Pharmasonic Sy-Core, Sy-Core Plus, and Sy-Core MK2

Although I already had an original Pearl I was keen on having more modular expandability of its sound, so I was thrilled to see Pharmasonic offering kits for a syncussion Eurorack module. I ordered the Sy-Core kit (first version) without the Env/LFO-submodule and got it working immediately (except for Mode F). The build thread on Muff’s was also very helpful, with Moudlart_JP (who runs Pharmasonic) being quite active there.

Sy-Core kit including rare parts and all

Sonic differences between the Pearl SY-1 and the Pharmasonic are marginal in my opinion, which is one reason why I later passed on the Pearl. Here is a blind test between both on Mode A.

CV Extensions and MK2

Not long after, Pharmasonic offered a little CV extension module, called Sy-Plus, but giving up 4hp in my case was not much of an option back then, so I analysed the PCB pics and used the lower half of an unbuffered mulltiple for adding VCF and VCA CV and decay CV. While being at it I also exchanged some capacitors with styroflex versions (as in the original), but if anything, the difference was only in my head.

Sy Plus PCB
Sy-Core PCB with filter, env and VCA

Eventually I became so hyped about that CV-extended Syncussion sound that I went for the revised Sy-Core MK2 (which has also a hotter output and more), but the “old” Sy-Core is still on my shelf.

Sy-Core MK1

As regards other offerings, I can’t say much about how the Pharmasonic compares, yet I take it that my interest in the THC and Psycox versions as an indicator that im pretty happy as is. The Sy-Core is one of my go-to modules when making tracks and the first port of call when I’m after non-808ish kicks. The ability to play it chromatically over the whole range and also using external CV for filter cutoff and VCA level, however, make it so much more.

Here’s a demo of the SY-Core acting as a bassline in different contexts:

Sy-core basssss

Here’s a soundcloud playlist containing demos of Modes A-E on my Sy-Core Mk1. And, as also posted on the SY-1 page, this track here is made entirely of Sy-Core sounds.

Sy-Core MK2

Now (summer 2021) I just became curious about some more potential modifications and started mapping some schematic for them. Toying around, I was most delighted to find that a crude form of VCO sync is possible and sounds awesome!

sy-1 mods
vco sync mod (can be done for vco 2 too, of course)
Sy-Core MK2 in Mode A with sync on VCO1