Audio Damage has launched Axon 2, an updated version of the drum synthesizer instrument that is driven by artificial intelligence.

Axon is an experimental instrument that uses a modified artificial neural network as a sequencer, the Neuron Sequencer. Featuring 7 FM-based percussion voices, this intuitive instrument is capable of all-new, complex rhythms that repeat in surprising ways.

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.

Changes 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.

Note that Axon 2 cannot read preset files created by version 1. Version 2 can be used alongside the first version.

Axon 2 (VST/VST/AU/AAX) is available for purchase for $59 USD, and $10 USD for previous users of Axon. It will soon also be available for iOS AUv3 and Standalone.

More information: Audio Damage / Axon 2