Something really exciting happened in the middle of the flood, but I didn’t mention it at the time because, well, it was in the middle of the flood. What happened was Audio Damage’s debut as a maker of synthesizer hardware. Yes, just after our 10th anniversary as a corporation, we announced not one but three Eurorack-format synthesizer modules. They are: DubJr, a delay; Grainshift, a pitch-shifter based on granular synthesis; and Errorbox, a bit-crushing digital-distortion effect. Here are photos of them:
Tracie remarked that it’s strange to see photos of actual things on the Audio Damage website, since for years Chris has made user interfaces for our software that look like actual things, like this one. Over the years we have gotten a few queries from people who thought that we were selling hardware. Amusingly enough, now it seems that some folks on one of the online discussion forums thought that these photos were computer-generated mock-ups. No, they’re really real, and they’re for sale right now at Analog Haven.
Here’s the first demonstration video that Chris put together:
In response to popular demand, he did another video in which he demonstrates each module individually:
And here’s one more video by the inimitable Richard Devine:
Don’t ask me to explain what’s going on there. If you click through to the Vimeo page, you can read Richard’s own explanation. (I’d like to do some demos of my own, but I haven’t yet had the time to do so. To give you some idea of what it’s been like around here, I didn’t even install my own final products in my modular synth until a night or two ago.)
I’m extraordinarily proud of these products. Chris and I have been talking about doing hardware for almost as long as we’ve been talking about anything. I became fascinated by synthesizers over 30 years ago, and building electronic-music hardware has been a sporadic hobby ever since. I studied electrical engineering in college; my career as a software engineer came about somewhat by happenstance. Hardware engineering is really what I wanted to do, though, and now I’m doing it. Yes, it’s pretty much a dream come true.
There’s more info on the Audio Damage website here. Those three modules are just the beginning. We have a bunch of new products already in the development stages, a bunch of ideas for products after that, and 10 years’ worth of DSP software design, development and expertise to make those products happen. It’s gonna be fun.
Credit where credit’s due: I’d like to thank Eric Brombaugh. His engineering contributions were the catalyst that launched us from talking about hardware to actually doing it, and the fuel that drove us along. (That metaphor didn’t work out as well as I hoped. You get the idea.) Most of all I’d like to thank Tracie. Without her unwavering support, enthusiasm, and belief in what I do, these products would not have seen the light of day.