Notes: Killer digital drum machine from the excellent Modor. Six instruments, 128-step sequencer and some of the freshest, most innovative drum sounds we've heard in a long time.… Read more
*** New upgrade - July 2023 ***
Introducing this new upgrade for the DR-2, OS010. Built in cooperation with Berlin-based Canadian electronic music artist Nicolas Bougaieff!
Bougaieff frequently uses polyrhythmic structures, dividing bars or musical phrases of different instruments into different numbers of steps. Have one instrument play 17 steps in the time another instrument plays only 16 steps, or 8 steps in 5 steps, or... Like stretching N steps of one instrument over M steps of a second one, giving them an N:M speed ratio.
He felt that there were only rather limited possibilities in hardware sequencers and drum machines to achieve this.
The process of achieving this was quite challenging, but the result was worth it! This is a very intuitive way to work with polyrhythms, making use of stretched clocks. It is ready for download now on Modor's download page on their site!
Apart from the main sequencer clock, the DR-2 now has 2 polyrhythmic clocks (or 'polyclocks'), called polyclock A and B. Each of these 2 clocks relates to the regular 'main' clock with a certain N:M ratio. The polyclock takes N steps in the time the main clock takes M steps.
Next, every instrument can separately choose a clock:
the main clock,
the A polyrhythmic clock,
or the B polyrhythmic clock.
This means, you can let, for example, a snaredrum play 7 steps while the rest of the instruments plays 8 steps. The 7 steps are stretched equally in time over the 8 steps of the other instruments.
How is this done?
Keep the A or B button down, and set the N:M ratio using the SELECT/BPM (for N) and VALUE/SWING (for M) knobs.
Keep an instrument button A...F down and hit the A or B button to assign that instrument to one of the polyrhythmic clocks. Hit it again to return to the main clock.
The DR-2 is a 6 instrument digital DSP drum synth, with a built-in 128-step drum sequencer. At first sight, it will feel recognizable in some ways. There are sounds that will remind you of the good old classic drum machines, and the step sequencer will get you building drum riffs from the first second you touch it. But Modor uses digital sound synthesis to get beyond the possibilities of a classic drum machine, and the step sequencer does more than just hitting drums...
First of all: although it's digital, the DR-2 is not about sampling. It's a drum synthesizer, like a classic analog drum machine, but it uses digital sound synthesis algorithms instead of analog circuitry. There are no samples in the DR-2, and there's no sample memory.
Just like the Modor NF-1, the DR-2 is not built to recreate the classics of the past. The DR-2 uses digital sound synthesis to innovate drum sounds and rhythms. Many sounds will be recognizable. It is possible to make classic sounding bass drums, snares and rimshots. It's not difficult to program classic floorfillers with the DR-2. But with 12 synthesis parameters per drum, you'll easily find yourself creating your own individual sound.
The DR-2 has 6 drum 'channels', drumsets made of 6 drum instruments. These channels don't have predefined instruments. You can choose freely which instruments you want in your 6-channel drumsets. The DR-2 works with drum 'models', of which you can pick one for every channel. You can consider these 'models', or synthesis algorithms, as a collection of small but dedicated drum synthesizers, of which you can pick 6 to form a drumset. There are models for bass drums, snares and cymbals, but also for some more unusual drum sounds, clicks and ticks.
Every model has up to 12 sound synthesis parameters: Pitch with pitch decay, curve and amount, amp volume with panning, amp decay and curve, and parameters X, Y, Z and T that have a different function in every model, see the table below.
The DR-2 has an output jack connector for each of the 6 channels A-F, and 2 master L/R outputs. If there's no cable connected to a channel output, the corresponding channel is sent to the master L/R outputs. The individual channel outputs are mono, but have a panning parameter to give it a stereo position in the master mix.
But there is more! The A-F output connectors are actually insert points, you can use 6.35mm (1/4") TRS jack connectors to route a channel out of the DR-2, and send it back in if you want. This way, you can use external effects, equalisers, compressors, ... on each of the 6 channels individually, and still have them panned and mixed in the master outputs of the DR-2.
Next to the audio connectors, the DR-2 has 6.35mm (1/4") TS connectors for 24PPQN clock input and output, and has classic din-5 MIDI IN, OUT and THRU connectors.
The sequencer of the DR-2 has a lot more options than just the classic 16-step sequencer. First of all: you can use 32nd notes, so the DR-2 doubles the resolution of a classic 16-step sequencer. The DR-2 has 16 step buttons but you can see 32 step leds on the front panel. Keep the '16/32'-button pressed to access the steps-between-the-steps.
A pattern can use up to 4 of these 16/32-step pattern parts, these can be accessed with the 1-16/17-32/33-48/49-64 buttons. Using SHIFT + one of these buttons sets the pattern length. So, it's actually a 4x32 or 128-step sequencer.
But there's more: each instrument has it's own Accent, Flam, Tuplet, Break and Reverse patterns. Keep the ACC, FLAM, SHIFT+FLAM, BREAK or REV button pressed while using the step buttons.
Width: 440mm without rack ears, 480mm with rack ears (19")
Height: 267mm (10.5"/ 6U)
Depth: 40mm (front) - 80mm (back)
Weight: +/- 6kg
9V, 600mA adapter connection, positive voltage on center pin
MIDI IN/THRU/OUT connections, 3x 5-pin DIN connection
Clock In/Out connections, 2x 6.35mm mono jack
Audio Instrument Outputs/Inserts, 6x 6.35mm TRS or mono jack, unbalanced
Audio Left/Stereo output, 6.35mm TRS or mono jack, unbalanced, capable of driving headphones
Audio Right output, 6.35mm mono jack, unbalanced