A Beautifully Bizarre Tonal Avatar
Just what is an envelope controlled harmonic generator? Is this terminology vague or specific? The sounds that the Dynamorph sputters out are hard to describe in words, which is always a prerequisite for an awesome pedal in my opinion. I might be speculating here, but it seems as though the DM-02’s fundamental circuit design is inspired by a lesser-known pedal called the Prunes & Custard. The Prunes & Custard was the second stomper developed by industry legend Paul Crowther; who was famous for his amazing proto-boutique overdrive . . . the Hot Cake. It certainly shares a similar voice that can be compared to a ring modulator in some respects.
Now that the history lesson is over, let us prod this sparkling purple monster and see what kind of noises we can coax out of it. What some might hate, but I happen to like about the Dynamorph is the unapologetic weirdness factor. The controls are labelled with complete artistic licence (rather than for utilitarian purpose) and I might be in the minority here, but I love this. It encouraged me to tune-up, turn on and drop out of the normal sound design procedure. I kind of felt like Will Smith in Independence Day as I was piloting a derelict alien spacecraft with intuitive drive.
Fuzzy Flittering Alien Artefacts
Though I had a blast tweaking and geeking at random with various guitars, basses and synths, eventually I did peek at the instruction manual to find out just what was going on under the hood. The Ecdysis control determines how hard the incoming signal hits the diodes. As it is turned up, an interesting array of alien artefacts emerge in the form of distortion, filtering and morphing. The Holometeboly is the output of the effected signal, which works in tandem with the Ametaboly (or dry signal). By adjusting these two controls, one can dial in a perfect mix of sane and insane sonic schizophrenia. Instar acts a threshold control when the Morph switch is in the on position. Much like a compressor, the Instar determines the trigger point at which the signal goes from zero to whatever range at which the Ecdysis is set.
Upon strumming, the beautiful celestial butterfly lights up and flitters out in real time, so one can see as well as hear what is happening to the signal, which is trippy and beautiful to look at. As the Chrysalis control is wound up, haywire harmonics and complex intermodulation begins to unfold, adding compression and sustain in gobs. Using the Gestation control at higher gain settings can create delayed swells of pure destruction that are once scary and beautiful to behold. Finally, we have the Ovid and Kafka switch, which basically determines the overall EQ of the effected signal. The former being a fuller frequency range filler and the latter emphasising the high-end content. This is great for pickup and instrument matching.
What We Like
Amazing looks, build quality and experimental sounds are what this beast is all about, although it proves to be a very sweet sounding “regular” distortion box by dialling down the Holometaboly to lower settings. While one isn’t going to be pulling any constipated bluesman faces in their uncle’s Clapton cover band with this thing, chances are they knew what they were getting into beforehand. This is a truly unique and inspiring distortion device that demands to be twisted and tweaked. I also can’t wait to run an analog drum machine into it . . . just saying.
This thing eats power (300 milliamps), which isn’t the norm with most dirt boxes. There is a lot going on in the sparkly cocoon though, so this is understandable. It isn’t really a problem if one has the milliamps to spare, but it is something to consider if one doesn’t have a spare 500-milliamp tap from their power supply. I am also not a big fan of having the input and output jacks facing East on the pedal.