Introduction

disting mk4, front disting mk4

The disting is a many-in-1 multifunction module, offering a variety of CV and audio processes, including a selection of oscillators (LFOs/VCOs). All algorithms have two high-precision inputs and outputs, and a third control input, exposed on a front panel knob and a CV input.

The disting is also a sample (WAV) file and MIDI file player, with a variety of options for sample triggering, playback speed etc.

Expert Sleepers 'disting' on Vimeo.

Reviews

AudioNewsRoom gave the disting mk4 4.5 stars (out of five) - read the full review here.
“I would say this Disting Mk4 is a no-brainer: an essential piece to add to your Eurorack!”
A thorough review (in German) of the disting mk4 appears on BuenasIdeas here.
“Zumindest mir persönlich ist kein anderes Modul bekannt, dass mit einer derartigen vielseitigkeit im unmittelbaren Zugriff aufwarten kann, insbesondere auf lediglich 4 TE und zu einem für ein besseres Eurorack-Modul vergleichsweise günstigen Verkaufspreis.”
A French-language review of the disting mk4 by Star Wax is here.
“certifiés bien fat par Star Wax”
The disting mk3 was awarded an 'Excellence' award by MusicTech Magazine (June 2014 issue).
“With so much functionality on offer, this unit is something of a no-brainer.”
Read the full article here.

The disting mk3 was also nominated in MusicTech's Gear Of The Year 2016 poll.

The disting mk3 was awarded 'Value' and 'Platinum' awards by Future Music Magazine (July 2014 issue).
“Unquestionably the most useful module in Eurorack. We don’t think there’s any system that wouldn’t benefit from having at least one.”
The disting was selected by learningmodular.com to be part of their core training rack.
Different modes in the Expert Sleepers Disting round out our available bag of tricks...

Functions

There are currently 76 distinct algorithms. The first 16 ('classic disting') are:

  • Precision Adder with integer voltage offsets
  • Four Quadrant Multiplier with integer multiply/divide
  • Full-wave Rectifier
  • Minimum/maximum
  • Linear/Exponential Converter
  • Quantizer with selectable scales
  • Comparator with adjustable hysteresis
  • Dual Waveshaper wavefolder and triangle-to-sine shaper
  • Sample and Hold with noise source and adjustable slew rate
  • Slew Rate Limiter with linear and exponential slew
  • Pitch and Envelope Tracker
  • Clockable Delay/Echo
  • LFO with through zero frequency control and waveshaping
  • Clockable LFO with multiply/divide and waveshaping
  • VCO with linear FM sine and saw outputs
  • VCO with waveshaping saw/triangle and pulse outputs

The remaining algorithms are:

  • Precision Adder with fractional voltage offsets
  • Voltage Controlled Delay Line vibrato/chorus/flange effects
  • Clockable Ping Pong Delay
  • Clockable Ping Pong Delay with input pan control
  • Resonator for drum synthesis
  • Vocoder 12 band
  • Phaser up to 10 stages
  • Bit Crusher
  • Tape Delay with voltage controlled tape speed
  • Waveform Animator
  • State Variable Filter smoothly variable filter type
  • LP/HP Filter
  • LP/BP Filter
  • BP/HP Filter
  • BP/Notch Filter
  • AR Envelope
  • AR Envelope (with push)
  • AR Envelope & VCA
  • AR Envelope & VCA (with push)
  • Dual AR Envelope
  • Dual AR Envelope (with push)
  • Euro to Buchla Converter
  • Buchla to Euro Converter
  • Clockable AD Envelope (with mute)
  • Clockable AD Envelope (with gate)
  • Clockable AD Envelope (with trigger)
  • Clockable AD Envelope & VCA
  • Shift Register Random CVs
  • Shift Register Random Quantized CVs
  • Shift Register Random Triggers
  • Shift Register Random Dual Triggers
  • ES-1 Emulation
  • ES-2 Emulation
  • Pitch Reference
  • Frequency Reference
  • Tuner
  • MIDI Clock
  • MIDI/CV
  • CV/MIDI
  • Crossfade/Pan
  • Dual Sample and Hold
  • Dual Quantizer (Z scale)
  • Dual Quantizer
  • Dual Euclidean Patterns
  • Dual Delayed Pulse Generator
  • Noise
  • Stereo Reverb
  • Mono-to-Stereo Reverb
  • Dual Reverb
  • Stereo Chorus
  • Mono Chorus

The functions relating to playing back audio and MIDI files from the MicroSD card are:

  • Audio Playback
  • Clocked Audio Playback
  • Audio Playback with V/Oct
  • Audio Playback with Z Speed
  • MIDI File Playback (Clocked)
  • MIDI File Playback (Free Running)
  • Audio Playback with End CV
  • Audio Recorder
  • Wavetable VCO

The video below was the winning entry in a video competition we held to promote the original disting. It's a fun and very musical romp through the first 16 of the disting's functions.

mk4 version

The disting mk4 was introduced at the NAMM show in January 2017. The main differences compared to the disting mk3 are:
  • Dot matrix screen, capable of showing text and numeric values
  • Micro SD card slot accessible on the front panel
  • Compatibility with the Select Bus protocol
  • An internal precision clock allowing new algorithms such as a tuner, and pitch and frequency references
  • MIDI in/out ports (on a breakout header)

Specifications

The disting mk4's specifications are as follows:

  • Panel width: 4HP
  • Module depth: 42mm
  • X & Y inputs, A & B outputs
    • Sample rate: 75kHz
    • ADC: 24 bit, THD+N -93dB, Dynamic range 99dB, SNR 99dB
    • DAC: 24 bit, THD+N -94dB, Dynamic range 105dB, SNR 104dB
  • Z input sample rate: 75kHz
  • CPU: Microchip PIC32MX at up to 50MHz
  • Current draw: 51mA on the +12V rail, 19mA on the -12V rail

The front panel is drilled for both Doepfer and Analogue Systems mounting holes (using a 'slot' rather than a single round hole). The power connector is a Doepfer standard 16 way IDC, with -12V furthest from the top of the board.

For more detail, please see the user manual.

Pricing & Availablity

The disting mk4 is available now.

For purchasing links, please see where to buy.

Hackable

The disting is based around a PIC microcontroller, with a programming/debug header available on the board. Using Microchip's free development tools a user can easily hack the disting to perform their own functions.

We have provided an open source code framework into which developers can slot their own algorithms. This can be found here. There is a thread about disting firmware hacking on the forum here. Note though that this framework has not yet been updated for the mk4 version.

Below is a (rather long) video introducing the disting in some detail, filmed at a meeting of the London Music Hackspace. You may like to jump in at these times:

  • 06:00 - description of the hardware
  • 40:45 - description of the open source software framework
  • 1:16:45 - compilation of some custom code and seeing how it sounds.