Dark Matter is a high energy sound processor and signal generator that unleashes the crazy raw power of audio feedback into your eurorack system.  It’s inspired by “no input” mixer feedback techniques that explore the complex natural behaviours of amplifier circuits pushed beyond their limits. Dark Matter brings this behavior to the modular synth, adds voltage control to everything, tons of patching options and a big ol’ bag of tricks for making feedback a truly *playable* effect.

THINGS TO DO WITH DARK MATTER:

  • Excite audio signals to the breaking point with 4 flavours of voltage controlled overdrive
  • Turbo charge percussive hits and drum beats
  • Add sub-octave tones and timbrel richness to melodies and bass lines
  • Tweak your tone with a crunchy overdriving 2 band EQ
  • Add signal ducking and gating effects with the built in envelope follower
  • Go the feedback way and create meandering loops through your rack using the 10 I/O jacks…..Feedback your feedback your feedback

FEATURES:

DRIVE
  • Input VCA with gain and soft clipping
  • Hyper drive switch for extra punch
TONE
  • 2 band equaliser
  • Voltage controlled bass and treble boost/overdrive
DYNAMICS
  • Envelopes generated by INPUT signal
  • Outputs 0-5V. Normalised to FBK CV and X-FADE CV inputs
  • Low and High decay time switch
  • Input pre or post DRIVE switch
  • Envelope monitor LED
FEEDBACK
  • Voltage controlled feedback
  • High frequency “warning” LED
  • External feedback loop section
  • FBK OUT and FBK IN jacks
  • Output phase switch
  • FBK VCA in/out switch
CROSSFADER
  • Voltage controlled crossfade between input and feedback
  • Input pre/post drive crossfade switch
  • DYNAMICS envelope normalized to mix CV input  

TECHNICAL DETAILS:

  • 13 HP
  • PTC fuse and diode protected 10-pin power connector
  • 24 mm deep
  • power consumption +12V: < 75mA; -12V: <75 mA

LINKS:

 


 

WHY FEEDBACK?

Feedback occurs when a system of some kind listens to and responds to itself. The impact of the feedback can be generally defined as negative or positive where negative feedback calms the system and positive feedback excites it.  

DarkMatter is a system that uses positive feedback to excite audio energy. It does this by sending an audio signal into an amplifier that is then fed back into itself to be re-amplified, then back into itself to be re-amplified and so on. If there were NO limits on this circuit the amplitude would increase forever and it would destroy everything. But it won’t. It can only amplify up to the breaking point of the circuit. Not literally breaking, but it’s the point at which it can no longer do what’s being asked of it. And this point is where a lot of interesting things happen. Things get messy, audio information gets lost, noisey information gets found.

Meanwhile the feedbacked amplifier is having an existential moment, listening to itself, amplifying its own silence over and over.

Going deeper and deeper into the void. Eventually that silence turns into something. It becomes the sound of the circuit itself, its own resonant frequency… It’s a really big topic but suffice it to say it makes an audible oscillating tone. The pitch and shape of the tone can be played by adding a volume control and equalizer into the loop.

So here’s what it all comes down to, the resonating soul of the amplifier and the recklessly over amplified external audio signal battling it out in the feedback thunderdome.  

Now that there are two signals blasting around the feedback loop they have to fight for control of the bandwidth. As the external audio pushes in the signals crush together filling the space around each other. Eventually it pushes hard enough and the oscillation dies. But as soon as it steps back the feedback tone rushes back in.

This is why I like to think of audio feedback as sort of the negative space around a sound, like a sonic shadow. A dark counterpart. Or like the roots of a tree even, a sort of complex dirty reflection of its other half. I also talk about it like its a wild animal a lot. A little crazy and untamed. And like a cosmic banshee emerging from the dead blackness of ancient space. The analogies get thrown around fast and free here but the point is that feedback has a magic zazz to it that defies easy explanation. It’s evocative and deep and kind of awful and totally beautiful and I think it should be enjoyed.

Dark Matterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.