This thing is beautifully bat-shit crazy. The 0-CTRL is a patchable step sequencer and touch-sensitive tabletop control surface designed tobe used primarily with Eurorack-standard modular gear (or anything that can accept CV [control voltage]). Unlike quite a few othermoderncontrollers out there, the 0-CTRL (or "Zero-Control," or "No-Control") is a fully analog device, with clock in or out, and a wide variety ofvoltage control I/O for pitch, sequence direction/reset, envelope dynamics, gate, etc. There is no menu and no option for saving orrecalling presets – as the manual indicates clearly, what you patch is what you get!

Reduced to its essential function, O-CTRL can send eight steps of three different CV values, or "channels," per step (in parallel with clockvalues to sync with other gear). The three channels are adjusted via encoders and are called Pitch, Strength, and Time. Theaforementioned bat-shit craziness starts to become apparent when using the unique Buchla-style touch controls to send the various gateand CV values to your synths. Dynamic Gate and Dynamic Envelope CV outs respond to pressure applied to the touch plates and areattenuated by the Strength knob. The values adjusted by the encoders are un-quantized, meaning there is no stepped value for pitch or gatelength – everything you do with O-CTRL is entirely by ear (unless you are using an external module to tune, quantize, or constrain CVvalues to scale or happen to have perfect pitch and timing). This very old-school, analog approach is a benefit in many ways. The combination of expressive possibilities and modulation capabilities with the Dynamic Gate and Dynamic Envelope CV outs makes for a lotof productive and often quite surprising melodic experimentation.

O-CTRL physically resembles the Make Noise 0-COAST tabletop synth and comes with some patch cables (including two stacked cables)and an external power adapter. The tiniest of gripes with the barrel plug which attaches to the left side of the O-CTRL is that I wish it were a right-angle barrel so that it sat flush against the side. My only other wish would be to have the option to rack O-CTRL in a standard Eurorackcase (I suspect it can be easily hacked, but I didn't want to void the warranty on our review unit, obviously).

I found that O-CTRL paired up quite nicely with my growing Euro-crack habit. It also brought new and charmingly unpredictable elements tomy older CV-capable synths like the Korg Mono/Poly or my (modded) Moog/Realistic Concertmate MG-1. Highly recommended fun right here.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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