DARK STAR 2 (prototype)
A semi-granular reverb effect with several routing options.
This is just a hair away from being finished. I just need to make some small adjustments to a few of the knobs in order to visualize fine tuning decimation (as soon as I figure out how to do that), as well as include some better documentation of the parameters. But I guess I can go ahead and break it down for some of you....
(I'll just explain the parameters that you DON'T see in typical reverbs.)
The "Embed" button just to the right of the "Stereo Grain Delay" section toggles between two modes: When switched OFF, it positions the grain delay AFTER the "Signal Gate" module and BEFORE the reverb. When switched ON, the grain delay modules are EMBEDDED (hence the name) within the feedback delay network of the reverb. This allows not only for huge, pillowy shimmer effects, but it can also be used to add depth and sophistication to the reverb tail when the "Pitch" knobs are at zero and detuned slightly apart with a bit of jitter -- BUT NOT TOO MUCH!
That "Jitter" control can completely destroy the grain length ... but if destruction is your thing, I think you'll enjoy creating some horrifying sounds with it. Actually, now that I think on it, I should have made a snapshot for some big creepy atmosphere. I'll make more snapshots for the official release, I promise :)
The "Invert L" and "Invert R" buttons simply invert the respective audio signals going into the feedback multipliers. The results may not be dramatic, but they can have a slight influence on the reverb tail that might make a world of difference later on.
The "Merge" knob in the Stereo Grain Delay module is pretty cool. I created it so you can blend the left and right stereo signals when they are at different pitches, so you don't hear an octave in your right ear and a perfect fifth in your left ear. Both pitches can be blended together by MERGING the stereo signal -- BUT KNOW THIS: When the Merge knob is turned all the way up, you will eventually turn that wide stereo output into a flat as a pancake mono output. However, to counteract this, I cleverly hid a single delay module that creates a Haas effect when the Merge knob is turned all the way up, which delays the right audio output by exactly 25 milliseconds. Turn the Merge knob all the way down, and the right audio output is not delayed at all. Pretty nifty, huh?
The "Signal Gate" section isn't as complicated as it looks. The general idea is that your incoming audio signal is translated to a simple ON/OFF gate that triggers an Attack & Release envelope so you can adjust the way your audio is fed into the reverb module, as well as some added bells & whistles that control what's going OUT of the reverb. For instance, the "Tail" button applies the gate to the reverb tail only; this works better if the Attack knob is turned all the way down. Tail mode is suited for more traditional gated reverbs to use for drums and sharp transients that need a short burst of energy.
The "Makeup" knob is a simple makeup gain control that can boost incoming audio by a few decibels when the Attack knob is turned up. The more you turn the Attack knob up, the more amplitude is available to the Makeup multiplier. If you turn the Attack knob all the way up, you have approximately 4dB of gain that you can adjust with the Makeup knob. When the Attack knob is at 50%, you have (more or less) 2dB of gain available to the Makeup multiplier. So, the more attack you have, the more makeup gain you have available to the Makeup multiplier. Got it? Good.
But wait, there's more! The Makeup multiplier responds to an internal envelope that also behaves in accordance with the Attack knob. So, when the Attack knob is at a low value, the makeup gain will taper off at a rapid rate, but when the attack knob is at a higher value, the makeup gain will taper off at a slower rate. This way, when you are in "Choke" mode, which literally CHOKES BOTH the dry and wet signals, you can perform volume swells that don't get washed out by the attack stage of the envelope. Your signal CAN BE boosted in accordance with the attack knob, and that boosted audio tapers off to its original amplitude when the attack stage is complete. This way, your volume swells will have more presence than with traditional volume pedals that don't have this feature.
The "Manual" button allows you to trigger the signal gate envelope with a midi controller that you can assign to the "Gate" button, which is connected to your midi keyboard's sustain pedal (ctrl#64) by default, but you can go to the "Connect" tab in the properties of the Gate button and change it to whatever controller you want. Also, you can just press the Gate Button with your mouse if you don't have any midi controllers.
Well, that's pretty much it for the *unusual* stuff. Everything else is standard fare. The bypass buttons do what they say. The controls for both Early and Late Reflection are pretty common. The "Offset" knob just staggers the early reflection times from left-to-right to create a more realistic environment that works great for all kinds of acoustic spaces.
Anyway, like I said, better documentation will be included in the official version. But for now, I think this prototype is functional enough for experimentation and troubleshooting. Have fun :)