This is, admittedly, a complex patch — most of the front page is taken up with controls — but it can produce some wonderful, wild sounds.
I’ll try to summarize the patch:
Two stereo loops are reading and recording continuously (unless you want them to record less often). The loops can be repitched. The left and right sides can individually be set to forward or reverse (this can produce some incredible stereo effects). The length of each stereo loop can be adjusted independently, and modulation can be applied to the start position of each stereo loop independently.
The stereo loops can be fed back into themselves, to create loop delays (with pitch effects and all of the other processes described above applied with each repeat). And one of the stereo loops can be fed into the other to create even more complex delay sounds.
But wait, there’s more! (I know. “Wtf Christopher….”)
The stereo loops are mixed together, allowing you to set which loop is heard more prominently. Or you can modulate the mix, allowing you to have the mix shift during the course of a given loop buffer. You can also adjust its shape, to produce different results.
You can randomly mute the output of either stereo loop, based on probability (0 will always be muted, 1 will always play the loop). You can also apply an amp envelope to the loops, which has a dual effect of mitigating cross-over points between buffers and adding a tremolo modulation.
…. But there’s more.
There are two versions of the patch. One applies a reverb lite to the wet side of the patch. The other adds modulation to the loops in two forms: LFO modulation (for chorusing and more exotic effects; the LFO which controls the modulation is placed on the front page to allow you experiment with different modulation shapes) and “tape age” (random noise modulation which creates a mixture of vibrato and flutter distortion). Modulation can be applied to one or the other or both loops.
And we’re done!
Okay, so why go to all of this trouble?
For one, despite the complexity, the patch is easier to use than you might think if you approach it as a generator of happy accidents. Change some controls, push a couple buttons, and you’ve got a whole new sound. The more familiar you become with the controls, the more you can determine these intricate interactions, but there is always an element of the unexpected. (I get sounds out of the patch that surprise me often enough; but they also delight me.)
For another, in a lot of ways this is a consolidation of a lot of ideas that have swirled around other looper patches of mine.
And finally, some of the sounds are just bonkers. If you’re into glitchy, ambient loop patches, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
The patch is stereo throughout.
Left — tap tempo (the patches also accept MIDI clock)
Middle — maxes the feedback for loopA
Right — maxes the feedback for loopB
The two loopers have the same controls, mirrored on the left and right side. I tried to stick to a color palette for each looper, to make them easy to identify, so loopA’s controls are warm tones (red, yellow, orange) while loopB’s controls are cool tones (aquas and blues).
Controls in common for both loop layers:
Chance loop — this controls the likelihood that a loop layer will record new audio. At 1.000 (A10; many of the controls are set to note values to make changing them faster), new audio will always be recorded. Below this, the chance that a new loop will not be recorded increases. When a new loop is not recorded, the loop will play the audio already stored in its buffer, allowing for stutters and recursions.
Mute chance — this controls the likelihood that a looper layer will be muted. There can be a lot going on in the patch, and sometimes it useful to thin out the sound. This can also be useful for introducing some unpredictable dynamics. The mute is post-looper and looper feedback, so audio recorded during this period may still be heard at a later point.
Pitch — change the pitch of the each loop layer.
Reverse L/R — you can set whether the left or right or both sides of the stereo loop play forward or in reverse. Setting one side to forward and the other to reverse is an interesting way of expanding the stereo field.
Start mod — this is a preset modulation which changes the start position of the loops. This is another interesting way of expanding the stereo field, as the left and right modulation are different.
Feedback — feed the loop back into itself for delay-like effects. Pitched loops will ascend or descend in pitch. Reversed loops will play forward, then reversed again (as the reverse function reverses a reverse) for “palindrome” effects.
Length — this can be used to shorten the length of the loop (and in doing so, causing it to stutter and glitch).
LoopB to loopA — this will feed the output of loopB into loopA. If, for instance, you want a pitched up delay, but not one that continues to ascend in pitch, you could set loopB to an octave up, with no feedback, and then feed it into an unpitched loopA, using its feedback to repeat the pitched sound. There are many other possibilities beyond this.
Mix — this controls the mix between loopA and loopB. When at 0, only loopA will be heard; when at 1, only loopB will be heard.
Mix mod — this introduces an attack/decay envelope, triggered each clock cycle, that mixes loopA and loopB automatically. The mix control above becomes a depth control for the envelope; at 0, only loop A will be heard. As the mix is increased, loopA will be more and more suppressed by the envelope and loopB will be heard as the envelope cycles.
Mod shape — this controls the shape of the envelope
Linear mod — this changes the envelope from an exponential shape to a linear shape
Tone — this is a low-pass filter that can be applied to tame some of the brighter sounds of pitched-up loops.
Amp mod — this control can be used to limit the sound of the loops switching over. It will introduce a fade at the beginning and end of the loop. When it is increased, the fades become longer, taking up more of the loop cycle. At the extremes it acts much like a triangle tremolo effect.
Wet and dry level — level controls for the patch.
For Dialectics rvb (reverb):
Reverb decay and reverb mix control a wet-side reverb lite.
For Dialectics mod (modulation):
There are two depth controls for modulation, one for tape age (FM tape distortion) and one for modulation. The modulation LFO is located on the front panel; the default is sine, but other shapes are worth exploring. There are buttons beside the LFO which allow you to send the modulation to one loop or the other or both (or none).