My favorite thing from Superbooth, the one thing I’d pull out a wallet right away and get? It’s none other than Dreadbox’s utterly brutal-sounding, wildly fun analog semi-modular groove synth for Eurorack or desktop.

It’s a really nice piece of hardware in person.

Things that do beats and things that do basslines, things that have some patch points, kits, stuff that fits in a Eurorack or desktop – you’ve seen that before. But the Dysmetria has two things going for it: one, an irresistible impulse-buy price, and two, it just sounds fantastically fun.

So the architecture is deceptively simple. You’ve got a sequencer, oscillators with noise and tuning and waveshape, simple decay control for amp envelope, and filter. It almost looked vanilla when I saw it from a distance. But then you get your hands on it, and there are a few details that stand out:

  • That Dreadbox sound. I already loved their oscillators from the Medusa (with Polyend) and other hardware, and their 2-pole resonant filter (both lowpass and bandpass here) is just great. Plus –
  • Voltage-controlled FM. Take a good look at the left-hand strip in gold in the oscillator section, because that’s where I was having serious fun. There’s just easy access to proper audio-rate FM, flip-switch access to noise, and it sounds great.
  • Patch points on the bottom. Everything is voltage controllable – including, crucially, the mixer and step sequencer. And the jacks being on the bottom make patching both easier to understand and out of the way of your fingers, even with a fairly clever patch. It’s already fun to patch on-unit, and then easy enough to patch into other desktop or Eurorack modular gear.
  • That big tune knob, and other performance features. This layout is just perfectly suited to live jams, from the flow of the controls to the amp and tune knobs.
  • It’s got a powerful sequencer. They crammed a 32-step sequencer with live and step recording modes into the left-hand side of the unit. Combined with noise and FM and patching, you can easily make percussive lines and not just basslines.

I love stuff like the semi-modular range from Moog, for instance, but this feels like a down-and-dirty machine for live jams in a way I haven’t seen from its rivals. This wasn’t even the only semi-modular at Superbooth, but sound and playability and look all stood out for me. The kit build also looks approachable. You will be doing some soldering, but there’s already a power board pre-assembled, and it’s all through-hole. Resistors are a little close, so I definitely wouldn’t take this on as my first soldering project, but it looks like it might actually be satisfying for anyone with a little experience who loves that solder smell. Plus you can use leaded solder and… shhh. Don’t tell anyone I said that. Please take precautions.

Check the construction guide.

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