Stereo-in, stereo-out multiband dynamics processor and saturator on a DSP platform
Polydactyl Versio is Noise Engineering’s take on a multiband dynamics processor. Designed for timbral processing on individual instruments as well as end-of-chain glue, Polydactyl takes inspiration from Librae Legio’s unique and transparent algorithm and applies it across three bands for maximal dynamic impact. Add in the multiband saturation knob, limiter, and noise gate and you have a processor that gives you ultimate control over the color and dynamics of your sound. Polydactyl Versio is also a DSP platform and can be transformed into a completely different effect by loading a growing number of alternate firmwares, completely free—or program your own firmware with open-source documentation. All info can be found on the World of Versio page here.
- Type: Stereo multiband dynamics processor/DSP platform
- Size: 10HP
- Depth: 1.5 Inches
- Power: 2x5 Eurorack
- +12 V:
- -12 V:
Polydactyl -- from Latin: “many, or more than the usual amount of, fingers or toes”
Versio -- from Latin: “versatile”
On boot, the Versio's LEDs will shine with this color pattern to indicate that it is running the current Polydactyl Versio firmware:
To power your Noise Engineering module, turn off your case. Plug one end of your ribbon cable into your power board so that the red stripe on the ribbon cable is aligned to the side that says
-12 V and each pin on the power header is plugged into the connector on the ribbon. Make sure no pins are overhanging the connector! If they are, unplug it and realign.
Line up the red stripe on the ribbon cable so that it matches the white stripe and/or
-12 V indication on the board and plug in the connector.
Screw your module into your case before powering on the module. You risk bumping the module's PCB against something metallic and damaging it if it's not properly secured when powered on.
You should be good to go if you followed these instructions. Now go make some noise!
A final note. Some modules have other headers -- they may have a different number of pins or may say "not power". In general, unless a manual tells you otherwise, do not connect those to power.
Input & output voltages#
All CV inputs expect
0 V to 5 V. All pots act as offsets and sum with the input CV. The gate input responds to signals above
+2 V. The audio inputs clip around
16 V peak to peak.
Polydactyl Versio has two controls per band:
Ceiling: Increases the level of the signal into the dynamics processor, creating more aggressive limiting.
Room: This is a bipolar control: turning the knob to the left expands the signal, and turning the knob to the right compresses it.
Adjust the Ceiling and Room controls for the Low, Mid, and High bands to change how processing is applied.
- Saturation control. As the knob is turned up, saturation is applied to both the individual bands and the master mix.
- Maxes out all dynamics controls when pressed or when a high gate is sent to its input.
- Noise gate.
- Noise gate is bypassed.
- Some noise gating.
- Aggressive noise gating.
- Band frequency splits. Changes frequency splits of low, mid and high bands.
- In L/In R
- Audio input. If R is not patched, the signal from L is normalled to both inputs.
- Out L/Out R
- Stereo output pair.
- First patches
- For your first patch, use a simple, short sound, like a kick or a snare. Patch to In L, and patch Out L and Out R to your mixer. Center the Ceiling and Room controls and turn Sat to minimum.
- Experiment with different Room settings to change the dynamics of your sound. Try different Ceiling settings to change the frequency balance.
- Turn up Sat to increase distortion and add some flavor to your sound.
- If unwanted noise is accentuated by heavy compression, change the Cut setting to minimize it.
- Hold the FSU button to squish your sound into oblivion.
- Try modulating some parameters like Mid Room with a sequencer or other CV source to create accents on a sound or change its timbre over time.
- As well as excelling at single-sound processing, Polydcatyl can be used for end-of-chain processing over a full patch. Patch your mix into the L In and R In jacks, and patch the L Out and R Out jacks to your mixer. Start with Room and Ceiling controls centered and Sat minimized, then tweak to taste.
Polydactyl Versio’s firmware can be changed to a growing number of alternate firmwares via our firmware webapp.
To update the firmware on your Polydactyl Versio:
- Turn off the power to your case and unscrew PV.
- Remove the power connector on the back of PV.
- Plug a micro USB connector into the port on the pack of the module, and the other end into your computer.
- Follow the instructions in the webapp.
We’ve been trying to get another Versio firmware out for a while but a lot has gotten in our way this year. The truth is that we had a completely different firmware planned for release this fall, but after weeks and weeks of design meetings arguing about features, we were no closer to agreement on it, so we tabled it (this happens more often than you’d think here!). We turned to our next choice.
We have wanted to make a multiband compressor forever, but never had the right hardware / CPU / etc., to do it, so it was just another idea that languished on our very long list of “someday” modules that were in some stage of development with notes and paper designs and concepts but no real hardware for them.
Polydactyl is a tale of two modules.
We announced Virt Iter Legio (then called just Virt Iter) and Desmodus Versio in 2020. We also announced that both products would be platforms, but we hadn’t yet fully developed other items for either. Truth be told, we had many ideas for firmwares, but zero idea how this platform concept would fly. Would it be a flop? Would people like it? We were invested in the path, extremely hopeful, and kind of deer-in-the-headlights about the whole thing.
When we finally released the Legio hardware platform in June 2022, it had been in process for years prior to that, with a load of delays related to parts shortages and other things. By then, the Versio platform had been out for almost two years (ack!) and we knew that people were enjoying being able to change the module into different things, so we knew we wanted to launch with at least two different firmwares so we got to work on options.
It seemed like wrapping our heads around a compressor would be a great stepping stone to a multi-band compressor, and thus Librae Legio, our first dynamics processor was born. Okay, it wasn’t that simple, there was a LOT of arguing (turns out people here have OPINIONS, but it’s always good natured.).
With Librae Legio built, a need for the next Versio firmware, and some major time constraints because of other things we have coming (!!), we decided to try our hand at this multiband thing. We often prototype in software because it allows a fast revision time. We yanked the band-splitting code we wrote for Ruina, and prototyped Polydactyl as a 4-band dynamics processor. One look at the knobs on Versio will tell you this wasn’t designed with the Versio in mind specifically -- we often try to prototype with a platform-agnostic approach so we don’t shoehorn a concept into a platform that should be a standalone product. This was the case here. We played around a fair bit though and realized that three bands on Versio platform worked REALLY well.
This one, thankfully, came together based on the backs of a lot of our previous work but was so much fun to make and play with. And while we know we just released a 6hp, simpler version, we wanted to release this one too for a few reasons: first, we wanted Versio owners to get to try it without having to buy into a new ecosystem unless they wanted to, and second, because we use the two modules really differently! We love Librae Legio for end-of-chain processing. Polydactyl Versio works for this, but we tend to put it on single sounds (or smaller mixes) rather than at the end of the chain. Our last reason for launching it is that it’s just too much fun to keep to ourselves.
We will repair or replace (at our discretion) any product that we manufactured as long as we are in business and are able to get the parts to do so. We aim to support modules that have been discontinued for as long as possible. This warranty does not apply to normal wear and tear, including art/panel wear, or any products that have been modified, abused, or misused. Our warranty is limited to manufacturing defects.
Warranty repairs/replacements are free. Repairs due to user modification or other damage are charged at an affordable rate. Customers are responsible for the cost of shipping to Noise Engineering for repair.
All returns must be coordinated through Noise Engineering; returns without a Return Authorization will be refused and returned to sender.
Please contact us if you think one of your modules needs a repair.