by Brandon Ivers
2hp have a ridiculous amount of useful, diminutive modules that you can fit just about anywhere in your rack, but the Play is a real favorite. Using an included SD card, you can play up to 32 different samples via trigger, with modulation ability over the sample selection and pitch. You also have some very basic looping functionality, and a few other advanced settings that can be edited via a text file on the SD card.
My favorite thing to do with the Play so far is pair it with something like Malekko’s Voltage Block, making it very easy to sequence sample selection per step. Add in some pitch modulation, and you can easily do a full drum track with a single Play. Unlike a lot of modern hardware sample players, Play can transpose pitch both very low and very high, which makes it particularly useful for sound design. The V/Oct input responds pretty well to most envelopes you throw at it. For example, if you want to add a tight pitch envelope for more punch in a drum sound, that’s no problem. Play can sort of do FM-like sounds with audio rate modulation as well, but the results are a little more unpredictable.
My only gripe with Play is that the voltage ranges for modulation are a little odd and will likely need to be offset if you’re trying to get the most out of the unit. Pitch goes from -1.5V to +6.5V and file selection is -5V to 5V. Also, for certain sounds like 808 kick drum samples, there will likely be some clicks when the sample is re-triggered quickly without a VCA somewhere in the mix. For as inexpensive and small as Play is, I’m willing to put up with a couple quirks. It sounds great, and whether you’re using it as a crude wavetable oscillator or for drums and a more typical sample playback, Play fits the bill nicely while still being modulation-friendly.
+12V: 85mA -12V: 3mA