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The company has been founded quite recently - in 2012 which didn’t prevent it from holding a firm position among the manufacturers of modular synthesizers. The brand is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All instruments are hand-made and tested by its creators.
Pittsburgh Modular devices, known primarily due to the flagship Lifeforms series and Structure rack cases, are available worldwide through authorized dealers.

The first module made by Richard Nicol, the founder and chief designer, which was sold was VILFO made in the basement of his own house – it all started there going up to the creation of carefully thought out beautiful musical devices affordable and user-friendly for beginning experimenters though offering endless opportunities for professionals.

Michael Johnsen, who was born in 1968 in Pennsylvania, also nurtured and brought up a whole menagerie of devices focusing his attention on live performances the idiosyncratic behavior of which is caused by a combination of hardware interactions and the whims of equipment. Michael is so smart not so much in ideas as in the observation of processes, causes and properties relating to the work of a particular instrument. Johnsen loves those modular patch snakes, unexpected effects or disturbances that occur nicely and amusingly in the process, and falls easily under the spell of imperfection of pure electronics.

In the brand’s classics section, which has already been discontinued, one can find the roots of new company’s products and trace their basic concepts. For example, Collapse - an analog audio decimator or "audio crusher" disintegrating a waveform. The outcoming sound of Collapse is determined by two parameters - interval and contour. The interval adjusts the frequency of the periodic voltages while the contour adds a wow&flutter effect skilfully giving the output a little more character. Comparing to the digital bit-splitter Collapse achieves voluminous and soft results.

DNA Symbiotic Waves is an omnipotent digital waveform aggregate-processor. Master and slave oscillators have 16 waveforms (standard, several types of triangle, saw, sine, resonant and chaos). In order to process phase distortion the combined signal of two oscillators (Wave 1 and Wave 2) is stored in memory (256 steps and the order of reading can vary depending on the different forms of a mix), from where it is extracted with a phase accumulator. Among the functions of the processor there are: deform adding a low-level phase distortion to both of the two combined waves, whereas FM deform adds distortion to the multiplied waves, a layer that sums the wave 1 and wave 2 combining them with a slightly detuned copy giving a 4-oscillator sound effect. Among many other functions there is also phaser 2 applying some fierce distortion, a bit shift, a switch from wave to wave, an uninterrupted granular delay.

The analog synthesizer Foundation 3 is worth mentioning – its architecture doesn’t limit your creative approach with strict prepatching allowing you to manage freely all necessary connections. The system comprises 13 standalone Eurorack modules that can be removed or reorganized with any compatible modules. Analog oscillators generate all classic kinds of a waveform, as well as a patented modulatable blade wave. Multimode filter and dual envelope offer can be assigned to practically anything and applied in any way, including LFO, envelope tracking, portamento, etc.

Pittsburgh Modular had two more flagship modules - System 10 offering a powerful modulation matrix, a sub oscillator as well as reverberating bass and aggressive lead even without a single patch cord; and System 90 - an analog-digital hybrid.
Of course, it’s not to mention the numerous new modules being produced by the company at the moment. Lifeforms 101/201/301 series has become an iconic Pittsburgh Modular product, each model is basically a SV-1 and KB-1 (the same line) duo, except 101 the structure of which doesn’t include a touch-keyboard.

SV-1 is a full-featured synthesizer with two oscillators, the successor of Waveforms generator. In addition to quality analog oscillators, the modulator is equipped with various methods to achieve a unique sound: mixers, strong ADSR and their good old, never-fail brand filter.

Lifeforms SV-1 is a power station that allows you to synthesize any sound: roaring bass, flickering lead, juicy pads and warm ambience. If you need to create resonant and thick signals there are LFO with triangle and square waveforms, 2 sub oscillators (one circuit) and a noise generator with sample&hold to help you.

The SV-1 is patched alright, unlike the early Pittsburgh Modular synths – it doesn’t impede instant audio playback and causes no operating issues. At a user’s disposal there are 53 patch points and 21 knobs.

KB-1 is a touch sensitive keyboard with a 10-note arpeggiator and 64-note sequencer, as well as monophonic and duophonic modes. Two assignable trigger buttons allow you to call any of the 6 modes, among which there are touch-sensitive pitch-bend, gate, latch (key lock), frequency divider, etc.

The short and yet-to-be continued history of Pittsburgh Modular company might already prove a serious and even somewhat pedantic modular synthesizers manufacturer with a set of brand-defining specification.