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Magneto is a stereo multi-head tape delay module for Eurorack modular synthesizer systems. Magneto also functions as a looper, phrase sampler, vintage spring reverb unit, phase-aligned clock multiplier, chaotic oscillator, zero latency sub-oscillator and more, with extensive CV I/O.
Magneto comes as a eurorack sized module without a case or a power supply. We recommend mounting Magneto in a eurorack case that has at least 28hp of space and using a power supply that can provide 210mA at +12V, 210mA at -12V, and 0mA at 5V.
We also recommend using a sound source that can feed synth level signals (minimum +4dBu and higher) into Magneto’s inputs to best experience the sounds and features of this module. We offer the AA.1 Attenuator/Amplifier module which can be used for amplifying guitar and other instrument level signals to work with Magneto, or attenuate the synth level signals from Magneto to be fed into your instrument/line level devices such as effect pedals, amplifiers, or audio interfaces.
Magneto is an effect module design to receive synth level input signals. A standard guitar’s output is typically about 18dB too quiet to work well with Magneto and the input impedance does not match well with a guitar’s high output impedance.
Plugging a guitar into a boost pedal that can provide at least 18dB of clean,high-headroom gain will work to raise the input level and provide better impedance matching for Magneto’s inputs.
We also will have our own module available called AA.1 to interface guitar level signals with Magneto and other Eurorack devices. It has at +18dB amplifier to boost your signal for Eurorack and an -18dB attenuator to lower your Eurorack signal down to instrument level for guitar setups.
When set to ECHO mode (GREEN MODE LED), Magneto can be used as a four head tape delay with a variable delay time range dependent on the tape speed. The delay TAP range when set via the TAP button, TAP CV, and CLK IN CV input is 50ms-15s regardless of the SPEED/PITCH knob setting.
For delay times up to 15 seconds, you simply press the TAP button with two successive presses to set your delay time, regardless of the SPEED setting*:
For delay times longer than 15 seconds, you can adjust the SPEED/PITCH knob to slow down the speed of tape after tapping in your tempo.**
For example, if you want a 20 second delay:
Maximum Delay/Loop Time: 15 seconds at max speed, 2 minutes at min speed.
*Also applies to the CLK IN and TAP CV inputs to set delay time.
**Note that slowing down the tape speed results in lower fidelity delay repeats.
When set to LOOP mode (AMBER MODE LED), Magneto can be used as a Sound-on-Sound tape looper with up to 2 minutes of recording time dependent on the tape speed.* Tape head 4 is the looper playback head while tape heads 1-3 provide delay repeats for the incoming signal.**
To use the Sound-on-Sound looper:
* Maximum loop length is 15 seconds at max SPEED and 2 minutes at min SPEED. Note that slowing down the tape speed results in lower fidelity audio loops.
**In LOOP mode, delay times and feedback settings for HEADs 1, 2 and 3 are determined by the delay time and FEEDBACK button setting Magneto was set to BEFORE entering LOOP mode with the MODES button. Head 4 is the looper playback head.
When set to SAMPLE mode (RED MODE LED), Magneto can be used as a Phrase sampler with up to 2 minutes of recording time dependent on the tape speed.* Tape head 4 is the sample playback head while tape heads 1-3 provide delay repeats for the incoming signal.**
To use the Phrase sampler:
You can trigger the playback of the recorded sample by pressing the RESTART button or sending a gate CV to the RESTART CV input.
To play back the sample with an external keyboard/controller, connect it’s gate CV out to Magneto’s RESTART CV input, and the CV out to Magneto’s SPEED CV input.
You can use the SPEED/PITCH knob to play the sample back at different pitches/speeds for a 3 octave range. The SPEED CV input is calibrated for 1V/octave over a range of -3V to +3V. When voltage is supplied to the SPEED CV input, the SPEED/PITCH knob still influences the the resultant speed/pitch, and the incoming CV is added to the knob position. Zero volts at the SPEED CV input will not cause the speed/pitch to deviate from the knob position value. The SPEED/ PITCH knob’s effective voltage is 0V at minimum, and +3V at maximum. The SPEED CV input adds to this effective voltage, being limited at the top end to +3V (fastest speed/highest pitch), and limited to -3V at the bottom end. By using the SPEED CV input, you can achieve a six octave range, allowing you to go three octaves lower than would be possible using the SPEED/PITCH knob alone without any incoming CV.
* Maximum sample length is 15 seconds at max SPEED and 2 minutes at min SPEED. Note that slowing down the tape speed results in lower fidelity audio samples.
**In SAMPLE mode, delay times and feedback settings for HEADs 1, 2 and 3 are determined by the delay time and FEEDBACK button setting Magneto was set to BEFORE entering SAMPLE mode with the MODES button. Head 4 is the sample playback head.
When the HEADS toggle switch is set to SHIFT on Magneto, the speed of each of the four playback heads changes with varispeed resulting in pitch- shifted delay repeats. SHIFT head configuration results in playback at the speed and pitches noted below:
Magneto features a true varispeed tape system with pitch artifacts as the SPEED/PITCH knob is adjusted faster (higher pitch, shorter delay time) or slower (lower pitch, longer delay time). Pitch Quantize mode restricts the SPEED/PITCH knob values to relative speeds corresponding to the pitch intervals of user selectable scales.
Note: When Pitch Quantize is active, the SPEED/PITCH range is 2 octaves (4:1 speed range).
To select a scale, press and hold the TRANSPORT button and turn the SPEED/PITCH knob to scroll through the 15 available scales. The currently selected scale will be displayed via the four FEEDBACK/TRANSPORT button LEDs, according to the table below:
The panning for all four playback heads can be set manually when the PAN switch is set to CENTER. To set a custom panning for each of the playback heads, turn the PLAYBACK LEVEL knob while pressing and holding down that head’s corresponding FEEDBACK button while in FEEDBACK (GREEN) mode. Turn left for left panning, right for right panning, or set to 12 o’clock noon for center panning.
For example, to adjust the panning for Playback Head 1:
The Transport controls of Magneto provide control over the playback functions for the ‘tape.’
To activate the transport controls for the FEEDBACK ON/OFF buttons, press the TRANSPORT button. The TRANSPORT button will turn RED during this operation the FEEDBACK ON/OFF buttons will also turn RED when their corresponding Transport function is in use.
∞ INFINITE: Disables the Record head and continuously plays the most recent delay cycle or loop length audio.
◀️▶️ FORWARD/REVERSE: Reverses the playback direction of the tape from the moment the function is engaged. In ECHO mode, the entire tape length is heard in reverse until REVERSE is pressed again. In LOOP or SAMPLE mode, the loop or sample is played in reverse.
RESTART: Restarts the playback of the loop or sample from the starting point in LOOP or SAMPLE mode. Aligns shifted head audio in ECHO operation. Restarts deck immediately from PAUSE, without mechanical lag.
⏸ PAUSE: Stops/Starts the playback of the tape with mechanical slowdown/startup effect. *The speed of the slowdown/startup effect can be adjusted by PLAYBACK LEVEL 4 knob when the TRANSPORT and PAUSE buttons are RED (transport is paused).
Momentary Mode: Power up Magneto while holding the desired transport control button to change between Momentary (flashes RED) and Latch (flashes GREEN) for that transport function. CV control will also be changed for the desired function to either Gate (RED) or Trigger (GREEN). This allows for the transport function to work only while you are holding down the desired transport control button. NOTE: RESTART is always trigger regardless of custom settings. By default, transport controls are all latching switches except for RESTART.
The LEFT and RIGHT dry input signals remain discreetly stereo:
The delay repeats are generated by summing the LEFT and RIGHT INPUT signals together to the Record Head. The panning of the delay repeats from Playback Heads are determined by the PAN switch setting.
At the end of the signal chain, the LEFT and RIGHT DRY input signals and the WET delay signals are summed together in a spring reverb ‘tank’ and sent to both outputs with a psycho acoustic process applied to it to create a stereo field.
The following inputs are designed to receive continuous CV input of -5V to +5V.:
NOTE: The knob corresponding to the continuous CV inputs acts as an offset that is mixed with the CV input.
The following inputs are designed to receive 0-5V rising edge trigger CV input.
CLK 1- 4 OUTs send clock outputs of Playback heads 1-4. Dependent on the HEADS switch setting and the ECHO/LOOP/SAMPLE mode setting, output clocks are always at 50% duty cycle and are phase aligned with incoming Clock or Tap signals. Examples below are for a clocked or tapped delay time of 1000ms.
CLK 1 OUT: 1/16 note clock output (ex. 250ms)
CLK 2 OUT: 1/8 note clock output (ex. 500ms)
CLK 3 OUT: dotted 1/8 note clock output (ex. 750ms)
CLK 4 OUT: 1/4 note clock output (ex. 1000ms)
CLK 1 OUT: 1/16 note triplet clock output (ex. 167ms)
CLK 2 OUT: 1/8 note triplet clock output (ex. 333ms)
CLK 3 OUT: 1/4 note triplet clock output (ex. 667ms)
CLK 4 OUT: 1/4 note clock output (ex. 1000ms)
CLK 1 OUT: 1/8 note triplet clock output (ex. 333ms; 3x speed)
CLK 2 OUT: 1/8 note clock output (ex. 500ms; 2x speed)
CLK 3 OUT: 1/2 note clock output (ex. 2000ms; half speed)
CLK 4 OUT: 1/4 note clock output (ex 1000ms; full speed)
In LOOP and SAMPLE modes, CLK1, CLK2, and CLK3 are the same as in ECHO mode, but CLK4 is the loop or sample length clock output.
When using Magneto with stereo output (both LEFT and RIGHT OUTPUTS connected), there is a psycho acoustic process applied to the output signal when the panning is centered on Magneto to provide a sense of depth to the audio.
In this process, we start by adding a very slight delay to the LEFT OUTPUT channel. Because of this slight delay, the RIGHT, non-delayed OUTPUT channel is perceived as louder to the human ear because it is heard first, so we boost the level of the delayed output very slightly to compensate for this and provide a sense of space between the LEFT and RIGHT output channels.
When using only a single output from Magneto, output signal sums to mono* and the psycho-acoustic process is not applied as there is no interaction with the LEFT and RIGHT outputs. Also, when set to CENTER PAN with both LEFT and RIGHT OUTPUTS connected, as soon as you adjust any of the heads to a custom panning setting, the psycho-acoustic process is removed.
*The summing to mono only applies when the PAN toggle switch is set to LRLR, LRRL, or using a custom PAN setting in CENTER and occurs before the psycho-acoustic process.
Noise performance was our primary focus when designing the input and output audio circuitry of the Magneto. To achieve pristine noise performance, we decided to group the INs and OUTs next to each other to optimize the circuit layout and grounding.
The Magneto is a mixed signal system where extremely sensitive audio circuits coexist with potentially noise-inducing digital circuits (SHARC DSP, MCU, memory, etc.). The analog audio signal paths of the Magneto have a signal to noise ratio of over 120dB. In other words, intended signals are 1,000,000 times larger than background noise. To ensure this level of performance, we had to isolate the time-varying current demanded by the digital circuitry away from the audio signal grounds. Even small amounts of unintended current on signal grounds induce noise through a process called common impedance coupling.
We grouped the audio INs and OUTs so that there would only be a single grounding connection between the audio and digital circuitry. This star grounding scheme keeps noisy digital currents from the audio circuitry. Additionally, by grouping the audio INs and OUTs, we were able to keep audio layout tight, prevent ground loops, and minimize susceptibility to environmental noise. To maintain this star grounding scheme, we also use a flyback converter to generate our own local power supplies that are isolated from the Eurorack power supply ground (ribbon cable).
We always work hard to improve the experience our customers have with our products. The release notes below list the new features we’ve added to Magneto and issues we’ve resolved. Download the Strymon Update software to update the firmware on your Magneto.
Magneto Firmware REV v1.14 (Released May 2018)
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