The Elysia Karacter is a really interesting rack unit and not just because it’s a high quality distortion or saturation. The Karacter gives you a ton of tone shape characteristics and control in one simple 1u rack space. Control Voltage seems to be a buzz these days and for good reason. Control voltages give you extremely fast precise control over parameters and allow for easy interaction not just with modular gear but with various studio pieces. Karacter Gives you CV control which isn’t very common in units of this style. Lets talk more about the sound. There are a few modes of color to grab from this unit, the first of which is saturation. The saturation mode is really a very controlled affair with tight harmonic coloration across the spectrum without getting in the way of your sound. It’s not over the top… it just kind of warms everything up. From the Eylsia site “The karacter can add unobtrusive coloration and thickness to your music by applying subtle (or less subtle) amounts of symmetrical clipping. This mode has a soft characteristic curve and focuses on the uneven harmonics (h3, h5, …). Remember you can always use the mix controller to blend any desired amount of saturation with your original dry path for even further signal integrity”
Next up would be the FET distortion mode. This mode is all about tube style asymmetrical distortion. much more lively and raucous pushed even further when you engage the turbo boost function which pushes the operating point of the FET distortion to create even more harmonics. The results are a more positive clipped waveform while the negative remains rather round. tonal sculpting is extreme using the color knob which allows you to really boost the low end or thin it out with a lofi top end kind of scream. In addition to these modes Lets not forget this unit is actually two units in one. Elysia gives us the ability to chain these two units together in interesting ways with the stereo link, Mid side and mid side unlinked modes. From the Elysia site
This gives you two fully independent channels of saturation/distortion/destruction – two units in one! This is of course the right mode to process two completely different signals at the same time. Or to send the output of channel 1 into channel 2 for even further mangling… if you dare.
In this mode, both channels are linked and controlled by just a single set of controls for comfortably processing stereo sources. The left controllers and bottom switches become the master for both channels. The obvious benefit is that you don’t have to compare and match the settings of your left and right channels all of the time when processing stereo material.
This gives you the option to process the mid and the side signals completely independent from each other. Then, left becomes mid channel and right becomes side channel. You can apply a high amount of saturation to the mid and leave the sides completely untouched, or the other way round, or anything in between… Different settings of the gain controllers can be used to create subtle or significant changes within the stereo spectrum.
The linked M/S mode might seem a little odd, as the behavior seems to be exactly the same as in linked stereo mode. It can still have its benefits, though, as the inevitable divergences between left and right channel which are caused by natural component tolerances will be reduced in this mode, because here the side information of both channels is processed in a single audio path.”
All in all this unit is capable of a wide range of tones ranging from all out blitz to a chill fuzz over the top of your instruments or track. the color knobs is far more than just a simple EQ or tone control and it really allows you to get just the sound you are after.
If you are in the market for a high end saturation solution… look no further. Build quality of the unit is up there with some of the best built pieces of gear I have felt. The knobs are solid with a great feel. The buttons are nice and well fitted. The casing is of solid build, and the internal guts are gorgeous. The price point alludes to the nature of this beast.. not for the shallow pocket but also not lacking in quality or control.
check out their site at Elysia