Intellijel Semi-Modular

If Intelljiel were to make a 0-coast style desktop semi-modular, with smaller, somewhat limited versions of the current modules normalled together, what would you like to see in it?

For control, I’d definitely combine some of the functionalities of Metropolis/Metropolix, steppy, shifty, and tetrapad/tete, but not with as many pads/sliders. It could be possible to combine all of their various overlapping abilities into a single hardware. I might change the tetrapad’s current layout into a ribbon controller-like strip along the bottom of the thing. I’d definitely include a mini quadrax, maybe only one or two units. Either that, or a full quadrax, but with only one set of knobs for space. It would be essential to have everything share only one screen and encoder, but the screen could be bigger than what we currently have since depth wouldn’t be a problem in a self-enclosed semi-modular. A zeroscope sleep-state for the display would be easy.
Multifunction button-lights are already within the scope of what Intellijel does, and are an obvious must. I would also have some multifunction sliders, that could either be mapped to cv outputs, change the Metropolix sequence parameters the way they already do, or perhaps control a mixer/vca. If possible, I’d make them motorized sliders.

I’d definitely have a lighter Plonk engine, with fewer menu parameters, or multiple parameters combined. A Dixie (or a lighter version like in the osc1u) would of course be a must. I haven’t played with any of Intellijel’s filters, so I have no idea what to use there. As far as effects go, a limited Springray, with one hardwired spring tank, would be an easy addition. A single-knob wavefolder would be nice. A rainmaker would be amazing, but I’m sure my ideas are already running out of space. Then again, it could be all a part of the combined UI.

The only other thing I’d personally want is a mid/side encoder.

This might be all too much for a single desktop semi-modular, but it could be cool to have it broken up into two or three the same way the Moog Mother-series or the Make Noise ones are.

What do you think? What would you add?

1 Like

Sounds like quite a beast! It would have to be quite large and expensive to accommodate all of those features. I think with a standalone unit it’s better to think of something small and focused rather than trying to fit the kitchen sink into it.


I think the idea of the compact semi-modular is really dependent on the values of the designer. Fundamentally, these boxes are about compromising to create something marketable to a broader/less-invested demographic. These modules sell very well, of course, because they are easily digestible - and arguably intended to be a gateway to get the buyer into something deeper.
I started into modular with a Roland System-1m. I was so frustrated with it, that I had replaced it within two months with real modules (mostly Intellijel and Instruō)… but it was a gateway into modular. If I wanted that Roland sound, I would have been better off with a Roland 500 system.
If I read Intellijel correctly, it would not make sense to create a semi-modular unit like this. The closest thing they have to a Semi would be Atlantis, which is quite specifically a modular adaptation of an SH101 (if not better than), not a diluted “greatest hits”. although… If you mated Tetê+Tetrapad or a Metropolix with Atlantis, you would have a considerably more powerful sequencer/mono-synth than a Mother-32.
For a lot of the Intellijel modules you mention, creating a “light” version of it to fit into a Semi would lose the benefits of the design. SpringrayII is not just s spring reverb - it is a fully configurable, modulatable, reverb laboratory with 3 spring tanks. Plonk would lose it’s soul if it didn’t have the facilities to create models and modulate their parameters. Remove the programability and modulation capabilities of Rainmaker, and you probably could just buy an Eventide UltraTap pedal… yes, I am oversimplifying ;-).
But each one of the modules you mention, is the sum of its parts. Without all of those parts, it loses what makes it Intellijel.
I am currently running a complete “No-Coast” collection of Intellijel: Dixie2+/Rubicon2/Bifold/Mixup/Quadrax/KorgasmatronII/QuadVCA. I just couldn’t imagine how to scale it down to anything smaller without losing a large part of it’s versatility, utility or complexity. It is a chameleon: It is a huge stacked mono voice; a modulated, evolving stereo voice; four interrelated minimalist voices; a wavefolded Complex Oscillator Thru-Zero FM monster… a Buchla 200, a fat Moog, an MS20, or an ARP. And I can perform with it using Planar2, Tetê and Tetrapad.
It is modular.
I think Intellijel’s approach, especially with 1U, means new modularists can get into this affordably (relatively), without the dead-ends and compromises of the Semi approach.