Although it may appear similar to the classics XBASE 09, 999 and 888, the ALPHA BASE has an entirely new design under the hood. We have put in the concentrated know-how of the Jomox drum machines and of our synths of the past 20 years. We have simplified some things, but also added new components or have combined them new. The outcome is the best sounding and most versatile drum machine that Jomox has ever built.
The center instrument still is the analog kick drum which has gotten a facelifting again. The legendary punch and assertiveness of all Jomox kicks is convincingly continued. LFO, pitch envelope, metallic noise and gate time are famous features that may not and do not miss out.
As a second analog instrument, we have put in a complete MBrane voice. It covers a gigantic spectrum of analog snare drums, percussions, cow bells, claves, glasses, toms, bass drums etc. etc. It uses the technology of the Mod.Brane11. Of course, this instrument has 2 own LFOS, pitch envelopes and metallic noise as well.
The succeeding six instruments are built hybridly and consist of samples that are run through real analog filters and VCAs. Each analog sample channel has an own metallic noise that alternatively can be used as a signal source or being mixed to the sample.
With metallic noise only, it becomes a pure analog instrument again. Four channels make use of a multimode filter that is capable of resonance - again they can be used as true analog instruments with the self-oscillating filter as the only sound source if you wish.
Two of these six channels are reserved for hi hats and make use of a proven and improved HH filter that was used in the XBASE 999 already. It is specialized for analog hi hats and may conjure wonderful noisy hi hats from a sample mixed with metallic noise.
Clap, Rim, Crash, Ride
The succeeding four channels have each a resonateable 2-pole multimode filter that can be switched between LP, HP and BP. The filter cutoff can be modulated by an ADSR envelope and an LFO per instrument. If the filter is self-oscillating, one can create wonderful analog toms, claves, sticks etc. by means of the VCA envelope behind. Or even extremely bend samples sonically. By principle, each of the four MM filter sample channels is a little synth voice of its own. A sampled synth bass run through the analog filter is nearly indistinguishable from a real analog synth.
X Sample 1+2
Moreover, there are two sample instruments that work purely digital. It's even possible that the Alpha Base can sample external audio on these channels for about max. 5 seconds. Which is more than enough for drum samples. The recorded sample can be stored on SD card or being copied to the internal flash memory and then being played back by the other sample channels. Samples can also be copied from SD card into flash memory. The format is RAW/WAV mono 16 Bit / 48kHz. The internal organization divides samples into fixed memory slots that can be addressed by the parameter sample select in the instruments. All samples can be pitched and modulated in a wide range. The sample start and stop can be edited and they are loopable as well. Modulation targets are: pitch, filter cutoff and volume. Each channel has an own LFO for that.
As a little digital gadget we have added a mini FM synth. With 4 operators and maximum 6 voices it can create weird and crazy percussion sounds up to simple chords. Played over an external midi keyboard, it can be used as a polyphonic synth.
Two digital effects are on board: delay and reverb that act as send/return effects. Each of the analog instrument outputs has an own A/D converter. The delay effect can also being inserted into the 6 hybrid sample channels and becomes then part of the sound production chain. The reverb can easily being killed by an encoder click but is indeed a great advantage for life performances with minimal equipment. Reverb times may reach to almost inifinity, and the damping filters act quite extremely so that the reverb meets the requirement of modern electronic music and can be an essential part of sound.
For the editing of parameters there are 16 encoders arranged in a 4x4 matrix. Each instrument only addresses two pages by 16 values to make the editing as easy as possible, without deep menu cursors. The 24x2 character display can show 4 parameters at a glance.
The sequencer is made up as a 16 step running led sequencer and has 11 tracks. Each track has a maximum number of 64 steps, means four measures at a 16th resolution per measure. By the bar switch your can switch between the different measures.
The actually played number of steps is being controlled by function Last Step – for instance 32 for two measures, 48 to obtain 3 measures a.s.o. There is another great feature here: each track has its own Last Step, reaching from 1-64! That makes it possible to create complex rhythmic figures, because a track with e.g. 28 steps starts to shift a quarter (=4 steps) against the other 32 step tracks for each measure. That gives you the possibility for incredibly interesting rhythmic compositions with easiest means!
You can edit shuffle either per track or globally. Also a roll and flam function can be triggered on specific steps. The roll/flam-patterns can be chosen for every track individually - there is a wide variety of simple double hits to 3,4-fold rolls or even 12 retriggers at your choice.
Each track and step can sequence the instrument's pitch and one extra parameter.
The pitch track can be easily turned on and off with the button „Seq“.
In Seq Mode you can also program single parameter changes for individual steps. These can be every accessible instrument parameter or even whole instruments recalled from the preset-list per step. One holds a step key and changes the desired value, which programs the P-lock into that desired step.
Neighboured patterns can be easily chained by the Chain function in order to create simple song structures. Whilst in Chain mode, you hold both the desired step buttons (that select a pattern within 16 tracks) and create a pattern chain that is stored along with the actual first pattern.
The ALPHA BASE has Midi In/Out/Thru and USB. As a USB Midi device you can seamlessly integrate the drum machine into the DAW. Midi clock sync or Clock Master let you perfectly sync the machine to the DAW. Each of the 11 instruments is played over an own midi channel and is being played by pitch and velocity. Of course, every of the internal parameters is controllable via Midi(USB) CCs and each internal knob transmits the actual CC via Midi(USB).
There is a simple 2-port DIN sync (5 Volts signals run/stop and clock) integrated into the Midi jacks , that may help you setting up with ancient DIN sync units a la TR-808, TB-303 and more.
All outputs are balanced and yield a professional level of up to 22dBu (balanced mode). Punch and sound go together with a physical high output level. The internal analog supply range is an uncompromising +/-15 Volts. Opposing to the 999 we returned to an analog mix out volume potentiometer because it is simply easier to use and sonically neutral.
© Jomox GmbH 2017