Superbooth 2018: Birdkids Announced CROW Intelligence – New Generative Hardware Interface For Modular Setups

Birdkids breaks new ground and shows on the Superbooth 2018 a futuristic Eurorack controller with which you can do almost anything!

The Viennese company Birdkids has made a name for itself in recent years for excellent analog Eurorack products (Bateleur oscillator, 42HP System…). But it was quiet for a while now, and there was a reason for that! Birdkids has rebuilt the company itself in this time and is breaking now new ground. Away from classic Synthesizer designs, towards futuristic products what belongs to the present time and brings forward the modular world.

On this year’s Superbooth, Birdkids will present the CROW Intelligence, a new generative hardware interface for modular setups with an integrated, cross platform, node based, Patch editor. The module (52hp) is build around three essential points: Perform, Control and Feel.  I had the chance to talk with Michael Beim, CEO of Birdkids already before the Superbooth a bit about their upcoming Eurorack release. 

Overview

Perform.

CROW Intelligence is a hands-on, assignable, high-precision Generative Interface for modular setups (52hp) and external MIDI devices. Sixteen endless rotary encoders with multicolor LEDs and four contextual toggle buttons allow for tactile feedback. A bright, no-nonsense LCD Display provides visual feedback for the hardware-controlled, software-assigned control parameters and their corresponding values. 

At the core of the hardware is a powerful, ARM-architecture processor running a standalone real time operating system. 16-bit precision ADC/DAC networks provide plenty of scaleable CV and binary I/O for any modular setup. The CROW Intelligence is a teamplayer: external class-compliant MIDI and MPE devices can be hosted directly and used as multi-timbral, expressive inputs. All controls are at your fingertips. Intuitive and tactile. Let CROW Intelligence adapt to your workflow and your idea! Focus on the performance.

As a live musician with a modular setup it’s important to be able to connect your beloved controller directly. So far most musicians use classic MIDI to CV interfaces. What improves Cross Intelligence or does it do it differently than just a classic interface? 
“Let’s put it like this, the CROW Intelligence gets you from A to B in the most straight forward way without abstract MIDI to CV workaround considerations. It is a Generative Hardware Interface, meaning it is an generative instrument of direct expression with a customisable interface, not a MIDI controller.
CROW Intelligence integrates into your setup directly, no detours, no abstractions. Each Parameter directly reflects both visually and tactile what you’re shaping. You will never again have to think in some abstract 0-127 values and what their impact in form of CV would mean, with the CROW Intelligence you choose the outcome, scaling and nomenclature in a straight line from A to B.”

As an example: a polyphonic patch where some parameters are mapped to an MPE capable controller? Is that possible or where are the limits of Crow Intelligence?
“Absolutely. The CROW Intelligence provides 4 x 16bit scalable CV outs, 4 x binary outs (think trigger/gate etc..) all of which can be routed wherever your heart desires in any way you choose. And of course in combination with the Group outputs A to D you can connect additionally 4 x 16bit & 4 x binary outs on each group with the CROW XO expander. So that’s twenty (20!) 16-bit CV outs and twenty binary outs to be used at will.”

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