Mocante First Impressions

mocante-top-viewMocante arrived today.  The manual is available here.  Mocante is a mix of Ieaskul F. Mobenthey and Ciat-Lonbarde.  It is a Modular Tocante.

To the upper left is the Square Drones output, with the master pitch (tuning basis) pot beneath it.  Below that is a pitch CV input with attenuverter.  On the left end protrudes a 9 volt battery connector.  To the lower right are the CV and Gate outputs.  To the upper right are the Hard and Soft (upper and lower, respectively) Witch Tone outputs.  On the right end can be seen the end of a black banana jack that I added (more on this later).

Mocante has been incorrectly described as a controller for Eurorack modular synthesizers.  It is in reality a 24 voice polyphonic sound generator, similar to other Tocantes.  However, unlike the other Tocantes, it has a pitch basis (initial pitch control) with a very wide range.  This is also voltage-controllable.

The primary interface is by touch, on four different surfaces.  Going out to inner:  triangles, squares, little ‘eggs’, and circles.  The manual calls the eggs ‘soft modulations’ to bend and mutilate the pitches.

The triangle touches impact only the CV and Gate outputs.  To have the CV out impact the pitch, you need to patch from CV out to CV in.  The three parallel strips of squares are heard on the Square Drones output, and are pretty much on or off.  They can be played percussively, or held down.  Subtle movements of the finger left and right result in subharmonics blending in.  Touching to an ‘egg’ results in a downward pitch bend that goes quite some distance away in pitch.  The degree of bend is proportional to the touch.

The Circle touchers in the center part impact the Witch Tone outputs.  Hard Witch tone is gated on and off by touching in the circles, whereas Soft Witch Tone output is always on at full volume, being impacted by the circle touches.  The pitch basis pot affects all three of the outputs.  When turned up high, the Witch Tones become ultrasonic.

To hear all of the outputs requires an external mixer.  There is no internal speaker or battery, as with the other Tocantes.  Outputs are in the 5 volt peak to peak range.

Triangle touch CV output seems to hover around ‘mido’, i.e. 4.5 volts, when not touched.   And when not touched, it is noisy.  Touching tends to bring the voltage down.  The CV output jumps around a lot, if touched and then not touched.

Mocante opens up by removing four wood screws in the corners.

mocante-inside-view

Note the not-yet-wired banana jack to the right.  There was a hole to fit, but I had to add the jack and glue it in place, since a nut would not fit.  It will be wired to ground.

Quite a bit of manual soldering of additional resistors and capacitors is evident.  Not sure if this is due to it being an early revision of the board, or just normal tweaking.  The mini-jacks are all switched.  I might solder a wire between the normal switching lugs on the CV out and the CV in, so I don’t have to always patch them together, which I feel is the normal mode:  Triangle touch modifies the pitch basis.

I will be posting sound examples soon.

 

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