i got delayed (again)

memory man and modular

Delay delay delay. I know, right? In the span of two months, I’ve done delay crazy. I’ve always liked the sound of a delay effect in music, and I used Ableton’s or Reason’s delays in pretty much everything I made before I fell down the hardware hole. At that point it got a bit more difficult since much of what I record and post doesn’t make its way into Live or any other DAW. Rather it’s just recorded into Wave Editor, exported, and posted. So until my friend Greg gave me his old Boss DD-3 in July, I was without delay.

That’s all different now. If you go back and listen to the stuff I’m posting, pretty much everything since July has some kind of delay effect in it. Sometimes it’s disguised as reverb, but it’s delay. After playing around with that Boss delay pedal for a bit, I wished for more control over the effect and got the Flight of Harmony Sound of Shadows module, which I wrote about previously. It’s a fun and lovely device, but it’s like the Boss DD-3 the way that a Panther is like my cat. I mean, they’re both “delays” but that doesn’t mean that they’re anything alike. Then the other day I came across an Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man pedal on Craigslist. I picked it up yesterday and spent several hours with my modular synth plugged into it last night. In addition to most of the stuff that the Boss does, the SMM also loops, and is as the name implies, in stereo. Stereo is good because it has a default ping-pong left-right delay when a mono signal is plugged in. Furthermore since I like to use my Doepfer A134 panning VCA, it allows those two inputs. It would be great to be able to set each side with a different time delay, but since I’m not getting rid of the Boss, I can still do that (Boss on one side, Memory Man on the other). Another reason to keep the DD-3 is that it’s got a really nice sound as the delay rate is adjusted. While the Memory Man just cuts the delay until the new speed is reached, the Boss does it more naturally, adjusting the pitch. More like a tape delay. I’ll record these and post them at some point.

I recorded more than an hour of sequences run through the Memory Man, with much playing with the Sound of Shadows as well. It will take some editing to pick out the gems. But in the mean time this fifteen minutes was interesting to me and shows off the looping of the Memory Man, a couple of the delay modes, and has a lot of SoS as well (for the second half or so of the piece one can really hear the difference in the way they delay. Controlling the rate of the SoS’ delay adds something completely different, like a mocking tone or some kind of screwed up circus).

a little delay

As I’ve written, earlier this summer a friend of mine gave me an old Boss DD3 guitar delay pedal. I’m a big fan of using delays and I’ve used them a lot in the stuff I’ve made in software over the last several years. But as with everything since I got into the modular thing, having a tactile knob to twist and buttons to mash is something else entirely, and creates “fun” where there was just “nice” earlier. So once I ran across the Flight of Harmony Sound of Shadows delay module, where the delay rate and feedback can be controlled with CV, I knew I wanted to go to there. I sold a few modules I don’t use much and ordered the SoS from Analogue Haven. It arrived Monday, and Monday night I spent several hours working out some kinks.
I hadn’t rtfm* yet so some of the controls and inputs were a mystery. And listening to these now two days later, I have no idea what I’m hearing in some cases. “sos four” for instance is repeating entire pieces of the clean phrase, but I don’t know how. [Edit: I figured it out. I’m modulating the rate with the Z8000 sequencer. When you don’t hear any delay effect, the sequencer has shut off the rate completely for those steps. It’s a four step sequence running slower than the main clock, so you get something like every other beat it’s on, then off again… or something like that] I do know that the frequent sucking sound on “sos one” is the rate being turned from on to totally off with an envelope, like an LFO.
As for other modules used, “sos one” was a Cwejman VCO6. Four five and six are a Hertz Donut. Some is sequenced by a Noisering, some with a Z8000 sequencer. I also think the last three were using my A134 VC panning module, which works as a crossfader as well, and is really nice for some pseudo stereo.
I realized this morning that I can route the delay signal into signal delay circuit and delay the delay, which with one in the right and the other in the left channel, will be loads of fun.
The SoS is a little noisier than I’d like at times, and since the delay chip was made for karaoke machines it’s got kind of a cranky glitchiness. But I can already see that this is going to be fun.

By the way, what was supposed to be sos two is explained on the previous post, and sos three was sucky so it didn’t make it up here.

*Read the effing Manual