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Buchla 259e Twisted Waveform Generator

How twisted can things get? With Buchla 259e, the answer is—pretty twisted! This coveted dual oscillator module is the first-ever officially licensed plug-in version of a Buchla product. While the unit can be used for traditional synth patches, its unusual inner workings makes Buchla 259e excel at metallic, cold, harsh, digital and screeching sounds. Buchla 259e is an add-on module for use with Modular.

The Buchla 259e Twisted Waveform Generator plug-in for Modular features all the digital waveshaping, aliasing noise and foldover frequencies of the original hardware. Enjoy the self-modifying, screeching, snarling responses from the original's downright odd inner workings. The 259e is a unique addition to the Modular ecosystem.

The Twisted Waveform Generator is one of Buchla's many complicated and mysterious modules; even after using it so many times in so many ways, I keep finding new sounds and processes. I honestly did not expect a digital version to, somehow, capture the richness of this maverick device. But, Softube has, amazingly, captured everything I have, so far, imagined about the oscillator. The Twisted plugin is now an important element in my Buchla + Computer performances.

Morton Subotnick, Artist, Synthesist and Musical Pioneer.

What Is a Twisted Waveform Generator Anyways?
The 259e consists of two separate oscillators—Principal and Modulation—where Modulation can be used either to modulate the Principal oscillator or as a separate generator of audible notes. Furthermore, the sine wave generated by the Principal oscillator is simultaneously applied to two of the eight available waveshape tables. A morph voltage pans between the two tables and a warp voltage varies the amplitude of the sinusoidal (driving) waveform. Both these functions can be modulated by the Modulation oscillator.

Coming from a staunch, obsessive analog Buchla tradition I was skeptical about a virtual 259e. But Softube has knocked it out of the park.

Todd Barton, Buchla Legend

Here's Where it Gets Really Twisted
Three of the waveshape tables are actually not tables in the classical sense—they are simply portions of the 259e operating program, full of unpredictable noise and frequent silences. This is the innovative Mem Skew mode, possibly the most unique feature of the Buchla 259e. When these tables are selected, the FM controls are re-assigned to table scanning functions and the FM inputs become table modulators.

To sum it up, while the Buchla 259e can certainly be used for more traditional sounds, it excels at creating otherworldly twisted digital sonic landscapes. Which is why it is one of the most coveted synth modules on the market.

Three years ago I purchased a Buchla Easel and it really changed the way I compose my music. The Softube Buchla 259e makes me not miss my Easel too much while travelling.

Andreas Tilliander, Producer, DJ, remixer and artist.

Here you can check out the original hardware module:
buchla.com​/product​/259e-twisted-waveform-generator

In Short

  • Unique and desirable oscillator
  • Perfect for screeching, harsh and digital sounds
  • Can also be tamed to sound quite smooth and organic. Can morph smoothly between these softer sounds and the more in-your-face sounds
  • The digital parts are ported from the hardware line by line, the wavetables byte by byte, and the analog parts are modeled component by component
  • The first-ever officially licensed Buchla plug-in
  • Requires Modular

Buchla 259e Twisted Waveform Generator sound examples

An assortment of sounds made with the Buchla 259e add-on for Modular

Buchla 259e Twisted Waveform Generator sound examplesAn assortment of sounds made with the Buchla 259e add-on for Modular
Buchla 259e product video
Click to show Morton Subotnick

The Twisted Waveform Generator is one of Buchla's many complicated and mysterious modules; even after using it so many times in so many ways, I keep finding new sounds and processes. I honestly did not expect a digital version to, somehow, capture the richness of this maverick device. But, Softube has, amazingly, captured everything I have, so far, imagined about the oscillator. The Twisted plugin is now an important element in my Buchla + Computer performances.

Morton Subotnick, Artist, Synthesist and Musical Pioneer.

Click to show Todd Barton

Coming from a staunch, obsessive analog Buchla tradition I was skeptical about a virtual 259e. But Softube has knocked it out of the park.

Todd Barton, Buchla Legend

Click to show Andreas Tilliander (photo: Daniel Karlsson)

Three years ago I purchased a Buchla Easel and it really changed the way I compose my music. The Softube Buchla 259e makes me not miss my Easel too much while travelling.

Andreas Tilliander, Producer, DJ, remixer and artist.

Click to show Robin Rimbaud a k a Scanner

The Buchla 259e emulation is truly a dream come true. Comparing it to my 200e hardware in a blind test was remarkable, and most encouragingly the wild untamed nature remains. It's just as unpredictable and otherworldly as the original!

Robin Rimbaud a k a Scanner , Producer, DJ, remixer and artist.

Click to show Andreas Tilliander (photo: Daniel Karlsson)

I've recently recorded some tracks with my Buchla system and when I listen back, I can't remember if it's the Softube Buchla 259e or my Buchla hardware being the sound source. Pure love.

Andreas Tilliander, Producer, DJ, remixer and artist.