Random Rings experiments

I’ve started to do some more focused experiments with Rings and other modules with the aim of learning to use them more deeply. This is part of my bigger plan to make a more focused instrument out of my current modular, reduce the number of modules I use (or potentially split it into two more function-specific cases) and – most importantly – work on my music exploring the sounds that really like to make with the modular.

I’ll drop them here from time to time, hoping they might be interesting to somebody.

Random Rings #1

This first experiment was done passing Tides through Rings and then through Chronoblob. Tides and Rings are both driven by semi-random V/oct CVs quantized to a C minor scale (IIRC), but the pitches that go to the two modules are different.

Random Rings #2

For this experiment I was trying to recreate the sound of an upright bass with Rings (inharmonic string mode). The excitation signal is a mix of Tides and the Hexinverter VCNO (sizzle output). the VCNO’s pitch is modulated by a slow quadrature LFO from O_C which also modulated the position on Rings. The main concept is similar to the previous one, in that the v/oct that goes to the two modules is different, but quantized to the same scale. I’ve added a second voice and a field recording to spice the whole thing up a bit.


these two tracks from a little over a year ago are both Rings-intensive, in a modulated feedback loop with Elements. I do not keep track notes so here’s the rough idea:

Braids -> Rings
Sheep -> Elements -> VCA -> Rings
I think Clouds is in Looping Delay mode on both of these.
sequencing from SQ-1 and Branches
other stuff from Peaks and Maths
I’m sure I’m striking Ears in some way


Loving this post.

Rings is such a great and iconic module.
The only thing with it is: Most of the time one can clearly discern it when it is used in a patch.

Curious to hear examples of Rings being obscured or creatively misused … :slight_smile:
Please, more of this!

cool! I’ve got more coming soon!

It’s an interesting topic. I did read this often online (same with Clouds). To me this is a good thing though. Means Olivier did a good job at making something that does not sound like everything else. And anyway people don’t mind a piano sounding like a piano, and I guess most people don’t seem to have a problem with Buchlas sounding like Buchlas.
This said, among the various things I want to explore is exactly this, how far can I get away from what I would call Rings’ “init sound”?

Thanks for sharing these! Very inspiring as usual!
Btw. this reminds me of two things I’ve been struggling a bit with… maybe you or somebody else has some advice about it, this is the first one (the other needs a bit more investigation from my side)

One thing I notice a lot (and already sometimes struggled with with Elements) is that – due to the way the module works – you can get into annoying feedback type of sounds sometimes, where you get one sine-wave like frequency that will dominate the rest. Not sure when it does that exactly, I know it’s sometimes related to the volume of the excitation signal, but that’s all I could find out. Keeping the DAMPING knob below 12 o’clock helps, but also takes away a lot of what I like about Rings…


yeah I feel like this is the “flavor” of these types of modules, and really with any type of modal/resonant process (remember soundhack?). I’ve often had times when something with Rings/Elements goes from brilliant to bad with a shift in the excitation signal or the Geometry. and yeah, moving CW past noon on the damping can get things wild.

I’ve rarely used either Rings or Elements as “init voice” - these things have signal ins! I love signal ins! When they have both been in the rack, Rings gets one channel of ABC and Elements gets the unity mix from Links. They both respond so well to different inputs, just changing up how you excite them opens massive new rooms.

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Yes that is pretty close to what I do as well. Doing some more testing it seems that issues likely appear when sending a steady excitation sound and then also “hitting” it with a more percussive one, probably because it accentuates the release of the percussive excitation and increases the feedback effect.

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Here’s another one, though it’s less of an experiment, more heading towards an actual piece.
It’s built upon some of the experiments I’ve made in the last weeks though.

The above track is a little work in progress extract from the track shaft, It’s the modular parts for the middle section of the piece.

shaft is inspired by sounds collected over the years from my flat’s “cavaedium”, through open windows. This architectural structure had a very specific sound to it, with resonant frequencies very close to being a clean, E-flat. In the summer it would transport and amplify street sounds, music coming from the other flats, people talking, children playing and trains passing by in the nearby station.

Created mostly by layering different variations on one patch made using Rings, and a bass drone created using Tides and GradPa mixed together using Warps.


This one was made for the ongoing junto project (which you can find out more about here)

Process: the initial material is a 10-seconds-long recording created by playing a held note using the Leaf Audio Soundbox (bowed on the springs), which serves as an excitation signal for Rings.

This initial material was then processed using the following methods:

  1. slowed down to 50% of the initial speed and slightly lowpass-filtered
  2. processed using Clouds with various random CVs modulating the parameters
  3. processed using Clouds with a sequencer triggering the grains, and passing the individual clusters of grains via a lowpass gate (Rabid Elephant Natural Gate) for some rhythmic textures
  4. processed using Clouds and a delay (Alright Devices Chronoblob), with a slow LFO modulating the delay time
  5. processed with a waveshaper (Warps)
  6. processed with a ring modulator (Warps)
  7. bitcrushed and decimated (Alright Devices T-Wrex) then lowpass-filtered
  8. distorted by overdriving the input on Ears (that really works well, it can also be much subtler than here of course)
  9. processed using a convolution-based reverb (Reverberate)
  10. processed via a highpass filter and a modulated, quad comb filter (Melda MComb).

The resulting materials were then edited together into one piece without further modification, with only a bit of reverb and stereo widening added.

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And here’s another one.

Again I’m using Tides > Rings with different v/oct CVs going into the two modules. I’m playing with the wavefolding on Tides for some “screamy” sounds at the end. I think I’m getting closer to finding some “hidden” sounds in Rings :slight_smile:


@pichenettes I’m curious, do Rings/Elements share any “DNA” with (some?) shimmer reverb implementations (ones that pitch)? I’ve found myself using the two modules in similar ways to my Meris Mercury7 (run entire mixes through to make things “fuller”) and was curious if behind-the-scenes, there’s some connection to what sort of transformations they are doing to the signal.

Not at all!

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:+1:, good to know my imagination has no basis in fact, heh!

Sort-of related: I was having some fun last night with using Elements to control a delay feedback system.

Just Friends is in cycle mode slightly FM’d by itself, being ran through a state variable filter which has it’s outputs mixed and is getting passed into Warps’ vocoder sections. The raw signal is send only.

That is passed into the pedal board with “4 delays” (Delayla, Infinite Jets in swell, Polymoon, and RE-20), at different time divisions creating the rhythm. This is in the main mix.

That is passed into the Elements in chord mode, which is also in the main mix, as well as passed back into the pedals. Feedback is controlled through some max for live lfos (level of signal passed back into pedals), as well as some parameters on the pedal itself (brightness, damping, and space all can be used to maintain control of the feedback).

All sequencing through Teletype’s patterns, triggered by Tempi.

Sounds great and actually kept me interested. :champagne:

Thanks a lot! It’s my favourite so far as well. I guess what makes it interesting is that the melody keeps subtly shifling around, but I’m not really sure myself yet.

@jlmitch5 love the sound of this patch!

Do what do you use as the carrier/modulator in Warps, two outputs from the filter or what?

you never have enough delays I guess :smiley:

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The filter (humpback)’s 4 outputs (lp, bp, hp, n) are sent to veils which does two submixes (1+2, 3+4). These are sent to the two ins of warps.

I have a 5th delay on the board (digitech dd-9) but it died the other day :frowning:

More Rings experiments.

In this video I tried to put together a small, playable modular instrument based on Rings, Ears, the Sound Machines Lightstrip LS-1 and the Sonic Potions Penrose quantizer.
The idea was to focus on a live-playable interface, seeing if I could make something that I could play keeping the case on my lap. It kind of worked ok, but it would need a more advanced (and bigger) controller, to be able to play something with more control, though of course that also means the case would have to be bigger.

Ears is used to both create the part of the excitation signal (in the second part of the video it is mixed with the output from the Hexinverter Jupiter Storm) and to trigger an envelope (for the JS) and the quantizer, making it produce another note based on the voltage coming out of the LS-1. The direct sound of the contact mic and the one produced by JS is mixed using a crossfader (Rabid Elephant KNobs). Basically this instrument works that you hit the contact mic in Ears to trigger a note, use the Lightstrip to determine the note that should be played and use the xfader to influence the timbre.


Same patch as for the last one, but this time I’m “exciting” Rings using a a Leaf Audio Soundbox played with a violin bow. As you can hear the output does saturate quite a bit in some parts, creating a distorted sound, which I quite like!
More info about the Soundbox can be found here: https://www.exploding-shed.com/microphonic-soundbox/

I forgot to comment on this. Brilliant work, I really enjoyed this and it looks like a fun instrument to play. This has really made me want an Ears which I can’t really currently justify.

I had fun a while ago physically strumming Rings with pressure points and transposing with different PP sort of like an autoharp. It was decent for tooling around with but wasn’t really something I could ever see used in context though unlike this.