Not sure how much people were following coverage of Superbooth 2023, but as always lots of manufacturers unleashed a glut of new modules and prototypes to think about. One that struck my eye was Toptop Audio’s ART system, which was attempting to address the ever-present problem of eurorack polyphony. (More detailed info here).
Basically, they’ve started two different projects at the same time, and their modules will mostly support both at the same time, the same way some modules have both cv/gate and midi inputs. The first project is the ART digital protocol, which is like MIDI, but designed specifically for eurorack. It drops the clunky configuration and setup that midi always seems to carry with it, as. well as the many “extras”, instead just pitch gate and velocity. Interestingly, it will be universal pitch and things “mostly won’t need tuning”. 40x faster, higher resolution for data, and most importantly it transmits over a regular patch cable (but not interchangeable with regular signals). I’m very interested to see whether it becomes a Tiptop-exclusive gimmick or if other manufacturers will embrace it, and with what level of enthusiasm. It’s too early to say, but it could be exciting.
The second project tiptop’s working on is more analogue, and much more exciting to me personally. It feels like a “well, duh. Why hasn’t anyone tried it before?” idea. Instead of using TS 1/8in jacks for transmitting a single signal, tiptop’s polyphonic modules will be using “polytip” cables, basically cramming 8 wires into one using usb-c connectors. There will also be bidirectional converters similar to the octalink 1u. The tiptop polyphonic modules will be a mix of ART-controlled with mono regular outs, or modules that are essentially eight identical (completely separate) basic functionality modules (vca, filter, envelope generators), stacked behind a single panel and using the polyphonic cables. This is something I’ve been wanting for a looong time, and even theorized going about it the exact same way. Polytip compatibility, regardless of whether the ART protocol takes off or not, is something I feel Eurorack needs and will be adopted in modules from other manufacturers over the next couple years, and I’m excited for it.
The digital ART protocol is too early for anything but speculation, but that’s why I started this thread. What Intellijel modules would you most be excited to see an updated converted version (for polytip, ART, or both)? Personally a 8-channel quadrax sounds like something I’d kill for. What new modules would you be excited to see embracing these design ideas? (obviously 1u polytip converter tiles will be coming)