Grendel - Drone Commander Classic Pedal
What is it?
Grendel Drone Commander Classic Pedal is a unique synthesizer that delivers thick drone tones with the convenient size of an FX pedal stompbox. It brings back the same true analog oscillators and filter from the sought-after original ammo can model that we made from 2008-2014.
The LFO section delivers rhythmic sweeping modulations that animate the filter. It operates the same way as the original, but with a wider frequency range. The Drone Commander’s LFO modulations are based on a slow ramp waveform that sweeps the filter. The ramp can be set for rising or falling slope, and the SHAPE knob crossfades the ramp modulation with a simple ‘blip’ at the end of every LFO cycle. The other half of the LFO section is a unique phase-locked loop (PLL) that tracks the LFO, generating a pulse wave that automatically synchronizes at a frequency of 2x, 4x, 8x, or 16x. The PULSE knob adjusts the depth of filter modulation by this waveform.
The stomp switch brings the sound in and out with a selectable fade or mute effect, allowing hands-free convenience when adding analog drone tones to specific parts of your performance.
Get new sound effects by processing external audio signals through Grendel Drone Commander’s filter and LFO, via its 3.5mm monophonic line input jack.
This analog synthesizer fits conveniently into a pedalboard and can be powered with a daisy-chain cable from a standard 9VDC effects pedal power supply, as well as its internal 9V battery.
So its just like an FX pedal?
No, because it creates its own sounds, and its not intended to be patched in the middle of a chain of FX pedals. There isn’t a dry signal path from Audio In to Audio Out. It can process audio like an effect, but please see the user guide for how to do that best. Also, the stomp switch isn’t a wet/dry bypass switch. Instead, the stomp switch is used to mute/un-mute the output and trigger fade-ins and fade-outs.
Why doesn’t it have a ¼” input and a straight-through wet/bypass switching like an effect pedal? The simple answer is that Grendel Drone Commander wasn’t developed as a guitar effect, and we don’t feel like that it particularly shines in that role. Nevertheless, to satisfy the curious and experimentally savvy, this model has an Audio In, and it is possible to pipe a guitar signal through it with simple audio adapters.
How to connect it?
This model works well as a tabletop synth connected to a mixer line input. Or instead, there are several ways to incorporate it in your pedalboard.
If your amplifier has two inputs, simply connect the Drone Commander to an unused input on your amp. Patch in some extra effects for it along the way. Use the Drone Commander’s stomp switch to bring its sound in and out when you like.
If your amp has one input, you might want to use an A/B switch to select between guitar and Drone Commander. Hit the A/B switch to select Drone Commander during specific sections, or as a fill-in while taking a tuning break.
Or, depending on the scenario, you might simply patch the Drone Commander pedal to an input channel on the PA system mixing board. Connecting it through a DI box may improve the results in an on-stage situation.
CV Connections (3.5mm mono)
CLOCK OUT: Synchronize external gear with the Drone Commander’s pulses. This port sends a square wave analog clock output.
FILTER CV IN: Modulate the Drone Commander’s filter with an external LFO, Envelope, etc. (not 1v/octave)
GATE IN: Has the same function as the stomp switch. Bring the sound in and out automatically from an external controller, LFO, sequencer, etc. Or self-patch Clock Out to Gate In for an automatic loud-quiet-loud effect.
AUDIO IN: Patching to this port mutes the internal oscillators, and substitutes external audio. The external signal passes through the Drone Commander’s filter, LFO, and Gate effects. Typically for best results, use a signal with constant dynamics, such as the raw waveform output from a VCO module. Or, experiment by connecting other instruments to it. See the user guide for more info on patching the Audio In jack.
(The oscillators are manually tuned only, and do not have 1v/oct CV inputs.)