • Black HADSR EG
  • Black EG CV Expande
  • MIDI to CV
  • Eurorack skiff case
  • External linear 1,25A PSU or built in 1,3A switching PSU of your choice
  • Horizontal wooden side panels
  • 20 Patch cables

The Erica Synths Black Classic System is priced at 2222 € (ex. VAT). Buying modules separately, the price is 2770 € (ex. VAT). See the Erica Systems site for details.

30 thoughts on “Erica Synths Intros Black Classic System

  1. I realise I am in the minority here, extreme minority, yet I cannot see how this is the future. It feels like regression to me. My OCD will not allow me to get any modular system as it pains to have a synth that appears to have its innards spilling out with all these bloody wires. At least I will say that the Modulus units are clever enough to have the insertion points on the bottom row so that the cables do not interfere with the knobs.

    Waiting for the day when the cables can be wireless or like USB mini wireless plugs. Then I would consider it.

    1. I can see how you feel like it is a regression, but consider this: the increasing popularity of modular gear is making musicians UNDERSTAND what it takes to make a sound. There’s a higher level of control that you could never get from a packaged synth. Yeah, it’s expensive, but I could never put a price on what I’ve learned in the process of switching over to modular.

      1. Anthony, I agree that there is a great deal of hands on education with modular synths. I have played with them and I can certainly understand the appeal from a tactile perspective. However I find them too limiting aurally and visually I have already stated my objection. And I agree that the future is cyclical, however that is only due to human nostalgia generally getting in the way or progress.

        1. How are modular synths limiting? They can make any sound any fixed architecture synth can make and go far beyond that. There are far more choices for oscillators (both analog and digital), filters, modulation sources, and plenty of modules that have no equivalent in fixed architecture synths, and the fact that there’s no limit to how many modules you use (aside from cost) or how you use them means that you can create extremely complex sounds that even the most advanced fixed architecture synths can’t even begin to approach.

          1. Alex, that is not accurate. As a software engineer, I can tell you without question you can achieve more and create far more complex sounds within the digital realm than in analogue. That is a simple reality. And if you think I am simply biased, you may want to have a chat with Dave Smith who has said as much in many different interviews. Everything has limits, be it physical, practical or financial. The greatest limiting factor in a typical modular set up is one of tonality and more critically they are not polyphonic. I could go on, yet it is simply a matter of preference. You like modular synths? Brilliant! I do not! And certainly not in their current iteration. I do however find what Modulus and Rossum have created with their recent offerings far more promising than anything I have seen thus far.

              1. Alex, I was not trying to make it a analogue vs digital platform I was merely making the point that even “fixed” synthesis can achieve much of what modular synths can, however that stated you cannot be wrong on the basis of your preference for modulars and I was not implying that. I am glad you like modular synths, and when we can patch modular synths via a wireless method, I will be interested as well.

                Cheers!

                1. Matrix patching is more likely to be the next ‘big thing’ for modular than wireless cables, imo. Arturia Matrixbrute and Hinton Switchmatrix come to mind.

            1. Dave Smith is also extremely quick to dismiss software as completely uninteresting. He’s pained by the memory of having crafted the first commercial soft-synth.

              The analog realm will always have a broader sonic palette than the software realm if only for one reason… No two analog synthesizers are ever the same. While companies such as NI can create software approximations of the modular domain and workflow, it’s still very limited in that you are not allowed to patch your instruments “incorrectly”. I’ve personally attained many interesting results from purposefully (and dangerously) patching cv inputs into cv inputs in order to “freak” my system out. There of course are other factors such as power drains, dust on circuits and oscillator drift* that while again, may be approximated with some foresight, hasn’t been truly addressed in the realm of software.

              Software based synthesizers are built for those looking for a cheap and reliable sound source. At the end of the day, I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Whatever inspires you to create is the clear winner. Just don’t ever think that hardware is limited. It’s an incredibly naive underestimation.

              * Slop parameter on newer DSI/Sequential has addressed drift.

              1. That is just silly. First of all the last panel I heard Dave Smith discuss software synths, he lamented his earlier comments about them stating that sound quality is all that matters. I’m a fan of anything that works well regardless of how limited or boundless it is since true creativity is a function is talent and work, not the inherent limitations of any said device or platform!

                And let’s be clear, all devices have limitations. When you strictly become an unreasonable advocate for one platform or the other, that simply becomes dogma. And dogma never wins, evolution has made that a certainty. Be it anologue or digital, hardware or software, it is all a matter of thoughtful and intelligent engineering. I personally prefer hardware VAs and a handful of analogue synths.

                1. I have a close relationship with DSI and spent the last 4 days with them (and Dave himself) at NAMM. He must flip-flop quite often as, the sentiment remained the same during our recent conversations.

                  You seemed to have rephrased my statement regarding neither means of creation being better than the other while also attempting to dismiss it. That’s also silly.

                  1. That’s interesting, I’ve consulted for DSI and there is certainly a self interest in Dave’s vacillations.

                    I was actually agreeing with you yet I was also pointing out that whilst I have my favourite tools, the craft matters more than the machine.

      2. The higher level of control is an issue of size though. You will never get in a 6u the equivalent of a modulation matrix that one might find in some fixed architecture synths, plus all this structural flexibility is sometimes exaggerated as well as the educational properties. People who never learn how their fixed signal synth works, will probably not learn how a modular works as well..

        On the other due to the low risk of investment it seems that synthesis methods that we never saw in hardware start to appear in eurorack. Making a 300eu module is not that risky as a 2000eu synth..

      1. Exactly, you should have seen the modulars rigs we had back in Ancient Egypt in my past life!

        Infact, we only built the bloody pyramids to use as massive reverb chambers for our synths..

        1. Oh, I see… you got jokes…
          Then explain why we are doing the Modular -> CompactMono -> Poly all over again smarty pants. Of course we are talking about NEAR past and NEAR future here.

          You got a point on the IR of the Pyramids 🙂

    2. I think modular people are still, and always will be in the minority. I like my modular a lot, but its also a pain in the ass. However, the modular levels of control and sound options really complement my music.

      Most people don’t need it. If you are just looking for a good “bass or lead sound” the modular is totally unnecessary and this is why it’s wise to not sell off all your other synths if you do go modular.

  2. Euro’s slow transition from grey to black is a disturbing trend. How have we come so far and still not realized that black is the absolute worst color for a piece of consumer electronics. Are the guys who make canned air and Swiffer dusters paying these companies off?

  3. Looks and certainly sounds like a very good mini modular for that price.
    Yes, always the price, and as always if you want to spend 2 grand what do you want in return.
    For me most (not all, but say 70%) of all sounds produced can be made with my Roland JX-03, and you have 6 of those for that price. Similar, and real analog when talking Korg Minilogue. When going for a modular in that price I would at any rate consider a two or three tier Moog Mother system with Moog analog delay and reverb.
    Nonetheless, Erica certainly has presented a nice and quality system which sounds good and deserves attention.

  4. Boring. Another synth that does what other synths have been doing since the 70’s. The word ‘innovation’ and ‘imagination’ is certainly unknown to all these companies for sure!a

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