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Mod Squad: Jomox Mod: Base 09 and Mod: Brane 11

June 30, 2014
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Drum modules that will make you punchy

Jomox has expanded its line of percussion synths into the Eurorack scene with the ModBase 09 Bass Drum Module and the Mod.Brane 11 Percussion Module.
Analog percussion synthesizers are an important part of the beat producer’s kit. Enduring favorites among the pros are the Jomox MBass 11 and M.Brane 11. These desktop drum synths produce juicy tones, are MIDI-controllable and, best of all, store more than a hundred presets.

Recently, Jomox reconfigured both products into Eurorack modules—the ModBase 09 Bass Drum Module ($539 street) and the Mod.Brane 11 Percussion Module ($579 street). The result gives you extensive voltage control over parameters while retaining the sound and feature set that made these instruments so popular.

Shared Features Both modules share interface characteristics such as eight knobs to control parameters and a value wheel and buttons for selecting presets. Just as you could with the desktop synths, you can control and store all of the analog parameters with MIDI—in this case, up to 100 presets. On the back of the modules you’ll find a MIDI port, allowing you to control several modules at once by cascading connections inside your synth case between the modules.

Each module has a trigger input for use with drum pads, as well as four CV inputs that can be freely assigned. A dedicated linear FM input is also provided. The gate inputs can handle up to 15V and can be inverted or set to respond to an S-trigger. A pair of internal LFOs, each offering eight waveforms to choose from, is available in each instrument.

Eventually, you will also be able to take advantage of an internal analog bus that can be used to interconnect Jomox modules via a digital link. This is intended to make things easier if you’re using the modules as part of a system with drum triggers. The digital linking will also allow for a submix and an effects-send mix from each of the modules on the bus to the other products that are in development.

All Your ModBase Instant kick-drum gratification is yours, thanks to the dedicated knobs for tuning, pitch, attack, decay, harmonics, pulse, noise, and EQ. Three of these can also be used to select the waveform, speed, and intensity of the LFO.

Scrolling through factory patches, I came across kicks that were low and punchy like a real bass drum, as well as tight and modern like a drum machine. Modifying them to taste from the front panel was easy. But you can get some really crazy sounds when you modulate the parameters. You will definitely want to use a subwoofer to hear the full frequency range that the ModBase 09 is capable of.

Insane in the M.Brane Intended as a generalized percussion module for creating snares, toms, and cymbals, the original M.Brane 11 modeled the behavior of two vibrating membranes, hence the product name. Jomox did this by using a pair of coupled oscillators that were similar to resonant bandpass filters—they call them T-bridge oscillators—followed with bipolar dampening to create its palette of sounds.

The Mod.Brane 11 module uses a pair of 2-pole filters (referred to as F-oscillators), with individual tuning and dampening controls that limit the resonance range, as well as individual knobs for coupling the oscillators in different ways. Additional controls add noise and shape its decay. You can add white noise or “multitone metallic” noise, or blend the two types. As with the ModBase 09, three of the knobs can be used to control the internal LFOs. Together, these features help you create drums, hats, and other percussive sounds that span from vintage to contemporary, natural-sounding to synthetic.

Both modules are inspiring to use, in part because they’re so easy to program from the front panel. Dig a little deeper, and things get more exciting. The only drawback is that you’ll want to add more Mod.Brane 11s to fill out your drum kit. Modules like this should come with a label: Warning! Highly addictive!

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