System 1

Our first complete system delivers a premium creative stereo modular synthesizer – made for bass, stereo leads, stereo effects, creative percussion, and much more. Ideal for stage, studio, or both, it delivers everything you need, pre-built, right out of the box.

System 1 is our very first complete system, and though we′re obviously biased, we think it′s one of the best modular systems ever sold. It′s a deliberately binaural system (although, being modular, it′s not limited to that), ideal for basses, stereo leads, stereo effects, and creative percussion, all in super audiophile quality.

It takes our core principles of offering completely original creative options, while avoiding common problems of traditional modules. Moreover it′s as suited to a life on the road as it is in the studio. It also ships fully built (complete with cables), so is a perfect introductory (though, admittedly, premium) setup.

Why a complete system?

Simple: because so many people asked us for one. For example, there were modular geeks who′d tried our stuff at shows and liked the idea of a self-contained ACL live rig, with our unique modules and quality, that could still slot into their studio set-up. (Interestingly, a lot of our biggest users told us they tended to group our stuff in their rack anyway… )

Then there were newcomers – who also had tried our stuff out at shows (notice a pattern here?) – who knew nothing about building a system but loved the sound of our stuff, and the flexibility of modular, so wanted something that worked out of the box.

Still, we were in no rush: our focus is always on creating the highest quality, innovative modules, organically – rather than ″Oh, we′d better hurry up and make a VCA to complete our system″. But eventually we realised we had more than enough modules and the question then became ″what to put in it?″!

Fortunately we′ve spent countless hours playing with our stuff, so we already had a number of tried-and-tested configurations. And here′s the configuration we chose first…

Introducing stereophonic sound

The first two sound sources are a pair of Variable Sync VCO modules, featuring pleasingly high quality Vernier dials that feel amazing to the touch. To quote ourselves, our Variable Sync VCO ″is a precise, excellent sounding VCO, providing five simultaneous waveforms, a VC variable-sync feature, deep linear FM, and more.″

But this is a horribly sterile description. What you need to know is simple: these oscillators sound incredible, capable of classic raw vintage tones but with modern accuracy.

One ramp core oscillator can be shaped with subcircuits, allowing saw, inverted saw, triangle, sine, and rectangle. Things really come alive when synced to the other VCO. Morph from soft– to hard-sync, and modulate the Sync Threshold to create crazy ‘pulse trains’, stuttered waves, and a world of other sci-fi sound. Add some linear and exponential frequency modulation (and these VCOs allow an insane amount of FM for such a module) and even pure sine waves can throw out wonderful harmonics.

An Oktave module then allows simultaneous control over both oscillators, for precise transposition up and down by four octaves, and +/-7 semitones of detuning.

Altered states

Filtering duties are handled by our truly beautiful liquid-sounding Dual State Variable VCF. It looks simple – two powerful multimode VCFs, each with lowpass, bandpass, highpass, and notch – but it′s actually very versatile and powerful.

Sure, it can be a perfect mono filter – ideal for uber-phat kicks, basses, pads and leads – but used as two parallel filters it produces extraordinary stereo effects from mono signals, from sweeping panoramas to ultra-wide characterful stereo-ising. And used in serial configuration it yields stunning formant filtering, for organic vocal-like effects – on anything from pads to drums. And so much more!

Our respected Gate Mix module brings the oscillator outputs together. But naturally we′ve dialled this conceptually simple module up to beast mode, allowing four CV/gate-mutable sound sources and an Aux input (for mixer cascading, power-chord blending, and more). Two grouped output pairs (in addition to the main sum output), even make Gate Mix a simple high-quality stereo mixer, ideal for this System 1 configuration.

Still keeping stereo in mind, our VC Panning Amplifier is ideal for placing – or modulating – sounds within the stereo field (though it can be used as two standalone VCAs too). It′s simple to use but feature packed (as suggested by the large number of knobs and connections on its panel), and features some nice hidden tricks – for example, panning effects (manual or CV-controlled) will not introduce any drop in power to the centre of the stereo image.

Further stereo processing power comes courtesy of our M/S Matrix module, enabling mid/side processing. This module can simultaneously extract mid and side signals from a stereo source whilst combining a mid and side signal to form a L/R stereo signal.

A creative trio

Envelope X3 provides three classic ADSR envelopes for controlling VCAs, VCFs, and other modules. They′re modelled on the acclaimed Roland 100M modular envelopes, renowned for their punch. But we pimped them, tightening the response by a factor of 2, giving you even snappier attacks (don′t worry… overlapping Long and Short modes allow drone and pad-shaping too).

Our Dual Delay is the secret performance and creative weapon in many a producer′s modular set-up, so it was unthinkable not to add it too System 1. A word of warning though: don′t touch it unless you have hours and hours to spare for sound mangling, pitch modulation effects, ethereal outer-galactic spaces, never-ending stereo echoes, and more. In simple terms it comprises two independent BBD-style delay (classic guitar chorus and delay pedal-style), suitable for parallel or serial use, with independent integrated 6dB low– and high-pass filters for each feedback.

Our QLFO module makes the perfect modulation partner for the Dual State Variable VCF and Dual Delay modules. QLFO, goes way further than regular modulators, thought, with an extraordinary frequency range from super-slow to hyper-audio territory. Seriously, it can even serve as another VCO! Powerful voltage control of frequency and pitch (with solid tracking over 2-3 octaves) offers superior control of four simultaneous, phase-shifted sine waves, ideal for evolving stereo patches and pseudo-sequence generation from simple percussive sounds.

The nitty gritty

The Audio Interface module is used to connect System 1 seamlessly to both pro studio and stage equipment. It offers the highest possible quality and full protection for your ears, your speakers, and your headphones due to its clever in-built DC and clipping protection circuit. It also provides a powerful studio-grade headphone output, ready to drive even your lowest impedance headphones, right down to 15 ohms.

Protecting all these modules and putting them in a portable tabletop format is an 84HP EVZ-1 case. This lightweight, high-end Eurorack cabinet is carefully built from 2mm powder-coated aluminium, with red oak side panels adding strength, stability, and some stage-friendly good looks.

Power is supplied from our integrated KAZU switching PSU, and distributed to the modules by our super high-end EVE-1 busboard. This housing and power combination ensures industry-leading low background noise and sound quality.

System 1 ships with an AC adapter and 20 patch cables, ensuring it is ready to use, right out of the box.

ACL System 1 Stereo Modular-Synthesizer

Power supply: KAZU
EVE-1 - busboard
20 Patchcables
Weight: 4200g

For pre-orders, please contact one of the retailers listed on our website!