The Qu-Bit Chord module is sort of big deal as of late. The Qu-Bit Chord module is described as a “4 voice polyphonic oscillator for Eurorack Modular synthesizers.” Sounds simple enough, I guess. I think what Qu-Bit has done with Chord is taken music theory, with regards to chords, and distilled it down to just a hand full of knobs, CV inputs and audio outputs.
Chord module sort of demystified the idea of polyphony and chords in eurorack. There is no in-depth and super meticulous tuning of multiple oscillators and so on and so forth. It’s as simple as sending it a 1 volt per octave signal, melody or bass line and chord handled the rest. The magic here is that there is no need to know music theory to get beautiful sounds out of Qu-Bit Chord but this is also no limitation for those that understand music theory.
At the top of the module there are 4 individual outs and 1 mix out. Each of the 4 individual outputs are assigned to an individual note (root, 3rd, 5th and 7th). The last output is a summed mix of the individual outputs. So you can play the individual notes by them selves or even take all four and process them separately for added coloring. Still, it’s likely that the common usage, at least for me, will be to use the mix output and process the entire output together. At any rate, it’s nice to have the options for outputs.
Just beneath the outs are two buttons, Harmonize and 7th. When harmonize is enabled and lit up it actively approximates the chord quality parameters based on the signal or bass line coming in via the 1 volt per octave input. If harmonize is not active and enabled, the “chord quality” knob and CV can be used to manipulate the chord quality. The 7th button (or triad) basically adds/removes the 7th note from the summed / mix output thus changing the complexity of the chord being played.
There is a huge tuning knob used for course tuning. Next to that there is a fine tuning knob that is excellent for dialing in the key even at the smallest increments.
There are 4 knobs on the Qu-Bit Chord module. They are Waveform, Voicing, Inversion and Chord Quality. Each have 4 positions or settings that continuously variable. This means they can smoothly sweep through each setting from one to the other. This comes in handy especially when using the associated CV for each of knob.
On call out here is that when sweeping through the Waveforms it almost sounds like a built-in filter at work. There seems to be unlimited variability with the CV on Chord. Modulating these four parameters lends itself well to a constantly evolving soundscape.
- 4 voice polyphony with individual and mixed outputs (root, 3rd, 5th, 7th)
- Auto harmonization with a bass line option
- Triad chord button
- Variable wave shape (sine, triangle, saw, square)
- Adjustable chord voicing (spread, drop 3, drop 2, close)
- Adjustable chord inversion (third, second, first, root)
- Adjustable chord quality (half diminished, dominant 7th, minor 7th, major 7th)
I took the time to dig into Chord in these IG videos. I think it may give you an idea of what Chord sounds like from a beatmakers perspective.
A video posted by BboyTechReport (@bboytechreport) on
If I had to change anything on Chord, I suppose it would be dope to be able to address each individual voice if you wanted to do so. That is a feature that I believe the NAMM shown unit had to offer. But I do realize that is sort of counter productive to the purpose of this module making chords in eurorack easy to achieve. Andrew explained that using the analog voices and allowing them to be addressed individually wouldn’t allow for some of the very cool sweeps through wave forms and other chord qualities that are rather characteristic of the Chord module. The imposed limitations in exchange for the simple and powerful functionality is a great trade-off.
Qu-bit made a choice to change the Chord module’s voice architecture from analog to digital in the final production unit. If you watched the special BeatPPL Pop-Up Podcast at Knobcon 2016 featuring Andrew from Qu-Bit you probably know that there were some good choices made for great reason. All of which come together in this great little package called Chord. I’m not upset that the prototype was analog and the production unit is digital. It still sounds great and it achieves what it set out to achieve rather well.
Chord actually sold out within 10 days of hitting the market. Still, there are more to come. They can be purchased on the Qu-Bit Electronix Chord product page for $399.
Chord module by Qu-Bit Electronix is BBoyTech Certified Dope!