Revenant — a delay of ghostly resurrections

Revenant began, as many of my patches do, with a dumb idea that didn’t work. You can still hear that idea, if you set the fade time of the envelopes to nil: the basic idea of the patch was four delay lines in parallel, each clock divided by a different amount, and an audio switch that randomly moved between them, selecting which tap to play. The feedback was taken from the output of the switch, so sometimes it came from a short tap, sometimes a long one, and sometimes it was heard again in a medium-timed tap, sometimes pieces that seemed forgotten would resurface, sometimes they would get caught in a buffer to loop briefly before disappearing forever.

That’s certainly interesting, but jarring, glitchy. So, this patch sat in my ZOIA for a few months; I’m not sure how many. I named it ‘Revenant’ because I liked the idea of how it created these unexpected returns, but I thought it might join the scrap heap of ‘kind of interesting patches’ that don’t get any further than that. I’m writing this forward to express the idea that sometimes, patches need time for you to see them right.

About a week ago, I loaded the patch again, just on a lark. I didn’t even really remember what it did. And instead of going ‘oh, okay’ and moving on, I decided to work on it. Inspired by name, I decided to replace the on/off abrupt switching with envelopes that faded each tap in and out, kind of ghostly. And that… was a game-changer. Then I reworked the filter section; this patch really excels at the extremes of its filter settings, when the audio is heavily low- or high-passed. Finally, I added a mod section, with just a little warbly, so everything feels a little unsteady.

Sounds fade in and out, like apparitions, veiled in filtering and modulation, the echoes broken and unpredictable. It’s hardly your traditional delay, but it is capable of producing sounds no traditional delay could.

The patch is stereo throughout.

Controls:

Stompswitches:

Left — tap tempo (the patch also listens to MIDI clock)

Middle — switches from set panning for each tap to panning that shifts each time a tap’s envelope is retriggered

Right — stops the output switching, holding onto a specific tap for as long as you hold the stompswitch; although under most circumstances the unevenness of the regeneration keeps oscillation at bay, it may occur when the switching is held

Front page:

Down the left side are five clock dividers, one for each of the delay taps, and one for the switching mechanism. I have them set to ratios I like, but you can experiment.

Next to each delay is a pan control for that delay, allowing the taps to shift around the stereo field.

The switching mechanism has a fade time that determines how quickly or slowly the taps fade in and out. It is bidirectional. When the fade time is positive, the fades are linear and smoother; when it is negative, the fade times are exponential and more dramatic.

Pixels indicate which tap is currently active.

The feedback control is fairly standard; as mentioned in the stompswitch section, oscillation is rare but possible.

The mod section is a warbly sine (it is really made from two sines that modulate one another).

The filter is a low-/high-pass. At 0, the filter is fully open. As the value goes negative, the filter is progressively low-passing the signal. As it goes positive, the sound is progressively high-passed.

Finally, there are wet and dry levels for the patch.

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  • Category: Effect
  • Revision: 1.0
  • License: Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0
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  • Modified: 2 months ago
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