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Grendel Drone Commander vs. Drone Lab vs. Others?
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spybar
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#1
13th October 2010
Old 13th October 2010
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Grendel Drone Commander vs. Drone Lab vs. Others?

Hey mates,

I'm thinkin' of gettin' a Drone machine/synth...

I must say that months ago, I fell in lobe with the lush drones of Grendel Drone Commander: "total of 9 knobs, the Drone Commander offers two manually-tuned oscillators and two LFOs, plus an unusually colorful and nasty filter". It has an hypnotic capability. Yet it can do some noise as well.

YouTube - Grendel Drone Commander

Here are 4 all together:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Jti2zky5M8&NR=1

I bumped into Drone Lab V2: "4 voice analog drone synth, rhythm generator and FX processor". At least from the online demos, I see that they tends to be more "noise" and less "lush". Drone Lab has 4 voices which can be cool...

YouTube - Drone Lab demo 2



I'm not lookin' for just a noise machine, but for some textures & inspiring beats... drones.

Do you have any experience with them?
Do you have any other Drone machine recommendation?

Would love to hear any inputs, thoughts & ideas.

Thank you!

SpyBar
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#2
14th October 2010
Old 14th October 2010
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flesheater is offline
Grendel Drone Commander vs. Drone Lab vs. Others?

Wow. I was mulling this over as well the last few days. There is also the sleep drone 5:

SLEEPDRONE5

I think you are right, I am leaning toward Eric Archer's drone commander. Though it has less ocs than the drone lab and the sleep drone, I think the tones and build are better with the drone commander. Anyone have any experience with any of these units?
#3
14th October 2010
Old 14th October 2010
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100th Monkey is offline
If you have a modular you can also use a Doepfer 143-1 or 143-2 to create a pretty cool 4 oscillator drone machine.
#4
14th October 2010
Old 14th October 2010
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burnn_out! is offline
Trust me when i say nothing tops the grendel in its price range. of the 9 knobs 6 serve a double purpose. slight cv connect ability - filter cv and clock out. i've owned probably bout 4 or five different drone/ noise boxes and nothing compares to the grendel.
#5
12th March 2011
Old 12th March 2011
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The grendel is admittedly very special. It's the type of kit that makes you wish nobody else knew about them... but tone-covetousness is a sin, so I refrain.
I bought 2 of 'em.
Eric is what you might expect from an eccentric indy custom guy, as in don't treat him like Wal-mart, be patient. =)

If you see this Mr. Archer. Matt says thanx!
JES
#6
12th March 2011
Old 12th March 2011
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Hi All,

Pardon the dumb and non-slutty question, but if you've already got an analog synth (say, a DSI mopho), what are that advantages of a dedicated drone machine?

Of course, I'm asking because I love the sound of the Grendel but would need to justify the purchase to myself.
JES
#7
14th March 2011
Old 14th March 2011
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D'oh! Didn't mean to kill the thread. My question, while noobish, is serious.
#8
14th March 2011
Old 14th March 2011
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The Drone Commander is about drones, and textures. The Mopho is about digitised multi-parameter midi control. You'd be hard pressed to play anything like a melody on the GDC, because you have to adjust pitch with knobs. I could see it being more like meditation, playing that thing, concentrating on the pure organic sound coming out of it as you turn the knobs, whereas the Mopho is a totally high-tech monosynth that you connect to a COMPUTER and send data to take digital control of the circuit. It's like the mopho is ableton live and cellphones and the grendel is a singing bowl.

Alternatively, if you do love the sound of the Grendel, you'd probably get great kicks out of sampling the hell out if it and using the samples in your tracks. You could justify it like that.
JES
#9
14th March 2011
Old 14th March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duggabax View Post
It's like the mopho is ableton live and cellphones and the grendel is a singing bowl.
Brilliant analogy. My question was more the obverse -- which you answer below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by duggabax View Post
Alternatively, if you do love the sound of the Grendel, you'd probably get great kicks out of sampling the hell out if it and using the samples in your tracks. You could justify it like that.
Thanks. They don't call it Gearslutz for nothing. I was thinking more in terms of "why get a device like this if my monosynth can already drone?" I. Do. Really. Like. It. And I was totally thinking of sampling it into Live and running it through various granular patches, etc.

I'd be curious to hear from others who use monosynths and drone boxes. But I will probably just get it. I like the sound.

--JES
#10
27th July 2011
Old 27th July 2011
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JES
#11
27th July 2011
Old 27th July 2011
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I can't comment on the sleepdrone but after web-stalking it for awhile I picked up a Grendel Drone Commander. It can do melodies as long as you are comfortable with it making them up and you just being along for the ride. Though I haven't explored the filter CV so I can't say how that affects things. You might have more control.

I'm totally happy with mine and can't say I long for additional features.

Quote:
Originally Posted by animalfarm View Post
Wanted to revive the thread... I'm planning to get the grendel drone commander, but the sleepdrone 5 has got me intrigued as well... Although it seems just like simply being 4 oscillators, tho it does have a character:

‪Sleepdrone 5 (by Franck Smith)‬‏ - YouTube


I've seen a few videos of the GDC and I've noticed that the thing is quite capable of doing melodies, or am I mistaken?

‪grendel drone commander and kaoss pad + n38‬‏ - YouTube
#12
5th November 2011
Old 5th November 2011
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The grendel's cv filter cutoff works well. But it also cuts out the lfo's connection to the filter. The pulse still plays it's role, but allot of those ramping melodies disappear. Of course then you get to ramp to midi with a converter..or whatever voltage source you fancy, but you still don't get to use those dandy "lfo" and "shape" knobs for anything sonically apparent (in my experience). Maybe if you're a rock star you can twist them in order to look cool! haha.

In response to, "why get a drone when you have a monosynth?".. Because if you have the cash, you can.. And because everything analog has it's own sound and sonic tendencies.
#13
6th November 2011
Old 6th November 2011
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More vids and embedded audio, my GAS attack needs fuel for the fire...
#14
6th November 2011
Old 6th November 2011
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mmmm, evolving drones = 8====> - - -

to think, a machine that does drones and drones only?!

oooo, it just happened again... to say my underpants are ruined would be quite the understatement.

in all reality, as I typed this, there was a small earthquake! for my part of the US that's a very weird occurance and we've had two in the past 24 hours!

it's so rare/unheard of here, I was in the studio and thought something had gone nuts with sub bass!

I didn't realize you hear them as much as you feel them!
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#15
6th November 2011
Old 6th November 2011
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Oklahoma, right?

Any chance you just sold a polyevolver? Just bought one in eBay from someone in OK.

I had the drone lab v2 and liked it, particularly the syncing options.
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6th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bumply View Post
Oklahoma, right?

Any chance you just sold a polyevolver? Just bought one in eBay from someone in OK.

I had the drone lab v2 and liked it, particularly the syncing options.
Oklahoma yes.

Evolver seller no.

But I know him! He's one of the brave souls that's tried (and failed) to organize a few purely "live-PA" events here, I gave him an entire lineup of Electribes, strangely I think he's selling all his stuff off because I saw one of the 3 I gave him on CL.

Is it strange to feel strange when people sell things you give them?
#17
6th November 2011
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He gave me a very good price...wanted to move it fast.
#18
6th November 2011
Old 6th November 2011
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Monster Drone by VBrazil Systems (a client make this video when picking the unit up):




His website (it´s only in portuguese at the moment, sorry!):

VBrazil - MonsterDrone


I have ordered last month a monster modular system with him:

4 x VCO
2 x Dual ADSR
2 x VCA
2 x Mixer
1 x Multiples
1 x LIZARD (crazy module that can act as a step sequencer, multi LFO and as OSC also, can do crazy FM stuff)
1 x 24db Low Pass Filter
1 x 12db State Variable Filter
1 x Ring Modulator
1 x Quantizer / S&H
1 x MIDI to CV converter
1 x Multi LFO
1 x 1/8 to 1/4 converter

Gonna be ready by 15th of december and I´ll post several videos here and a review!
#19
6th November 2011
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Sounds like a great assortment of modules for your first modular... one suggestion though... more multiples.. attenuators and inverters

Sent from my DROIDX using Gearslutz.com
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#20
7th November 2011
Old 7th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rust Creep View Post
Sounds like a great assortment of modules for your first modular... one suggestion though... more multiples.. attenuators and inverters

Sent from my DROIDX using Gearslutz.com
Thx for the tip mate! Maybe in the future I get a small cabinet with a few modules for that. I think that 1 multiple module for me is ok, I´d rather use those stackable cables instead of adding another multiple module.

I believe I can attenuate the signal with the mixers???

I forgot to add 1 module to the list: 1 x DUAL LAG PROCESSOR

And I forgot to mention that the Multi LFO is also a Noise Generator.
#21
8th November 2011
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Yeah mixers can attenuate.. i think they use VCAs instead of attenuators.. you may need some buffered multiples so if the one your getting is then stackables will take care of the rest.... another thing that is simple and cheap that expands your synthesis capabilities is an inverter.. some mixers can do this or reverse polarity which is useful for CVs

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#22
4th August 2013
Old 4th August 2013
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Bumping this old thread as I'm interested in the Grendel Drone Commander. I would love it just for zoning out with and for sampling.

Any one have one? What are your thoughts on it?

Are there any other analog drone-boxes out there?
MAA
#23
4th August 2013
Old 4th August 2013
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MAA
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Always wanted a Drone Commander. One day...
#24
8th August 2013
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I just fixed my Grendel Drone Commander tonight. One of the push-pull pots had given out and I never got around to fixing it as other gear caught my eye.

Mine's a very early model, back when olive green was offered as a panel color and the CV in and gate out were options. Replaced the filter pot with a value and taper suggested by Eric -- 250K Linear, even though the board says 100k Audio (log) and the pot I removed was a 250K Audio. I'm not sure it really matters since the filter isn't meant to be dialled into a precise value and the whole idea is to experiment. The combination of two oscillators, with the clocked Pulse/LFO combo, and the aggressive filter that readily self-oscillates -- all of these parts fighting and reinforcing each other can sometimes be unpredictable in a good way.
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13th August 2013
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Oli
#26
13th August 2013
Old 13th August 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
Mine's a very early model, back when olive green was offered as a panel color and the CV in and gate out were options
Were the CV/gate for independent external pitch/triggering of the oscillators?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pointsource View Post
Monster Drone by VBrazil Systems
How did you manage to order that piece? Also, had a quick look and didn't notice a price list. Are you local, or did you have to ship?

I'm also curious about HardMod gear for drones. When he first started, the Wild Modular was really cheap, and there were some interesting drone examples around. I think prices have gone up a bit since then, and I'm not sure if he is still making that item.
#27
17th August 2013
Old 17th August 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli View Post
Were the CV/gate for independent external pitch/triggering of the oscillators?
Nope, just CV into the filter. The gate out is either the output of the LFO's gate or the raw pulse wave (which is a clocked multiple of the LFO). Come to think of it, it's likely the pulse wave since it could be used as both a CV and gate -- it's amplitude or width can't be changed.

IMO external CV and gate for the oscillators would be overkill for the Drone Commander. If you open up too many possibilities for sound generation then it's likely to not be used as a drone synth.

Put another way -- I have a Nexus 6 made by Blue Lantern which shares a lot of features with the Drone Commander but there's far more cross modulation possibilities, two AR envelopes, CV and MIDI in. There's so much to do and noodle with I would never have thought to use it as a drone -- and I owned it long before the Drone Commander.
Oli
#28
17th August 2013
Old 17th August 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
Nope, just CV into the filter. The gate out is either the output of the LFO's gate or the raw pulse wave (which is a clocked multiple of the LFO). Come to think of it, it's likely the pulse wave since it could be used as both a CV and gate -- it's amplitude or width can't be changed.

IMO external CV and gate for the oscillators would be overkill for the Drone Commander. If you open up too many possibilities for sound generation then it's likely to not be used as a drone synth.

Put another way -- I have a Nexus 6 made by Blue Lantern which shares a lot of features with the Drone Commander but there's far more cross modulation possibilities, two AR envelopes, CV and MIDI in. There's so much to do and noodle with I would never have thought to use it as a drone -- and I owned it long before the Drone Commander.
Cool. Thanks for the great reply.
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