Moog Subharmonicon

I’ve had my eye on both SubH and Digitone so looking forward to your thoughts after you get the DN.

The DN does Acid thread was yet another eye-opener for me. Maybe there are limits to getting to sound like a Moog, but it seemed convincing enough to me as a stand-in for a 303.

I’m sure the two will complement each other well.

I just picked mine up :sunglasses: If any UK-based ‘nauts want one, Elevator Sound have one left in stock from this batch.

i am still on the edge to decide getting a DN or SH. in favor of DN as I have no FM synth and in favor for moog as I like the new concept and its modular patchbay.

Well Digitone due tomorrow but just had the most amazing jam with the subharmonicon :rofl:. Not sure I can sell this now. Was not the plan. Was not the plan at all. Digitakt triggering the subharmonicon really helps move it along a bit. Moog into Zen delay is pretty damn good too!

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yea im in a similar boat.
torn between the Digitone keys & SubH.
went with the keys cause its so suited to my music I can write complete tunes on it really quick,
but SubH still might be my next purchase cause its so wicked in its own way :slight_smile:

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Well I’ve had my SubH for about a week now and have been playing it with quite a bit. Here’s a jam session with it, a DFAM, and an Analog 4 (providing a kick and other percussion, FX, and sending clock)

I really like it, it’s very meditative just messing around with it and seeing what comes out. That said, I don’t think it’s likely that it will end up in much of my music – to use it with other instruments takes quite a bit of fiddly setting up tuning of the oscillators and the sequencer steps with a tuner (unless you have perfect pitch), whereas the fun with it it just twisting knobs and dialling pleasing sounds in by ear. So it might become my go-to after-work jam box – it does make me feel like I’m kind of experimenting, maybe a bit like the early synth pioneers who built the stuff the SubH is based on, which is fun.

A few notes from my experience:

  • Messing around with it is fun but it’s easy to make everything fall apart and then find it hard to get back to the good spot you were in just before.
  • Polyrhythms are great, but unless backed up by some on-the-beat kick or percussion or something else, I find they can feel messy, especially for shorter, more percussive sounds (so the A4 provides the kick in the jam above). I dunno, maybe my brain just can’t handle them :slight_smile:
  • It really lends itself to being performative. The buttons to send the sequencers to the main osc and subs can really add some nice variety, even if the sequencers are only 4 steps.
  • The patch bay is great, but it would have been nicer to have a few more inputs (especially for the mixers)
  • Being able to send polyrythmic clock is super nice. The DFAM is being clocked that way above.
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The Subharmonicon continues to be a song-generating device for me. It seems like such a restrained set of tools, but every time I touch the thing, I come up with a new idea for a song or part or similar. It seems like it’ll be the perfect synth for tinkering with when I’m out of ideas.

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Very nice Jay! I like the acoustic guitar part at the end to finish.

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Here’s another Subharmonicon-driven piece from me:

SubH + A4 + AH, with a bit of compression added after.

I’m growing really fond of this little synth. I think the SubH is a bit like the DFAM for me in many respects – on its own perhaps feels a bit limited, but when coupled with an A4 providing FX, irregular clock, and some modulation, it really sings. I also have to say as long as you keep the resonance down, it has some serious bottom end (as Nick Batt would say).

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Any recommendations for a module (CV or midi) that does the same thing as the sequencer?

I’m digging the sequencer in this, but not the tones so much.

I lust after the subharmonicon but it doesnt seem to be hugely flexible tone wise, yea.

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Yeah it’s very Moogy in tone. I don’t think I’ll use it in everything but using the sequencer to drive my DFAM and 0-coast seems like a plan.

For sequencers, I guess the Make Noise Tempi and Rene combo can do polyrhythms, and offer much more flexibility sequencing wise (but also look a bit baffling in the vids I’ve seen, I’ve ever used them). A Cirklon could handle it I’m sure.

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Thank you. You made me realise my SquarpPyramid can do polyrhythms too, just never thought to try it! Stupid me. Oh well, someone is going to get a bargain Subharmonicon on eBay.

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Holy smokes this is a great track. Such good tones. I just had to leave home for a few days with little notice, and now I’m dearly missing my analogue machines, thanks to you. Great work.

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Ah, thanks Jay, appreciate the kind words, and sorry to make you miss the machines! Surely the Subharmonicon and DFAM combo is compact enough to fit in a backpack to take with you, though? :slight_smile:

Relatedly, I’ve avoided playing live up until now – I feel I’d need to take too much stuff to do a meaningful live show, really (without just using a laptop). But I think with the DFAM, Subharmonicon and A4 I’d have enough to be able to to do a pretty decent semi-improv live set with a pretty compact lightweight-ish setup – maybe one the corona crisis is over…

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I liked this video by Jeremy Blake/Red Means Recording, showing how he performs with the Subharmonicon, it’s a bit different from the other videos that just try to explain how it works (there is a bit of that at the start):

Here he’s showing how he uses it with the Digitakt and an FX pedal

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Many people seem to be using Subharmonicon to create awesome beautiful ambient, so I wanted to see it I can come up with something noisier. Here’s what happened a moment ago (with Digitakt as its friend). I love this box more and more!

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Has anyone any workflow tips for keeping the subharmonicon in check with regards to tuning? I feel like it’s a constant fight to get it to play nicely with the mother 32.

Yeah it can be a bit tricky! if you use the 8 ET quantise option, that’s a major scale. So if you tune the main VCOs to C, you get a C major scale in western tuning, so you can easily make an A minor track using the sequencers. The subs won’t necessarily stay in scale as they divide down, but if you stick to the pentatonic scale for other gear it’ll probably sound ok, in my experience

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