JoMoX MBase 11

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The MBase 11 is an improved MBase 01 and apart from the darker fascia, looks almost exactly the same. It is still a VCO-based analog bass drum synthesizer with a lot of control over shaping the sound it creates. For a general overview of the MBase, consult the MBase 01 review.

There are three major new parameters for the MBase 11: Compression, Gate and Metal Noise. It is now also possible to control the volume of the MBase's output and Preset patch memory has been increased from 64 to 100 patches.

The new Compression parameter affects the decay phase of the bass drum, effectively slowing the first half of the decay, and adding sustain to the tail of the sound. If there was one deficiency in the MBase 01 it was a relative lack of tone control during the decay phase. Sure, the LFO could add movement, but the new Compression feature noticeably punches up the bass drum tail.

The new Gate parameter allows further substantial shaping of the attack portion of the bass drum. The gate time can be set between 0.1ms to 16ms. This may not seem particularly wide, but it does make a significant difference to the attack, opening it up to allow more noise in, or shortening it to minimal blips.

The new Metal Noise parameter alters the character of the noise feature, shaping it into something more metallic sounding. Interestingly, the value range does not indicate the amount of MetNze added, but rather the type. The MBase 11 manual describes this as follows: "On values above [000] a complex signal made from high pitch digital multi tones and the bit pattern of the value is created. Each unique single pattern is corresponding to a value number." So don't expect settings 167 and 168 to sound similar as they are in fact quite different. This feature adds a vast amount of depth and color to the bass drum sound and, frankly, makes the 01 model seem somewhat limited by comparison.

The LFO has eight waveform settings: Saw Up, Saw Down, Sine Ascending, Sine Descending, Triangle Ascending, Triangle Descending, Rectangular from Max to Min, and Rectangular from Min to Max. Effectively this gives you only four basic waves (as on the MBase 01), but with the ability to choose their polarity. The maximum speed is still limited to 290 BPM, same as on the MBase 01.

The MIDI implementation has a minor improvement: where the MBase 01 allowed control of only eight parameters via CC, the MBase 11 allows control of another eight, including the Compression and Metal Noise amounts, and now full control of the LFO parameters (the LFO could not be controlled via CC on the MBase 01).

Two minor disappointments are that the output is still unbalanced, but even more frustratingly there are still only ten user patches. Apparently the factory presets can be overwritten but JoMoX mention the flash RAM they reside on has a very limited number of write cycles.

JoMoX haven't made very many changes to the MBase 01, the core of the MBase 11 is very similar, but the additional parameters allow for far more sound shaping. If you already own an 01, upgrading to the 11 may be worthwhile. If you don't own either, the 11 is a substantial improvement over the already powerful 01 and is certainly the one to consider of the two.

Lookup Prices for MBase 11

Demos & Media

Sonic Lab: Jomox MBase11 Bass Drum Synthesizer
JoMoX MBase 11 Analog Kick Drum Module


Polyphony - Monophonic
Multitimbral - 1 part
Oscillators - 1 VCO
Waveforms - Sine
LFO - 1 LFO with Saw, Sine, Triangle and Rectangular. Positive / negative polarity choice for each waveform.
Filter - None
Envelope - 1 VCA with Attack and Decay.
Effects - None
Arpeg/Seq - None
Keyboard - None. 1 Trigger button.
Memory - 100 preset patches, 10 user patches.
Control - MIDI In/Out, Audio Trigger Input.
Weight - 1.1 lbs. (0.5 Kg)
Date Produced - 2009


Images from JoMoX

Review by Casimir's Blake

Reviewed February 2013