JoMoX Alpha Base Analog Drum Synthesizer


#247

indeed the rotary encoders are bolted and double as a pushbutton…

@Prints I’ll have to double check on how it sounds but there is an in built synth and as far as I know there is FM between sounds.


#248

It’s not listed in the specs but I was also wondering if there’s any midi sequencing? Pretty sure the 888/999 had a midi track


#249

Hmm, to be honest, if there is, I haven’t seen or looked for it as I sequence on the Cirklon. Also, there is no manual out yet either but I’ll have a look through the menu when I’m back from work… In the meantime, below is a mini review I posted on the GS forums a couple days ago


#250

A review after 2 days

Ok – I went ahead and purchased the Alpha Base because I was really curious to listen to it in my rig.

I’d like to start off by saying the demos available don’t do it much justice at all. In my opinion, the YouTube videos are also not particularly good – especially not half assed attempts that fail to capture the strength behind that sound or ones that don’t adequately explain wtf is going on.

Build quality: 10/10
This box is massive. I own Elektrons and a Tempest which have set the bar for me and I must say, the Alphabase feels even better – it’s built like a tank. I could drop my Machinedrum on it and wouldn’t be worried. The knobs are sturdy and the push buttons are pleasant to use. The Data, Volume, Gain, Input knobs are nice and heavy and require a fair amount of torque to turn – much nicer than on any other machine I have used. Clearly JoMoX have cut no corners here… the jacks and connections also feel quality.

Sound: 11/10 (is that even possible?)
Like I said earlier, forget the demos you hear – so far there have only been very few videos including the mini series of the man himself explaining it – but even then you don’t hear the raw outputs. I have never heard something so lush sounding, and I’m not really a techno geek anymore… The sounds that come out of this box have a very unique character that brings out additional harmonics/frequencies you just don’t hear with ANY other drum machine (and I own or have owned more or less all of them!). Jurgen clearly has a special sauce and deployed his usual circuit wizardy - its huge. I can’t really explain it other than you have to hear it to understand what I mean. By far my favourite sounding of his boxes.

Software/Firmware: 7/10
The biggest criticism from past and present has been JoMoX’s user interface. I have to say, that despite my earlier concerns, this machine is pretty straightforward. Yes we could have opted for a larger screen with a GUI that was more pleasing to the eye, but there is something quite rewarding about using a frugal interface - remember the old MPCs? Somehow, it allows you to explore and figure it out on your own, creating happy accidents along the way. I managed to get up and running, sequencing beats in about 10 mins from opening the box. The File structure and kit/pattern selection is a little primitive and the sequencer is quite basic. But - you don’t buy the JoMoX for its sequencer, you buy it for its sound. If it’s a sequencer you’re after, head over to Elektron.

Connections: 8/10
I have given an 8/10 only because some of the connections are there for future implementation but not currently active. For example, it would be nice to be able to run external audio through the VCA and/or VCF the same way you can with other gear. Something important to me: I love the fact that this machine is fully multi-timbral. Unlike the Tempest or Tanzbar where you can only trigger instruments through notation on 1 receiving Midi Channel (i.e. Kick = C3, Snare = C4, etc. etc.), each Alpha Base track can sit on a separate Midi Channel. This works wonders when I want to sequence with external gear and currently use 11 -> 13 tracks on my Cirklon for sequencing duties - I am eager for the manual to arrive so I can send Midi CC messages and take it to another level. In the current firmware, Midi responds to velocity amount which is a great start. The SD card, USB Port, Midi In/Out/Through is welcome as are the Individual Outputs and the Stereo Inputs.

Conclusion and overall: 8.5/10 and on its way to 10/10
The Alpha Base is unique. It is clearly still in its early stage (there isn’t even a manual yet) and as with all unfinished products undergoing development, there will be a period of adjustment for the product to mature. My personal experience so far has been extremely rewarding. I haven’t really encountered any real bugs or issues and contrary to my initial scepticism a few posts ago, I am really glad I bought this unit. There is an assortment of forthcoming features which I think will really differentiate it from the rest of its competition and have to say… to me, this is their best box yet. Well done JoMoX.


#251

Good review!
I would like to hear some demos with the raw and hard side of the alpha indeed :grin:


#252

I think for a Drum Computer the sequencer should not be undervalued. Sound is one thing, rhytmic behavior is within the sequencer.

Its a bit sad that there are so many sample based instruments in there.


#253

I agree on the sequencer but to be fair I haven’t spent as much time on it as I should. Moreover, its probably unfair to compare sequencer abilities with any of Elektron boxes as they are head and shoulders above other manufacturers in that regard - that is after all, a defining characteristic of all Elektron machines, not so much the sound (A4 MK2 does sounds awesome though).

Having owned the Rytm, an A4 and currently owning the MD UW+ and OT, my ears tell me none of those boxes have such a strong presence/character.

Regarding samples I was of the same view as yourself before I got mine. But I quickly found out there is something to be said about having those samples go through the Alpha Base VCF and VCA which in my humble opinion are far better sounding than the Elektron equivalents…


#254

I agree on the filters, they make a big difference, one day i will venture into modular and make a crazy filter box + fx rack… sem filter on the avalon is hard to emulate.


#255

lol I just cancelled my cancellation. I needed to hear some sort of positive feedback about Jomox, and this is sounding very promising indeed. Still really curious about how capable the FM synth is of standard melodic bass/lead sounds though.


#256

hmmm … suspected as much…

came here looking for first hand reviews and to ask “dude - is it really worth 16K???”

nuff said i guess


#257

It is very good, and the latest firmware (1.03) has been super stable. The new Rytm MKII has more bells and whistles for sure and am certain it will sound great at a similar price point. To me it’s totally worth the Eur 1.6k… at 16k however probably not as good an investment :slight_smile:


#258

I promise I’ll speak the truth when I try it later this week… been swamped with work!


#259

thanks so much for the in-depth review. tbh the sound in the videos i’ve seen have been less than encouraging — sounding merely good rather than the excellent i was hoping for. also glad the midi implementation impresses you … i know you’re using a cirklon but it sounds like an OT with conditional trigs would make a great partner.

if you create or find any recordings that do it justice, please post here, i expect we’d all be grateful. :slight_smile:


#260

dear fellow elektronauts
please don’t tempt me to buy anymore gear, I’ve spent a fortune lately ;-))
but am more than happy with OB-6 and soon to be OT mk2


#261

oh yeh… missing the point would make that entirely pointless

good lookin out


#262

Apologies, they are in fact NOT bolted which is surprising considering they are super sturdy. Jurgen has implemented this type of ring fastener that really keeps them in place though, its rock solid!


#263

Ok thanks for the update. The reason I asked is that I remember people complained about the pots/encoders on the Xbase 888/999 (unless you had the Producer version) but it sounds like these are better.


#264

yes i remember after some time the knobs would get quite “tired”. The build on this is quite a bit better.


#265

This is not a nice track :slight_smile: I don’t have the manual so no real idea what I’m doing sequencing wise as I’m using the onboard sequencer. but it’s a basic pattern where I’ve put together a few sounds I’ve made in a test kit. Then I start to wiggle a few knobs… no external effects, no post processing audio… everything from the stereo outputs of the AB to Ableton track In and record:

https://soundcloud.com/nikarga/jomox-alpha-base-wiggle

built in reverb/delay on the machine btw…


#266

Thanks for posting this. What was generating the high pitched sound?