This project is comprised of several drum synths, with a unified, coherent approach to both sound and visual design.
Apart from conventional controls for drum synthesis, this collection of modules includes novel and innovative processing possibilities. For instance, the Harmonics Processor adds even, odd or a blend of partials based on the fundamental of the signal.
A multitude of controls and options allows for detailed and in-depth sound editing.
The KDS-I is a modern kick drum synthesizer with an intuitive user interface, geared towards quick, and sometimes surprising results. Extensive controls make this an all-rounder when it comes to modern kick drums. However, its true strength is creating low-end heavy, distorted kicks.
The Sound Generator creates the fundamental of the kick, with a range between 30Hz and 100Hz. The amplitude of the fundamental is controlled via the Sine and Saw parameters. At high settings, these controls can distort the signal.
The Output dial at the very end of the signal chain adjusts the signal back down to safe levels. The amp and pitch envelopes shape the sound, with visual feedback, draw and reset functions.
The Harmonics section adds partials to the fundamental. As discussed, the partials are either even, odd or a mix of the two, and are based on the fundamental of the kick. Freq can detune the partials and Res controls their resonance.
The Noise Generator section consists of two independently filtered noise generators with two amplitude envelopes and a hi-pass filter. The noise signals can be used to add high frequency transients, as well as for thickening the sound with a subtle noise layer.
The mixer section controls the volume of both the Sound and Signal Generator, and includes the Sub control, which can add distortion. The last element in the signal chain is a Waveshaper from a Cycling ’74 tutorial. This module splits the signal into three frequency bands for multi-band waveshaping and editing.
The KDS-I was designed to emulate the organic distortion found in tubes and similar analog components when they are overdriven. The integration into a modern, sample-based production environment produced some undesirable artifacts. For instance, drawing in the waveshaper module creates high-frequency clicks. Also, the preset menu doesn’t work as intended yet.
The next module in the Drum Shaper series is the snare drum synthesizer, SDS-I. Like the kick drum synth, the SDS-I incorporates many common and a few unconventional concepts and controls. While it excels in distorted, aggressive sounds, the SDS-I is capable of producing a broad palette sounds.
Core features of the Drum Shaper series, such as the intuitive user interface, the Harmonics processor and variable gain-staging are all found in the SDS-I. The Harmonics section works in the same way as in the KDS-I: even, odd or mixed partials are added to the fundamental, while partials can be freely detuned without changing the fundamental of the snare.
The second component of the SDS-I is the Noise Generator, which consists of two identical noise generators with independent amplitude envelopes. Contrary to the KDS-I, various filter modes and frequencies are available to shape the sound of the noise generators, which greatly increases the available sonic repertoire.
The Mixer section controls the levels of Tone and Noise, as well as the overall level of the signal before it’s passed to the Level section, which controls the output level of the instrument, as well as presets. Several volume parameters allow for variable gain-staging and all the sonic freedom that comes with it.
The SDS-I expands the Drum Shaper series with another powerful, intuitive drum synth that’s capable of a broad range of sounds and can be tweaked to suit different genres and styles.