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PRC5 - Wavefolder


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The new PRC5 Wavefolder is a powerful processor which adds overtone harmonics to input waveforms.

Typically the Wavefolder is used to add harmonics onto a basic waveform input - for example, input a simple triangle-wave and as you increase the Folds dial the waveform folds back on itself to produce overtone frequencies. Some typical waveforms are shown in the image above. But the folding effect can also be used to process more complex input signals - think of it as a unique distortion device and try feeding in a kick drum (you'll enjoy the results!).

The PRC5 can be better understood with reference to the Block diagram above. At the top there are two signal inputs plus an Offset control - the main input is un-attenuated, while there is a secondary input with level control. I consider the un-attenuated input to be the 'main' input  because the module is set up to expect typical +/-5V bipolar signals. Both inputs are DC coupled and this is notable both for the fact that LFO waveforms can be processed and that applying DC offsets can really alter the resulting waves. A DC offset can either be applied with the Offset dial (centre equals zero offset) or I will typically apply an LFO to the 2nd input and use the level control to dial in a little of this - the result sounds somewhat similar to pulse-width modulation.

The input summer is followed by an internal VCA (linear response) which feeds the central Folder circuit. The VCA goes from zero output with the Folds dial fully counter-clockwise and with the first little turning of the Folds dial (or external CV) the response is exactly like a regular VCA. But the interest comes when the output reaches +/-5V boundary points - once pushed beyond these points, the waveform direction reverses (folds). Further amplification results in the folded waveform again reaching the boundary points, but this time going in the opposite direction - again going beyond this point results in another reversal of direction. There are a total of four folds possible - indicated by the four bi-colour LED indicators (which actually achieve the folding behaviour). Beyond the fourth fold the waveform peaks begin to flatten out. There are two CV inputs to modulate the Folds amount - the top one (FCV1) is unattenuated while the lower one (FCV2) has a level control.

The action of applying a DC offset basically pushes the waveform in one direction so that it bumps into one of the +/-5V boundaries earlier than the other. Modulating this offset achives interesting tonal shifts. All inputs respond from DC up to high frequencies - interesting effects can be achieved i) mixing two audio signals at the two inputs & ii) modulating the Folds level with an audio rate signal.

There are two outputs, both of which give output signals ranging from -5V to +5V. The Neg output is simply a copy of the Pos output but multiplied by a factor of -1 (ie. polarity inverted).

It should be noted that input waveforms should be anything except for squarewaves - these make no sense to the Wavefolder!

Input / Output: Typical bipolar +/-5V DC-coupled
Width: 1FW
Current: +ve 25mA / -ve 25mA
User Adjustments: None

Added on Thursday 17 February, 2011.