Malstrom Audio Mandrake kick drum synth and Arkan dual voltage polarizer modules

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Malstrom Audio, a new Eurorack company from the Netherlands debuts with two modules: Mandrake a kick drum, and Arkan a dual voltage polarizer. 

In my article on the new Busy Circuits modules, I mentioned that new modules or even new Eurorack companies were created/founded almost every day. And that applies here again.

With Malstrom Audio, a new company from the beautiful Netherlands is entering the colorful world of Eurorack. The name reminds me a bit of a Synthesizer in Reason but has nothing to do with it. They start with two interesting modules: a drum synth and a utility.

Malstrom Audio Mandrake

Malstrom Audio Mandrake

Mandrake is a new 14HP kick drum Synthesizer made for creating punchy and versatile kicks for dance, house, and techno music. The module is based on a new analog circuit which is not an 808 or 909 clone. The core uses two different sections, a “hit” and a “body” that are both fully shapable.

The “hit” section consists of a saturated resonating filter to achieve square-like shapes. It generates a short pulse that can be tuned and attenuated resulting in a short click. This will cut through the mix when and where you need it, says the developer.

Mandrake’s “body” part is another resonating filter with slight saturation and filtration to resemble the harmonics of a drum. You can add more saturation to it via uneven harmonics to create harsher tones. From here, it goes into a damping circuit to “filter” the tone. Then, the body can resonate. All this can be tweaked on the front panel.

The sound of the module can be adjusted to suit your music. There are two VCA shapes with different harmonic content and volume decay shape available for shaping your sound. Clever, it also comes with an envelope output to provide a normal or ducking envelope to further sculpt your sound, or to side chain other sounds.

Mandrake also hosts a highpass filter in form of a “clean-up” switch for removing the rumble. Further, it has CV inputs for the accent or volume giving you two options for volume control.

Malstrom Audio ARKAN

ARKAN is the second module release and a special take on a dual-voltage polarizer. These are often used to invert CV signals, especially when it is modulated with a negative voltage. The module offers some features that are very unique for a polarizer. The highlight is the curvature control which is usually only seen in unipolar VCAs.

It consists of two identical channels with a wide range of features. Each channel offers an input attenuator with an inverter, a bias input with attenuverter, and a CV input with curvature control. The latter allows you to shape the polarizer. Then, there is CV modulation control allowing you to set the amount of modulation. It also has useful voltage gain and polarity LED ndicators.

The outputs are normalled internally and externally to easily mix signals. With the right patching, ARKAN is a very versatile multi-function module.

For example, you can use it as a waveform distortion. Once patched, you can either boost and add odd harmonics (symmetrical distortion) or offset it and add even harmonics aka asymmetrical distortion. You can also run it at audio rate, then the module acts as a flexible ring modulator with four timbre parameters

Besides its modulation and waveshaping capabilities, ARKAN is also handy for mixing, scaling, inverting, or offsetting signals.

Two exciting debuts from the new Dutch company. I especially noticed the kick drum module, which has a very neat feature set and sounds very good.

The first Malstrom Audio modules are available now for pre-order and will be available mid-December. Mandrake will cost 379€ and Arkan 199€.

More information here: Malstrom Audio

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