It's that time again! Time for Modular of the Month! This time our purveyor of patches and synth savant, Phin Head introduces us to the Audio Damage: ADM17 Proton!
I love Karplus Strong. So do you. If you’ve ever clapped your hands in an unfurnished room or a concrete corridor, chances are you’ve heard a kind of brrrrrrrrrrrrapp! sound, called a ‘flutter echo’. Karplus Strong is a flutter echo in a box. You put a short burst of noise (like a clap) through a delay effect and you get a sustained note when you make the delay time short enough, and crank up the feedback. The pitch of the note depends on the delay time, and the length depends on the amount of feedback and also whether you filter each delay that gets fed back.
This ‘tuned delay line’ form of synthesis is named after its inventors, Kevin Karplus and Alex Strong and is amazing at making metallic string sounds: much better than standard VCO > VCF fodder.
Anyway, I've been weighing up KS modules for some time. Honourable shouts out to Dave Smith Modular’s brilliant DSM03 and of course Mutable Instruments’ classic, the marvellous Rings. But for me, for pure organic interactivity, the winner is the ADM17 Proton.
While the delay line is digital, the whole thing feels completely analogue: immediately responsive, full of personality-rich nonlinearities, and totally intuitive. You can do anything metallic and stringy with it, from bowing some gargantuan steel machine to King Kong thumb-popping the suspension wires on the Golden Gate Bridge, and if that wasn’t enough, it’s also a pretty dope CV-able delay stretching to around 5 secs delay time.
There’s independent damping on both the exciter and the delay line, it tracks 1v/oct really well, and even better, because this is Karplus, it’s a complete synth voice for £250 - you don’t need the additional VCF, EG and VCA, that’s all built into the nature of KS synthesis, inside the module.
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