Thinking out loud...

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wub
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Thinking out loud...

Post by wub » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:08 pm

Been incorporating old cassette recordings in a lot of my productions since getting my machine to work properly, due to the inclusion of the old shitty tape deck I had laying about. Sampling in from old jazz records, found a great crickets soundbed with plenty of crackle that found it's way as ambience into one of my tunes etc etc.

Anyways, been thinking more and more about using tapes. I fucking love cassette tapes, always have. But since the last time I properly used them, my knowledge in terms of music/audio production has grown massively (or rather, it didn't exist before), so I now know things like headroom and bandwidth and EQ and dynamic range which I didn't before.

Listened to some old tapes to get a feel for that sound they give vs. a digital version of the same song - does anyone know about frequency ranges on tapes? Found a good thread on GearSlutz;

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/masterin ... sette.html

Which touches on the subject, but not far enough for my liking. It mentions top end limits, standard, but like should I be rolling over the low end that bit further up the range due to a tape's pickup capabilities? Found some more little bits here, here and here (good APX chat) which I've been mulling over for the duration of today.

Ideally I'd like to be doing some sort of direct noise recording (using a Kaossilator, the Chimera and maybe a Monotron now they've bought the new ones out), all running off battery and dumping direct to tape to import into the computer at a further point for mastering and trickery etc. That in itself will be fun, how do you master something digitally on a computer that has been recorded directly onto tape - how will my workflow/general methodology get affected?

Good to know there are still mass tape production places out there, even if this one is in the States. Someone posted a quality little documentary trailer the other day that really got me hyped about tapes again, then there was discussion in the SNHFBG about tapes and where still does them (incidentally, I gave leavingrecords as an example) and why not more people do tape releases. Maybe a C90 mixtape, 2 x 45mins recorded as .WAV then bounce out to tape for a release of maybe 150-200 copies, proper artwork etc...something to think about for later in the year.

Anyway...on my mind today has also been the following inspirational source material Wiki links;

Lo-fi music - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lo-fi_music
DIY ethic - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIY_ethic
Dynamic range - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range (for obvious reasons)

(And if anyone knows where I can get a copy of D.I.Y. or Die: How to Survive as an Independent Artist, there's a shiny penny and a tall frosty one (age permitting) in it for you)

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by wub » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:36 pm

Ok, more research and an update, been reading this, and got me wondering as to just how much of low freqs would be lost if utilising tape as a mastering/bouncing medium. Depending on the deck, the mid/high processing wouldn't be so much of an issue as would just add colour (probably), but think that actual freq loss on the bottom end would be an issue...not least because it would scupper the mix tape idea.

That being said, I know certain bass music producers have released actual mixtapes before, so this would suggest that low end roll off isn't too substantial...unless this is dependant on the sort of tape being used i.e. Ferric or otherwise?

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by VirtualMark » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:28 pm

I'm no expert, but i'd think that you'll lose power for a number of reasons. People used to use tape because it was one of the best mediums available at the time. Since then digital has surpassed it in pretty much every area. Tape has more noise, speed fluctuation(wow and flutter), less dynamic range and frequency response than digital. I might be wrong, i'm just guessing that this'll all add up to a much weaker master in a lot of areas.

I'd be interested to hear what any mastering engineers have to say about it.

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by wub » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:12 pm

VirtualMark wrote:Tape has more noise, speed fluctuation(wow and flutter), less dynamic range

These are some of the sound colouring effects I'm after though.

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by wub » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:21 pm

Hmmm, ok done a bit more digging and the only reference I can find is a vague note stating that tape decks could replicate 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range, so it stands to reason they wouldn't do this unless the medium could accept it. Based on this table, I'm going to make a small project file with some low frequence sine waves (50hz, 40hz, 30hz, 20hz) and a countdown voice announcing each one.

Bounce that out as a WAV, record to tape, then play back through my main room system and see what I can hear/feel.

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by wub » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:21 pm



Can really hear the dbGlitch in the opening percussion loop of this tune and it's kinda bugging me.

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by VirtualMark » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:26 pm

DBlue Glitch in this, i'm sure of it. Starts about 5:50:


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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by Hircine » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:33 pm

lost a fucking huge post about my brief experience with tapes, tl;dr they give a nice punch from 100 to 300, not that harsh sounding as digital, don't know about sub bass but you should do it, there's more to music than quality.
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bassbum wrote:The pheleleh tune I have never heard before and I did like it but its very simple and I could quickly recreate it.
Yeah I wanna hear it too :P

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by wub » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:10 am

Hircine wrote:lost a fucking huge post about my brief experience with tapes, tl;dr they give a nice punch from 100 to 300, not that harsh sounding as digital, don't know about sub bass but you should do it, there's more to music than quality.


Yeah, but at the same time if I lose the sub bass frequencies altogether it would defeat the purpose - sound colouring is all well and good, but not killing it entirely.

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by wub » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:36 pm

wub wrote:
ketamine wrote:Then somebody hears it and judges it like everything needs to be a dancefloor killer.
That's their perogative though - same as people will paint a bowl of fruit and call it art, or look at a two red lines on a black background and say it's not.

I have this sometimes, I dunno. Like a tune is a tune is a tune is all well and good, I've made tunes that are dancefloor flavours and I like that. But the one I've got in my head right now making me think about during this thread isn't a dancefloor tune. It's got a beat to it, but it's more of a sound collage experiment to see if I could turn FL into a live performance tool for capturing random audio clips and seeing what they sound like. Turns out I can.

But yeah, not something I'd ever want to play back to someone, or maybe I would and I don't know the right people who'd want to listen...but for me making music has never been about having people listen to it. Not saying that it's the same for everyone, naturally - the Dubs board is evidence enough of that - but making dancefloor banger time after time isn't why I make music.

Some are and that's cool and if people like what has turned out a certain way and interpret it in the way that I think I maybe wanted it to be interpreted, then awesome something has aligned somewhere in the scheme of things and that's good and we should all be very happy. But if they don't or no one hears it, or it's tucked away on a sound design LP project that doesn't exist outside of c:\Bounced\whole_tracks_2012 (true story) then it doesn't matter.

Music for me is a constant cycle of interpretation and replication. I'll listen to different things all day, then when I'm at home and have my blinds down and locked away from the world (metaphorically at least) I try and mentally regurgitate the ideas and inspirations and little glimmers of lightbulbs that have danced across my ears during the day, try and see if I can rearrange the jigsaw in my head of sounds into something cohesive, not necessarily cohesive in terms of TEH ZOMG BEATPORT TOP 376 or whatever but cohesive to the point where I can sit back and think yeah that's what I had in mind, conciously or otherwise.

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by wub » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:47 pm

ChicagoSPecial wrote:Soundcloud

EXPERIMENTAL BEAT TAPE PRODUCED WITH ONLY A SP 505 AND A SONY VCR.

Fire.

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by wub » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:27 pm

When someone says "lo-fi" first name that come into mind would be the Bomb Squad and the incredible production they did with Public Enemy. Their early stuff was remarkable as it followed with the then prevalent DIY aesthetic of hiphop (2 turntables and a microphone) however; Bomb Squad also embraced noise, MPC sampling and an array of pan filtering tricks and pitch distortions that blew my mind when I first got into them.

I still remember listening to them after making my head bad with the help of some "Sonny Chiba" and a decent pair of Sennheiser headphones. To me they were the Alec Empire of the hip hop world...long before Atari even sponsored that Teenage Riot in '95.

From there I really got into the releases on Warp, Ipecac and Matador during the mid 90's and Def Jux in the 2 double 00's. Producers like Oktopus (of Dalek fame), Prefuse 73, Blockhead, EL-P, Sensational (famous for using headphones for a mic input to get that crackly/high treble lo-fi sound on his vocals), Techno Animal (now known more for his work in dubstep and grime as The Bug) were standouts there.

As of late...I've been really captivated by some of the stuff coming out of the West Coast Rocks...the LA and San Fran-disco scene. This collective of dusty fingered crate diggers have been releasing some of the most interesting, obscure and challenging hip hop in the last decade. Artists like Gonjasufi, Lazer Sword, The Gaslamp Killer, Samiyam, Mainframe, Ghosts On Tape, Daedelus and the TE Lawrence of the whole 'effin show, the mighty Flying Lotus.

For a good taste of what's new...check into some of the names I have dropped above...especially Flying Lotus' "LA" LP or check out the debut LP from Gonjasufi, "A Sufi and a Killer" produced by West Coast Rocks mainstays Fly Lo, Gaslamp and Mainframe on Warp (WARP 172 CD)...

I warn you it's kind of left field on the hip hop spectrum but still effin' pretty rad and the whole thing sounds like its being played on an old dusty 45 with Gonjasufi's voice sounding at times like it was coming from another room or at other times like he's channeling a 70's era Iggy Pop.

There are a few more things I'd like to add.

Keep an ear out for Ras G - another West Coast Rocks alum. His 2008 "Beats of Mind" LP is also very reflective of just how much an influence the mighty J Dilla has had over the new generation of up and coming producers.

Also, a few months back, I had the pleasure of catching an Afro-Punk label showcase featuring "the man like" Saul Williams and Krak Attack, among others. This is another collective to watch for...not only for their genre smashing acts like Saul and Krak, but for one of the coolest hardcore bands I have heard in a while, The Bots. A two piece with an average age of about 14. (Early B.E.A.S.T.I.E Brothers fans should check out the video for "I Like Your Style")

However, I digress...onto a fun little exercise in connecting the musical dots. Krak Attack are the bees knees, hands down...with lazers. To paraphrse "The Voice" Michael Schiavello, there are in fact no real lesbians in this world...just women who have never met Emcee Tchaka Diallo and Beat-smith CX KiDTRONiK (think of a proto-crunk version of Futureman from Bela Fleck). See their Michael Jackson tribute video, "Beat It Up", to understand why.

Anyway, on to Saul Williams' 2007 LP, under the pseudonym of "****** Tardust". This album got a huge bump as it was co-produced by Trent (the man, the myth, the pretty hate machine) Reznor and released directly to the internet which as a fairly big deal for most of the talking heads in new-media at the time. It strongly references the trademark Bomb Squad production aesthetic...in particular on a track called "Tr(n)igger" that directly samples "Welcome To The Terrordome" by Public Enemy. Other production credits include, "Ikey" Owens from The Mars Volta and once again...CX KiDTRONiK; multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire...your favorite producers-favorite producer and now an official member of the newly reformed and reunited Atari...Teenage...Riot!! (RIP Carl Crack)

See what I did there?

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Thinking out loud...

Post by wub » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:00 am

Do we spot technical problems to explain why we're not connecting with something?

Like all the shitty engineering fixes in the world won't matter if at the end of it all you have a boring product.


EDIT - savvy folk will notice I've chopped a couple of threads here. I've left the Studio Mahine thread largely intact as there are some good building tips (here), and this one is now my less conherent ramblings and thoughts on production.

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Re: Thinking out loud...

Post by wub » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:25 am

Chucking this in here as it's mint and I like the picture;
wub wrote:Carter's blog is one of the best reads on this sort of thing right now IMO - http://chriscarterchemistrylessons.blogspot.com/

Image

I've been at it again...

While sorting out what gear to use for my upcoming visit to STEIM in Amsterdam I recently recorded a short low-key live improv set straight onto my Zoom H2 recorder.

I generated some rhythms using two Kaossilators - going through two mini KPs, and manipulated some bass loops with a Korg KP3 pad. I had a Chimera BC16 synth (the LFO and the ADSR) voltage controlling a BC9 synth and two Eventide stompboxes. I synced and beat matched on the fly using 'tap-tempo' buttons on the Korgs and Eventides.

Equipment shown:
Two Kaossilators, two mini Kaoss pads, a KP3 Kaoss pad, a Tom Bugs WOM synth, Chimera BC8, BC9 and BC16 synths, two Zoom PFX-9003 effects, an Eventide Modfactor, an Eventide Timefactor, a Dirty-Carter E.S.G.I synth, a portable Edirol mixer and a Zoom H2 for recording.
No MIDI, keyboards, laptops or desktop computers were used.

The recording can be heard here:
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Re: Thinking out loud...

Post by wub » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:45 am

SassBlogna Interview w/ Eprom Be PF wrote:Q: how did you come up with the name "eprom be pf"

A: I have gone by a few names like “Phantom Freighter”, but had begun using just “PF” or “Pounding Fingers” and also “EPROM be pf”, as I had become taken with the concepts of EPROM (erasable programmable read only memory) and the “burning” process. There is a long form of the name that Bluntcop helped me coin around 2004.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7h8SaGtWGJs/S ... 09+014.jpg

Q: when did you start making beats?

A: Music and records were always around my childhood home and interested me much. My mother played the French-horn. A babysitter introduced my brother and I to taped audio-plays with sfx; So the neighbor was coming by to watch us while Mom was at work, and he was playing these things he had edited at home on cassette. They were great horror and mystery stories he had pieced together with all sorts of recorded media. I was hooked at this point and began making recordings of my own. I Started recording beats and loops(skips) during my young years and experimented with tape recording/dubbing and turntable at that time. I spent countless hours alone looking and playing respectfully with the basic gear my parents had. I first studied percussion in elementary school and played snare in the Jr. High stage band, which didn’t last long due to a broken femur. I started computer music around 1992 on apple computers at high school. It was in 1996-1997 when I was introduced to the sp12, at my then future temporary home, and heard what could be done with it. I had never seen DAWgear like this in person, and was blown away by the samples and the sounds. I soon had found myself cheap pieces of gear like the Roland Ms1, sp12, and Korg Poly61 shopping in junk stores, and then really began to mess around and record mixes on tape and other media. I was fortunate to be introduced to the ASR10&X and Korg triton soon after by Brothers, Buster B and Jua Malik. I’ve been fortunate enough to be friends with countless musicians who have shared their sounds, ideas, and tools with me. I have recorded unreleased music with Kurt Vile(Matador), Dr Rob Laakso(Swirlies, Amazing Baby), James Bruce Bowman(Hot Black Desiato), and Bluntcop.

Q: has your music been distributed by any means other than myspace?

A: I have distributed tapes by hand. These tapes are few, like “Phantom Freighter tape dumps”, ”Underseabell”, and “Gravity Mask” which floated around amongst some of my friends who were performing and touring and working in the industry. I have never really put anything out in great numbers, but have always given tracks and tapes to friends. I have some other music in student films. There are some lost tapes.

Q: do you have any plans to "release" any material via cd, download, or other medium?

A: I’m planning on releasing some music this year.

Q: what is FMYY Japan and what is your connection with it?

A: FM YY came to be after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995. It was established as a radio station that would bridge cultural diversity in Kobe in the wake of this quake. This earthquake resulted in significant damages to the lives of minority people in the area.

Communication was difficult during this time because of the language barrier. Many were unable to receive information. Foreigners were in a very vulnerable position. FMYY was formed as a multicultural/multi-language radio station, to help bring this much needed information and then also music to the many people of Kobe.

I was able to play my music in 1999 on FMYY during an English/Japanese progressive music broadcast produced by my Brother Matthew. This was a great time and was wonderful to share music and multiple languages.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_7h8SaGtWGJs/S ... 09+005.jpg

Q: where do you pull your samples from, can you talk a bit about your production process?

A: I play around a lot; I tend to read the manuals for the gear, but often go in many directions from track 1.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_7h8SaGtWGJs/S ... img086.jpg

{Its weird I bought a sp12 from a junk store and then a manual arrives in the mail with no return address. Spooky shit. I was...starring out the window peeping around corners… for a while.

I grab samples from mostly any source: records, tape, video, TV, radio, games, and live recordings of all kinds. I start in different places all the time. Sometimes I start with rhythm sequence segments, sometimes with a sample, or ambient music bed. I feel my way through it. Lately I have been making banks of samples in the Yamaha su700, and going back and forth between making drums or programming drums first and or starting with a sample or something. I add and subtract now more that I sometimes use a usb interface to record audio vs using tape. I have been using a free version of Audacity on a Dell Gx240. Sometimes I mix tracks to cassette, ¼, 4track, or vhs.

[Q: you have a pretty unique style. what other artists out there that influence or inspire you?

A: I’ve be inspired by lots of different types of artists, and have always been influenced by music of all genres and types. I really liked oldies, soul, film scores, classical, jazz, psychedelic rock/funk, world music, electronic, and hip hop as a kid. Other artists that inspired me growing up were many. I always liked seeing and hearing something different, and sometimes the stranger the better. Experimental always got me thinking (Tomita, Fripp, Prince Paul…My old roommates and friends, like Jeff Caxide(ISIS) & Prez Powerz).

Q: when did you start painting/tagging?

A: I started messing with spray paint sometime soon after seeing Style Wars on PBS in 1981/82, but didn’t get around to really trying to do any tags till about 1989-1990. The whole area seemed to be covered with art out here; going down Route 95 and Conrail/Amtrak in the 80-90s was like driving thru a huge art gallery. I was always inspired by this creation on the walls of the northeast. I never really painted anything too complex or detailed on a wall until 1996, when I really started trying to experiment and paint characters and all sorts of text. I began really exploring and going thru the landscape at this time and playing with music and film too.

Q: what are you doing when not producing/creating?

A: When not making media or working, I like to listen to music and watch films. I also play video games. I get out when I can to see what’s going on. I like getting busy with anything positive to kill stress. I paint outdoor murals in good weather, and like to check out all kinds of nature, building, and art(music). I love sports and watching sports too.

Q: is there anything else you'd like to share with the potential readers of this interview?

A: I can share the importance of being open and receptive to new things that good people share; These things continue to enrich my life on the darkest of days.

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Re: Thinking out loud...

Post by collective » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:50 pm

love tape, it is used in everyone of my productions to some extent (be it running things out, or recording directly to tape to begin with).


I also have the OG Portastudio 244 (36 chambers was bounced to this) hooked up to my analog gear, so if i ever want to just jam without the computer and record what i got it is easy. Some of the coolest ideas / sounds have come from recording directly to tape and having a lil session. And personally I dig the sound, sure its not pristine but its warm in a way digital files will never be.

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Re: Thinking out loud...

Post by wub » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:10 pm

How to Use Analog Tape as an Effect
Dan Connor March 3, 2008 Tape Machines, Tape Saturation

This post focuses on the use of analog tape’s warm, unique compression as an effect.

When engineers and producers started to make the switch from analog to digital, they found that digital was not only cleaner sound, but it was also somewhat unforgiving. Most producers were quite fond of ‘driving’ the tape a bit by sending it slightly higher levels than the tape was normalized for. Turns out that the sound produced by this overdriving was a subtle compression resulting from the saturation of the magnetic medium. If you try to throw signal at digital above and beyond what it is normalized for, you’ll end up with brick-wall distortion. This is one of the reasons why tape is considered by many to be warmer and ‘fatter’ sounding. Drums, in particular, work extremely well with tape because the compression allows for a rounding of the transients and a certain punch not typically found in the digital domain. I know some engineers who still track drums to 2 inch tape.

Digital captures exactly what it’s given, whether good or bad. As a result, piping in warm, punchy signal from an analog tape machine will be captured warm and punchy. So, if you have access to a high quality tape machine, why not take advantage of it?

Using Tape as an Insert

One way to get an analog sound is to route some digitally recorded tracks from your DAW into the tape machine, onto the tape. You can either record it to the tape and bounce it back after-the-fact, or simply engage the record head and monitor the playback head right back into some of your DAW’s record-enabled tracks (which will produce some latency that you’ll have to account for).

Bouncing from Tape

Another way to do this is to simply track direct to analog tape and, afterwards, bounce it to digital for editing. This is the most common choice I see producers making, if only for the drums.

Tracking ‘Through’ Tape

Finally, you can combine the ‘tape as an insert’ philosophy in the signal chain during recording by placing the tape in-line during the live session, recording to tape and monitoring the play head into the DAW’s record-enabled tracks.

While not everyone has access to a Studer 2″ machine, there are a good number of larger studios that keep them around. If you happen to be in a studio that has one in good condition, it may be worth some of these techniques to capture a bit more ‘vibe’ to your recordings. Just keep in mind that tape will add a marginal amount of hiss to your recordings (which you can either deal with, enjoy, or filter out with some digital processing). Have fun!

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by nowaysj » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:36 pm

wub wrote:Can really hear the dbGlitch in the opening percussion loop of this tune and it's kinda bugging me.
Just interjecting that if that is dbGlitch, I don't find its usage to be offensive. I have heard offensive usages... But if you want a particular glitch effect, and you can get it by using the fx, or by hand cutting, and it is going to generate the same results... why not use the glitch tool? Just MO?!
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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by VirtualMark » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:18 am

nowaysj wrote:
wub wrote:Can really hear the dbGlitch in the opening percussion loop of this tune and it's kinda bugging me.
Just interjecting that if that is dbGlitch, I don't find its usage to be offensive. I have heard offensive usages... But if you want a particular glitch effect, and you can get it by using the fx, or by hand cutting, and it is going to generate the same results... why not use the glitch tool? Just MO?!
yeah i agree. i think the key with something like dbglitch is not to overuse it. but it can be very useful for a quick edit, and sometimes comes out with sounds that i didn't think of.

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Re: Think my studio machine is on the way out...

Post by Basic A » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:30 pm

VirtualMark wrote:
nowaysj wrote:
wub wrote:Can really hear the dbGlitch in the opening percussion loop of this tune and it's kinda bugging me.
Just interjecting that if that is dbGlitch, I don't find its usage to be offensive. I have heard offensive usages... But if you want a particular glitch effect, and you can get it by using the fx, or by hand cutting, and it is going to generate the same results... why not use the glitch tool? Just MO?!
yeah i agree. i think the key with something like dbglitch is not to overuse it. but it can be very useful for a quick edit, and sometimes comes out with sounds that i didn't think of.
Im still looking for another VST with a delay that goes down to 1ms, with automatable timing.
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