Error Instruments Unveils the Passive Operator: A Unique, Noise-Driven Drum Synthesizer

by Madonna

In the realm of electronic instruments, the requirement for electricity is almost a given. Whether it’s drawn from a power outlet, a battery, or the modern USB-C interface, these devices rely on an energy source. Challenging this norm, boutique manufacturer Landscape, renowned for creations like the HC-TT and Stereo Field, has presented Noon, an experimental drum synthesizer that operates entirely without electricity.

The concept of a passive, electricity-free drum synthesizer is further explored by Paul from Error Instruments with the introduction of the Passive Operator.


A Glimpse into the Passive Operator

The Passive Operator, encapsulated in a robust aluminum bricky format, defies convention as a one-of-a-kind drum synthesizer that operates independently of an external power supply. Boasting a minimalist design with four potentiometers and 23 sockets, this unassuming box opens up a world of unconventional sonic possibilities.


Similar to its predecessor, Noon, the Passive Operator embraces an all-passive analog design, deriving its sounds from triggers, gates, and control voltages (CV) provided by external gear.


The external signals, which exclusively power the generation of sound, enter the Passive Operator circuit through the “WTF in 2x” input sockets on the left side. These versatile inputs accommodate CV, gate, trigger, and even audio signals, offering users precise control and modulation capabilities for crafting intricate rhythmic patterns and dynamic soundscapes.

Exploring Creativity through Patching

The Passive Operator features a mixer section at its core, serving as a central hub for creatively combining signals and discovering new sonic landscapes. Complementing this is a patch matrix, equipped with inputs and multiple outputs for triggers and CVs, enabling users to experiment with both internal and external patching configurations.

Furthermore, the patch matrix grants complete control over the four potentiometers, providing a platform for nuanced sound tweaking. A dedicated section for plugging in electronic components adds another layer of customization to the drum synthesizer’s character. A touchpad on the right side offers a tactile and expressive means of delivering captivating performances.

A Sonic Adventure

The Passive Operator beckons users into the realm of sonic exploration, eschewing the use of memory or presets. Instead, the synth encourages experimentation through patching, resulting in highly experimental sonic landscapes — from bizarre rhythmic sounds to drones and electronic whirring.

First Impressions: A Gateway to Sonic Experimentation

In the universe of Error Instruments, the Passive Operator stands out as a captivating experimental drum synthesizer, offering a tempting allure for musicians seeking noisescapes, unpredictable rhythms, circuit-bent-like sounds, and more. While its unconventional and noisy nature may not appeal to the masses, it undoubtedly captures the attention of experimental musicians looking to push the boundaries of sonic exploration.


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