Drum modules that will
make you punchy
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.
|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.
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
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!