You know when you see something and it looks kind of intriguing, so you go ahead and get it even though you’re not quite sure what it’s for, how it works or whether it’ll turn out to be a good idea? (Kind of like when I met Mongo, in fact.) Well, the Eminent Test Unit was exactly that kind of a purchase: spur-of-the-moment, perhaps not very well thought through… but nevertheless tickling all our impulse-purchase sweet spots. Buttons marked with arcane symbols that might have been designed by TellyTubbies, meanings unknown? Check. Little VU dial showing something-or-other on a scale, we don’t know what? Check. Cables and wires and one of them has a kind of pen probe hanging off it? Absolutely. Riveted leather case with carrying strap and a shiny metal buckle? Hoo boy, pass me my wallet.
Arriving in an extremely cool little leather satchel, the Eminent Test Unit is a Test Unit designed to Test Eminents. Since we currently have no Eminents to Test, we instead sampled it. Luckily for us, it does indeed make sounds – there’s a little speaker built in to the side of the leather satchel, and two intriguing flying leads, one with a crocodile clip and one with that way-cool pen-style probe. Although, frankly, we had no idea what we were doing, it seemed clear that the crocodile clip could be attached to things and the probe then used to probe other things, and the various test tones, squawks and squeals that emerged from the Test Unit presumably indicated whether those things had mojo or not. So we went around the lab happily probing and clipping and testing and recording all the results. Fun fact: turns out Mongo is very, very conductive.
The result of all these shenanigans is a truly strange little Kontakt synth designed to be simple and fun to use, but yield quirky and intriguing results. At its core are the test tones we recorded from the little speaker, but we’ve extended these somewhat with some doohickeys and gizmos. No, we’re not going to go into details here: you have to press the buttons and find out what happens, just like we had to. The only thing we’ll tell you right off is that the Square button does not, in fact, produce a square. Beyond that, you’re on your own and we wish you all the luck in the world – though if you were to click repeatedly on the Probe Test button while listening to the results, we reckon you might find yourself in a good place pretty soon.
So while you may not be able to actually, you know, test any Eminents with this thing, we hope you’ll have fun and make some cool sounds 🙂