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TipTop Audio

Z-DSP Cartridges

Z-DSP Cartridges

FX Algorithm Expansion Cartridges for use with Z-DSP Eurorack effects module

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Z-DSP Cartridges
FX Algorithm Expansion Cartridges for use with Z-DSP Eurorack effects module

An assortment of interchangeable cards, programmed by Tiptop Audio and specialists like Valhalla DSP, provide a wide range of boutique effects algorithms such as Halls of Valhalla, Time Fabric, Clocked Delays and Grain De Folie. Tiptop Audio also offers blank Z-DSP cartridges and a development tool called NumberZ for developers, students and power users who want to design their own effects and cards with the FV-1 DSP chip programing language. Blank cards can be loaded using programs that are freely available for non-commercial use and can be found in the modular community through online forums. With each card swap, the Z-DSP takes on new effect algorithms, changing like a digital chameleon and bringing colorful digital effects processing to your Eurorack setup.

Mariana Trench

Mariana Trench is a FDN card for the Z-DSP. Feedback Delay Networks (FDNs) are built around multiple delays which are connected to their inputs thanks to a feedback matrix designed for its stability and lossless properties. FDN can mimic the recursive process of sound waves bouncing back and forth in an acoustic space. They were first suggested for artificial reverberation by Michael Gerzon (1971) and later John Stautner and Miller Puckette (1982) introduced four-channel FDN reverberator with general stability conditions. FDN can also be used as a special case of digital waveguides, they can be tuned, or also used as complex delays. The Mariana Trench Z-DSP cartridge is designed to explore these more unusual sides of the FDN algorithms. Mariana Trench Z-DSP cartridge is designed by Christophe Duquesne Anckorage – Haken Audio developement team – La Voix du Luthier

Mariana Trench User Guide

Halls of Valhalla

The Halls of Valhalla is a reverb cartridge for the Tiptop Audio Z-DSP. The cartridge contains 8 original reverb algorithms, custom designed for the Z-DSP and the Eurorack environment. Voltage control over reverb decay, tone, and modulation allows the user to create reverbs ranging from small rooms to large halls to near-infinite decays.

The Halls of Valhalla brings the artifacts of fixed point digital signal processing to the forefront, resulting in a thickness and warmth that evokes the classic digital gear of the 1970s through the early 1990s. The goal of the algorithms is not to evoke physical environments, but rather to create unreal spaces that range from subtle to bombastic, from light to dark, with a lushness that turns simple input sounds into rich orchestral washes. The Halls of Valhalla brings the Valhalla DSP aesthetics into the hardware world: Minimalist interface, Maximalist sound.

Valhalla Shimmer

The Z-DSP Shimmer cartridge by Valhalla DSP has 8 original algorithms, designed to combine lush reverberation with multiple voices of pitch shifting, to create ethereal pads, rich chordal textures, dissonant clouds of sound, and a variety of other sounds that are perfect for electronic music. The algorithms are customized to work with the Tiptop Audio Z-DSP.

There are 6 reverb algorithms in the Z-DSP Shimmer cart, arranged in order of complexity:

Fast Shimmer: A modulated reverb that quickly decays away into an endlessly pitch shifting tail. The shift interval can be set between +/- 12 semitones. Perfect for that classic “octave up” shimmer sound.
Slow Shimmer: Similar to Fast Shimmer, but with a much slower attack.
Dual Shimmer: Two pitch shifted voices, embedded within a larger modulated reverb network, shifting the reverb decay in both positive and negative directions. Try slowly sweeping the Shift control in this mode for ridiculously cinematic sounds.
Triple Shimmer: Two pitch shifted voices embedded within the reverb decay network, plus a third voice external to the network. This allows the user to have a reverb with +12 and -12 semitones of feedback, plus a stable +7 semitones voice without feedback.
Quad Shimmer: Four pitch shifted voices feeding into a lush modulated reverb. This allows for a variety of dissonant and consonant chordal textures, with the max Shift setting corresponding to a rich major chord.
ClusterVerb: Four pitch shifted voices embedded within the feedback network of a modulated reverb. The result quickly becomes dissonant or metallic. Perfect for insta-Ligeti, or Penderecki In A Box™.

In addition, the Z-DSP Shimmer cart features 2 special effects algorithms:

Quad Detune: 4 short pitch shifted delays, feeding back on each other. A variety of chorus, detuned, and dissonant effects can be obtained through this mode. Turn up the Feedback for maximum fun.
PitchEcho: A single pitch shifting voice, combined with a tape echo emulation = sound mangling joy. Turn up the feedback for barberpole self oscillation, and sweep the decay time for all sorts of swoopy glitches.


BitROT Bit Manipulation is a card for the Tiptop Audio Z-DSP Cartridge is a collection of 8 waveform-combination and bit-manipulation effects for the Tiptop Audio Z-DSP module.

Written by Segoh, the effects cover everything from ring modulation to distortion, with special attention being paid to each effect having consistent control parameters allowing for usage of the Z-DSP’s sequential program control in a more musical way.

Tape Echo

Tiptop Audio
Tape Echo for Z-DSP
Design by: Tiptop Audio
Type: Z-DSP Effects Card
Character: Analog Tape Echo, Dub, Slapback, Feedback Delay Trails

TAPE ECHO by Tiptop Audio brings classic tape based delays to the Z-DSP effects library. Eight expressive algorithms which emulate analog tape machines and the producers that inspire Tiptop Audio.

With Tape Echo you can do it all—recreate space echo dub sound of Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby or dig deep into the gritty and endless saturated repeats favored by dub experimenters like Basic Channel and Boards of Canada.

So wide in its functionality, playability and natural in its sound, Tape Echo sits comfortably amongst the greats of the Roland RE-201 Space Echo, Copycat and Maestro Echoplex all while having a unique character of its own.

From wobbly tape to stereo pong, Tape Echo comes with a multitude of expressive settings and presets that allow you to recreate virtually any style of analog echo or magnetic tape delay or invent your own sound when you adjust the fidelity of the Z-DSP clock!

Tape Echo for the Tiptop Audio Z-DSP is a joy to use. Precision control of the Frequency, Filter and Feedback are clear to read with the Z-DSP display, plus corresponding controls make setting delay times by ear easy and fun to do like it’s predecessors.

Dragonfly Delay MKII

Dragonfly MKII is a set of eight voltage-controlled, time-based delay effects for the Z-DSP. MKII features advanced delay programs with added filters and additional taps spicing up the original set of Dragonfly programs.

With up to 1000ms of delay time and feedback control on each program, the Dragonfly MKII is perfect for deep, stereophonic, spacey washes of sound covering all delay effect duties within a modular and more.

The external feedback loop on the Z-DSP let you feedback through other modules like filters, VCAs or just about any other module to further process the Dragonfly repeats.
Hook up a Z3000 for a variable clock of the DSP processor chip to mess up the algorithm’s processing speed, shifting from clear digital repeats to grungy lo-fi warbles, this is where binary DSP bits meet up with the organic analog circuity of the Z-DSP.

The Dragonfly Delay contains the following algorithms:
Mono in Stereo out L/R Tap: Two taps on a mono delay time.
Mono in Stereo out Lowpass + Feedback: Two delay taps with LPF in feedback.
Mono in Stereo out Highpass + Feedback: Two delay taps with HPF in feedback.
Mono in Stereo out Right Ratio: Selector for ratio of Right delay time to Left.
Mono in Stereo out Ping Pong: Two tap delay from Left to Right with LPF.
Stereo in Stereo out L/R Delay: Independent delay lines on Left and Right.
Stereo in Stereo out Highpass + Feedback: Two delay lines with HPF in feedback.
Stereo in Stereo out Lowpass + Feedback: Tow delay lines with LPF in feedback.

Dragonfly Delay MKII User Guide

Grain De Folie

Granular Synthesis uses small slices of sounds (grains) to compose new sounds from existing material. By combining multiple grains of differing lengths, amplitude, pitch, and speed, new sounds are created which are often very different from the original sound recorded in. Xenakis claims to have invented the technique and, indeed, his “Analogique A-B”, composed of tiny tape splices of pure tones, is credited as the first piece of granular music back in 1959.

In the context of the Z-DSP, a block of memory is set to hold digital samples for playback: the Z-DSP has one second of memory for the audio used in processing. From this audio buffer, the grains will be sampled and modified for playback with the number of grains determining how dense the overall output sounds. These programs have 3, 4 or 6 grains for playback. Each grain plays from a random point in the audio buffer and have an independent envelope controlling their duration. The envelope time is the “grain size” parameter in many of the programs.

The French phrase for the cartridge is “Grain de Folie”, which could be translated as “seeds of madness”, but in French “grain” also translates to “grain” and “madness” evokes the strange disassembling/reassembling granular process. Also, “avoir un grain de folie” is a typically expression to describe people behaving in a non-conventional way, thus a fitting play on words that quite nicely describes the unpredictable nature of this set of algorithms.

Grain De Folie User Guide

Time Fabric

It fucks with the fabric of time!” Tony Visconti describing pitch shifting to Brain Eno and David Bowie in 1976. That not so subtle description does quite neatly sum up what the Pitch Shift programs on the “Time Fabric” card can do!
Pitch shifting in the Z-DSP uses a technique called “rotating tape head” delay lines named after pioneering tape based experiments in Germany in the 1960s. The tape heads move at speeds independent of the tape playback path and two heads are crossfaded to make a continuous output capable of beautiful pitched delay effects, harmonization, and smooth reverbs.

These pitch shifting algorithms are much like the earliest digital pitch shifters released. Sounds similar to the eventide H910, AMS 15-80 (with pitch board) and Publison DHM 89 can be achieved. These programs are intended more for pure effects rather than the complex, multiple harmony lines later devices and plugins became known for producing. Chords can easily be made from single VCOs using the “Interval” programs on the card, though.

Using a Z3000 to clock the Z-DSP, complete chaos from the delay lines and pitch shifting emerges, creating great and unexpected new sounds. Modulating the stereo pair of analog VC-Feedbacks animated the times and distance of the pitch shift opening up these algorithms for additional control from CV and audio signal alike. of menu pages.

Time Fabric User Guide


Chorus effects for the Z-DSP thicken incoming sound and create animation within the sound’s harmonic structure. In addition, they provide an excellent tool for mono to stereo processing of any incoming sound, or even a whole mix, producing a stereo widening effect.

The card contains eight digital algorithms inspired by a set of the most classic analog chorus effect ever made, hardware like the Dimension D, Solina String Ensemble, and other very rare devices. True to the modular spirit, the control parameters offer a wide range from subtle and smooth to fast LFO modulation and sea sick wobbles, with a lot of sweet spots in between.

Using the Z-DSP’s own stereo analog feedback path to apply feedback to the effects results in beautiful, lush, and organic animated drones. Using those feedback inputs as an additional 2 input channels of direct injection into the DSP chip, the Z-DSP can take up to 4 external sources for generating impressive stereo drones with a classic chorus touch. The end result is a great tool for the design of atmospheric sounds completely contained in the modular environment.

Chorus User Guide

Clocked Delays

Clocked Delays are a collection of eight stereo delay programs that let you sync the delay time of the Z-DSP to an external clock input.

With a quick set up, the clock input easily and exactly synchronizes the delay repeats to external rhythms generated by the Trigger Riot, Circadian Rhythms, or other clock sources. A Divide parameter is included with each program to switch between different divisions of the stereo ratios, creating a spatial audio clock divider which automatically matches the repeats to a beat. Feeding the clock input odd clock divisions from a module like the Trigger Riot has the interesting effect of moving the repeats in relation to the beat.

When it comes to their sound, some of the programs feature a pristine classic delay lines, while other programs insert a colored band-pass, low-pass or high-pass filter into the feedback loop, imparting a beautiful harmonic transition to the repeats as they feedback through the filter and slowly decay away. Using the Z- DSP’s analog feedback path adds an additional voltage-controlled stereo feedback which can slightly drift the repeats out of their tight sync to the incoming clock, due to the DSP chip latency, and also extend the delay tail intensity up to self-oscillation. Controlling the Z-DSP’s DSP chip speed externally via the Clock jack can even devolve everything into glitchy out-of-sync binary chaos.

Clocked Delays User Guide

Spring Waves

Spring Waves brings a set of physical behavior modeling algorithms to the Z-DSP. It dives deep into experimental digital sound design techniques known as waveguide synthesis, which was first developed in 1998 by Julius O. Smith III of Stanford University by building off of Karplus-Strong synthesis. In addition, there are two spring models and space synthesis: making real Newtonian physics calculations at sample rate.

The principle behind these algorithms is a mathematical feedback formula excited by external signals which self-oscillate as a damped tone. The type and harmonic content of the external signals these algorithms can react to is extremely wide and so are the tones that they can impart to a sound.

The card contains six Karplus-Strong and two spring models. When fed with an external pulse or bursts of noise they self-oscillate, creating synthetic sounds similar to glass, springs, bells, and a variety of string tones. When structured sounds like high pitched FM tones, drones, drum sounds, and vocals pass through they get a harmonized-type effect, frequently with unexpected results. This card is anything but standard as it takes the natural “springy” artifacts of digital audio, and, instead of fighting to eliminate it, actually makes use of it as a new source of sound inside the modular.

Spring Waves User Guide

Blank Cartridges

The Z-DSP blank cartridges are rewritable memory cards for use with Numberz and the Z-DSP with up to 1 million erase/write cycles. These cards are made of printed circuit board with two (2) memory chips soldered on their bottom side providing low-cost, non- volatile memory for Z-DSP programs and display data.


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