Andrew Morelli from SSF (Steady State Fate) has been teasing a preview of their forthcoming Entity Percussion Synthesizer.
It’s a Eurorack module that shares the look of their Bass Drum Synthesizer (BDS). In place of the envelope section at the top there’s a row of 4 knobs – Delay, Decay, N-Decay and N-level. According to a comment on Instagram the Delay knob is a trigger delay for the main sound – great for snares apparently. Watching the video the “N” knobs seem to be all about noise, which is something you wouldn’t find on a bass drum synthesizer. Otherwise, the layout and the arrangement and function of the patch sockets remains more or less the same.
Assuming it follows the design of the BDS you have control over the simulated tightness or looseness of the drum head with the “Body” knob., pitch and harmonics. There’s a knob for “Ring” which controls the resonant decay time, and also FM level which is used for modulation. The handy “Ping” button lets you demo the sounds without a trigger source.
The Bass Drum Synthesizer goes for around £335 so that might be a good indication of price.
I reached out to Andrew for more information, just to see if we could tease out any more details ahead of the official announcement. And he was very forthcoming! Here’s what he said:
I approached this design with the same philosophy; 100% analog percussive synth voice using high grade components with attention to maximum versatility, accurate pitch tracking, multi-functionality and of course; fun to play! Most of the sound shaping controls (with the big knobs) are the same as the BDS – Body, Pitch, Ring and FM Level. The saturation control is replaced with a harmonics control which uses a custom wave folder to add harmonic content to the resonator. This is especially useful for snare sounds but also offers a wide variety of sound possibilities for other percussion sounds as well as synthy stabs etc.
The output section is a bit different, where there is no xfade function like on the BDS but rather a switch that allows the user to use the internal main resonator sound, a mix of the internal res and an external signal or just an external signal. This opens up the sound pallet even more by allowing external VCOs or other sound generators to be processed through the resonator, folder and finally the VCA. This design makes use of a band-pass resonator rather than the low-pass resonator in the Entity BDS.
The Rise/Fall envelope generator is replaced by two VC decay envelopes generators. One for the main sound and one for the noise. Each can be voltage controlled separately if desired – for instance we can trigger the noise with a different or related timing than the main impact sound and/or vary the dynamics of each using their respective CV inputs for envelope decay and vca dynamics. The volume level for the noise (N-LEVEL) is also independently adjustable. Three noise types are selectable, White, Pink and Filter. The filter noise mode processes the white noise output through the resonator, wave folder and VCA – allowing all the parameters for the main sound to affect the noise as well.
The last feature is the novel DELAY control. This is a trigger delay than will delay the activation of the main sound up to roughly one second. This was always a feature I wanted to add as it really opens up the variety of percussive sounds. When it comes to snare sounds, this feature can emulate the effect of hitting the drum rim and head at different times and simulates distance from a listener to the drum. It is also very useful for fine tuning a percussive sound when sitting in a mix – where sometimes another sound can drown out the snare and it adds a bit of thickness when using it like that. The other important use for the delay control is for making claps and snaps, especially when running the noise in filter mode. I have also included a DUCK output as on the BDS for ducking VCAs when the main impact envelope is triggered.
Hoping to have these available within the next few months with a price tag similar to the BDS.
The SSF website can be found here.
Please enjoy the video and see what you think of this new source of modular percussive bliss.