VLD — quick programmable multi-tap delay

VLD — very large delay, which is mostly just sort of a pun on the Very Large Array telescope, but that telescope uses a lot of little telescopes to make a larger, more powerful telescope, which kinda fits here, since VLD is a multi-tap delay that uses five delay lines in series to create a more powerful delay.

The “big idea” here is programmability. Each tap has independent controls for time, feedback, level, and panning, and you can program each of these controls via a visual interface on the first page. Select one of the four parameters using the buttons on the left, and then select the option from the radio buttons on the right. The buttons will change colors to correspond to the parameter — aqua for time, mango for feedback, blue for level, purple for panning.

A note about the time parameter:

From left to right, time increases in quantized amounts, from 32nd notes, dotted 32nd notes, 16th notes, dotted 16th notes, eighth notes, dotted eighth notes, to, finally, quarter notes.

There is a button on the second page (more on the second page in a moment) called “Time multiples.” If you turn on this button, then these parameters change from quantized note divisions to multiples of the clock: the left most button corresponds to 1x the clock (a quarter note) to 7x the length of the clock at the rightmost.

Now, in the “bug that became a feature category” — the change between the two time scales (divisions and multiples) only takes place once the time is re-initialized: you need to press the button on the first page to program it to the new time scale. But this means you can mix and match between the two time scales — if you only re-initialize some the taps, you can have some that are rather short and some that are rather long, which can be pretty interesting! Feature, not bug!

There is also a tempo indicator on the front page, which can be tapped. You can also use the left stompswitch or MIDI clock to time the delay.

On the second page are some additional parameters and modules.

There is a multiplier which controls the amount of modulation applied to the first tap, along with the LFO producing that modulation. Use the first input of the multiplier to set the amount of modulation; the LFO is connected to the second input. You can change the waveform of the LFO for different modulation effects.

There is a “tone filter” — this is a multi-filter that the signal into the delay and all of the feedback regeneration passes through. By default it is set to a low-pass configuration, with a mild top-end roll-off, but you can adjust the frequency and type of filter (by editing the module itself) to get other results (e.g. set to a high-pass filter to roll off bottom-end).

There is a sort of “global feedback” control. There are individual feedback amounts for each tap, but because of the potential for oscillation in a delay with five feedback sources, this global control can let you quickly calm things down if they start to get out of hand, and it’s useful for setting a kind of “guideline” limit.

I already discussed the “time multiples” button above.

Finally, there are dry and wet levels. I almost didn’t include a wet level control, since each tap has an individual level control, but like the explanation for a global feedback control above, sometimes it’s useful to affect all of the taps at once.

Dry audio passes in stereo, and the output of the delay is stereo because of the panning configurations, but the signal is summed to mono before entering the delay network.

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