Synthesizers with an experimental mindset rarely come on the market. Often plugins are announced as revolutionary and later, they are more normal instruments and effects with some unique features. Audio Damage is one of these companies which tries always to develop plugins with new ideas and different sound approaches. Axon per example is an experimental drum Synthesizer based on FM synthesis with an intelligent sequencer. Unlike other drum synths, Axon works with an artificial neural network as a sequencer and not with a traditional step sequencer. Unfortunately, Axon and some other plugins from them received long time no updates and the GUI’s wasn’t modern.
Today came very good news fro the American developer. Audio Damage announced the official release of Axon 2, the second and further developed version of this experimental drum synthesizer / machine. Same as the previous version, it features a 7 FM-based percussion voices and a unique sequencer that allows to create deep complex rhythms. Especially interesting is this new version for Cubase and Pro Tools users. Axon 2 is now fully compatible with VST3 and AAX hosts. As usual for Audio Damage plugins, the upgrade to the second version is available for affordable 10$ only. One little downside is that presets made in version 1 are not compatible with the second version.
Audio Damage also announced excellent news for iOS musicians. Axon 2 will coming out for iOS as standalone app and AUv3 next week.
It often gets referenced as a “random sequence generator,” but there is nothing random in Axon; it is entirely determinative.
The sequencer features seven “neurons” that trigger a voice and send a pulse when they have received a predetermined number of pulses. You can wire the output of any neuron to the input of any other (with built-in loop detection to prevent runaway feedback), and in this manner pre-program the artificial neural network without having to go through a “learning” phase.
The seven individual drum voices, each triggered by its attendant neuron, are 2-operator FM voices in a configuration to best make percussion sounds, with additional FM and AM busses that all voices send to and receive from. Each voice has a HPF, distortion circuit, and white noise generator to provide a full range of percussion-oriented voicing individually, while interacting with each other in new and unique ways.
New in Axon 2
- The percussion synthesizers sport new Noise and Distortion controls, providing a much wider tonal palette.
- The maximum counter threshold for each neuron has been increased from six to sixteen, expanding the number and variety of possible patterns. As a result, Axon has 100% fewer hexagons and its Neuron Sequencer controls have been reworked slightly.
- MIDI operation has been streamlined by assigning notes to Axon’s neurons in the convention of most drum machines and software drum synths.
- The user interface is resizable and appropriate to contemporary display technologies.
- Axon is now compatible with VST 3 and AAX hosts.
- Presets use a cross-platform XML-based file format.
- Axon is built with up-to-date code libraries for better host compatibility and future-proofing.
Axon 2 (VST/VST3/AU/AAX) is now available for purchase for $59 USD. Users of Axon 1 can upgrade for only $10 USD.
Axon 2 will be available for iOS AUv3 and Standalone next week.
More informations here: Audio Damage Axon 2