Erica Synths Pico

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Erica Synths Pico series is a collection of eurorack modules in an incredibly small 3HP per module width. Put them all together and you have yourself the smallest eurorack modular synth system available. So small in fact, you can build an entire Pico modular synth system that fits in a space smaller than an Intellijel Atlantis. Don't let the compact size and low cost per module fool you; while these modules are tiny and relatively inexpensive, the sound, functionality, and build quality are impressive. It's no surprise the Pico modules are showing up in so many racks on Modular Grid already.

erica synths pico modular system

Erica Synths Pico Eurorack Modules

erica synths pico vco

Pico VCO

The Pico VCO, a wavetable oscillator with two banks of 16 different waveforms, packs an enormous range of sounds in a tiny package. Includes CV control over the waveshapes and a toggle switch to change from VCO to LFO range. There isn't another oscillator in eurorack that packs this much functionality into this small of a space.

erica synths pico vcf3

Pico VCF 3

Like the phat sound of a Moog filter? The Pico VCF 3 eurorack module is based on the classic -24db ladder filter design. It self oscillates and can be tracked at 1 volt per octave for use as a sinewave oscillator.

erica synths pico trigger

Pico Trigger Pattern Generator

This is one of our favorite modules in the Erica Synths Pico series. Using a web interface, you can create unique 16 step patterns for the four trigger outputs that are uploaded via the the clock input. Polyrhythms anyone?

eric synths pico seq

Pico SEQ Sequencer

Pico SEQ is a 16 step sequencer with built in 7-scale quantizer that was designed to be played with. Everything is controlled using the two encoder knobs and it's incredibly easy to use. It has direction settings for forward, backward, ping-pong, and random. Adjustable gate lengths per step, transpose, slide, turn steps off and merge.

erica synths pico multi

Pico Multi

Multiples aren't particularly sexy, but they're a pretty essential utility module for any modular synth. The Pico Multi is a buffered mult which prevents drooping and drifting of CV signals, unlike stackcables or passive mults. If tuning is important in your patch, and you're sharing a signal from one source to multiple destinations, you'll want to use a buffered multiple.

erica synths pico drums

Pico Drums

This little drum module – the smallest in eurorack format – comes jam packed with kicking drum sounds. Don't like the sounds it comes with? No problem. Pico Drums has 8MB of sampling memory and users can swap out samples using a USB programming device. Best of all, there's complete voltage control over pitch, level, and decay for each of the drum sounds.

erica synths pico attenuator

Pico Atten (Dual Attenuator)

Many of the modules in the Pico series don't have CV input attenuators, so this passive dual attenuator module is a great way to take control of the signals in your system. An example of how you might use this module is taking an LFO signal and reducing the amount of modulation on a VCF.

erica synths pico cv mixer

Pico CV Mix

This is the perfect module for mixing and attenuating your CV signals. It has 3 channels with attenuators for each channel. At only 3hp, like the rest of the Pico modules, this module adds a lot of functionality to your system without taking up much space.

erica synths pico input

Pico Input

This module is great for getting external audio signals into your modular system at modular line levels. It has 2 channels that can be used on their own, or as a single stereo channel. If you want to get sounds from your iPhone or other MP3 player into your modular, this module is essential.

erica synths pico envelope

Pico Envelope Generator

ASR or AD envelope generator with controls for attack and decay/release. The response shape of the envelope can be switched between linear and logarithmic. This module can also function as a variable speed LFO by not patching a gate in.

erica synths pico vca

Pico Dual Linear VCA

High quality VCA using a classic design based on the LM13700 Op Amp. You can use this module as either two individual VCAs or as a stereo VCA.

erica synths pico mix

Pico A Mix

Pico A Mix is a micro-sized 3 Channel AC coupled mixer suitable for mixing audio signals only. Since this mixer is NOT DC coupled, it's not suitable for mixing for control voltages. The audio quality of this little mixer is excellent.

erica synths pico out

Pico Out

You've patched all of your modules and need to get those sweet sounds out of your system, that's what this module does. Pico Out (what my friend Pico says when he's leaving) uses high quality op amps, has 2 inputs for left and right channels, a headphones volume knob, and a full volume line level stereo TRS output.

erica synths pico rnd random source generator

Pico RND (Random Source)

The Pico RND has a pulse and sine LFO, white noise generator, and can produce both random triggers and stepped voltages. Random triggers and voltages can make a patch a lot more interesting, and this is a great module for getting some randomness into your system.

erica synths pico scale

Pico Scale

Pico Scale is a powerful little utility module that gives you greater control over the control voltages in your system. With this module, you can boost or attenuate a signal up/down 2x the original signal level, offset by +/- 5v, and invert a signal. There's also a handy bi-colored signal level LED to help visualize what's happening.

Erica Synths Pico Modular Videos

 

In the above video, the brain of the patch begins with the Pico Trigger module, which has its four outputs being sent to four different trigger inputs on the Pico Drums module. Those outputs are then mixed. The trigger that is sent to the bass drum sample is then split and also sent to the gate input of the Pico Envelope module and the clock in of the Sequencer. The Envelope output is patched into the VCA's CV input, and once the sequencer output is patched into the VCO pitch control, it is fed into the input of the Pico VCF3 and then into the VCA, and is also mixed with the drum sounds. To change the chord stab type, the sample on one of the Drums modules is being changed via the control knob, as is the waveshape on the VCO. For interesting bassline timbres, the second Pico VCO is switched into LFO mode and is patched into the frequency CV input on the VCA3 -24dB filter.

In this patch, the Pico Trigger module sets the clock. The Pico Seq receives that clock and provides 1v/oct pitch CV to the oscillator(s) as well as a gate signal that triggers the envelope. The simple sequence was created in just a few knob turns due to the unique design of the Erica Synths SEQ module.

The patch is changed a bit throughout the video, first starting with the 2nd VCO modulating the filter cutoff. Later, the envelope signal going to the VCA is multiplied and also sent to filter cutoff. At this point, the 2nd VCO is then mixed with the first to create a chord.

The envelope is tweaked throughout. At one point, the rate parameter is changed and it shows how much of a difference that creates in the rhythm of the sequence. This is a very useful parameter for shaping the modulation.

On top of being the master clock, the Trigger module also triggers both Pico Drum modules. The drum sounds are switched a few times throughout the video, demonstrating the range of samples available.

Towards the end of the video, the choice of drum sounds builds tension when combined with a gradual opening of the filter's decay and sustain. At the very end, the tempo (coming from the Trigger module's clock) is slowed down, resolving that tension.

This video provides an indepth demo of the Pico VCO, a clean sounding digital VCO with 32 waveforms. The demo video includes an overview and visualization of the various waveforms, how to use FM (frequency modulation), LFO waveform morphing, and noise mode.

Erica Synths Pico Buzz

We've talked to our customers and scoured various internet forums to see what people think of the Erica Synths Pico series of eurorack modules. Here's some of the buzz happening around these micro-sized modules:

  • "Most people will buy the whole set. It will turn you into a techno warrior. For the size they are awesome."
  • "From what i saw these are super useful modules, either to expand a larger system with some specific functions, or to build a small self-contained modular."
  • "They sound great! Huge sound from these tiny modules!"
  • "Tight patching but what a great small system!"
  • "So many nice things at Superbooth 16 but the Pico series has me the most excited."
  • "I played with the showroom demo and it's ridiculously phat sounding."
  • "Literally placed a pre-order the first day I was able to. Can't wait to get my Pico System!"
  • "Looks like TipTop Audio drum modules will be making way for Pico Drums in my case."

Artists Using Pico Modules

The Pico series of eurorack modules have quickly captured the attention of music producers for their small footprint and big sound. Listed below are just a few of the notable artists using Pico modules in their studio and touring setups.

richard devine

Richard Devine

Richard Devine, an Atlanta based music producer and sound designer with releases on seminal music labels Warp Records and Schematic, uses Pico Drums and is making his signature Drum Sample Pack for Erica Synths. Richard Devine's sample pack will be available shortly through the Erica Synths Pico Drums programmer plugin.

noisia

Noisia

Thijs de Vlieger of the Dutch breakbeat group NOISIΛ has been using modular synthesizers for quite some time, so it's no surprise that they're using a selection of Erica Synths Pico modules in their setup, including a few of the Pico VCF modules.

eric mouquet

Eric Mouquet

Eric Mouquet from Grammy nominated music group Deep Forest stopped by the Erica Synths lab while on tour in Latvia in early 2016, filling up a travel modular synth case with Erica Synths Pico modules and performing with them that same night.

Originally published on June 24th, 2016.