Pokey Sticks has been working on amplifier circuit design lately, peering into an oscilloscope for hours and thinking wistfully about transient distortion. Though the purpose was to make amplifier circuits that follow changes in the signal very accurately, it shed a lot of light on interesting ways in which circuits often don’t… Hence Pokey Sticks has decided to release into the wild a couple of plugins that were previously considered too rogue, difficult and dangerous. Get them on the Downloads Page. (win32 vst).
The first is Unclean Delay. Using the best of analogue and digital it can set a delay time accurately in milliseconds and uses the Pokey Sticks low level virtual analogue to process the echo. You can apply high pass and low pass filtering, a controllable amount of saturation and the amount of feedback. The important thing is that in Unclean Delay the filtering and saturation happens to the sound over again every time it repeats. That’s because a real, inaccurate tape delay would loose some of the highs and lows and distort the signal a little more every repeat as you hear a recording of a recording of a recording. So the echo sound becomes both increasingly mushed and increasingly complex as it fades away. A bit of measuring shows some vintage equipment is surprisingly dark sounding. Don’t be afraid to lowpass as low as 500Hz for some funky old stylee sounds. Scroll the digits on the left up and down to set the delay in milliseconds. The highpass and lowpass controls have a ‘big’ knob and a ‘fine tune’ knob. The frequency of the filter is the two added together – e.g. 1000Hz on the big knob plus 500Hz on the fine tune to make 1500Hz. The plugin comes in two flavours – ‘Unclean Delay’ for putting on the same track as the music and dialing in as much ‘wet’ as you want. ‘Unclean Delay Wet’ is for putting on a separate track and routing to and from it. The output is all ‘wet’ and no ‘dry’. It comes without presets, guarantees, house training etc but is capable of some very musical and authentic results 🙂
The second plugin is called Electron Cloud and is less tame still. Its about a subtle and less-talked-about property that valves have. Or may have. ‘Reliable Facts’ to follow at some later date! It’s an enhancer type of effect causing a particular kind of transient distortion. It’s very subtle and once again Pokey Sticks offers no guarantees or indeed much encouragement – its not easy to use well. It is a useful and perhaps unique part of the analogue-ness puzzle and can help deliver that hard to define ‘valve-ee’ warmth and emotional engagement. And Pokey Sticks just kind of feels like putting it out there… 🙂