MATRIXSYNTH: River Synths - Dendrites

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

River Synths - Dendrites

Published on Jul 30, 2019 SchneidersLaden

This is the first post to feature River Synths.

"The Dendrites by River Synths is a highly versatile multimode filter with different resonance characteristics and a drive circuit. A very nice colouring audio processing tool, with a certain presence and a musical behaviour."

River's Dendrites is a true multi-multi-mode filter. A very nice colouring audio processing tool, with a certain presence and a musical behaviour. The filter modes (16), resonance (3) and overdrive (2) all have different options to choose from - a total of 96 different combinations. And then there are five CV inputs, additional switches, controls and attenuators. The “art” of Dendrites is to never appear overloaded with features, but to always be playable - and to sound very good.

Dendrites is a multimode filter AND phaser. Two of the 16 modes are designed as pure all-pass filters, which can produce a rather deep phaser sound despite being there being only four stages/poles available. Four more modes are a mixture of allpass and lowpass, bandpass and highpass. The remaining ten are one- to four-pole, "pure" variants of LP, BP and HP.

The dry, wood-like basic sound of the discrete transistor circuitry always shines through. By adjusting the input level and the resonance behavior, the Dendrites can be made sharper, softer, thinner, wider, firmer and more fluid. And with the drive activated, it's even quite aggressive.

Each of the three resonance settings plays a role in achieving said characteristics: "Vintage" for soft and round, stronger colouring behaviour. "Q-Comp" regulates the relationship between audio signal and resonance, providing a different presence. And "K-Style" means Korg classics sound and therefore also has a dominant resonance sound and a rather mid centered output.

At the center of Dendrites, however, is a click encoder with which the 16 different filter types can be quickly selected. This is also possible with CV. Also the resonance is CV controllable. AND Dendrites also tracks stable over at least four octaves and can be used as a sine oscillator (with Drive = Waveshaper). With exponential and - for filters rather unusual - linear FM. The FM/Cutoff input is switchable between lin/exp and is bipolar (+/-5V), while its neighbour "Envelope" is designed for unipolar envelopes (0-10V). Both have an attenuator for scaling the input signal.

Especially in the setting "K-Style" it is worthwhile to activate the drive. With the input-gain in the middle position in order to leave some air for the resonance. With vintage resonance on the other hand and especially in 4P-lowpass mode you can and should move the input gain to past 3 o’clock. "Q-Comp" has a different presence that allows for settings moving subtly between 9 to 12 at the input and thus working out different shades of saturation.

Dendrites reminds in many settings of classic synths. But you will also notice that it's a unique, self-designed and modern circuit - especially the way it saturates and how agile it can be with fast modulations ... and with how little background noise there is!

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