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Introducing Morbus Legio

Last week, we released Morbus Legio, a firmware-only (more on that later) Legio release that’s part noise oscillator, part processor, and all fun. Today, we’ll take a look at its features, how it works, and what you can do with it.

Noise Engineering Morbus Legio

It’s Morbus time 

During our annual planning meeting (this year fondly referred to as Synthdaddi 2.0) we had a long discussion about things we wanted to bring to our various platforms. One thing we realized that we had never done was a dedicated noise oscillator (a bit ironic, don’t you think?) and we decided the Legio platform would be a fun home for it. 

Stephen has created quite a few noise generation algorithms over the years with a variety of tasks in mind, so we had a lot of timbral options to consider. We did a lot of testing to decide how we wanted the different controls to work, what their ranges should be, and how the noise should be processed. Eventually, we found that controls for frequency, sample rate, some filtration, and a bit of wavefolding was the perfect recipe for epic noise. We also threw in a chorus (borrowed from some of the Legio oscillators) for stereo width, too! 

The frequency, sample rate, and color controls are CV controllable, and have a massive range, so if you want a broad selection of noise options with lots of modulation, Morbus is a really fun choice. 

Once the noise was finalized, we had to decide on how the audio inputs on the Legio should behave. Initially, we had planned to simply run incoming audio through the chorus (if enabled) then mix it with the noise, but after some testing we realized that shaping the incoming sound to complement what the noise was doing created some really interesting results. Incoming audio can be full-wave rectified (similar to our Pura Ruina module), clipped, and folded, then mixed in with the noise oscillator. We also added a noise bypass so that Morbus can simply be a distortion module, too. 

Having a part distortion/part noise oscillator is a completely new concept to us, and we were all blown away by some of the things we got out of it. Just running simple waves in and playing with the distortion controls has a pretty dramatic effect. Or, put it at the end of your chain to distort your mix and add some clicks and pops – it’s a lofi dream. 

Firmware only?

We’ve released a lot of different alternate firmwares for our different platforms. Across Alia, Legio, and Versio, there are now 21 different firmwares out in the wild. Until Morbus, each of these firmwares was available as an individually-paneled module, with a full marketing launch behind it. 

For full transparency, this creates a lot of work. In a couple of cases, it’s taken more person hours to actually market and prep a firmware for release than it did to actually develop the firmware in the first place. This means that we’ve decided against developing a number of alternate firmwares, even though we thought they were cool concepts, simply because there aren’t enough hours in the day to give them a full product launch. In addition, it’s a heck of a lot harder to keep more paneled products in stock and ready to ship to you.

This made us sad, because we like to make cool things. 

So, we decided to change our strategy. From here out, many alternate firmwares will be just that: alternate firmwares only. You’ll still be able to purchase overlay panels—or metal panels if you decide you’re all in—for them (grab a Morbus alt panel here!), but they won’t be available as full modules in shops and you’ll have to swap the firmware on one of your platform modules to use them. We think this is a win-win: if you own a Versio, a Legio, or an Alia, we’ll hopefully be able to release even more firmwares for you to use, and you’ll have even more stuff to do with the gear you already own. Swapping a firmware at the Customer Portal just takes a few minutes, so it’s easy to find your favorites and try new things as the mood strikes. 

Make some noise

Here’s a new one: Morbus Legio is not available from our webshop, or from retailers (but you can pick up a panel or overlay if you’d like here). If you own a Legio already, head over to the Customer Portal to load up the Morbus firmware and give it a try. If you don’t have a Legio yet, it’s a great time to pick one up: there are 6 different firmwares that you can try out, spanning synth voices, oscillators, processors, and more.  

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