05 December, 2012

Remember how we used to talk about geeky math shit all of the time?

Tonight, I rearranged my pedals. My stereo died tonight (I have since dropped some bank on Amazon for a new one) and I had some cables freed up.
Because I'm still working on KRAKOA stuff while also working on stuff with Chad from Reverb Bomb, I needed to get some things put together, gear-wise. The idea with the as-yet-unnamed band Chad and I are doing is to make the guitar not sound like a guitar and to do something creepy / spooky. Well, since the easiest way to alter a guitar's sound is with pedals, I'm rolling with those. The issue I have is that I know the fuzz comes first and the delay comes last, but how do I arrange the ring modulator and the octave divider?
For a quick refresher on what these two pedals do, an octave divider adds a signal one and, in most cases, also two octaves down from the signal you put into it and a ring modulator employs an oscillator whose frequency is added and subtracted from the signal you put into it. Essentially, what I'm doing is drastically changing the pitch that comes out of my guitar. I just have to figure out what order I'm going to do it in.
So I put together this handy little chart, because you so give a shit, to outline my decision making process. Again, for the newbies, 440Hz is A (as is 220Hz [octave down] and 880Hz [octave up]) and 330Hz is the E below 440 A (165Hz [octave down] and 660Hz [octave up] are also E). I'm just using these numbers for some easy math.
Signal (in Hz)Effect 1Effect 2
Octave Divider in front of Ring Modulator440Octave Divider
440, 220
Ring Modulator @ 330Hz
440, 770 & 110, 550 & -110
Ring Modulator in front of Octave Divider440Ring Modulator @ 330
440, 770 & 110
Octave Divider
440, 770 & 110, 385 & 55
The results? The octave divider in front of the ring modulator sounded both muffled and garbled. For real, that shit was useless junk. OK, maybe that's going too far but it had no definition to it, it just sounded like moof. However, with the ring mod in front of the octave divider, I retained brightness in my signal and got some interesting distortion artifacts. There's no technical way to put this so allow me some colorful language: It could, during long, sustained notes, sound like an intermittent death rattle; very glitchy yet retaining the fundamental of the note with the appropriate amount of high-end information.
Either way, I play one note and get four more added to it.

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