Hexinverter VCNO: What is it?
Noise-generating modules are ten a penny, so finding one that has a little extra something isn’t as easy as you might expect. That said, the VCNO, made by Erica Synths under the Hexinverter name, delivers a noise source that really adds something.
The 6hp module is well built, cleanly designed and at just 3cm deep, suited to pretty much any case or skiff.
Hexinverter VCNO: Performance and verdict
The layout is simple and intuitive, with controls up-top and CV patch points below. The topmost knob is labelled ‘pitch’ but that isn’t quite accurate, as what it does is dial in an almost bit-crusher-type effect when turned counter clockwise, morphing into a pure white noise when dimmed. Erica Synths says this is reminiscent of retro video game noise and it isn’t far off the mark. It’s a pleasing sound, which could be usable in many patches.
Below this is a ‘sizzle’ control, which does a similar thing, dialling back from the pure white noise of the output to a crackly, dusty turntable-type noise. It’s easy to see how this could be used to generate some lovely retro textures. There’s a third option, ‘screech’ which adds harmonic complexity with additional overtones. This, along with the other tone-shaping controls, means that VCNO has quite a wide range of output and, though there are no brown, pink or red noises, makes for a noise source that has character and warmth.
On top of this are some CV functions that take things even further and help to integrate the module with a wider system.
There are CV inputs for just pitch, making it almost sound like a VCO, while there are outputs for each of the tonal elements, so you send screech or sizzle and so forth separately. The ability to have matched tonally different outputs is something you don’t often see from a noise source, so is a welcome addition that opens up some new opportunities for sound design and feels like the developers have put real thought into the module, rather than pumping out another bland noise generator.
There’s also a gate output, which supplies the rest of the system with gates based on the noise you set. This can be useful for a number of things, from percussive to melodic, keeping everything in sync with the rest of the track. This wouldn’t work without a clock of some kind but Hexinverter has handled this with a CV point for just this purpose.
This all adds up to make a fantastic sound generator module that has buckets of personality, an excellent amount of variation in output and enough controllability to allow users to integrate it into their rigs and patches.
MusicRadar verdict: Not everybody wants a noise generator, as they can seem unpliable or unmusical, but if you do, or you’re looking for some new textures and tones, the VCNO is one that should be on your list of likely suspects.
Hexinverter VCNO: Hands-on demos
Hexinverter VCNO: Specifications
- KEY FEATURES: Variable noise types and shaping tools, Noise-based gate output, CV controls for its key attributes.
- CONTACT: Erica Synths