This Thing, is The Disting!

So I’ve been on the lookout for a quantiser for my modular synth. My rig is based around a Make Noise Shared System (SS) with a couple of extra modules.

Over the year-and-a-half of owning the system, I’ve tried adding various different modules, even buying a 2nd smaller case to accommodate. However, I always ended up just returning to the SS, so I sold off all the extra modules I’d accumulated and parred back down to the SS. The system’s size, layout and module designs really resonate (no pun intended) with me and it serves well as a complete compositional tool.

There is one thing I always wanted it be able to do and that is send two separate quantised melodies to each of the DPO oscillators. René does one melody fine and the other oscillator I have previously either had the ‘follow’ parameter set so it tracks the pitch of it’s counterpart, or I have manually set pitches on Pressure Points (PP) to perform a counter melody. This is really the ideal way for me, so I can have independent patterns running concurrently on PP and René. However, due to atmospheric conditions and so on, the PP rarely keeps the pitch perfect over time.

So after much thought I decided I needed a quantiser, so I can have nice 1v/oct pitches coming out of my PP. I looked at everything available and considered my options for the 8hp left I have to play with.

After much internet scouring, I settled on the Expert Sleepers Disting v4. It’s small (4hp) and has a nice simple interface, with a LED screen to tell you what algorithm it’s running (yes it does more than just quantise!). Also it’s black, like the rest of my system, so aesthetically it adheres to my OCD tendencies. It has LOADS of functions, everything from CV tricks, DSP FX and even sample playback!? You can see some of them in this great youtube overview:

Anyway, for my purpose it serves perfectly as a quantiser. You can easily change to one of 15 scales and adjust the root note to taste.

As a bonus, it also has a tuner algorithm, something I’ve previously achieved by wildly waving around my phone near the speakers to try and tune via a dodgy ios app. So my plan for future gigs is to use the disting tuner function at soundcheck (as I sometimes perform alongside musicians playing acoustic instruments) to get in tune with everyone else, then switch over to the quantiser algorithm for the performance.

••• I might update this mini-review with other functions when I get to try them out.

>> You can check out the Disting mk4 on the Expert Sleepers website.

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