by Tim Held
I don’t think one can write an engaging review of a VCA or Mixer. I mean, these tools are indispensable, but like many essential pieces of kit, they aren’t the sexiest thing to describe with rapturous prose. This was what I thought when Abe from AI sent me the new AI007 Quad VCA/Mixer, but found out that I was wrong about this. This thing vehemently rips. But how does a VCA “rip” exactly?
I’ll get to that in a moment, but first let me give you the basic rundown. The AI007 offers four channels that each have their own dedicated outputs, level potentiometers, CV input, and a dedicated knob that shapes the curve response from linear to exponential [spoiler alert, this is where the aforementioned “ripping” comes into play]. All four of these inputs are normalled to a mix output, however you can take each channel out of the mix by patching a cable to its dedicated output. Now let’s get to the shred, as the response curve knob is where the excitement lies.
When turned completely clockwise [exponential] the AI007 offers one of the richest overdrives I’ve heard in Eurorack. There are other VCAs on the market that do this, but none [that I have used] sound this good. What I found most impressive is its ability to retain the same quality of crunch despite the shape of the wave it’s receiving, as even your basic sine and saw waves sound equally driven. With separate control over the individual channel levels, response curve and overall mix, precise dialing in of clean and crunchy sounds is not only easy, it is a pleasure. At 12 HP this module is perfect for any rack size, but I highly recommend it for those working in the 3-6u realm; where real-estate is extremely valuable and multiple functions packed into one module is essential. Like all AI modules you can buy this already built or in kit form, but be warned, this is a more advanced build with SMD components.
Price: From $15 - $189
12 HP +12V 50mA -12V 50mA