An Uncertain Future


An Uncertain Future

After listening to a podcast posted by @futureaztec on the Buchla 266e Source of Uncertainty module, I thought I would build something in a similar vein. Like the original, it’s divided into four sections. I configured them as individual modules rather than a single unit so it would be possible to use only the ones you need.

The first module is a noise source with pink, white and blue noise. It has separate outputs scaled and offset for either audio or modulation use. Since pink noise contains substantial sub-sonic energy, the pink noise audio output also has a DC Blocker in series. If you use the pink noise mod output for audio it’s advisable to filter frequencies below 20 Hz to prevent possible speaker damage.

The second module is a source of smoothly changing random modulation with a variable rate of change. It has two independent channels of output, each with its own rate control.

The third module outputs a sequence of stepped random modulation with control over the number of steps from 2 to 24, the distribution of values from flat to bell curve, and how correlated each value is to the previous value. A high correlation means each value will be close to the previous one. A new value is produced at each channel’s output for each trigger applied to each channel’s input.

The last module is essentially a randomized sample and hold. The value of the skew knob is read at each trigger and the resulting value is randomly modified. The amount of randomness (degree) and its distribution (chaos) can be adjusted. It also has two independent channels.

I’ve included a demo showing some possible uses of the modulation signals.

NOTE: The maximum rate of change for the Fluctuating Random Module can be altered by opening the module, opening each submodule and changing the 4 in the x*x*4 expression to a higher or lower value


Input Signal Range Notes
C, D, E, F trigger - typically 0-1 module is triggered on the leading edge of the pulse

Output Signal Range Notes
pink, white, blue mod modulation 0 - 1 pink (- 3 dB/octave), white (flat), blue (+3dB/octave) noise
pink, white, blue audio audio -1 - 1 pink (- 3 dB/octave), white (flat), blue (+3dB/octave) noise. Pink noise has a DC Blocker in series to prevent excessive subsonic energy
A, B modulation 0 - 1 unquantized, smoothly varying
C, D modulation 0 - 1 quantized (2-24 steps)
E, F modulation 0 - 1 unquantized


[Knob, Button, Spline, and/or Mapper] Function Notes
probable rate of change set the speed at which the modulation varies
steps sets the number of quantization steps from 2 to 24
time cor sets how closely the current output value is correlated with the previous value
dist sets the shape of the distribution of values from flat to a bell curve
skew sets the initial value to be randomized
degree sets the amount of randomness
chaos sets the distribution of the random values


Meter Displays Notes
steps displays the number of quantization steps

Version History

Revision File Date Notes
1.2 An Uncertain Future V1.2.audulus (75.1 KB) 09/14/2019 fixed bug in Quantized Random module
1.1 superceded 07/11/2019 added rate control for each channel of the fluctuating random
1.0 superceded 07/11/2019 initial upload

Demo Version History

Revision File Date Notes
1.2 An Uncertain Future V1.2 demo.audulus (919.6 KB) 09/14/2019 fixed bug in Quantized Random module
1.1 superceded 07/11/2019 updated demo to V1.1
1.0 superceded 07/11/2019 initial upload

My Nest: An Uncertain Future V1.1 demo (Future Aztec Rebuild).audulus (1.8 MB)

  • Won’t play on my MacBook Pro. But will play just fine on my iPhone 6s.
    (had a duplicate of the patch on accident)
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Weird, it plays on my iPad Air 2 at about 70%. I think you’ve got the general idea. They really aren’t that complicated once you play with them a bit. Tweak the knobs and see what happens, or as they say “suck it and see”. :cowboy_hat_face: It’s helpful to put a waveform node on the outputs so you can see the modulation signal as well as hear its effects.

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Brilliant stuff! I will definitely be using some these as well as picking over the insides for bits and bobs. Many thanks as always. :+1:

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I think I’ve got the basic functionality correct, but I had to make an educated guess about the details, hence the note about the max rate of change for the fluctuating random. You may find other things needs some tweaking as well. I chose the bell curve so that it approximately filled the 0 to 1 interval, but the standard deviation could be narrowed if you want a sharper curve. I had some difficulty getting info on the “stored” random, as the Buchla documentation is rather obscure, but fortunately found a good description on muff wiggler. The “stored” in this instance refers to the value of the skew parameter which is captured by a S&H at the leading edge of the pulse and is then modified by a random amount based the the settings for degree and chaos. The chaos parameter also cross fades between a flat distribution of values and the same bell curve as the stepped unit.

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I dusted off my patch above and mixed it properly; or better at least.
An Uncertain Future (Future Aztec Rebuild) version 2.audulus (1.7 MB)

And tweaked a few more things.

An Uncertain Future (Future Aztec Rebuild) version 3.audulus (1.8 MB)


@futureaztec Great patch! Very toe-tapping. Also, I really like that K Pasa sound, I kind of wonder what I thought was wrong with it now that needed reworking.

Nocturnal Trumpeter in the Ship Yard.audulus (606.5 KB)

While playing around with these modules I made a soundscape krell-type patch, using different FM patches. I love cross patching until things stop working, and then backtracking until the right level of weirdness remains.

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Nocturnal Trumpeter in the Ship Yard (Future Aztec Magic Mix).audulus (913.9 KB)

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Good call, the stereo imaging really makes some of the effects far more environmental.

Well, as I’m mixing up your patch I am also appreciating how far you took the mono game. In a sense I destroyed your focus. And you finishing the K-Pasa module had me thinking about some sort of ‘mini-systems’.

Very nice. For some reason I get the mental image of a somewhat inebriated trumpet-playing busker down in the subway late at night with the passing trains in the distance.

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Awesome! That’s definitely one of my favorite Buchla 200 module. Can’t wait to try out.
I also have a clone of the original, I’ll try to compare the two… (But I need to find some banana>jack format Jumbler first!)

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I would appreciate any feedback you might have. I had access to the manual and various stuff on the web, but no actual unit to compare with. Some of the parameters could probably be tweaked a bit but I really pretty much had to guess at some of the details.

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Ok! I’ll have a look and report. :slight_smile:

I fixed a bug in the Quantized Random module that caused incorrect step values. New version uploaded.

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