Drone motors make splendidly grungy synth track

There’s no scarcity of methods for synthesizers to generate sounds. Generally, they rely upon one in every of two tried and authentic technology — analog or virtual oscillators. Gamechanger Audio, but, went a completely unique course and grew to become to… Motors (hence Motor Synth). These aren’t the chaotic, gasoline-burning engines you would locate in a truck though. These are eight excessive-precision, brushless motors (like the ones utilized in drones).

So how does it paintings?

Well, it is virtually pretty simple. The vehicles spin at a particular RPM that corresponds with a selected audio frequency. For instance, plug in a MIDI keyboard, press middle C and the vehicles will without delay begin whirring at a frequency of 261.63Hz. To be clean, what you listen whilst you press that button isn’t the actual sound of the motors. (Though they’re, unsurprisingly, pretty audible.) Instead, magnetic pickups are used to seize the electromagnetic electricity thru induction, that is then was musical notes.

The end result is unlike something I’ve heard pop out of a synthesizer before. It’s aggressive and tough, but still very well exciting. There’s a slight herbal waver to the tones this is paying homage to an antique analog synthesizer but extraordinary in a way this is difficult to provide an explanation for.

If this changed into all the Motor Synth did, it might nonetheless be pretty dazzling — if a chunk one dimensional. Gamechanger has some other trick up its sleeve even though: reflective discs that take a seat on top of each motor. Those discs have patterns painted on them, and as they spin beneath a light inside, the black markings also take in heat. The unpainted sections replicate that heat lower back to a fixed of infrared sensors. That records is then transformed into audio alerts — both sine noticed or rectangular waves. They sound an awful lot toward a conventional analog synth however nonetheless have a person all of their very own.

One of the first-rate parts is which you get to peer all of this occurring because there’s a window you may view the eight automobiles via. You can virtually watch as they spin up and slow down in reaction on your playing. Best of all, they’re bathed in an as it should be angry-looking crimson mild.

Beyond this, matters begin to look a good deal extra like a conventional synthesizer — and that’s no longer a terrible element. Because when you’re taking off with an idea this bizarre, you need something to help ground it within the acquainted. There’s a preferred ADSR (attack, decay, maintain, release) envelope, a multi-mode resonant filter (which can be bypassed), a drive circuit for including distortion and a mod section that can add tremolo or vibrato or maybe affect the filter envelope.

The only manage here you might not see on different synths is the accelerate knob (which doubles as a brake). This changes how quickly the cars get up to speed and the way speedy they come backpedal. It might sound barely unusual, however it is essentially a drift manage.


There are a number of specific connectivity options too. There are CV (manipulate voltage) ports for pitch, clock and gate; a 1/4-inch output for line-degree audio; a USB port; plus a popular five-pin MIDI DIN. There’s additionally a 1/4-inch input jack that now not only accepts audio but also can do pitch monitoring — this means that you may play the Motor Synth the use of a guitar, bass or maybe your voice. That stated, we can not make any guarantees approximately how nicely the pitch monitoring will work, in view that it’s not up and running yet.

Now, while you can hook up a conventional keyboard and play the Motor Synth similar to any other synthesizer, the folks at Gamechanger opt to use the 8 buttons at the the front. These can be set to play any scale, making it clean to bang out a melody or bassline, even in case you don’t know the way to play an tool. And they can be either non permanent (notes prevent gambling while you release the button) or latching (notes play until you play new notes). The latter is particularly beneficial for while you switch from free play to arpeggiator mode.

When you are the use of the arpeggiator, you will really want to put the Motor Synth in mono or unison mode to keep away from things getting cacophonous. When in unison it uses all 8 motors concurrently to play every word. The results are chest-damn basslines and leads which are hard to tame. This is surely an tool higher appropriate to more-competitive kinds of digital music like commercial or virtual hardcore. (Is that still a factor?)

If you are going to use the Motor Synth in 4-word polyphonic mode, your first-rate wager is to hook up an outside keyboard. While it is a laugh to jam on the 8-button front panel, it feels limiting when you’re trying to play chords. Be conscious that while you can play pads, they’re going to be unlike something you’ll get on different synths. They’re pretty tough round the rims, but not metallic. They’d likely make for a great horror movie score.

We best had a quick amount of time with the Motor Synth at the Brooklyn Synth Expo. But I’m pretty enthusiastic about its potential for creating one-of-a-type sounds. There’s heaps of intensity left for me to discover and it is nevertheless a preproduction unit, so lots of features aren’t running yet. Gamechanger Audio does not count on to begin transport those till December, so there may be plenty of time to get matters right. And with any luck as soon as it does, we will have the opportunity to do a full review.

But in case you want to be a number of the first to get your hands on one, you may back the Motor Synth on Indiegogo for $899. If you choose to anticipate retail availability, that rate is predicted to shoot up to round $1,299.

Duane Simpson

Internet fan. Zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Alcohol enthusiast. Spent several months exporting UFOs in Jacksonville, FL. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting gravy in Tampa, FL. Spent 2001-2004 implementing saliva in Edison, NJ. Had moderate success getting my feet wet with junk food on Wall Street. Practiced in the art of building Virgin Mary figurines in Tampa, FL. Practiced in the art of marketing Roombas in Phoenix, AZ.

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