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A stage generally refers to a step or a segment within a particular process or module. Stages are often associated with sequencers, envelope generators, or other time-based or control voltage-based processes.

Here are some examples of stages in various modular synthesis contexts:

  • Sequencers: In a step sequencer, each stage represents an individual step in the sequence. A stage can have a specific pitch, control voltage, or trigger/gate signal assigned to it. As the sequencer progresses through its stages, the output values change accordingly, creating a pattern or melody.
  • Envelope generators: In multi-stage envelope generators (ADSR, AHDSR, etc.), each stage represents a different part of the envelope’s shape (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release). Each stage has a specific duration or level, which together define the overall envelope shape and behavior.
  • Switches or routers: In sequential switches or routers, each stage corresponds to a different input or output connection. As the switch progresses through its stages, it routes the signal from one connection to another, enabling complex routing and signal manipulation.
  • Complex modulation sources: In multi-stage modulation sources like LFOs or function generators, each stage may represent a segment of the overall modulation shape, such as individual waveform cycles, rise/fall segments, or breakpoints in a more complex waveform.