Sonicsmith Modular A1
The Modular A1 is a semi-modular analog synthesizer by Sonicsmith that was released in 2018. Although it is interesting as a standalone unit, the Modular A1 is perhaps more useful when combined with other Sonicsmith boxes. Sonicsmith billed the Modular A1 as not audio controlled but "a perfect accompaniment to them." This basically boils down to the fact that the Modular A1 will enhance any existing analog synth rig and enrich their sound.
The Modular A1 is a compact unit that consists of a VCO and LFO that is both sync-able. It also features two VCAs, with one dedicated to the VCO and the other to the LFO. It features numerous patching options, and both VCO and LFO can be square or triangle waves. When it comes to audio outputs, this synth has a regular line-level one via big jack as well as a 9V mini-jack on the top panel. The mini-jack is helpful for a variety of reasons and opens up a world of tweaking possibilities when used with mini-jack to mini-jack cables. A standard guitar-style 9V DC supply powers the whole thing.
The front panel of the Modular A1 is divided into three color-coded sections. On the left-hand side is the VCO, with a frequency control knob for sweeping across the full range and a fine-tune knob for more accurate adjustments. The small toggle switch above the knobs is for switching between the square and triangle waveshapes. XXX The right side of the front panel is almost a mirror of the left side and is dedicated to the LFO. The two knobs on this side adjust the LFO amount and the LFO rate. It also features Sync and Rate inputs as well as a dedicated oscillator output.
Finally, the central area is a small section dedicated to the VCA with a CV input and a solitary switch. The switch can be toggled to route the LFO output to control VCO pitch.
Overall, the Modulator A1 is an interesting assortment of oscillators that can deliver some useful sounds on its own. However, it really shines when combined with other hardware. Sonicsmith clearly designed this unit to work well with and enhance the other synths in the line-up, so it is not as compelling to users looking for a standalone synth. It's not quite the deep dive into modular synthesis claimed by Sonicsmith, but to get the most out of it, you really need other CV-enabled gear.