A relatively unknown guitar pedal manufacturer blew some minds, including mine,
at the recent Superbooth 2019 with a unique twist on Subtractive Synthesis. What was so different than any other synth at the show? The Oscillators are fricking Motors!! That’s right, those sounds are being generated by little servo motor discs revved up to specific speeds to generate specific pitches. Any notion that this is some gimicky concept that will be buried under some other unique synth is immediately dismissed once you actually hear it in action.
I must admit that when I heard about it I thought two things: 1 it was a silly, needlessly avant garde creation that people with too much money would only want and 2, it was gonna cost a butt load. I humbly admit I couldn’t be more wrong.
Though the final price tag of $1299 is not cheap, it’s currently offered at only $799 as a preorder option through there indigogo page. They’ve already blown past their goal by a lot so have no doubt this thing is coming.
If you are into sound design, industrial music or just love making aggressive, mechanical noise this thing is for you. However, after hearing this beast be tamed with the onboard filter, subtle modulation and delayed attack/release, I have no doubt it is capable of so much more than harsh, in your face sonic blasts. In fact, I love writing hauntingly pretty music (kinda like Terminator soundtrack stuff) and I imagine using this all over the place.
Man, had I just literally not ordered an Elektron Digitone, I would probably preorder today. If you’ve got the funds, I highly suggest taking the plunge. This literally is a game changer.
Check out the specs:
VOICEsection for waveshaping each Voice 1 and Voice 2:
-Waveshape selector between 3 forms of optical waveshapes and one inductive “Motor” sound
-One-knob ADSR envelope which controls 4 analogue VCA’s for each voice. Selection between ADSR by pressing the knob.
-Acceleration and Brake control for Glide.
FILTERBlock for both Voices, Voice 1, Voice 2 or bypassed.
-Drive before the Filer
-Multimode Resonance Filter
-Each voice can be bypassed separately
MODSection can modulate voice envelopes (trem) or pitch, and the filter.
KEYBOARDSection features unique and extremely playable inputs controls
8 keys can be set to any scale, latching or momentary
4 knobs to adjust the frequency of the 2 keys below the knob, the step of adjustment can be limited
Mono, Poly and Unison modes
AUTOSection features Arpeggiator, Sequencer and Loop mode. The unique Loop is designed to work similarly to using a loopstation.
MASTERand PRESET Sections for general control,
ALL PARAMETERS can be digitally controlled, saved and recalled.
ALL PARAMETERS are MIDI controllable via CC messages
OLED DISPLAY for greater control of the instrument, for programming and all else
1/4 Jack Input for audio signal + pitch tracking
1/4 Jack Output with line level audio
Headphone Output (yet to be implemented)
Two 1/8 Jack Send Outputs for sending each voice separately before the filter to external effects
(if demanded) Two 1/8 Jack Return Inputs to either return the external effects loop before the filter or add external sound sources
MIDI via 5-pin and USB
1/8 Jack CV in/out for Pitch, Clock and Gate
1/8 Data Sync for future connectivity with other devices, such as external CV matrix or another Motor Synth
THERE’S EVEN MORE
PLAYABILITY, INSPIRATION, SOUND is what makes instruments great, This is the main focus of everything in the MOTOR Synth.
ELECTROMOTORS being its main sound source, MOTOR Synth inherently possesses many unique sound traits that will appeal to many musicians that favour analogue electronic instruments and synthesizers in particular. Put it this way: with its unusual tonal and timbral qualities, unlimited microtonal pitch adjustment and modulation abilities, and note attack and decay properties influenced by the acceleration and deceleration curves of electromotors, MOTOR Synth works well across a wide range of musical styles.
PITCH TRACKING can make MOTOR Synth act as a harmonizer for electric guitars or other melodic instruments, recognizing the pitch of a musical tone and instantly generating a complimentary tone by operating an electromotor at a matching frequency. Furthermore, users can create intervals and chords based on the frequency of the incoming signal with no need for a MIDI controller or inputting preprogrammed musical information.
STROBE EFFECT through the protective glass cover above its core sound system enables users to receive visual feedback from the instrument itself by being able to see those spinning electromotors in action. But better still, the visual experience is enhanced by the visible set of reflective optical disks attached to the electromotors’ shafts being coupled to a set of eight mini strobe lights, so those spinning disks themselves turn into a hypnotic light show,