Intro : The Taiga by Pittsburgh Modular
Pittsburgh Modular recently introduced the Taiga. The Taiga (pronounced “T-eye-ga”) is a paraphonic semi-modular analog synthesizer with some interesting tweaks to more traditional analog synths you may have seen in this category. What makes the Taiga unique are the 3 oscillator set with custom wave shapers, the distinct Pittsburgh Modular filter, and a unique dynamics controller. We’ll dive into those 3 unique components of the Taiga in more detail down below.
The Taiga has a built in signal path that makes it instantly playable out of the box and without the need for any cables or patching, however being a semi-modular synth you can change and customize the signal path with patching cables. This is very similar to other semi-modular synths like the Moog Mother 32 and perhaps coincidentally the Taiga is about the same size as the aforementioned synth running at 60HP eurorack horizontal pitch units.
The Taiga boasts a 3 oscillator set with a custom wave shaper (see the “shape” knob) that allow you to fold the waves of a sine, triangle, sawtooth, or square. According to Pittsburgh Modular :
Taiga waveforms pass through up to three proprietary, cascading waveshapers designed to precisely manipulate their symmetry and harmonic content. In addition, each oscillator includes a robust six-stage wave folder to add even more complexity and depth to the diverse sonic palate of Taiga.
The wave shaper adds a wonderful tweak to sound sculpting that isn’t present in any comparable synths. It’s truly an exclusive piece of the puzzle that makes up the Taiga and it’s sound.
The filter in the Taiga brings the warm, smooth sweep that is commonplace in all Pittsburgh Modular devices using a filter. The filter has multiple uses including a lowpass, bandpass, and highpass filter. It also has a combo mode which allows you to combine 2 filters from any of the other three previously mentioned. According to Pittsburgh Modular :
Combinations of lowpass, bandpass, and highpass responses are available for precise tonal sculpting.
The Dynamics Controller is a combination of an envelope, VCA, and resonant filter / low pass gate resonance filter. By default the dynamics controller works as a VCA, but can be put into low pass gate mode which allows you to control amplitude and harmonics. In low pass gate mode, the dynamics controller gives way to more versatile sound control of your sound, teetering from natural or complex sound. According to Pittsburgh Modular :
By simultaneously managing both amplitude and harmonic content, the Pittsburgh Dynamics Controller expands beyond the one-dimensional VCA found in other synthesizers. It does this by utilizing new advancements from traditional low pass gates to add additional definition and dimension to the voice of Taiga. When used in low pass gate mode, sounds shed harmonic content and become warmer as they decrease in volume. This mimics how sound waves react to their environment. Because of this connection, the Taiga sounds more natural or complex compared to other instruments.
In practice, the dynamics controller gives the Taiga an improvement in sound creation over similar synths in the modular and semi-modular category.
The Taiga has an abundance of other features. The Taiga has a built in mixer, preamp with soft clipping overdrive limiter circuit, analog bucket brigade delay, dual envelope generators, digital multi-modulation tool, LFO, noise generator, clock-synced arpeggiator, and an internal clock with tap tempo that can be externally synced. To top it off, it comes with a MIDI to CV conversion cable, power adapter, and patch cables.
The Taiga by Pittsburgh Modular offers a similar experience to other semi-modular synths but with features not seen elsewhere that truly make it stand out as it’s own. The Taiga gives users a lot unique sound sculpting options and flexibility with its built in patch bay. The Taiga is in a similar price tier when compared with other semi-modular synths like the Moog Mother 32. At the time of writing this, the Taiga was priced at $799 while the Moog Mother 32 was $699 at the same authorized reseller.
Learn more about the Taiga with this official video on YouTube from Pittsburgh Modular!
You can also read about the Taiga directly on Pittsburgh Modular’s website.