Monday, June 7, 2010

My Take on the Glitch Device

There have been a lot of fantastic beat-repeating, loop-mangling glitchy effects devices around lately. I thought I'd design my own device, with a few special features of course :)

I don't have a clever name, so I just called mine the Glitcher. Like most of the other devices, mine uses dynamic delays to create the sonic effects, and a bunch of CV routing to tie it all together.

Link: Glitcher 0.0.5.ogg

I'm not going to give an explanation of how it works, but I will outline the main interface and features.

  • you connect this device like a standard effects combinator - sound goes in, sound comes out.
  • hit a MIDI note to trigger the effect. The actual note or velocity has no effect at this time.
  • use the Mod Wheel to dynamically change the effect when triggered by altering the delay.
  • use the Pitch Wheel to split the effect between left and right channels, for stereo fun!
  • obviously you can use a piano-roll track to control the effect in the sequencer by recording these inputs.
  • knob 1 - "Dry/Wet" should generally be left alone. This is driven by the combi itself to sample the input signal and begin the looping.
  • knob 2 - reserved, currently does nothing.
  • knob 3 and 4: L & R "Delay Offset" - these are used to control the internal delays and should generally be left alone.
  • button 1 - "ModW / Internal" - switches between control of the delay by Mod Wheel (off), or internal control by the "Delay Matrix" (on).
  • button 2 - "steps/ms" - switches between delay increments in steps (off) and milliseconds (on).
  • button 3 - "Fine / Coarse" - switches between fine delay control (off) or coarse delay control (on).
  • button 4 - "DelayMatrix / LFO" - switches the internal source of the delay signal between the internal "Delay Matrix" or the Malstrom's LFO A.
So what can you do with this device? Well, this RNS demo provides an example of the Glitcher messing around with four different Rex loops. The automation switches between different modes of operation and the effect is pretty clear.

A few things to note about this device:
  • generally, you can simply hit keys on the keyboard and twiddle the Mod Wheel to get some cool effects.
  • the pitch wheel is set up to split the delay unevenly between the left and right channels, creating some interesting stereo effects - try it with the Mod Wheel!
  • the "Fine / Coarse" switch can be used to choose between a quite regular and controllable effect (fine) and a more chaotic and unpredictable one (coarse). I find the fine mode to be easier to control in real-time.
  • if you engage "Internal" mode (button 1), the effect gating is now controlled by the "Gate Matrix" - use curve values of non-zero to trigger the effect. You can change the number of steps and resolution to make things more interesting.
  • when "Internal" mode is engaged, the delay modulation is governed by the "DelayMatrix/LFO" mode - either the "Delay Matrix" controls the delay modulation, or the Malstrom's LFO can be used instead. The LFO has been biased to operate over the same range as the Mod Wheel. Try different LFO patterns for some cool sounds.
  • The arpeggiator labeled "Gate Control" is used to control rhythmic gating effects when using keyboard control - simply modify the pattern (i.e. click pattern steps on/off, or automate the Pattern Value) and hold down a key.
  • The Thor instance is purely for CV calculations, and uses a global envelope to smooth out the gate edges a bit, avoiding some of the nasty brick-wall clicks you get with other glitchers.
Thanks to Peff for the Equal Power Crossfader that I made good use of in the demonstration file.

Current version is 0.0.5:
Have fun!

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