At Soundmit 2020 Modor show the DR-2, a new 6-channel drum Synthesizer fully packed with the latest drum synthesis DSP and a groovy 128 step sequencer.
I continue with the news from the virtual Soundmit 2020. The sympathetic Belgian manufacturers of Modor also have something new at the start. Who doesn’t know the company: they’ve become known for their intersting NF-1 & NF-1M digital synthesizers.
Now they dedicates themselves to powerful drum synthesis.
Modor’s new product is called DR-2 and is a 6 instrument digital DSP drum Synthesizer aka drum machine. It’s digital and completely relies on digital synthesis, no sampling and no sample memory. It uses digital sound synthesis algorithms for the sound generation instead of classic analog circuitry. Very good move especially because there are only a few drum synths on the market. Each drum channel can host one of 15 different drum models aka synthesis algorithms that are specially designed for drum and percussion sounds.
There algorithms for a wide range of different sounds: bass drums (drive bass drum, noise bass drum, square bass drum), different snare drums (basic snare, marching snare, analog snare), cymbals (hi-hats, ride cymbal, crash cymbal), claps, toms (analog toms, tenor drum), and miscellaneous (rimshot, rattle, cowbell). The developer even promises more drum models via firmware updates. They have one advantage: they are much more flexible and versatile than samples.
Sculpt Your Drum Sounds
With 12 synthesis per drum model, that are many, you’ll easily find yourself creating your own individual sound. Available are pitch with pitch decay, curve, and amount, mp volume with panning, amp decay and curve, and parameters X, Y, Z and T that have a different function in every model. So the DR-2 is not only a drum machine but also a powerful tool for creating drum sounds from scratch.
According to the manufacturer, you will find classic drum machine sounds in the DR-2, but thanks to the different drum models you are not limited to these. The drum horizon is infinite.
Modor DR-2 features a built-in 128-step drum sequencer controllable via 16 step buttons on the interface. However, it does not limited the visualisation to only 16 steps. It uses 32nd notes which doubles the resolution of a classic 16-step sequencer. Each of the 16 steps has two LEDs instead of one on the front panel. This gives you an overview of the steps that go beyond the 16. A pattern can use up to 4 of these 16/32-step pattern parts, these can be accessed with the 1-16/17-32/33-48/49-64 buttons. Using SHIFT + one of these buttons sets the pattern length. So, it’s actually a 4×32 or 128-step sequencer.
Then, each instrument has it’s own accent, flam, tuplet, break, and reverse pattern. Tuplets and reverse are especially exciting elements. The first creates double hits of a drum and the other makes the envelope generators run backwards. Using theses gives you a lot of creative tools or creating natural feeling grooves or even crazy experimental drum patterns. Finally, there is a Swing and a separate Swing32 parameter to alter the timing of the 16th and 32nd notes.
Bring Variation To Your Sound
Modor goes one step further in terms of versatility and lets you decide whether the DR-2 sounds the same or different every time. With the alpha(α) and beta(β) functionality, each of the 6 instrument can have two different versions. This means, you have two instances of a drum sound that differ not only in the parameters but also runs on a separate sequencer line. Soundwise, they are canceling each other out.
Second option to bring variation to your drum patterns is the velocity/accent function. You can add velocity or accent on the instruments volume, and on 1 other parameter, each with their own velocity sensitivity. If you like it wilder, a randomizer is available with which you can randomize a parameter for every instrument at note start. That sounds very exciting, I have to admit.
The DR-2 has an output jack connector for each of the 6 channels A-F, and 2 master L/R outputs. If there’s no cable connected to a channel output, the corresponding channel is sent to the master L/R outputs. The individual channel outputs are mono, but have a panning parameter to give it a stereo position in the master mix. Thanks Modor, single outputs are a must for such drum synthesizers. But there is more to discover.
The A-F output connectors are actually insert points, you can use 6.35mm (1/4″) TRS jack connectors to route a channel out of the DR-2, and send it back in if you want. This way, you can use external effects, equalizers, compressors, … on each of the 6 channels individually, and still have them panned and mixed in the master outputs of the DR-2. Next to the audio connectors, the DR-2 has 6.35mm (1/4″) TS connectors for 24PPQN clock input and output, and has classic din-5 MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU connectors.
KiNK tested the devices and built some groovy, fat patterns.
All in all, Modor has presented a very nice device. Not only an eye-catcher but also a very strong engine. Since it is based on drum synthesis and not samples, it makes it all the more exciting in my opinion. I look forward to the first reviews.
Modor DR-2 is available now for 1750€ (VAT included).
More information here: Modor
A very exciting drum machine… Just when I was thinking I’d get a Pulsar-23, this comes out. I really like the reverse feature. (I have a Sequential Tom which was the first with that, though it plays a sample in reverse.)
The price will put it out of reach for many… But it is def a wow machine…
Sounds like the Model:Cycles. Mostly weak and weedy little sounds – although maybe its just the demo programming to blame? Also, can automation be recorded? Looks to be no in the Kinks demo.