The SSL "FX Capacitor" is one of the oddest hardware reverb processors on the planet.

Originally published at: The SSL "FX Capacitor" is one of the oddest hardware reverb processors on the planet. | Boing Boing


Looks cool but it’s in the MU format. I honestly wasn’t sure what the exact difference was so I looked it up and found the following.

MU is 8.75" tall (5U) and comes in widths of 2.125" which is 8 spaces in a 19" rack. … Enclosures can be hardwood, portable or 19" rack. EuroRack - is the popular small format at 128.5mm tall which is about 5" and close to 3U. Eurorack uses the smaller 3.5mm jacks and usually smaller knobs.

So too tall for my EuroRack enclosure which is the more common format so probably a problem for some others out there as well.


True - Just to get specific here, it’s also a difference in voltage (12v vs 15v) and power connections. You can’t just put a 5U module in a eurorack skiff, as they have completely different power cables. Once separately powered in different cases, you can interface with the two of them easily, though, as both formats accept the same control voltage and audio standards.

Fun endeavor to make a 5U box with eurorack, however.

For anyone: You would need a separate power connection and case, but there’s some unique modules in 5U format that make it worth it. Easiest out of the box case to get started would be either this six-space Moon case (which is power and cabinet) or a four-space Dotcom Box along with a QPS4 to power the dotcom box. You’ll want to be mindful of power supplies for more modules, but this should get you started on a small system pretty easily.

If you’re enjoying eurorack, 5U is an easy upgrade with a lot of benefits, both in creative experience and sound, but yeah it’s all a larger format. So much cool stuff in it, though. FSFX converts a lot of eurorack into 5U size, for example. Check out their Mutable Instruments conversions.


Thank you! That’s great info. I’m just getting started so am trying to constrain myself to one format (too many choices…). But I could see getting 5U in the future. I know it’s also preferred for homemade modules, but that is an entire new skill set to me so, I need to stay focused.


Dude, loving listening to your mix and your spoken word. It’s like Ken Nordine free association with Avant Garde backing.

In case that’s not apparent: it’s an awesome thing.


Wow - Thank you so much, Robert - (ha, yes - very apparent and appreciated!)

Your description of the show is extremely gratifying, friend. :cowboy_hat_face:


SSL is known for modifying computer chips into odd musical uses… I’ve been curious about the FX Modulator, as it applies the same concept to studio effects, using a Spin Semiconductor at its base.

The spin semiconductor fv-1 is a “complete reverb solution in a single ic” per the manufacturer’s website. How is using it for a reverb processor an “odd musical use” of a “computer chip”?

What is compelling about the FX Modulator, however, is the patch points on the dial: There’s control voltage for nearly every setting, with no menu diving, just a select dial for each effect and send any voltage or sound into three parameters and feedback inserts…I’ve never encountered a reverb unit similar to it.

It’s not that unique of a concept. The Tiptop Audio Z-DSP has a similar concept, as does the Make Noise Erbe-Verb (named after its co-developer, Tom Erbe of Soundhack fame), both of which are available in Eurorack format. The Z-DSP even uses the Spin Semiconductor FZ-1 chip, and it has been around long enough to have two hardware editions.


Great suggestions! I love the Z-DSP. And all of MakeNoise’s stuff. Love that the Z-DSP is open source, especially. (Of course, the selling of all those extra cartridges is a little tacky - Like pokemon for eurorack)

I suppose, based on experience, SSL hacks into chips in really unique ways that sound and behave differently. Neither of these three modules (SSL, Tiptop or MN) are better than one another, and it’s nice to have so many choices. It’s not just the control voltage access but also the fidelity, or noise suppression, response of CV, all that stuff, and I like that SSL’s modules tend to have weird glitches included.

Being “one of the oddest” allows for other “oddest” ones, too.

I’d include the Knas Moisturizer and the Metasonix R-56 to your list. :slight_smile: :loud_sound:


Sure, it’s great to have choices. The salt in my comment is not directed not at SSL but at the article poster - they sound like they have little experience with the subject and are just recycling hype.

Thanks for agreeing!

Ha, you’re speaking with the article poster.

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As an outsider, this stuff is all like alchemy to me; weird codes and odd paraphernalia, producing magical results. Thanks for sharing your thaumusicolgy.

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Those fv1 are kinda slow in response to cv changes. You are not going to get much audio rate madness.

What a great portmanteau! And very appreciated response! Thanks Euan.

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This is true, @bru! Not a bad point to mention. I noticed the same running quick LFOs into the inputs. In some ways, this produces a nice mistake, too, however - unpredictable results are great. Sort of like a slow response sample and hold, where the peak or fall of a waveform would glitch from the backed up framerate. Not ideal but if you’re recording at the time a pretty fun way to catch an unplanned accident. It’s not entirely a CV you can plan at high framerates, though, you’re correct.

I’m not sure what the allure of FM modulation would be, really, at least for a reverb? A really great use of CV for something on a reverb is to use a slow waveform for the time and tail of a reverb itself. Or wobble the pitch slowly. I’d imagine you can pair that with its audio going into a VCA for the FM modulation component. You can feed the reverb output into an oscillator mixed with a second modulation source too for similar results.

If FM speed is a goal, a really cool thing to do with the FX-1 chip would be to send FM modulation into a oscillator and then use a gate divider to divide that to around 1/16th modulation into the reverb, so it’ll trail in sync with the modulated signal but you’d still get space and delay audible in the reverb.

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Nice to know that you’re actually reading these.

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Cheers, @Seamo - I appreciated your comments on this thread, as well!

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