Kilpatrick Audio - Phenol

Overview

The semi-modular Phenol unifies the compact size of a desktop synthesizer with a modular synthesizer's flexibility which is enhanced by USB-MIDI, a MIDI digital sequencer, a clock divider and a digital delay.
External audio inputs allow for processing audio signals are included as well as a headphone amplifier. Instead of minijacks the Phenol uses banana sockets which provide for a solid and safe connection and simplify patching by color coding.

Details

First of all: the Phenol is not a pre-patched semi-modular synthesizer! All connections, both audio and control voltages, have to be patched by yourself. This open concept makes it possible to use the synthesizer either as a keyboard controlled instrument or as an experimental, "free-running" unit which does what it wants.
Soundwise the Phenol is to be filed under "rough".
Instead of the usual minijacks the Phenol uses banana sockets - these have no ground wire and thus it is necessary to ground the instrument via the implemented grounding socket or by connecting to external audio gear, e.g. via an ordinary audio cable which has ground.
The synthesizer works with the standard 1V/octave control volgates and positive gates. The only difference to most voltage controlled units is that all CVs are in the range of -5V to +5V, even the envelopes.

There are two identical, sawtooth-based VCOs simultaneously producing sawtooth, pulse and triangle. Their pitch can be controlled coarse and fine. There's a 1V/octave input, CV inputs for FM and PWM as well as a sync input.
Above the waveform outputs you will find sockets carrying external audio signals as the Phenol has two external audio inputs for line levels.

Two is the magic number and some components are dual in the Phenol, for instance two filters: a lowpass with strong resonance for emphasizing certain frequencies as well as a high pass filter with a strong bandpass character. Both sound really nice, have been designed for high resonance settings without self-oscillation and feature a special resonance limiter circuit. Each filter has an input, an output and a scalable FM input.

Directly below the filters we find the VCA section consisting of two identical VCAs which have an exponential curve and thus are primarily intended for processing audio signals.

A little more complex is the modulation department:
The envelopes aren't usual ADSRs but multifuntional circuits featuring three selectable modes: attack-decay envelope. attack-hold-release envelope or oscillator mode. In the latter, mostly used for LFO applications, you can set the oscillator's speed and level instead of time segments.
Besides that we find two more buttons. The first determines the amount of smoothing, the gate delay time or a quantisation you might use for arpeggios. The second button selects the output mode: normal, inverted or absolute value.

The digital LFO is pretty rudimentary - it doesn't feature voltage control and it only generates a sine wave and random/noise. The low resoultion and sample rate provide for a rough sound.

In the bottom center a section with useful tools is located:
The Adder is a two-channel mixer. The level potemtiometer has an amplification factor of 2. There's a positive and an inverted output.
The Divider divides down the frequency of an applied clock and outputs it with the following divisors: 2, 3, 4 and 6. It works with all cyclic pulse streams e.g. the MIDI Clock or a square wave LFO. If a MIDI clock start message is received by Phenol, the divider outputs will be reset and the divider restarts the counting.
The MIDI/CV converter emits at separate sockets the note control voltage, the modulation wheel's value, the note on/off command as a gate signal and finally the MIDI Clock. Besides this it contains a digital miniature sequencer capable of recording MIDI notes.

The Mixer to the bottom right is a digital output mixer section. It offers two channels, each with adjustable level and panorama. A digital, gritty lo-fi delay with adjustable delay time (1-300ms) is integrated, too. The mix potentiometer controls the dry/wet mix and the feedback value at the same time.

connectors

A lot of banana sockets for the individual sections
2.1mm input for external universal 24V DC power supply (included)
grounding banana socket
2x external input, 2x line output (L+R), headphone output
MIDI In, USB-MIDI connector

dimensions

W x L x H (including feet and knobs): 401 x 223 x 63,5mm (15.8"x 8.8" x 2.5" )

Weight
2.697 kg
Article Number
KPphenol
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