Erica Synths Pērkons HD-01 Review
The Pērkons HD-01 is a digital drum machine from Latvia-based company Erica Synths, known for its innovative products. This four-voice machine has undergone long-term testing with three different evaluators and has received positive reviews for its unique features.
Named after the Baltic Sea’s medieval God of Thunder, the Pērkons boasts a digital sound engine with an analog multimode filter and overdrive in each of its four voices. Users can access three algorithms and three modes via two 3-way switches, allowing for a range of sound possibilities. Despite only having four voices, the Pērkons utilizes modulation and automation techniques to give the impression of many more.
The build quality of the Pērkons HD-01 is first class, with a robust chassis, wood panels, and “the best knobs in the business.” Its off-green color is reminiscent of Soviet-era cryptography machines and adds to its readability in dark environments. Its buttons are slightly recessed and have a retro feel, while four 909-style trigger keys complete the interface.
The Pērkons HD-01 is a mono-only machine, with all four voices being summed into a mono output. This design decision may be surprising, especially at its price point, but it allows for each voice to have its own mono output, trigger input, and send and return. This setup allows users to employ EQ and panning options on each channel through a mixer or connect effects processors or guitar pedals to expand each voice. The trigger inputs also allow for the use of drum pads or the outputs of other drum machines to activate the voices.
Other I/O options include clock in/out with configurable PPQ, MIDI I/O via DIN connectors, a headphone output, a master mono output, a send/return on the master buss, and an SD card slot for firmware updates and saving kits and patterns. The Pērkons also includes a built-in bucket brigade device delay with time, feedback, LFO rate, and mod depth controls. If a processor is not connected to a channel via the send/return, the FX send will direct the voice to the BBD. Reviewers noted that the BBD added nice textures and “road rash” to the sound, but it is best used on one voice at a time.
Using the decay knob can create infinite sustain for drone and ambient compositions, and the sequencer’s ability to record modulations allows for the creation of evolving and pulsating swells over time. Modulating the cutoff of the hi-hats, or any other voice, adds rhythmic variation and feel to the sequence. The Pērkons also has a user-friendly interface with clear displays, editable patterns, and a song mode that allows users to chain patterns and kits together.
Overall, the Pērkons HD-01 is a highly innovative and versatile drum machine with a range of features that make it suitable for a variety of musical styles. Its mono-only design and individual I/O for each voice allow for a range of possibilities when using external processors and mixers, and its modulation and sequencing options provide endless sound shaping options.
- Excellent sound quality
- Highly innovative design
- Great fun to use
- Individual send/return on each channel allows for a wide range of possibilities
- Simple to use despite its complex capabilities
- Modulation and automation options provide endless sound shaping options
- Extremely versatile and flexible for a variety of musical styles
- Provides a wide range of sonic options
- Mono-only design may be limiting for some users
- Higher price point compared to other drum machines on the market
- Four voices (digital sound engine and analog multimode filter with overdrive)
- Three Algorithms per voice
- Three Modes per voice
- Two Parameters per voice
- External trigger inputs
- Individual voice outputs
- Individual FX sends and returns
- Master FX send and return
- 64 kit and 64 pattern memory, pluse additional storage on the SD card
- Built-in BBD
- Built-in compressor
- Modulation LFO with morphing waveforms
- Up to eight modulation destinations per voice
- Four track sequencer
- Four time divisions and four time multiplications per track
- Per-step ratchets, odds and probabilities
- Shuffle and groove settings for each track
- MIDI I/O
- Dimensions: 315mm x 454mm x 90mm (including knob height)
- Weight: 3.7 kg
- Retail: $1,800