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Javelin - WMD

Javelin - WMD

by Jason Czyeryk

When most people hear the word “javelin” an Olympic event, or perhaps a surface-to-air missile come to mind, but when I hear the word it’s the movie Revenge of the Nerds which is the first thing that pops up. Lamar Latrell and all that. That little detail probably reveals more about my personality and upbringing than I’d like, but I’m happy to say that this particular word association is about to be upgraded due to WMD’s Javelin, their new performance minded ADSR/VCA, a digital/analog hybrid that combines traditional ADSR functions, a built-in VCA, and some well implemented performance shortcuts.
WMD states on their website that their Javelin might be “the ultimate Eurorack envelope,” ready for deployment in your rig [my words here], and it’s hard to argue with their bravado. While not super flashy—or super huge in terms of HP [yes!]—WMD’s Javelin offers controls over each of the four stages of an ADSR envelope with CV in for each, along with a CV in for ACCENT, an ENVELOPE OUT, RESET, and the aforementioned VCA. This is all de rigeur—nothing too surprising here in the world of Euro envelope modules—but what really sets Javelin apart from the crowd are those aforementioned performance-minded additions.
There are features like the ability to quickly move through three level ranges, which lets you change the envelope's overall amplitude with the press [or two] of a button. The ability to do this, to alter the amplitude so easily—no knob tweaking required—is akin to having three related presets for a given envelope. In the heat of live-set battle, this is a really cool feature that brought about nice variations in my patches and some extra expression not usually available—definitely not so quickly and easily—in this way. There isn’t a CV in for this, and I can’t say that I wasn’t dreaming of a way to modulate this feature, especially on percussive voices, but in effect, another weapon that Javelin has in its quiver, the ACCENT CV, does exactly this to a more detailed and interesting degree.
Come to think of it, it’s the ACCENT that makes Javelin a perfect strike [last weapon pun…promise]. Firstly, it’s a CV input which is sensitive to the amount of CV that’s used, which let’s you control the amount of the accent. Along with this, there are three button-selectable ranges for the accent that gives you control over how much the envelope will accent to. This injects a ton of life and change into a patch.
In addition, there's a LOOP button to turn on or off the looping of the envelope, and if the button is held a bit, you then cycle through three different levels of exponentiality, another quick and fun way to alter the envelope.
Another performance-minded addition is the RANGE button which lets you cycle between three pre-made envelope shapes. These shapes get exponentially longer time-wise, from short/snappy shapes to one maxing out at an 88 minute stage. I didn’t/don’t have the patience to see if this is accurate, but I’ll take WMD's word for it. While Javelin doesn't let you control or create the actual shapes you're cycling through—outside of the initial envelope—what you're losing in control you're gaining in terms of flexibility and space. If you wanted to do this longhand, you'd need three separate stages and some sort of switch to cycle between them, not to mention a fistful of cables. Javelin's pre-formed decision making lets you have fun in the performance realm, as opposed to the patching realm, and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything in that way. There’s already PLENTY of patching going on, so it’s nice to have a few shortcuts.
The RESET input at the base of the module that let's you interrupt the envelope, cutting short the cycles with a gate which can make for some really interesting percussive sounds. Javelin also affords the opportunity to easily try out different sounds, lengths, and shapes to find what you're looking for with their shortcuts, and there were times in a pretty elongated drum patch where I had Javelin on snare-ish duties, and I rocked that module for a good long while, just grooving to the changes of length and timbre, listening to the sonic changes. Again, you're a bit at the whim of what's under the hood of Javelin, but for me, there's already plenty of minutiae and specificity in a lengthy modular patch to where a little helping hand [or button] is more than welcome.
I can see other manufacturers implementing these sorts of shortcuts for performance oriented modules that Javelin employs. I really enjoyed the ease of change they provided along with the traditional envelope functions that it offers. I've been kind of in an envelope mode [cycle?] lately, and the joy, the satisfaction I get out of tweaking the pajeesus out of a shape, whether by hand or CV, by preset or spontaneous twists, has brought Javelin to the bottom row in my case, the one that houses most of my more hands-on modules, the ones that get played a whole lot.

6 HP +12v 93mA -12v 65mA
Price: $249

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