Having begun working on my new satellite case, I thought it would be good writing practice to do some mini reviews of the modules I get for the case as I add them. Most of these modules will not be the newest, shiniest thing in eurorack land, but they will be either new to me, or something I obviously think is a good buy for someone else. Hopefully someone finds this all useful.
Physically, the Dr Octature II is quite a beautiful module. 14 hp in width and very shallow, so it should fit any case. The panel is adorned with 5 knobs (unfortunately, two of them are just pegs), two mode switches, 5 audio or CV inputs and 8 phase shifted outputs.
Starting at the upper left, the first knob you will encounter is the Q or resonance knob. The placement of this control feels a little weird at first, since usually the first parameter you’re lookin for on a filter would be the cut off. It makes sense in this case, though, because of the Octature’s equal focus on it’s ability to self oscillate. Under the Q knob, there are two small switches for mono or quad operation and one for VCO/LFO mode. The cutoff knob, which also would act as your course frequency knob, is in the center of the faceplate. There is a skinny little knob next to it for fine frequency control
On the right side there are two knobs for controlling the level of the FM inputs. FM1 input can be attenuated to zero while FM1 can scale or invert the signal.
The final knob control lets you clip the input for more harmonics (it’s too bad this can’t be switched to clip the outputs in oscillator mode). There is then also a peg to control attenuate the Q modulation input.
All in all, the panel is very clear and easy to understand. Unless you’re a complete synthesis novice, the functions should be immediately clear. All of the controls feel good (except the aforementioned pegs). A very nice touch is the level indicators above each phase output. In LFO mode, they are almost hypnotic as they phase in and out. This is just what you’d expect from Intellijel, who always makes great looking hardware.
My only grip is the plastic peg knobs. They just feel…awful.
In use, the Dr Octature II is both fun and useful. Having no other oscillators in my satellite case so far, that’s primarily how I’ve been using it and it’s been nothing but pure fun! The sine wave tone generated is so extremely clean, that putting it into a wave folder or sharper of some kind is absolutely mandatory. Another really fun option is to take one of its own outputs into its FM2 input and having it phase shift itself. Doing so gives you a lot of very cool textures (though be ware that pitch tracking will be affected). Running the sine into an STG .COM and/or WaveFolder gives you more harmonics to work with, and can give some very interesting modulation shapes when used as an LFO.
All in all, this module is a win. They are readily available on the second hand market, too, which makes them an even better deal! This is definitely a keeper module, and not one to be flipped later.