May 31, 2013

Meet Mangleverb...

by Chris Randall

Hey, want a new plug-in? Why, yes. You do. And we happen to have one right here. Let me introduce you to Mangleverb. It's a reverb! It's a filter! It's a floor wax! It's a dessert topping!

In all seriousness, it's a VCF/VCA (with pretentions of analog-ness) with LFO and envelope mod sources, and it has the original Deverb reverb algorithm that can be placed either after the inputs or after the VCA. This is a surprisingly versatile combination, as it turns out. Ducking 'verb, ducking filter, "trance gate," heavy duty special FX reverb, tremolo, all kinds of stuff.

I will admit up front that we borrowed from the concept of the Vermona Retroverb Lancet, since eagle-eyed readers will point it out anyhow. We've never actually touched a Retroverb Lancet in real life, so this isn't a clone or a slavish copy or anything. We basically looked at pictures of the front panel and thought "well, that seems like a good idea."

One further note: this is our first VST2.4/AU plug-in to have a sidechain input. In all the major DAWs we tried that are capable of routing sidechains, it seems to work. A little dancing about is required in Cubase, and the manual talks about this. It works the best in Logic and Live, the two most sidechain-friendly DAWs.

Anyhow, Mangleverb is available now in the Audio Damage store. US$49.00 for VST and AudioUnit.


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Jun.01.2013 @ 3:04 PM
Adam Schabtach
@chaircrusher - what I call popup menus in the manual, Ableton calls "chooser pairs". See page 172 of the Live 9 manual. That may or may not help. I considered taking screenshots but decided that it would almost certainly not shed light on the process, which takes several steps, and if I were to do it for Live I'd have to do it for Cubase also, and that would increase the size of the manual by about 30%. (If you think it's puzzling in Live, try Cubase.) I can try to set up my PC to do a screen recording of this stuff, but I think CR may already have started on such a thing. However, I will say that I'm far from a Live expert, so I'm not necessarily the right person to explain this stuff.

Throbbing Gristle was definitely an early and profound influence on my aesthetic.


Jun.01.2013 @ 3:08 PM
Chris Randall
It's very easy to sidechain in Ableton. (A tiny bit easier with the AU than the VST, as it explicitly names the input, but the mechanism is the same.) There are two methods. I'll go over both.

Method 1 (For using a source track _only_ as a sidechain input; you won't hear the source in the 2-buss.)

1. Instance Mangleverb on the shit you want to mangle.

2. On the source track, the bottom dropdown on the I/O section says "Master." Hit that, and select the track Mangleverb is on instead.

3. A new dropdown appears, showing the available destinations in that track. One of them will say "Mangleverb 3/4" (if the instanced Mangleverb is a VST) or "Sidechain In 1 - Mangleverb" (if it's an AU.) Note that Mangleverb's sidechain input is mono in both cases; the VST doesn't technically have a sidechain input, so we're doing a bit of behind the scenes smoke-and-mirrors.

4. Profit.

Method 2 (if you still want to hear the source track, like if you're doing ducking or something.)

1. Instance Mangleverb on the shit you want to mangle.

2. Create an FX return channel, and follow steps 2 and 3 above for that channel. Name this FX return something like "Mangleverb Sidechain" or perhaps something pithier like "MV S/C" or some shit.

3. On the track you want to use as a sidechain source, send to this FX return track. The send knob becomes your sidechain amount.

4. Profit.

In both cases, you obviously have to put the envelope follower in Mangleverb in to sidechain mode. Also, to set up the envelope follower properly, you'll want to get the level first by putting both attack and decay to 0, then adjusting the sensitivity knob until the peaks are just hitting the top of the display. Then shape the envelope to taste. If the transients in the source signal are very short, and you have the attack up to where the envelope follower can't reach its decay stage before the transients have gone by, you're gonna not get a lot of hot envelope following action.


Jun.01.2013 @ 5:05 PM
Wade Alin
It's fairly easy in Cubase as well.

1. Create arbitrary 7:1 surround bus track.

2. Stare at computer.

3. Cut speaker cones, punch computer.


Jun.01.2013 @ 8:29 PM
This is great a creating subtle little groove shadows under beats! Loving it!

Jun.01.2013 @ 9:14 PM
Chris Randall
I'm not saying we specifically designed it to get Burial kick drum sounds, but we might as well have.


Jun.02.2013 @ 9:55 PM
As for the 'Throbbing Gristle' sort of sound:
link []

There's one instance of Mangleverb on a send, and a bunch of parameters are mapped to knobs. Obviously concentrating on the mangled side of the street. The dentist drill sound is what happens if you turn up feedback all the way.

I will have to explore some of the presets to get more of an idea of what it sounds like when you're not try to push it into full scale sonic madness.

Jun.02.2013 @ 9:57 PM
Actually working with MangleVerb in extreme mode reminds me of what Larry Fritz, Professor of Music at the University of Iowa (and head of the electronic music lab) says before every one of their concerts: "Go easy on the high frequencies, they hurt people's ears."

Jun.03.2013 @ 4:03 AM
raoul duke
Well this looks like an instant 'buy' for me.

Also, I think the GUI is beautiful; crisp and clear.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but it seems like you have taken a bit of inspiration from NI's recent offerings (Monark, Tube series etc.), which I also think look outstanding.

Jun.03.2013 @ 1:00 PM
i actually think NI stole a lot of their UI look from Audio Damage....

Jun.04.2013 @ 2:01 AM
raoul duke
Just to clarify; I was in no way trying to accuse AD of pilfering GUI design from NI.

I just think they are both going in the right way at the moment with the look of their designs. Really clean and elegant!

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