You might know Black Corporation as the brand behind the Deckard's Dream, a phenomenal recreation of the Yamaha CS-80 that debuted in 2018.
Black Corporation's Expander was initially a rackmount expansion for that synth, making an array of effects available to Deckard's Dream owners hoping to augment its sound. This month, they've announced the release of Expander Mk2, a multi-effects processor that builds on the capabilities found in the original Expander to create something much more powerful.
Available as a tabletop or rackmount unit, Expander Mk2 is a multi-effects console that offers delay, reverb, chorus, phaser, ring mod, resonator and overdrive. There's analogue and digital versions of almost every effect here, and many of the effects are built to emulate vintage gear. The Expander's interface is comprehensive and contains one knob for almost every function.
The Expander's digital delay is based on the Lexicon PCM42 and was designed in partnership with Gary Hall, the Lexicon's original designer, while its digital reverb recreates the sound of the "lush and spacious" Lexicon 224. These are complemented by an analogue BBD delay, with a delay time that goes all the way up to 820ms, and a spring reverb that makes use of two 17" tanks, along with EQ and digital pre-delay.
Elsewhere, the Expander's equipped with a chorus section featuring two distinct BBD chorus lines, a phaser section based around a 12-stage analogue phaser circuit, and a quadrant multiplier ring modulator sitting alongside a vintage-style transformer and diode-based ring mod. That's not all: there's overdrive, too, courtesy of KORG's Nutube analogue vacuum tube technology, which can deliver everything from "subtle texture and warmth" to "screaming distortion".
External effects can be patched in at any stage in the Expander's chain using the insert section, while the resonator can be used as a subtle tone-sculpting EQ or pushed into experimental territory with the help of the Expander's "multitude" of LFOs, which are routable to almost any destination.
Expander's also kitted out with a matrix mixer, making it easy to design effects pathways and play around with different routing patterns. In terms of I/O, there's two balanced line ins and outs, stereo send and return, expression and switch pedals, USB and MIDI, along with a Hi-Z guitar input and headphone out on the front panel.
All told, Expander Mk2 looks pretty impressive, but all that functionality doesn't come cheap: the preorder price is $4999, with first orders going out early next year.