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ASR envelope, complex 6-stage envelope, LFO, 4-step sequence or switched LFO: Stages can be any kind of modulation.
Not because all these behaviors have been pre-programmed in the module, but because it allows you to describe your own modulations in terms of basic operations: ramp from one voltage to another, hold a voltage at a set level, wait for a trigger and slew. With or without looping.
Whether you need one complex envelope, or several simpler modulations, Stages reconfigures itself according to which of its gate inputs are patched. There is always a role for it in your patch.
Really, there isn’t more to the story.
Self-generating chiptunes? Very weird LFO shapes? Random gate delay? Stages probably does strange and wonderful things when patched in a certain way.
The module detects the presence of jacks on its gate inputs to group its segments: whether it is configured as a complex 6-stage envelope, or 6 individual envelopes, or 3+3, 2+4… depends simply on how you patch it. Dummy patch cables might come handy!
When used as a multi-segment envelope, a segment activation signal is produced on all secondary outputs – for example to trigger an external event when an ADSR envelope enters its decay, sustain or release stages.
In case more than 6 segments are required, up to six modules can be chained together thanks to a connector at the back of the module.
A segment, or a group of segments, can loop on itself: if the last segment of the envelope is included in the loop, the loop lasts forever. Otherwise, the loop remains active while the gate is high, then continues past the last segment of the loop. These two behaviors allow the creation of self-looping envelopes (LFOs), or the sustain stage of a good old ADSR envelope!
Even when they aren’t part of any group and don’t receive any gate or trigger signals, individual segments can perform interesting functions: Ramp can loop on itself and turn into an LFO, Hold can delay a CV and Step can slew it.
Now patch a trigger signal: the self-looping Ramp turns into a tempo-synced LFO, the Hold segment becomes a pulse generator, the Step segment a sample-and-hold.