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OTO Machines Boum

Analogue Stereo Dynamics Processor
By Rory Dow

OTO Machines Boum

With their usual idiosyncratic approach to audio, OTO Machines have created a processor that will surprise and delight.

The Boum is the latest industrial‑styled desktop effects unit from the French company that brought you the Biscuit. You would be forgiven for detecting similarities between the two products, both being primarily stereo distortion boxes with an analogue filter. But whilst the now‑discontinued Biscuit focussed on lo-fi 8-bit distortion, Boum aims for a more grown-up sound.

The word ‘boum’ translates from French as either ‘bang’ or ‘party’ depending on whether you use the masculine or feminine noun. I point this out not to educate or even catalyse sniggering at the back of the class (though it may), but because it gives a clue to the ethos of the box. The Boum wants to take your audio, challenge it to a game of beer pong, follow it up with some tequila slammers and leave it dancing on the table at 3am.

Boumin’ ’Ell

The Boum completes an unholy trio of ruggedly styled OTO products, the Bam, Bim and Boum. All share the same near military-grade design and control layout. The construction quality is exemplary. Pots feel uniformly smooth with no wobble, buttons feel like they will last a lifetime and the casing feels sturdy enough to survive some serious mishaps. The only niggle is that the red‑on‑green labelling can be hard to read in low light.

The signal flow is simple. A stereo input goes through gain, gate, compressor, low-cut filter, distortion, high-cut filter and out again, in that order. The entire signal remains stereo throughout, making the Boum ideal for bus processing or even the master bus if you feel so inclined. The manual has a very good signal flow diagram which is worth studying.

The main stereo inputs and outputs are located at the rear of the unit on unbalanced quarter-inch Neutrik connectors, accompanied by a mono side‑chain input on a 3.5mm jack, a MIDI input and a 15V DC power socket.

Five of the six pots on the front panel are dedicated to specific tasks. Compressor, Drive, Mix, Hi Cut and Level all do largely what you would expect. The sixth pot is labelled Data and is...

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Published January 2019