Alea is a two voice semi-modular analog synthesizer with sine wave oscillators, waveshapers, low pass gates, LFOs and a stochastic shift register-based sequencer. These elements work together as a standalone patchable instrument that is capable of everything from generative melodies and morphing drones to psychoacoustic percussion and silky sub basslines to esoteric techno and much more. The sine wave oscillators have CV and FM inputs paired with attenuators for each input as well as a two different voltage controllable waveshapers per oscillator which affect the timbre of the oscillators - one type of waveshaper which adds harmonics to shape the sine into a soft triangle wave, and the other waveshaper folds and shapes the phase of the sine. The oscillators also have sine outputs for modulating each other, as well as a vactrol-based vca which is hardwired as a bi-directional modulation index that can be opened via cv or gate signals for timbral cross-modulation between the two oscillators. The oscillators can be used as completely separate voices, or together with one voice acting as a primary oscillator and the other as a modulation oscillator. The two voices also have individual outputs. Each voice has a vactrol low pass gate with two inputs per LPG - one regular gate input which will provide sustain for the duration of the gate, and one input which coverts the gate to a trigger for faster percussive sounds with no sustain and only decay. The LPGs can also be patched so that they are held open to create drones, or patched for amplitude modulation via one of the oscillators or modulation sources. The Alea has two LFOs - a LFO with triangle and square wave outputs as well as a VCLFO with a triangle output. The Alea's sequencer is based around a four-stage shift register which is clocked by the VCLFO and collects data from one of the oscillators for probabilistic pattern generation. The shift register can also be clocked from external clock signals from other instruments. The shift register cycles through it's four stages as it collects on/off data on each clock pulse and creates different arrays of outcomes as it cycles. Once the Alea has been patched and knobs have been set - the shift register will continue to cycle through patterns and generate different numeric combinations of it's stages in unity or in abscense like a roll of the dice or a song of the birds.
Each Alea is composed from a high quality lead-free PCB manufactured in China, RoHS components, and an enclosure that is made from fine hardwood (African Sapele was used in the photos shown above - but other units will be made from other species of wood of equal quality). The wood is finished with boiled linseed oil and the enclosure is backed by a powder coated steel bottom piece.
Enclosure dimensions are 10" x 6" x 1.5" (2.25" tall including knob height)
The Alea is powered by a standard 9v center negative DC power supply. A 1-SPOT or most other common guitar pedal power supplies will work perfectly. Power supply cable and banana jack cables are not included. Please feel free to get in touch if you are unsure about which power cable to purchase or use.
All designing, prototyping, assembly, soldering, and woodworking is done in-house by Ouroboros Electronics in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Ouroboros Alea is now available to order for $600USD + $15 shipping within the US and production lead times around one week or less before shipment.
A digital manual is available to anyone who requests one via email.
To order - email:
Disclaimer/warranty: These instruments are handmade, and each will have slight aesthetic variances due to the visual nuances in the individual pieces of wood used, as well as the nature of being an item which is made by hand. Photos can be provided in advance (upon request) of the exact unit that you would be receiving. Each synth is thoroughly tested before being shipped. Each synth is covered by a one year warranty from Ouroboros Electronics beginning the day that it arrives in the mail - this warranty only covers internal circuit failures and does not cover any sort of exterior damage that may happen to the synth once it arrives. The warranty does not cover user damage - such as using the wrong type of power supply with instead of the recommended type. All orders made through Reverb will be shipped with Reverb shipping insurance.