by ELLISON WOLF
Blue Lantern’s Flavio Mireles has an obsessive tinkerer/hacker mentality that is obvious when you see how packed his modules are. Knobs, jacks, switches, buttons, words, letters, drawings, symbols; there’s nary a millimeter of free space to be found. Even their buffered mult has 25 jacks! It’s as if the modules can barely contain the ideas and potential sonic rabbit holes held within. And while this busy-ness may turn off some, that’d be a shame because Blue Lantern puts out some really inspired, and as previously mentioned, feature packed modules.
The TPC Slim VCO is based on the Bergfotron Advanced VCO and has 8 possible wave shape outputs that are selectable by pushbutton: triangle, saw, double saw, pulse width, sine, ramp, even harmonics, and double pulse wave. It’s also possible to cycle through the wave shape selection via CV in, a really fun feature. I patched it to the 180 degree output on the Schlappi Engineering Angle Grinder [see review] on the low setting and it freaked it out in a good way, shuffling through the different waves. There’s a “Lock/Free” switch for the oscillator, which allows you to lock up a reference frequency via a tiny screw adjustment on the front panel, handy when tuning to other oscillators in your system, and a static square wave output that’s useful for clocking or synching to other devices. The TPC can also be switched into service as an LFO and there’s even a built in sample & hold. This thing has it all! One thing to note is that the rate of the S&H is controlled by the coarse tune knob and is really only functional between a 9:00-11:00 setting, so if you want to use the oscillator at the same time as the S&H, you’ll be confined to pretty low tones out of the oscillator, from about 1-40 Hz. In my testing I really wasn’t able to employ the S&H and VCO simultaneously with any real usability.
While it’s great that the TPO Slim VCO does so much, the real question of course, is how does it sound? Let's just say that I had a hard time stopping myself from not listening to its 100hz saw wave with a slight pulse wave modulation all day, it sounds so good. All of the other wave shapes sound equally as good, and checked out under the watchful eye of my oscilloscope, they also looked near perfect. But wait. . . there’s more! It’s also got a sync function, the pulse width modulation is CV controllable, as is frequency modulation, it has a linear control with CV in, and it has two CV ins for modulating the oscillator, which I love, so that you can easily run an arpeggio or sequence and then change the pitch of the entire thing via a ribbon controller or modulation wheel. The TPC slim VCO is a solid, well built, stacked to the rafters module that’s extremely fun to dig into. It sounds great and is fast becoming one of my favorite oscillators.
Price - $289