Buchla Easel V - Tips and Tricks

buchla easel v image
Check out some Buchla Easel V tips and tricks.

To use your envelope as an LFO this is pretty simple.

Simply set the envelope mode to self, the envelope will cycle indefinitely through it's stages and become a kind of LFO.
The faders controls the duration of each stage, allowing to generate versatile modulations. 

lfo envelope self trigger

To humanise your modulations, you can apply randomness to each of your modulation curve points.
To do that, simply select a point and apply an amount of Random L and Random R.
This will display arrows around the point, and will randomly offset it's position, creating a very human feel and bring subtile nuances to your modulations.

left hand random points

Thanks to the Left Hand, you can also modify the values of some switches like the sequencial voltage source stages, or the gate modes and create further complexity and versatility in your modulations.

As a example, here is what you can do:

  • Use the Sequencial Voltage Source to control the pitch of your complex oscillator and create some arpeggios.
  • Then enable the Right End sequencer and write a sequence to sequence your arpeggios.
  • Finally, modify the Sequencial Voltage Source Stages number with the Left Hand in order to bring life into these sequenced arpeggios.

modulate switches left hand

Modules & functions tips

As the Buchla Easel V is very special and less conventional than most of the other synths, here are few things that are useful to know.

As the Buchla Easel V is a modular synth, the sound design on this synthesiser is all about control voltages.
Consequently, you must use it's panel of connections to create sounds.
To understand how it works, please check below.

Patchbay functions per colors

connections patchbay



Output / Input  Function / Comment


Output Sequencer

Output Random voltage generator

Output Envelope generator


Output Pulser


Output Channel pressure


Gate 1 level
Gate 2 level
Complex Oscillator timbre
Complex Oscillator pitch
Modulation Oscillator frequency
Modulation Oscillator range
Keyboard inputs 

Note: The modulation amount is defined by the fader above the inputs.



  • Midi Connections: Are outputting the velocity, wheel and key follow MIDI messages converted into voltages.
connections midi output
  • MOD CV out: Is the voltage output of the modulation oscillator.
connections output section
  • Inverter ouput: Outputs the reversed signal sent into it's input. 
connections inverter

The Sequencial Voltage Source: Is a 3 to 5 steps step sequencer that allows to send:

  • Sequenced voltages through it's CV outputs. (The voltage sent is controlled by the 5 sliders.)
  • Gates to each modules having their trigger select set to "Sequencer"

Note: The pulse sequence switches allow to enable and disable the gates sent to the other modules having their trigger select set to sequecner but doesn't have any effect on the sequencer CV outputs.

sequencer pulse sequence switches
The Pulser: Is a source of trigger that can be clocked from several sources. It can be trigged from the keyboard, the sequencer or from itself.

  • When it's rate is fast, it generates very short triggers
pulser short
  • When it's rate is slower, it outputs sawtooth shaped voltages that can be very convenient to create percussive sounds:
pulser long
The Envelope Generator: This envelope is not a standard envelope.
  • It is a Attack / Sustain (Hold) / Decay envelope.
  • The amplitude of thevoltage it outputs during the sustain period is always full.
  • To control the amplitude of the voltage, you have to use the modulation inputs faders on the destination it is plugged to.
envelope attack hold decay

It has 3 different modes:
  • Sustained: The sustain (hold) time will be the sum of the time a key is held + the time defined by the sustain slider.
  • Transcient: The sustain time will only be defined by the sustain slider. (pretty convenient from percussive sounds)
  • Self: The envelope self cycles between it's 3 stages, which creates a pretty complex LFO. (In transient mode the duration of sustain phase will be determined by the setting of the sustain slider)

Random voltage generator: The Music Easel grants a huge importance to the random modulations.
That's why it is equipped with a random voltage generator along with four different outputs.
Each of the four random patchpoint outputs provides a unique random voltage.
(Meaning that if you want to duplicate an identical random voltage signal, you must draw copies from the same patch point.)
The Music Easel is composed of two oscillators.

The Complex oscillator
: Is the main sound generator of the synthesiser and can by itself modulate it's timbre using wave folding.  (Like the metalizer on the Arturia Brute synthesisers.)
When you modulate the timbre of the Complex Oscillator from it's mod input, (With the Envelope Generator or a similar cyclic signal) the modulation will start at the point you’ve set with the manual slider.
It will then move up from this point, and return to that starting point when the modulation reaches the end of its cycle. 

The Modulation oscillator: Per default, the modulation oscillator is hardwired on the Complex Oscillator.
However, you can still:
  • Patch it to another modulation destination from the the Mod CV
connections output section

  • Use it as a sound generator by setting the Gate 2 source to "From Mod oscillator" on the Low-Pass Gate module.
output gate2 source

The Modulation oscillator can be both used as a high frequency oscillator or a low frequency oscillator (LFO) thanks to the Range switch.

Note: Quantize can not be applied on the Modulation Oscillator when the Modulation Oscillator range is set to "low". 
The keyboard section generates:

  • Gates: To the modules with their trigger select set to "keyboard"
keyboard trigger select keyboard

  • Pitch: To the oscillators when their keyboard switch is set to "on" 
keyboard oscs keyboard siwtch

The voltage sent by the keyboard can be offset by the Preset Voltage Source when the selected preset is different than 0.

connections preset voltage output
  • Pressure: If your MIDI keyboard can send MIDI channel pressure or aftertouch, it will output the value received through the purple outputs. .
The output of the synthesiser is controlled by two Low Pass Gates (Gate 1 and Gate 2) and two volume controls. (Chan A and Chan B)

outputs low pass gate channels

The two Low Pass Gates act both as VCA to control the amplitude of your outputs and as non resonant low-pass filters.
To get sound out of the output, you must open these gates.

To open these, two ways to proceed:
  • Lift-up the right fader: The sound will continuously output until you lower it. When the sound ouputs, the yellow led will lit up.
  • Send an external control votage to it: To do that, plug a voltage source to it's input and apply a modulation amount. When a voltage is received, the gate opens, lightning up the output led and letting you hear the sound. 
Note: The decay of the Low Pass gates can be adjusted from the effects section.

You can choose the Gate 2 sound source to come from either:
  • The Preamp
  • The Mod Oscillator
  • The Gate 1
output gate2 source

Note: When set from Gate 1, the signal is inverted between Low Pass Gate 1 and Low Pass Gate 2. Consequently, when using a mix of both, some phase cancellation occurs.

The Music Easel is an amazing performance synthesiser where it's keyboard has a very important role.
As the Music Easel V is a software, we decided to compensate this with the addition of the Left & Right Hand sections.

  • The Left Hand section allows to create complex control voltage curves.
    hands left hand
To make these modulation even more alive, you can set randomness on each of your curve points. It will randomly offset the point vertical and horizontal position.

  • The Right Hand section is a sequencer that enables you to generate monophonic and polyphonic sequences 
    hands right hand
Note: Things gets messy ? You can enable / disable the left & right hands thanks to the On/Off buttons on the top right of their logo.
Gravity is the third complementary section that comes in addition to the Left & Right hands.

The Graviry is a little X/Y modulation world where you can launch a ball that will bounce off the horizon walls and will collide/interact with objects placed in it.
This allows to create infinite possibilities of modulation and randomness.

The objects available to modify the path of the ball are the following:

gravity objects
  • Horizon: The borders of the gravity space are called the horizon. The ball bounces on it, and a trigger can be generated when the ball touches it with the impact gate function.
  • The Repellers(yellow): As soon as the ball enters in their force field, it will knockback the trajectory of the ball.
  • The Planets(blue): As soon as the ball enters in their atmoshpere, it will attract and deviate it.
  • The Walls: These magic sticks size can be changed, and such as the horizon, a trigger can be generated when the ball touches it.
  • The Wormholes: Are portals that teleports the ball from the A point to the B point.

(As with the Left and Right Hand you can enable/ disable it by clicking on the little red dot in it's logo top right corner.)

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.