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 3u eurorack 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 designed 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 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:
Start with the SPEED/PITCH knob set to NORMAL speed (12 o’clock position).
Tap in a 10 second delay using the TAP button.
Turn the SPEED/PITCH knob to HALF speed (9 o’clock position) to get 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:
Ensure that the FEEDBACK ON/OFF button for Playback Head 4 is ON and the Playback Head 4 knob is turned up to hear the recorded loop playback.
Press the TAP button once to Splice In (loop start).
Press the TAP button once again at the desired end of the loop to Splice Out.
The recorded loop will now play back.
The REPEATS knob controls the regeneration strength of the recorded loop.
Set lower REPEATS level for loops that evolve over time.
Press the TAP button a third time to clear the loop stopping the playback of the initial recorded loop.
* 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:
Press the TAP button once to start sample recording.
Press the TAP button once again at the end of the sample to stop recording.
Trigger the sample playback with the RESTART (symbol) transport button or RESTART CV input.
Press the TAP button a third time to clear the sample memory.
Triggering the Recorded Sample
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:
Head 1: +1 octave+5th; 3x speed playback
Head 1 runs at triple speed and is heard playing back 3x for every cycle of the delay time, with an offset of 1/3 of the delay time.
Head 2: +1 octave; 2x speed playback
Head 2 runs at double speed and is heard playing back 2x for every cycle of the delay time, with an offset of 1/2 of the delay time.
Head 3: -1 octave; half speed playback
As Head 3 is playing back at HALF speed, this head always plays back once on the beat every 2 cycles of the delay time.
Head 4: No shift; quarter note repeats
Head 4 runs at normal speed without any shift and playsback once for every cycle of the delay time as standard quarter note delay. In LOOP and SAMPLE mode, this is the playback head for the recorded loop or sample.
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:
Set PAN switch to CENTER.
Press and hold GREEN FEEDBACK ON/OFF button under PLAYBACK LEVEL 1 knob.
While holding down FEEDBACK ON/OFF, turn PLAYBACK LEVEL 1 knob to adjust 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:
LEFT DRY INPUT signal passes on to the LEFT OUTPUT.
RIGHT DRY INPUT signal passes on to the RIGHT OUTPUT.
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 create a stereo field.
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.
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 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.
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 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)
Added latch mode to Feedback Heads when controlled via CV (when S1 DIP switch set to ON).
Increased low end frequency response in Loop and Sample mode when LOW CUT knob is at minimum.
Re-routed Send/Return path to be a series insert into the delay line.
Make mono mode engage only when both SEND and RETURN jacks are plugged in.
In LOOP mode, the recorded audio will splice out if the end of the ‘tape length’ is reached before splicing out, marking the end of the loop.
Resolved Shift delay drift when using Clock CV input.
Resolved intermittent issue that could cause tape transport to run at extremely slow speed after extended simultaneous CLK IN and SPEED CV control input.
Fixed green HEAD LEDs all lighting up when SEND or RETURN jacks are connected at power-up.
If you run into trouble while updating your device with the Strymon Update application, you may see some text in the software or behavior on your device that may be different than normal.
There are 2 parts to the firmware update: the USER and DSP firmware. When you first connect a Magneto module with the original factory firmware, the ‘installed version’ will show as ‘1.00’. If the update is interrupted on your device, and only one part of the update is installed, the ‘installed version’ may show something different. For example, if the USER code is updated, but the DSP code is still the original factory version it may show ‘D114-U042’ showing that the two parts of the firmware are out of sync. If this happens:
Try running the update once again to see if it completes to show a single version number (ex. 1.14).
If you receive any file format errors, select ‘Yes’ to continue the update.
If you continue to have trouble, please contact Strymon support by sending an email to [email protected] with full details on the problem, your computer system and connections, and any error messages you have received.
If you have trouble during a firmware update, you may see one or more LED’s on the unit blinking white. This indicates that the device is in ‘Update Mode’ and is waiting to perform the update. The Strymon Update software will recognize your device as ‘strymon_recover’ while in this mode. You have 2 options to recover your device back to normal functionality:
Run the update once again with the Strymon Update software.
Remove the USB cable and power from the device, then, re-connect the power. The device will boot up with normal functionality.
If you continue to have trouble, please contact Strymon support by sending an email to [email protected] with full details on the problem, which device you are using, your computer system and connections, and any error messages you have received.
Strymon warranties its products and their varying components to be free from defects in material and workmanship for the following periods of time from the original date of purchase when purchased from an Authorized Strymon Dealer:
1 Year – BigSky, blueSky, Brigadier, Deco, DIG, El Capistan, Flint, Lex, Mobius, OB.1, Ola, Orbit, TimeLine
2 Years – AA.1, Magneto, StarLab
5 Years – Zuma, Zuma R300, Ojai, Ojai R30
1 Year – Factory power supplies for pedals
2 years – Conduit
1 Year – MiniSwitch, MultiSwitch Plus, original MultiSwitch, MIDI EXP Cables, DC Power Cables, EIAJ-05 Link Cables, 24V Power Adapter for Ojai/Ojai R30, Polarity Reversal Adapters, Voltage Doubler Adapters, Daisy-Chain Power Cables
If the product fails within the warranty period, Strymon will repair or, at our discretion, replace the product at no cost to the original purchaser.
This warranty covers defects in manufacturing discovered while using this product as recommended by Strymon. This warranty does not cover loss or theft, nor does the coverage extend to damage caused by misuse, abuse, unauthorized modification, improper storage, lightning, or natural disasters. Damage caused by any of the above circumstances may result in a non-warranty repair fee.
Products that were purchased from an unauthorized dealer are not covered under warranty. The warranty is non-transferrable and does not cover used or second-hand products.
Please contact your dealer for information on warranty and service outside of the USA and Canada.
Limits of Liability
In the case of malfunction, the purchaser’s sole recourse shall be repair or replacement, as described in the preceding paragraphs. Strymon will not be held liable to any party for damages that result from the failure of this product. Damages excluded include, but are not limited to, the following: lost profits, lost savings, damage to other equipment, and incidental or consequential damages arising from the use, or inability to use this product. In no event will Strymon be liable for more than the amount of the purchase price, not to exceed the current retail price of the product. Strymon disclaims any other warranties, express or implied. By using the product, the user accepts all terms herein.
How to Obtain Service Under this Warranty
For North American customers: Contact Strymon through our website at https://www.strymon.net/support for Return Authorization and information. Proof of original ownership may be required in the form of a purchase receipt.
For Customers Outside the USA and Canada: Contact the Strymon dealer from which the product was purchased from in order to arrange warranty repair service.
You can also contact Strymon directly at (805) 468-8788 or (800) 980-8160 for help finding your nearest authorized Strymon dealer.
Strymon products purchased from an authorized dealer are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. A purchase receipt from an authorized dealer is required with any request for warranty service.
Please note that any Strymon products that have been purchased from an unauthorized dealer are not eligible for coverage under the manufacturer’s warranty. If you are uncertain, please contact Strymon directly at (805) 468-8788 or (800) 980-8160 before your purchase.
***NOTE: Warranties for Strymon products are non-transferrable. Second-hand items, including sales from websites such as craigslist, Ebay, and Reverb are not covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. Furthermore, there are no authorized dealers on Amazon, Ebay, or Reverb selling “NEW” Strymon products in the USA.***
Your warranty is valid in the region of purchase. For example, if you buy your product in Japan, any service-related issues will need to be handled in Japan. Products purchased in the United States can only be repaired in the United States.
All Strymon products are Designed and Built in the USA.
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