Metasonix has introduced the D-2000 Vacuum Tube Drum Machine – a new design that they say ‘will blow your ass off’.
“It’s rude and immoral. It’s not completely dead-silent and distortionless, and cannot be made so,” notes Metasonix.
“The owner’s manual is full of warnings for the idiots who often purchase our products, and claim they’re ‘broken’ when they’re working perfectly,” they add. “If you’re one of those idiots, buy a nice Machinedrum or something and go away. We do not want you as a customer.”
Here’s what they have to say about the Metasonix D-2000 Vacuum Tube Drum Machine:
The D-2000 is an all-new design, based on our previous drum-sound simulation circuits. Unlike the previous D-1000, everything in the D-2000 has been tweaked and maximized and pushed. It is NOT intended for fast-and-dirty bland, conventional backing tracks, it is for the mad experimenter and the risk-taker and the experienced studio musician who wants extreme analog.
Each of the three tunable drums (“PITCHED DRUM”) is made from a vacuum tube ringing bandpass filter, and can be tuned to sound from below 20 Hz to over 2 kHz using a “vactrol” photoresistor. They are also tunable with external control voltages (varying 0-5v), allowing complex patterns to be built up with external CV or pulse sources. Resonance of each PITCHED DRUM circuit is set by front-panel controls. Each circuit also has a “Drive” control, allowing the pulse input to be varied from complete shutoff (silence) to full sounding to overdrive. The PITCHED DRUMs are very similar to the R-54 module.
The two “cymbal” sound channels (“GATED NOISE”) are based on an extremely primitive circuit, with white noise gated by a pentode tube. The “cymbal” attack and decay are knob-variable and the decay time is also CV variable, controlled by a slow-response “vactrol” photoresistor. Each GATED NOISE channel also has a treble rolloff tone control.
A “Link” switch connects the trigger inputs of the second GATED NOISE and first PITCHED DRUM channels, so they sound together. This allows simulation of a “snare” drum, if you can call it that.
Recessed buttons may be used to manually trigger each channel, in parallel with any trigger input pulses.
All five channel outputs mix to a single tube preamp that allows for severe overdriving via the mix-level controls. The preamp has an optional CV input that can be used to mute the output if desired (it must vary from -2v or less to totally mute the output to +5v or more for full volume). The distortion is either mild or brutal.
Because there are now far better trigger sequencers available on the modular-synth market than we can make, we chose to equip this rackmount device with no sequencer. Instead there is an 8HP space for a Eurorack sequencer or trigger generator. A power cable provides +12v and -5v and should power any trigger or gate generator that will fit in 8HP (most only need +12v power). We recommend either the Delptronics Triggerman or the ALM Pamela’s Workout, both have been tested and are known to work very well. Trigger sequencers and generators from other modular synth equipment may also be used. The D-2000 trigger inputs will accept any pulse source: 0 to +5v, 0 to +10v, 0 to +15v, it doesn’t matter. You can also run strong audio signals into the trigger inputs, they will mix with the noise in the GATED NOISE channels and convert the PITCHED DRUM channels into tunable bandpass filters. Try that with a digital sampled drumbox.
Ample inputs and outputs: mix output (with overdriveable tube preamp), separate outputs for each drum sound channel, external trigger inputs for each drum sound channel, and CV inputs for each drum sound channel. Use any pulse generator to drive the trigger inputs. Very short pulses are recommended for the pitched-drum triggers, and longer pulses for the cymbal triggers. The Triggerman and the Pamela’s Workout are both capable of producing different pulse lengths on their separate outputs. They have very different user interfaces, so choose the one you prefer.
Here’s the official audio demo:
The Metasonix D-2000 Vacuum Tube Drum Machine is currently available exclusively at Big City Music, priced at US $1,895.