Monday 13 July 2015

Random Echoes

Sometimes ideas for audio effects seem great conceptually, but the actual result doesn't match up to those expectations. Comber 3 added random modulation to my MaxForLive Comber phase shifter, but it didn't sound quite as awesome as I had imagined.

Persistence can pay off, though. So I added random modulation to my PanEcho M4L effect, using the built-in 'M4L.vdelay~' glitchless delay module. The 'M4L.vdelay~' is good for messing about with modulation because it tends to be stable even if you are changing the delay time quite rapidly, which was going to be useful when using filtered noise as the modulation source. Here's what Rnd_Echo looks like:

Notice that I wasn't sure how to indicate that the modulation source was random, so I just added random dots to the background of the modulation section. I think it works quite well as a visual cue.

Surprisingly, the result is better than the random phasing, but still not exactly what I expected. Adding random delay times to audio echoes is difficult to describe - almost like smearing the sound out. But it is very usable, and quite unusual - it isn't the sort of sound that you hear and immediately know what is producing it, which is always good in my book.

Control-wise, there's a lot of commonality with many of my recent releases, although I've experimented here with moving things around to see if that makes things more intuitive. The 'noisy' modulation panels have two controls for the randomness - use L to control the basic rate of change, and H to control the jitteriness. The Mod control sets the depth of modulation, with an indicator light for when the delay line is at minimum delay. The two delay panels let you set the Delay time (increase this when the mod light keeps lighting up), the Sync, and the feedback, which can be to the other channel, or inside the channel. The Pan panel lets you move each delay line in the stereo image (but not randomly - yet!) and I've added a horizontal 'pan position' indication. Finally, the 'Limiter' button is left over from the Comber effect, and I've kept it because it can be useful when the feedback gets too high.

As always, Rnd_Echo is available for download from the website. Enjoy.

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