Malstrom have announced the release of two new Eurorack modules, the Mandrake kick drum synthesizer, and the Arkan dual voltage polariser. The former divides itself into Hit and Body sections, each of which offer a variety of sound shaping tools, whilst the latter provides users with two identical bi-polar VCAs equipped with features that promise to make the module a go-to modulation choice.
Mandrake is a 14HP kick drum synthesizer module aimed at those creating dance, house, and techno music, which Malstrom say has been inspired by physical models, DAW-based drum synthesis, and sound mixing techniques. The module’s Hit section features a resonating filter which generates short square-like pulses that can be tuned and attenuated, resulting in a short click sound that excels at cutting through a mix.
Another resonating filter is used for the Body section, which produces a wave that is slightly saturated and filtered to resemble the harmonics of a drum. Harsher tones can be obtained by applying further saturation which increases the level of uneven harmonics, with the results then routed to a damping circuit in order to “tame” the overall sound.
The combination of the two sections allow users to craft a wide range of kick drum sounds, and Malstrom say the module has been designed to provide something new and unique rather than trying to mimic classic 808 or 909 sounds. Further shaping opportunities are provided by an envelope output with Normal and Ducking modes, which can also be used to side-chain other sounds, whilst a Clean-Up function offers a 25Hz high-pass filter, and a Spectral Dip feature provides some attenuation at 300Hz in order to tackle “boxy” sounding kick drums.
Arkan is an 8HP module that houses a pair of bi-polar VCAs and also offers a curvature control, a feature that is usually only found in unipolar variants. At audio rates, the Arkan acts as a ring-modulator with four controls present to provide a range of timbres through the introduction of either odd or even harmonics.
A CV input with curvature control allows users to shape the polariser and improve its 0V attenuation, whilst a bias input equipped with an attenuverter control provides a way to offset the modules input signal, as well as the ability to mix or invert other signals.
The module features two identical channels, and Malstrom say that Arkan is particularly useful for common duties such as mixing, scaling, inverting, and offsetting, in addition to CV modulation, feedback patching, and waveshaping.
Pricing & Availability
Both modules are available to pre-order now, and are expected to ship by 16 December 2022. The Mandrake is priced at €379, and the Arkan at €199 (both prices include taxes).