The people at Moog Music aren’t content material simply making ridiculously enjoyable synthesizers, iPad apps, and results containers for inventive musicians. The firm now’s dipping into percussion—it is latest product, introduced right now, is a drum machine referred to as the Drummer From Another Mother.
Well, hold on. It’s not precisely a drum machine. It’s a monophonic, semi-modular, analog percussion synthesizer. That’s so much to unpack, however what that you must know is that once you swap on the DFAM and begin twisting the knobs, it makes actually cool artificial drum and percussion sounds—deep throbs, hypersonic plinks, and every little thing in between.
The DFAM is monophonic, so by default, it could actually solely output one sound at a time. Meaning, you possibly can set it as much as play a kick drum sample, or a snare drum sample, or a tom-tom sample, however not all three directly. Most drum machines are polyphonic; they’ll replicate all the sounds a human drummer would make sitting behind a drum equipment. The DFAM, being monophonic, is extra restricted. But as any musician will let you know, with limitations come better prospects for experimentation. By utilizing the modular patch bay on the proper facet of the DFAM’s face plate, you will get it to squeal and yowl and chirp and make all types of noises that do not sound something like common drums. The voicing will get fairly dynamic, too, in order that apparently you’ve got acquired two or three sounds operating as an alternative of simply the one.
I’ve spent a while with the DFAM up to now couple of months (Moog Music provided it as a DIY equipment at its Moogfest convention, and I used to be invited to solder one collectively in a workshop) and one of many nice joys of the machine is that you do not actually need to know something about drum programming to begin getting some attention-grabbing tones out of it. That’s largely as a result of it does not look or work something like a daily drum machine. It has knobs and patch bays the place most beat makers would have tap-pads and LCD screens. Anyone even barely acquainted with the right way to make a synth go “bleep” will really feel at dwelling.
After you get a fast lay of the land, you possibly can rapidly start constructing patterns. Dial in an excellent beginning sound, then run it by means of the DFAM’s sequencer—it is eight steps, and every step has its personal velocity and pitch controls. As your chosen sound bounces by means of the steps, you may make it go up and down in pitch, or develop louder or get softer. For a synth able to producing just one voice at a time, it has an expressive and dynamic palette.
“I don’t call it a drum machine,” says Moog Music senior engineer Steve Dunnington, the DFAM’s lead designer. “It doesn’t really say ‘drum’ anywhere on it.” Dunnington began sketching out concepts for the DFAM on the finish of 2016, then went by means of just a few prototypes earlier than bringing the DIY model to Moogfest in May 2017. After that hobby-style equipment went over properly with convention attendees, Dunnington and his workforce set about constructing a model of the DFAM for the patron market. Now, you should purchase one for $599.
About the humorous identify. If you are a Moog fan, then you already know concerning the Mother 32. It’s a semi-modular synth related in perform to the Drummer From Another Mother, and the 2 machines are the identical form and measurement—therefore the motherly love within the naming. They could be linked collectively through their matching cable patch bays in order that they sync up and run on the similar tempo. A typical use case could be to jot down a bass line on the Mother, then sync up a DFAM (or three) to finish your robotic rhythm part. The DFAM additionally has inputs, so you possibly can plug in one other instrument, synth, or sampler and use that to set off your percussion sounds. There are a ton of choices, and no proper or flawed option to make the most of them.
“I don’t like to think of these things as being dogmatic,” Dunnington says. “You have to explore.”