TONESTAR FOLKTEK'd is an Arias Blaze / Folktek Fibonacci flight, feast and fancy. We were hyped when Arias told us, "I like your layout - it's very approachable. And you've got some hex things happening which I'm all about" Who knew the Tonestar was so hexy?
ABlaze continued "I'm a circle person so you're going to end up with something that circle driven. The design will end up like a mescaline vision. If you're not into that, say the word now..." Oh but we were. He continued—well he wrote this bit before the last, "One of my goals is not just to throw some image stuff on this but to create something that makes sense visually as it corresponds to functionality. I find that kind of thing difficult with complex layouts like this - it's difficult to find the room for pure design, yours or mine. But at this point I'm starting to come to something..."
We think it's quite something and... necessary.
Knowledge from circuit designer
The VCO is the same affair as the Oscillation, the Boomstar, and the Omega. It's kind of a combination of Arp®,
Oberheim® and Moog® circuits (sort of a greatest hits), time-tested, very stable—very good tracking over a very
large range; certain parts have to be hand selected to achieve that level of exacting performance.
Editors Note: This module is a TONESTAR—its own thing—and not a 2600 clone attempt;
nevertheless, the Tone☆ tugs lovingly at times on the sleeve of the 1970's era classic.
Envelope FYI: The Tonestar Sustain control replicates the behavior of the 2600 and Odyssey: after the initial Decay, it continues to move (sink) very slowly, adding a little extra texture to the sound. It's technically a flaw, but after digging out my Odyssey, it is for sure a desirable "quirk", and the perfect companion to the 4072 filter (which we mistakenly titled a 4075 in the Boomstar Modular line).
Another bit of fun: The LFO is voltage controlled, so you can envelope, LFO, or otherwise modulate both the rate and the depth; the ADSR amount is also voltage controlled, so it can be manipulated by MIDI dynamics, MIDI volume, an LFO, etc. Greg [St. Regis] has decreed that anything must be patchable to anything, so some technically wrong patchings (for example, pulse wave out to ADSR out) may often produce unexpectedly interesting, x-mod/notch filtering—quite pleasing effects.
The Tonestar was Greg's concept, but as I understood it, the goal was a single oscillator, 2600 VCF, pre-patched and yet fully modular classic synth voice, at a specific size, wielding every trick we could cram in. Main use would be as a go-to bassline/lead tool, or a premium quality, entry-level, complete synth module, for root-to-leaf sound design, and multiform analog exploration/expression.