by Ellison Wolf
When it comes to controlling ADSRs, I like sliders. They’re good to nudge when you just want a small adjustment and I like the way they look, especially when most Eurorack modules seem to be so [justifiably] heavily knob reliant.
Right out of the box, I like the look of Noise Reap’s new SLOPES. The simple layout of the module, combined with its pale yellow PCB faceplate is appealing. The sliders look great with their rubber tips, and more importantly, they feel great. Not too much tension, not loose. Perfect.
While SLOPES has all of the features I’ve come to expect from a classic 4-stage ADSR envelope generator; [attack, decay, release, and sustain] it also has an integrated VCA on board, a huge plus. On top of that it has ENV+ and ENV- outs, which means that from one module I can utilize the envelope [including its inverse, the ENV-] to manipulate three separate elements. The other attribute that I like is the ability to CV/gate control each stage of the envelope [minus the sustain]. In practice, this means when I feed the “Release” CV input an LFO, I get a tremolo-ish effect at only the end of the cycle. Feeding the “Attack” CV an LFO yields an almost attack/release ramp up on just the attack phase of the cycle. Feed it a gate and you can randomize the triggering of the envelope, or sync it up to break it into mathematically [and rhythmically] complex patterns.
The main CV in affects the whole envelope. For example, when fed the ramp up LFO on my 4ms QCD I got what sounds almost like a reverse playback sound. “TRIG” in, when fed a clock/gate signal, triggers the opening and closing of the envelope no matter where in the cycle the envelope is. It can be used for really cool effects, like when I put a gate into “TRIG” at triple the rate of the “GATE” in, I was getting a triple beat break that spanned the entire cycle of the envelope. At quadruple the rate, I’d get a four beat break, etc. Patch a clock out into the “Decay” CV in, and you get an accent that adds emphasis to the beat whenever the clock pulses.
Two things I would love to see on this are a loop/env switch [and if that was gate/CV controllable to switch between the two, that would be amazing], and a manual gate trigger, despite the fact I rarely manually trigger an envelope when I have that option.
Control-wise, I was able to get snappy snares, short string plucks reminiscent of violin staccatos, and a lot of cool rhythmic manipulations. I feel corny admitting this, but I get a ton of pleasure from just slowly nudging the attack slider up a bit to smooth out the attack of an arpeggiated sequence, and then bringing it back down to shorten it. Don’t let SLOPES fool you, its simple design aesthetic belies its well executed abilities.
12HP +12v: 40mA -12v: 30mA