Plonk uses a technique known as physical modelling to synthesize, with great realism, the way in which sound is produced by acoustic instruments. The Plonk module is, itself, focused primarily on creating percussive sounds — both pitched and un-pitched; natural and unnatural; acoustic-sounding or totally electronic.
Plonk does this by breaking sound creation into two distinct elements — the exciter and the resonator. The exciter is a mathematical model of the device used to strike a particular surface. Plonk, because it’s percussion oriented, has two types of exciters: one modelled on a mallet, and the other providing a noise source. The resonator is a virtualization of the object being struck, which vibrates, resonates and creates the body of a sound. Plonk offers several types of resonators: beam; marimba; drumhead; membrane; plate; and string.
Plonk provides numerous parameters that let you shape, mold and design both the exciter and the resonator, thus enabling you to synthesize the sound of striking or scraping almost any type of object — real or imagined. In this way, Plonk can accurately model the sounds of kicks, snares, toms, cymbals, claps, tablas, congas and all manner of traditional percussion instruments. It can also model pitched percussive instruments, like vibes, marimbas, and even bass or guitar-like tones. Of course, it additionally excels at modelling instruments that heretofore never existed.
Best of all, the sounds created by Plonk are not static — any sound you design can respond dynamically to velocity, as well as four different modulation inputs. This means the sound of Plonk can change completely from note-to-note (or strike-to-strike). Because of this, Plonk is actually a duophonic (2-voice) module, which lets the sound of one note decay naturally when a second note (possibly employing an entirely different set of modelling values) is struck. Thus, hitting a new note does not choke the sound of the previously struck note (unless you want it to, of course)!
Plonk stores up to 128 patches in its internal memory, and ships with many presets programmed by professional sound designers and composers. You may overwrite these patches if you wish, and banks of patches may be transferred via MIDI System Exclusive over Plonk’s built-in mini-USB port to facilitate offline storage by programs or websites that support this capability.
Plonk was developed in cooperation with Montreal-based Applied Acoustics Systems — physical modelling pioneers, and the creators of Tassman, Lounge Lizard, String Studio, Ultra Analog, Chromaphone and numerous other plugins. It is with great pleasure that Intellijel brings the potential of this physical modelling technology to a hands-on, CV-laden device capable of the sort of dynamic control and sonic exploration that modular synthesists demand.