The Cloud Generator, otherwise known as the e340, is shown in the photo to the left of its sibling, the e350 Morphing Terrarium. The e340 is described by Paul Schreiber:
the synthesis technology e340 contains 8 sine and sawtooth vcos with unique modulation capabilities. the term ‘cloud oscillator’ was first used by ambient musician robert rich when he was recording his ‘bestiary’ cd. he wanted to define a new type of “buzzing, swarming cloud of sine waves” and after some experimentation, was able to create such a timbre using 24 individual motm modules. now, 8 years later, the technology is available to have this new range of sounds in a 14hp wide euro module.
in its basic form, the e340 is a 2-output, wavetable vco that is generating 16 waveforms at once. modular users quickly discover that in order to get the large, fat notes multiple oscillators are needed that are slightly detuned. this can get expensive quickly, and then you have to deal with the tracking differences, additional mults for the cables and mixers for the outputs. the e340 combines all of these, eliminates the tracking errors and adds the added dimension of being able to control just how “buzzy” the cloud can go. if spread and chaos are set to ‘0’, the e340 behaves like a standard analog vco, but with a very pure sinewave output (less than 0.3% thd) and a standard sawtooth wave.
simple detuning can sound really good, but the e340 adds 2 controls never seen on any modular: chaos and chaos bandwidth (bw). once you set the degree of detuning using the spread control, you can then add ‘animation’ to the detuning by dialing in chaos. the chaos randomly ‘wiggles’ every vco’s pitch, while the chaos bw controls the ‘speed of the wiggle’. this adds the “swarming of bees” effect at the extreme settings, and in the low settings the subtle pitch changes are similar to a slow-speed leslie effect.
Construction was almost identical to that of the Morphing Terrarium project. I used some different pots I had around, a bracket I made myself, and 24 gauge wire. I am glad I added the Spread CV attenuator pot, because that parameter is the most likely of the unusual ones to be getting CV, although both the Chaos and Chaos Bandwidth also have CV inputs.