I've been trying to find more synths and modular synths to put into my studio, partially to play them as instruments of course, but also for all the possibilities of using them as audio processors for filtering audio and for triggering from audio. On a recent mixing session, I wanted to run some vocals through a filter. First, I patched in my ARP 2600. The ARP sounded great, but the song was really quiet, and the ARP made some weird intermittent sound that rendered it unusable. Next, I went for the Moog rackmount Voyager. I'm sure I was doing something wrong, but I couldn't get it to pass signal, and I didn't have time to figure it out during the session. Next was the Line 6 Filter Pro. Too complicated-couldn't get the simple, basic filter sound we were looking for. The ARP Odyssey wouldn't pass signal either. Finally, the MicroMoog worked okay, and we used it, but the level matching was pretty janky. I sure wish I'd had this Vermona filter for that session. When this showed up, I patched it in, and it worked perfectly and exactly as I'd hoped it would. It's a 1U rackmount unit with balanced TRS I/O on the back and an instrument input on the front. The controls are simple and intuitive. It sounds great. It's really versatile as well. It has four modes of operation: parallel, with two independent low-pass filters; serial, with two sequential low-pass filters; band, with one high-pass and one low-pass together creating an adjustable band-pass filter; and notch, with the filters reversed from band mode, giving you a band-stop filter. There's also an onboard LFO with flexible destination routing for all sorts of cool modulation and tremolo effects. Oh yeah, there's an envelope follower too. Or, you can use an external control voltage. And to really make it great, the DAF-1 streets for only $319! I can't wait till the next session I want to filter something. Thanks to Roger Cordell at Big City Music for getting us this review unit. ($399 MSRP; www.vermona.com, www.bigcitymusic.com)

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