Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
January 22, 2016
by Chris Randall
Day One of NAMM is in the books, and we've unveiled our four new hardware products. First up is ADM14 BoomTschak (or "BT," as we call it. We're hip to brevity at AD.) This is our first 100% analog product. Not a single line of code. Our motivation was to create a quality high-end analog drum voice, and I think we hit this one out of the park. Accent and choke inputs, a stonking self-resonant multi-mode filter of our own design, three envelopes with curve controls, and a waveshaper give this thing a wide palette. It is a real bruiser, and since it will join Sequencer 1 at the top of our ecosystem, you'll be seeing a lot of it here and in my Instagram feed. We haven't got all the quotes in yet, so we're not 100% on what it's going to cost, but we feel like $450 is attainable, despite the ludicrous parts count. (It has 16 knobs on it, for the love of all that is holy.) We should be shipping these in about 6-8 weeks.
This little fella is DubJr Mk2. It's basically DubJr, at a much higher build quality, and with all the features that people have asked for since the original was released. (Was it 4 years ago? Wow.) Tap tempo, clock input, selectable "free" or "jump" times, and a feedback loop cover all your clocked delay needs, in a 6HP package. Like all of our 6HP effects, this will be $289, and will be shipping in about 3 weeks.
Aaaaand ADP01 Fluid and ADP02 Freqshift. These are stereo guitar pedals. They have true analog bypass, assignable expression pedal destination, and custom laser-cut steel chassis. Having done my time on stage, I know what a bullet-proof pedal needs to be able to take, and these are as tough as they come. ADP01 Fluid is a direct descendant of our super thick 6-delay chorus in our Fluid plugin, with the alterations present in the ADM11 Dimensions Eurorack module. (There already is a Dimensions pedal, so we just named it what it is, Fluid.)
ADP02 Freqshift is a derivation of our original Freqshift module, with alterations for the stereo guitar pedal context. I have never personally really bothered with frequency shifting as an effect in my music, so I was unprepared for what this thing can do. Adam did a hell of a job with the DSP on this one, and it is a super useful and unique effect that can go from the widest, deepest stereo phaser you've ever heard on up to insane screeching and pure industrial craziness. Every guitar player that came to our booth yesterday went "holy shit..." when I kicked that bitch on.
These will be shipping in about 5 weeks, theoretically, but as this is our first foray in to pedal manufacturing, we're approaching it with some caution. I'd rather they took a little more time and we got them absolutely right. So we'll see how that plays out. These will be $290 each.
Anyhow, as for NAMM itself, Eurorack has gone complete honey badger. It seems every company that makes anything is making a Eurorack version of that thing. I haven't really had a chance to wander about aside from our immediate area; hopefully I'll have some more time today to look around. I did have a good long play with the new DSI Obie, and it is a thing of beauty. Very excited to get one of these. Much like the Prophet 6, it is quite easy to get those classic sounds you'd expect to be able to get from an OB-Mx or that ilk, along with all the modern conveniences and some surprises. I'm calling that one a "win." I also had a fiddle with the new MakeNoise desktop synth, the 0coast. I think you should put that in your "must buy" folder. Tony really hit that one out of the park. Simple, inexpensive, and with a tonal range that isn't, to my knowledge, occupied by any other company.
And we soldier on. Day Two starts in an hour.
October 31, 2015
by Chris Randall
You can tell it's fall in Arizona when the leaves turn beautiful shades of red and orange, and there's a crispness in the air... Just kidding. The only way I know is that my seatbelt buckle doesn't give me 2nd degree burns when I get in my Jeep. But fall and winter traditionally means we start releasing the stuff we've been working on all year at Audio Damage, and this fall is no exception. (In point of fact, it is exceptional!)
First out the chute is pictured above, ADM12 Neuron. It is an all-in-one drum voice with a simple FM topology. After acquiring the Dinky's Taiko and Basimilus Iteritas modules, I found myself still using several modules to patch kick drum and snare sounds I was happy with. (Nothing against either of those modules whatsoever; I like them both for more out-there percussion sounds. Particularly BI.) So we took the Neuron voice from our Axon plug-in, altered it to broaden its tonal range and make it more capable for traditional drum synth sounds, and shoved it in a 12HP package.
The result is a nice little drum voice that we're particularly happy with. Hit the product page for specs and an overview video. I'm actually taking a break from retail-packaging the first batch of these to write this post. They're on the way to our Galaxy Of Retailers starting today, and will be available in the AD store at the end of next week if you want to order direct.
Next up, it's been no particular secret that we're working on non-Euro hardware. This turned out to be surprisingly difficult. Euro has a pretty set-in-stone standard for look and construction, and known suppliers, and you work within those parameters. When we started examining stand-alone products, well, things got hairy quick. But this summer's labor is beginning to bear fruit, and we will definitely be showing our new line of Audio Damage pedals at NAMM in January. We hope to show three different pedals, but that might be optimistic. This has proven to be a surprisingly difficult and time-consuming operation.
Interestingly, most of the difficulty and time consumption resulted from the fact that I just can't stand those Hammond boxes that most boutique pedals come in, and wanted our own folded steel chassis. It turns out that you need to know quite a bit of mechanical engineering to cause such a thing to be created, and since I had two years of mechanical engineering classes in high school in the 80s, of course I was up to the task. But lo, and furthermore hark! My brother-in-law works at Baer, which is (literally) right up the street from us, and he loaned me one of their engineers. Then the fine folks at Cutting Edge Manufacturing here in Phoenix took those drawings and tuned them up a bit, and then BLASTED SHEETS OF STEEL WITH A 4000 WATT LASER! (This shit is so fucking cool, I don't even.)
The first article is pictured above. These things are so tough you could drive a tank over them. I don't know about the rest of the thing, but the chassis will definitely survive the apocalypse. The guts are digital, of course, but feature true bypass (done with relays), assignable expression pedal destinations, and true stereo where appropriate. I think the non-Euro folks are gonna be very pleased with these, and as we get a WORKFLOW in place to build stand-alone products, you'll start to see some more sophisticated shit, in addition to our ever-expanding Euro line.
October 20, 2015
by Chris Randall
Eventide has finally released a native version of the Anthology suite of plugins. About half of them have been native for a while, but it's nice to have the whole set. They might seem a bit quirky to people that didn't spend every waking hour in a recording studio in the 80s and 90s, as most of the plugs are directly modelled on the Eventide Clockworks hardware equivalent, but that said, in many cases there is no equivalent commonly available. If you make IDM, in particular, this is a desirable collection; many of the plugs have Richard Divine presets that are essentially "Instant Autechre." (In point of fact, several of his presets are named as such directly.)
H3000 Factory is my favorite of the set. I use it when I'm closing in on the end of the production process, and there is a hole in the arrangement. You can run pretty much any sound through this plug, and just skip through the presets until it sits.
Caveat Emptor: I did the UI update for Ultra Reverb, and partial design for Octavox and Quadravox. (Ultra Reverb is another special member of this collection. Reverb as a creative tool, rather than a room-maker.) There's a 30-day special on this package for cross/upgrading that you should definitely take advantage of. For the price, probably the single best bundle of plugs available. 'Tis here.
May 24, 2014
by Chris Randall
We unveiled this module this morning at the Muff Wiggler / Trash_Audio synth meet in Portland, and here's some info on Sequencer 1.
The astute among you will notice a passing similarity to the Elektron Analog Four, and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we're flattering the fuck out of those guys with this little bitch. Here's some vital statistics:
• 36HP, 20mm depth.
• 4 banks of 16 patterns, each pattern can be from 1 to 64 steps long. The entire state (all banks and patterns) can be saved to SD card as a preset, so the memory is essentially unlimited.
• Clock input can be per step (like any other sequencer's clock), or 24ppq or 48ppq for DIN sync (via a simple 5-pin DIN -> 3.5mm adaptor). Clock output can be a staggering number of choices, which is handy if the unit is acting as the master clock. The Run input can be operated a couple different ways, as can the output. In short, it can interface to pretty much anything clockish, and can in turn drive pretty much anything in a clocklike fashion.
• Each step gets a 1v/Oct output, three CV outputs (that can each be either 0-10v, -5 to +5v, or 0 to +5v), a main gate output, and an auxiliary gate output. Gate length is programmable per step.
• The playback modes are forward, reverse, pingpong, pingpong with double end triggers, skip forward, walk, and random. This is programmable per pattern.
• There are several ratcheting features; you can program a ratchet of various lengths per step, or you'll note the 6 buttons labeled "REP." These will repeat, in order, the last 8, 4, 2, or 1 steps as a loop, or cause the step you hit them on to repeat in half or quarter time. (In the same manner that the MIDI triggers in Replicant work, basically, if you own that plugin.)
• As I hinted before, SD card for storage and OS updates.
There are many other deep features that I'm not able to talk about at this point. Our goal is to make the single most sophisticated sequencer available for Euro, and I think we've accomplished this already, let alone what we're adding as we go along. We haven't finalized pricing yet, or availability. We're hoping for US$599.00, and about two months. But both those numbers are subject to change.
March 29, 2014
by Chris Randall
Like the subject says, our little algorithmic reverb module is now available for purchase at Analogue Haven. US$189.00. Other stores coming soon. The manual is on the AD site.