Erica Synths Pērkons review: A uniquely thunderous drum machine

Picture Credit score: Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Actually, after years of principally making extra laidback and ambient types of digital music, I discovered myself dialing in harsh, blown-out guitar tones, a la 9 Inch Nails Damaged to jam together with Pērkons. I used to be transported again to my highschool days of black t-shirts and lengthy greasy hair. And I wasn’t mad about it.

The one tip I’ve is, maintain that drive knob pinned and be beneficiant with the compressor. I believe a part of why I used to be a bit lukewarm on it at first was as a result of I used to be attempting to be refined and even handed with dialing in these results. Which, frankly, it was in all probability fairly silly of me to anticipate subtlety from a drum machine named after the Baltic god of thunder.

When you settle for the sound palette at your disposal, you need to come to grips with the technical capabilities of Pērkons. That is the place issues can get a little bit messy. Whereas programming in a primary 16-step drum sample and taking part in it again is comparatively easy, a number of the extra superior capabilities aren’t all the time that intuitive. At the very least at first, I’d extremely suggest conserving the guide useful. Even when simply to reference what the parameter knobs are controlling for every voice mode.

Erica Synths Pērkons

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The Pērkons is decidedly old style in its method to interface design. There’s no display screen or menus to dive by way of. As a substitute, virtually the entire machine’s capabilities from the sequencer playback mode, to the shuffle share to the LFO goal, are managed through the 64 step buttons or 4 set off buttons. Which means mainly something past merely inputting particular person drum hits requires urgent some mixture of two or three buttons concurrently.

For instance, if you wish to set the chance {that a} specific step will play you need to maintain down the step you wish to change, the chance key and one of many 4 set off buttons to pick out a share (10, 25, 50 or 90 p.c). The profit is that, because you don’t need to do any menu diving, it’s easy to control a sample whereas it’s taking part in. And as soon as you determine the fundamentals of how the interface works, it’s fairly simple to know since every part is labeled. The draw back is that some issues have comparatively restricted choices, like chance. If you wish to have a step to have a 33 or 75 p.c probability of taking part in, you’re out of luck. Equally, shuffle is in predetermined percentages, although these aren’t labeled.

Erica Synths Pērkons

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

You additionally need to watch out to hit the buttons you need in the suitable order. If you happen to press the sample / ratchet button earlier than you begin holding down a specific step, you then’re not going so as to add a ratchet, you are going to change patterns. And in case you haven’t saved the one you have been at present engaged on, will probably be gone for good. Pērkons may be enjoyable, nevertheless it can be very unforgiving.

Though the interface is old style, Pērkons does have numerous new-school options to assist maintain it from being too robotic. Along with shuffle and chance, you’ll be able to change the size, add accents, multiply or divide the tempo, choose one among 4 “grooves” and select one among 4 completely different playback modes: ahead, backward, ping-pong or random. And every of those may be completed on a per-track foundation. So you may make observe 4 solely 13 steps lengthy and ping-pong from starting to finish and again at half velocity, whereas observe one performs at double velocity with a 50-percent shuffle and observe two has a singular groove however is just eight steps lengthy.

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