‘Granular’ Capture & Playback – H9 / TimeFactor Looper

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    • #112349

      OK, here was the question posted by "mediabuyout" in this EHX 8 Step Program into Pigtronix Infinity Looper? thread at TGP.

      I have the Infinity last in the chain capturing the sounds of whatever it is I make before it. I want to then chop up the continuous loop coming out the Infinity and manipulate those into smaller pieces, rearrange the order of the sub-pieces, etc., without actually altering the tone of the content captured in the loop. Will the 8 Step plugged into the Infinity's expression jack achieve this?

      Interesting premise, with few direct or knowledgeable answers offered.

      That is, until this reply by "celticelk":

      Here's a thought: one way you *could* achieve something like this with an 8 Step or other step sequencer would be to use an Eventide TimeFactor or H9. The Looper has controls for both loop playback start point and loop playback length, which can be specified nondestructively once a loop has been recorded. What you'd want to do is set up the TimeFactor so that the expression pedal input controls the Loop Start parameter, so that min and max values of EXP map to the extremes of that parameter, and set Loop Length to something appropriately small, and then use the 8 Step to move Loop Start around in some automated fashion. This'll get you better control than either the CT5 or the LP1 would offer, and definitely more loop length than the CT5, but not a ton of loop length overall.

      Now, this process was identical to one of the Short Phrase Looping Techniques that I had posted, with the exception that finer sample 'grains' were needed, and sync to tempo / beat was not.  I had referenced EHX 8 Step Program control earlier in that SPLT thread, so I thought that I'd put it all together here, in a new proof-of-concept thread.

      It'd be best if I break down the Granular Capture & Playback procedures over several posts, for clarity.  The process is not that complicated, but those few required steps can branch out into any number of creative options.  Here is the first step:

      Part 1 – Pre-recording

      You'll want to record your phrase into the looper at full length.  I used 12 seconds for a good amount of 'chopping material' at good fidelity.  PLY-START is mapped to the expression pedal over the full range.  PLY-LENGTH is set a 12.000 seconds for recording, but this is the parameter you'll be adjusting for 'grain size' upon playback.

      Many of the other parameters can be set to personal taste.  RESOLUTION and SPEED are at the recording defaults, but can be changed later on for playback.

    • #127545

      One more note on Part 1- Pre-recording:  For completeness, I'll point out the Dub feature and DUBMODE parameters to flesh out & fine-tune the initial recording.  DECAY has been set to 0 here (no amount of 'loop aging').  Dub & DECAY will be essential if you want your sampled 'grains' to fade out when adjusting the PLY-START position.

      Part 2 – 'Granular' Playback

      After pre-recording, adjust the PLY-LENGTH parameter to the 'grain size' that you want.

      Here is a very rough idea of some range areas (highly dependent on recorded material).

      These initial settings assume that SPEED is at 1X or 100 (-1X or -100).

      0.005 – 0.040 Secs  =  A fairly steady resonant tone.

      0.040 – 0.150 Secs  =  Rapid, individual repetitions begin to emerge.

      0.150 – 0.250 Secs  =  Multiple notes and glides start to become apparent.

      0.250 – 0.500 Secs  =  Very short phrase and note cluster territory.

      0.500 – 2.000 Secs  =  Short motifs develop.

      2.000 – 12.000 Sec  =  We certainly left 'granular' far behind at this point.


      In Playback / Dub mode, it's now possible to make adjustments to RESOLUTION and PLAYSPEED.  Pitch changes & sample 'grain' length, reverse, pause / stall … plenty of adjustments to make here that will fine-tune the sample snippets (in real time, if desired).

      Now, it's a matter of using the expression pedal to shift around the PLY-START position.  Keep in mind that the Looper is continuously … looping (playing back or dubbing).  So, 'jumping' to a distant PLY-START position will mean that the Looper needs to 'catch up' to that point.

      In other words, some playback samples will be longer than the current PLY-LENGTH, which will be the difference between the 'old' PLY-START point and the 'new' PLY-START point.  One shot through to reach the new setting, then the current PLY-START and PLY-LENGTH settings take effect.

    • #127546

      There are many ways to go with the EHX 8 Step Program covering the EXP PED parameters.  I'll confine the discussion here to what can be done with PLY-START automation.  We'll leave out Preset changes, Preset Cues, and omit the extensive MIDI control available (for virtually every 8 Step Program parameter). More information here.

      Part 3 – Automated PLY-START via Expression

      Tempo Control – Control the speed of the PLY-START position changes with MIDI Sync and Tap Divide, or asynchronous with the Rate slider, Tap, Tap Divide, or 'pass-through' Expression Pedal.

      MODES (preset operations)

      Depth – Normally set to 5 for Eventide pedals, but that value can be proportionally trimmed back with the 'pass-through' Expression Pedal.  Depth over 5 effectively brings up all slider positions towards maximum.

      Glide – The time is takes to go from one PLY-START position to the next.  The range is 0-9; from an instant jump to slewing through all values between one PLY-START position and the next (slider).

      Direction – Forward, Reverse, Bounce (Up and Down; inclusive or exclusive), and Random PLY-START locations.  This (and other) parameters interact with most other current Play Mode and Mode values.

      Sequence Length – Active sliders 1-8.  It can be useful to limit the number of PLY-START positions, and control the locations with virtual LFOs [square, triangle, sine, ramp, sawtooth].

      PLAY MODES (triggered by Play switch)

      Loop – The 'normal' mode for sequencing through the sliders, then repeating.  The actual results are highly dependent on the current Sequence Length, Direction, and related parameter values.

      1 Shot –  Plays the sequence straight through once, with no loopback.  This is great for a burst of PLY-START positions that returns to the starting point.

      Step Thru – Each press of the Play switch shifts to the next PLY-START position.  Control over the 'grain' sequencing by foot switch.  It will return to the initial point and step through the current sequence again.

      I'm sure that I missed a few items.  One note for MIDI users:  The 8 Step Program responds to MIDI Sync, plus Start (Continue) / Stop commands, which mirrors the H9 / TimeFactor Looper implementation.  It's a perfectly synchronized pairing.  For a little more info on Looper MIDI control (that I really need to update), check out this thread.

    • #144598

      I’m necro-bumping to describe a simplified grain capture preset; controlled only by the two H9 footswitches.  There’s optional control over XXX-SPEED ‘pitch’ and FILTER, using an expression pedal or Aux switch.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  REC-SPEED 1/4x (PLAYSPEED 25)  FILTER 0

      Expression Pedal Toe:    REC-SPEED  2x   (PLAY-SPEED  200)  FILTER 75


      The ‘raw’ preset before initial recording:  Note that the MAX-LENGTH is set to 1/10 of a second.  A very small change in loop length will make a big difference in the sound results.  Tweak this parameter in tiny increments for an array of effects.

      Anything much shorter than 0.10 second produces steady resonant tones.  Adjust it much higher, and individual ‘note attacks’  cycle through more slowly.  You can fine-tune parameters by holding the CTRL / CMD key with mouse adjustments in H9 Control.  In this case, you’re better off with direct numerical input [double-click to type in the value directly].


      Moments after initial recording:  AUTOPLAY to PLAY mode happens almost immediately after tapping the H9’s left footswitch.  The buffer contents will trail your input with a frozen stutter effect.  Depending on where an expression pedal is in its treadle position, you can ‘pitch’ those glitchy effects up or down, or in both directions.  Low pass filtering follows that pedal sweep, to round out some of the harsher upper frequencies. 


      Switching between Playback and Dubmode Punching:  Tapping again on the H9’s left footswitch (and releasing) will alternate between replacing the recorded buffer [DUBMODE REPL-PUNCH], and rapid playback of the contents.  To temporarily silence the effect, tap & release the left H9 footswitch with no input (muted).

      To pause the effect – while leaving the sample loaded in the record buffer – tap the right footswitch [STOP].  To bring back the sampled PLAY, tap the H9 left footwitch.  REPL-PUNCH again with another left footswitch tap.   And to CLEAR out the current buffer – starting all over again – double-tap the right footswitch on the H9.


    • #147332

      This thread is just about due for my annual necro-bump.  Although I have full MIDI control, I find myself relying on these “two switch” H9 presets often.  Simplicity.  One word of caution:  They put a lot of repetitive wear ‘n’ tear on the H9 switches.  It might be best to assign at least the Active switch to an external Aux switch (as it covers Rec, Play, Dub).  And the “optional” expression pedal is just about mandatory for modifying captured grains.

      Often overlooked:  After initial REC, any saved setting of the RESOLUTION parameter will revert to OCTAVES.  This is by design.  It’s a good idea to have easy access to RESOLUTION (X, Y, Z in Expert Mode; external MIDI, a fast HotKnob hand).  In these presets, that allows for finer control with the expression pedal – upward / downward pitch & time shifts.

      All of the preset variations above have the ‘grains’ mixed further to the background.  For near-total destruction of your input, save the preset with the MIX at 100.  I say “near-total”, because a tiny bit of dry signal can still leak through.  Nothing too obtrusive, and a slight advantage in some “PreRecord Looper” and one-shot presets that I’ve put together.

      Slight tweaks of MAX-LENGTH completely change the character of recording & playback.  A 1/2 second maximum is just about enough to mimic a multi-tap delay; adding features like pitch change & delay length variations.  That’s also long enough to punch in small additions to the repeating ‘taps’, or replace the taps quickly with a 1/2 second silent overdub.

    • #147359

      While I’m still pontificating about Looper-As-Delay, I should toss in repeats – feedback – regeneration.  As with all of the presets above, there will be no ‘loop aging’ with DECAY at 0.  Down to one repeat with the DECAY at 100.

      You’ll probably want dial it between 50 and 90+, to emulate a delay line with feedback.  But that’s going to depend on how long your ‘delay time’ (MAX-LENGTH initial recording) is fixed at.

      The DECAY parameter acts over the dubbing audio, not the initial [REC].  So, there’s a little setup involved to coax it into delay line territory.  In the presets below, here are the general rules:

      Looper-As-Delay wrote:

      1. Momentarily tap the left footswitch once [REC], to ‘establish’ the MAX-LENGTH delay time.
      2. The initial [REC] can be silent.  Let it run the MAX-LENGTH time, or tap again quickly for a shorter delay time.
      3. At this point, change the RESOLUTION from the default OCTAVES, if desired.
      4. Tap twice on the left footswitch to get past [PLAY], and into [DUB].  The DECAY setting becomes active.

      The advantages over a standard delay line lie in the controlled pitch shifts, changing delay times, reverse delays, …  Or, it can be more pitch-y & glitch-y than anything you’ve ever plugged into.

      Start out with a 1 second delay, some FILTER darkening, and about 4-5 DECAYing repeats.  Establish the initial [REC] time, switch RESOLUTION to CHROMATIC, then double-tap when you’re ready for the delay line to kick in.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  REC-SPEED 1x (PLAYSPEED 100)  DECAY 85

      Expression Pedal Toe:   REC-SPEED  1/4x   (PLAY-SPEED  25)  DECAY 100

      Moving the expression pedal towards Toe will bend pitch down chromatically (and sometimes, back up again). Any static position downward effectively lengthens the delay time.  Reversing the expression pedal bends pitch upward.  All pitch changes are reflected in the repeated DECAY, which lands at a single repeat at the Toe.

    • #147360

      This preset is about the same type of delay simulation, but a bit more tame & consonant.  Establish the initial [REC] time, switch RESOLUTION to OCT+5TH, then double-tap to LATCH the delays.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  MIX  15  REC-SPEED 1/2x (PLAYSPEED 50)      DECAY 85

      Expression Pedal Toe:    MIX  25  REC-SPEED  2x   (PLAY-SPEED  200)  DECAY 100

      Pitch is shifted upward towards the Toe, and delay time is shortened to a single slapback.  Wet signal is slightly increased.  Slower expression pedal movement leads to a more delicate trail of pitched echoes.


    • #147361

      Continuing on the unique effects of the Looper-As-Delay theme …  this is one of my favorite approaches.  Take advantage of the loop reverse features, to go beyond Space Station XP-300 FX.  You might want to actually keep the initial [REC] phrase looping this time, until you’re ready for control over sample direction.

      The initial [REC] will immediately playback in reverse, thanks to PLAYMODE set to REV-DIRECTION.  So – when you’re ready for the delay & DECAY – it’ll only be one additional single tap on the left footswitch.

      MAX-LENGTH is lengthened to 2.00 Secs, for more apparent directional shifts.  DECAY: fixed at 75.  RESOLUTION can stay at the default OCTAVES.  MIX is backed up to 25, as this effect can easily take over your input.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  REC-SPEED -2x   (PLAYSPEED – 200)

      Expression Pedal Toe:   REC-SPEED  2x   (PLAY-SPEED  200)

      All of the delay manipulation takes place in the PLAYSPEED assignment.  Pushing from Heel, the ‘delays’ will shift down in pitch, pause, then shift back up in pitch, but now play back in a reverse direction.

      At either extreme position of the expression pedal, the 2 second delay will fade out normally.  Swap the pedal travel to the opposite extreme, and those delays will play back reversed.  Heel-Toe-Heel-Toe … Both the forward & reverse motions are mixed & DECAY in near real time; creating a constantly evolving landscape.

    • #147370

      You might end up preferring the Looper’s reverse delays over the standard Reverse & Crystal algorithms.  It’s easy to get a long, smooth, backwards echo that builds up gradually, with a sudden crescendo to silence.  The one-shot sample will remain available to a left footswitch tap, until it’s overwritten.

      Try hitting the left footswitch [REC], and simultaneously strumming a thick chord.  Hold that chord, and let it decay naturally.  After 8 Beats, [REC] will stop.  The  chord will be stored as a ‘one-shot’ sample.  Hitting the left footswitch a second time will play back the sample, in reverse [REC-SPEED -2X  PLAYSPEED -200].

      There’s a strangely logical behavior to the MIX control here:

      Expression Pedal Heel:  MIX  50

      Expression Pedal Toe:   MIX  100

      At Heel, it’s equal parts of input playing and one-shot playback.  Push the expression pedal to Toe for the processed sample only.  But … the live input will stay muted for only as long as the sample is playing back. Once it stops, the live input becomes audible again; even with MIX set at 100% wet.

    • #147377

      You can take that same ‘backwards echo’ preset, and turn the one-shot sample forwards [REC-SPEED 2X  –  PLAY_SPEED 200].  The advantage here is that the one-shot can be ‘gated’ by the [REC] process itself.  Strum that chord, hit the left footswitch [REC], and allow the 1 second record time to truncate its decay.

      The REPL-PUNCH setting in DUBMODE will ‘chop’ into the one-shot sample with silent input (double-tapping on the left footswitch).  Or, you can dub in very short additional notes for combined one-shot playback.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  PLY-LENGTH  1.000 Secs

      Expression Pedal Toe:    PLY-LENGTH  0.125 Secs

      At the Heel, the expression pedal holds the one-shot sample to its default length.  The overall sample playback length will get shorter & shorter, as the pedal travels towards Toe.  Another source of ‘chopped’ variations.

    • #147414

      This is very much appreciated. I have an H9 on the way and I’m thinking I can do more than just replace my CT5 with it. Keep it coming!

    • #147422

      With something as distinctive as a Count to 5, or Particle … that’s going to be difficult to replace.  But I think that the edge goes to the H9 on hands-free control & programmability.  If you consider the dozens of algorithms capable of granular-type FX, you have to give Eventide the versatility points, too.  With no waiting list.

      I’m in the process of compiling these short loop presets into a Preset List, or two.  But there are hundreds of base presets, and a Mandelbrot Set of variations under each.  An H9 algorithm always provides enough range to really ‘hurt yourself’.  There’ll always be a way to make a bog-standard effect into something unusual.

      This preset sets up an ambient room space at default; using a 0.07 Sec MAX-LENGTH, with a healthy amount of DECAY.  A quick double-tap of the left footswitch will get you into a DUBMODE LATCH.  Better if you tap once, switch the RESOLUTION from OCTAVES to SMOOTH, then tap a second time when you’re ready.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  MIX  15  REC-SPEED 1/4x (PLAYSPEED 20)      DECAY 75

      Expression Pedal Toe:    MIX  35  REC-SPEED  2x   (PLAY-SPEED  200)  DECAY  25

      The expression pedal mapping warbles the pitch of that ‘room’, by changing the length of the sampled reflection. DECAY is decreased to compensate for that.  MIX is increased slightly to accentuate the unique pitch flutters.

    • #147423

      This preset carves a number of sampled chunks out of a four-second recording.  Tap the left footswitch [REC], while recording a fairly busy phrase.  A whole sample will AUTOPLAY back immediately, until the expression pedal is ‘recognized’.  (You can tap the right footswitch to pause it, hold it in memory for the next PLAY).

      Expression Pedal Heel:  PLY-START  0.000 Secs  PLY-LENGTH  0.250 Secs  REC-SPEED 1/2x (PLAYSPEED 50)

      Expression Pedal Toe:    PLY-START  3.750 Secs  PLY-LENGTH  0.250 Secs  REC-SPEED  2x   (PLAY-SPEED 200)

      The expression pedal travel sweeps through small ‘windows’ of the entire recorded sample , while increasing the PLAY-SPEED.  Tapping the left footswitch to Dub, REPL-PUNCH will only overwrite the current sample window. The position of the expression pedal determines which sample ‘chunk’ will be replaced.

    • #147624

      The next few Looper presets aren’t exactly ‘granular’, but derive the grains from external technique.

      You can use an expression pedal, but with these … it’s best to map an Aux switch to ‘Set expression pedal value (AKA HotSwitch value)’ – H9 Control app.  You can also set this up in the H9 pedal itself [AUX system settings].  It’ll snap between the two extreme Heel & Toe positions, with a momentary action.

      Hit [REC], and input a 10-second phrase.  While the recording will AUTOPLAY back, you won’t hear anything but subsequent live playing.  Actually, you’ll hear a faint ‘ghost’ of the recording.  The MIX parameter defaults to 0.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  MIX  0

      Expression Pedal Heel:  MIX  100

      Tapping at the Aux switch / EXP control will slide in fragments of your pre-recording, while muting any current input.  It’s enough to give the impression of random notes punching through your current phrasing.

      Hit the left footswitch to Dub, and it will latch another layer that replaces your original recording.  This will happen ‘in the background’; unaffected by the current MIX position [100% dry, or 100% wet].  Be sure to switch back from Dub to Play for any extended silence (or the hidden recording can be completely overwritten).

    • #147641

      More ‘granular by technique’ presets.  Again, based on using the “2-switch” H9, with an external Aux-To-Exp switch [Set expression pedal value (AKA HotSwitch value)].  An expression pedal works, as an alternate.

      Left footswitch tap to [REC] a one-measure phrase, with immediate looping playback.  Tap & release the left footswitch repeatedly, to REPL-PUNCH holes & notes into the original loop.  The Aux-To-Exp switch doubles the pitch, while limiting the loop to the 1st half of the recorded measure.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  PLY-LENGTH  4.0 BEATS  REC-SPEED  1x (PLAYSPEED 100)

      Expression Pedal Toe:    PLY-LENGTH  2.0 BEATS  REC-SPEED  2x   (PLAY-SPEED 200)


      Same concept, opposite direction.  Stir in unusual time signatures, and all Hell breaks loose.  I believe some of that chaos is unintentional programming, so that makes it even better for random behavior.  Hit the left footswitch to [REC] 7.0 BEATS.  Hey, sometimes it shows 8.0 BEATS.  Sometimes 6.0 BEATS.  It’ll settle down …

      Now, it won’t AUTOPLAY back.  I don’t know why.  Just hit the left footswitch a 2nd time, to play back.  This preset is set up to LATCH between PLAY and DUBMODE with left switching.  I folded in a DECAY parameter of 50, for cleanup purposes.  The recorded phrasing can get quite dense & busy.  The fadeout can be ‘frozen’ in PLAY.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  PLY-LENGTH  7.0 BEATS  REC-SPEED  1x (PLAYSPEED 100)

      Expression Pedal Toe:    PLY-LENGTH  3.0 BEATS  REC-SPEED  1/2x   (PLAY-SPEED 50)

      In either of these two presets, any Dub – with the Aux-To-Exp switch engaged – will transpose your Dub on release of that switch.  In the PITCH DOUBLECHOP preset, that’s a little difficult (holding down two switches).  In this HALF CHOP METERS preset, the Dub will LATCH.  It leaves you free for the expression pedal mapping. Again, there’s some timing involved to catch the Dub just right, and prevent the LATCH from DECAY to silence.

      The Aux-To-Exp switch drops the PLY-LENGTH to 3.0 BEATS.  It also drops the recorded pitch by an octave, and transposes any Dub up an octave on release.  It’s also possible to engage Aux-To-Exp after the 3.0 BEAT point, and have it dropping pitch for the 4.0 to 7.0 BEAT.  Or, sometimes, 2.0 BEATS.  Ending at 6.0 BEATS …

    • #147698

      The first preset here configures the looper as a tap tempo delay line.  Tap the left footswitch to begin, then tap it a 2nd time to set the PLY-LENGTH of delay.  Tap it a 3rd time to kick in DECAY [DUBMODE].

      Effectively, it’s a triple-tap on the left footswitch (and a triple-tap on the right footswitch to EMPTY the loop).  Set it to 12.00 Secs for HD fidelity, but the actual delay time will be the elapsed time between the 1st & 2nd left switch taps.  Carve out any delay length, up to the full 12 seconds.

      I didn’t map the expression pedal for this base preset.  Tweak the DECAY parameter relative to the PLY-LENGTH. FILTER doesn’t appear to be in the DECAY feedback loop, so it will affect all of the Dub regeneration equally.

      So, why set up a tap tempo delay in the Looper, when it’s so much easier in many other H9 algorithms?  There are effects in the Looper that you can’t get anywhere else.  This second preset builds on the same concept as the first:  Triple-tap LEFT for delay – triple-tap RIGHT to reset.  Switch over to MIDI, with a MAX-LENGTH of 16 BEATS. Decrease DECAY, and (most importantly), dial the PLAYMODE over to REV-DIRECTION.

      Expression Pedal Heel:  REC-SPEED    1/4x  (PLAYSPEED  25)

      Expression Pedal Toe:    REC-SPEED  -1/2x  (PLAYSPEED -50)


      Record in four measures of input; maybe chords on the downbeats.  Congratulations – standard phrase recording.  It will play back immediately, although rather lo-fi, with REC-SPEED at 1/4x.  Hey, this is the “Granular Capture” series, and it’s got a bit-reduced, undersampled flavor.

      The whole key to this preset lies in the live manipulation by expression pedal.  The upper thirds of EXP PED travel reverse the playback, or reverse the sample + raise it an octave + halve the total length.  It gets better with Dub engaged (another tap on the left footswitch).

      DECAY is introduced, to help weed out the eventual “Crayola Effect”.  Playback can be PAUSED.  So the sample can now be actively ‘stuttered’ in the lower third of EXP PED travel, and/or reversed.  Anything that’s Dubbed in a reverse mode will play back reversed when the direction changes again.  Octave shifts and length manipulation are still available in the upper third, and all of this contained within a wah-wah-like foot motion.

      It’s kind of amazing how this all stays in sync, through pauses, reverses, & octave/rate changes.  It leads to very interactive & creative possibilities.  I don’t know of any other ‘delay’ pedal that can produce the kind of live manipulations you’ll find in this configuration.  It’s my new favorite preset in this entire ‘Granular’ exercise.

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