JoMoX MBase 01
Introduced in 2008, JoMoX's MBase 01 does only one thing, but does it well: it creates kick/bass drums using a fully analog voltage-controlled oscillator. All bass drum parameters and sound production are identical to the XBase 09, XBASE 999 and the AirBase 99. The MBase 01 has 64 Preset bass drum sounds ready for use, 10 User presets and full MIDI control to trigger and edit all of its parameters.
The MBase 01 can be played via MIDI in one of two ways: from keyboard-note C1 only with the pitch designated by the patch, or chromatically across an entire keyboard (some pretty hefty bass sounds and synth tones are possible in this mode). It can also be triggered by an external audio sound source, such as a drum sound or trigger pad, or via the "Play" button on the front panel.
The interface feels a touch fiddly at first, but is very easy to come to grips with. All editable parameters are available from the interface and are arranged in two columns. Each column has a set of up/down buttons allowing the user to select a parameter to edit. Only one parameter can be edited at a time via the lone pot, and the current value of the parameter is shown on the 7-segment 3 digit LCD display. The editable parameters include Tune, Pitch, Decay, Harmonics, Pulse, Noise, Attack, EQ and LFO settings.
Most of the parameters are obvious, but three of them in particular deserve further mention. "Harmonics" gradually adds more harmonics to the sound, making it sound a little more distorted or complex. According to the manual this shapes the sound from a sinusoid waveform into a parabolic waveform. "Pulse" changes the attack of the sound by adding a clicking pulse shape waveform which goes to the VCA. "Noise" adds noise of course, but the interesting aspect of this feature is that one can interrupt the Attack and Pulse portions of the sound and replace them with Noise, or mix them together.
The MBase 01 features an LFO which modulates the VCO via four parameters: Wave, Speed, Intensity (amount) and Sync. There are four LFO waveforms: Saw up, Saw down, Triangle and Rectangular. The Speed parameter is set by either MIDI sync or in Beats Per Minute from 41 through 290 bpm. Sync can be free-running or triggered on each key-press, resetting the LFO. This can make it useful as a second pitch envelope.
As one can imagine, the breadth of controls on offer allow for a wide range of bass drums that can be created. Classic 909 and 808 style bass drums are easily possible, as is everything in between—from remarkably clean-sounding minimal blips to hard, banging thumps. JoMoX have since released the MBase 11 which adds further improvements, but the 01 is still a very capable and good-sounding drum synthesizer.
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