WMD, a manufacturer of modular synthesizers, guitar pedals, and standalone musical instruments has released Fracture, which is a multi-particle percussion synthesizer module for small-format Eurorack modular systems that apply concepts from classic analogue clap circuits to granular synthesis techniques to generate a wide palette of sounds while maintaining a simple, intuitive interface with a price of $269.
Initially inspired by audience applause, hip-hop samples, and classic drum machines, Fracture has been designed to be much more than another percussion module or ‘sample player’ for expanding Eurorack modular system setups. It uses granular synthesis techniques to generate a wide palette of sounds while maintaining a simple, intuitive interface.
Granular synthesis is a technique that operates on the microsound time scale (specifically shorter than one-tenth of a second and longer than 10 milliseconds, including the 20 Hz to 20 kHz audio frequency range and the infrasonic frequency range below 20 Hz). Although based on the same principle as sampling, samples are not played back conventionally, but split into smaller segments or grains (of around one to 50 milliseconds) that may be layered on top of each other, played at different speeds, phases, volume, and frequency (amongst other parameters).
Proprietary micro-samples — specifically recorded for this purpose by WMD, is where it all starts for Fracture. Unlike WMD’s first Eurorack percussion synthesizer module, Chimera, which involves impulse-rich samples at its tonal centre, Fracture uses single-impulse samples such as claps, ping-pong balls or opening a beer can. It then plays back a group of similar such samples in a pseudo-random order resulting in unique hits. Density, Decay, and Tail settings all affect tone and how ‘tight’ the user’s virtual clappers are to playing together.
Fracture also features a number of other sound-sculpting tools packed into its 8HP width frame, including a stereo output (Out L and Oot R); built-in H (Hall) and R (Room) Reverb; two trigger inputs for different sound types — Trig triggers a burst of particles and TICK triggers a single particle (independently of the Trig input); three types of filter; three types of envelope; and a free-running, voltage-controlled ‘applause’ capability. CV (Control Voltage) over all parameters is also available of course.