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Synthesists beware, there's a new menace in town—and much to the chagrin of it's older sibling, this one doubles down on its Banzai Rush. The Piston Honda mk3 maintains the character of its previous incarnation, while incorporating some punishing new combos. Where the infamous Piston Honda mk2 features a single oscillator consisting of 4,096 8-bit waveforms organized across a 16x16x16 "cube", the mk3 houses 512 16-bit waveforms arranged in an 8x8x8 configuration. Just like its predecessor, the waveforms operate at full resolution and can be manipulated manually with sliders or remotely via CV. Unlike the mk2, which only accepts CV in the range of 0-5v, the mk3's CV inputs accept both positive and negative voltages. Another welcome upgrade is the module's preset manager, which is operable via CV. This enhancement pulls all the punches by allowing users to store and recall specific configurations then morph between those presets! Who knew the fourth dimension was so unabashedly infernal?
The Piston Honda Mark III is a dual morphing wavetable oscillator with waveshaping audio inputs and unison detune. The three axis sliders create a waveform for each selected oscillator to play from the internal “cube” of 8x8x8 16-bit waveforms, morphed at full resolution in all three dimensions (the oscillators may each play a different waveform). The voltage-controlled preset manager stores a bank of these settings to be recalled at any time, with a virtual fourth dimension of morphing when the manager is in “continuous” mode. An orange 128x32 OLED display displays the current waveform for the selected oscillator in realtime, its frequency, and the selected preset and wave selection. The rotary encoder changes system settings on the display, but it’s not necessary to interact with the display menus for any performance purpose.
I’ve heard every user suggestion about the previous MK II generation and fully modernized the design, now operating as a dual oscillator in the same 17HP space. The infamous aggressive character of the Piston Honda is fully present, with the added clarity of the 16-bit wavetable engine. The second oscillator’s frequency controls can be slaved to the first. Each oscillator has its own unison detune function as well, for a maximum of four stacked oscillators sounding at once. The oscillator can alternatively run as a nonlinear waveshaper, processing a dedicated audio input through the selected wavetable with voltage-controlled drive. When running in its normal oscillator mode, this input instead provides thru-zero frequency modulation.
In terms of visual apprehension, the mk3 adds even more precision to its ilk's well-documented cruelty with the addition of a 128x32 OLED display. More than a mere window into Cocytus, the display provides immediate visual indication of the selected waveform and its frequency, as well as preset and wave selections. When used in tandem with something like Argos Bleak, tuning and executing become insidiously simple. Another malevolent modification is the inclusion of a micro-SD slot, which offers users a quick and effective means of loading their own 16-bit waveforms into the module (much more convenient than the esoteric ROM burning ritual). The module is compatible with files created via the Synthesis Technology WaveEdit program.
- Dual wavetable oscillator
- Sophisticated preset manager
- Integrated oscilloscope display; selectable for either oscillator
- 128x32 OLED display provides indication of frequency, current preset, and wave selection
- Voltage-controlled preset manager with space for 8 presets
- Three banks of 8 16-bit waveforms
- Menu editing executable via rotary encoder
- Osc 2's frequency controls can be slaved to Osc 1
- Each oscillator features a slaved unison detune oscillator
- FM input of each oscillator doubles as audio input for nonlinear waveshaper
- Waveform banks consist of additive harmonic formations, LFSR progressions, and waveforms derrived from renowned synthesizers
- Micro-SD slot on front panel for loading custom waveforms