What is UberMod?

ValhallaÜberMod, at its heart, is a stereo modulated multitap delay line. The signal is written into parallel delay lines (1 for left, 1 for right), and is read out by one or more delay taps. The taps can be moved back and forth in time, by low frequency oscillators or user controls, in order to produce pitch changes via the Doppler effect. The plugin also incorporates diffusion delays, soft saturation, low and high cut filters, and a variety of other controls to shape the delay tap amplitudes, spacing, tone and movement.

So, what can you do with a stereo modulated multitap delay line?

  • Chorus. ValhallaÜberMod contains elements inspired by the Roland Dimension choruses, but vastly expanded in order and with fully parametric controls. The classic “Dimension D” sound can be emulated, but ÜberMod can also emulate the multi-voice choruses previously limited to high end rack gear.
  • Ensembles. The modulation section of ÜberMod contains slow and fast LFOs, that can be mixed in together. In addition, some of the Modes are based around the specific modulation schemes of vintage string ensemble units, such as the 3-phase LFOs found in the Solina and Crumar Performer, and the dual triangle LFOs of the Roland VP330/RS505. This allows ÜberMod to dial in a variety of “classic” ensemble effects, as well as more realistic emulations of orchestral sounds.
  • Flanging. By using one of the multitap modes, and keeping the delays short and grouped closely together, ÜberMod can create huge flanging sounds, that incorporate the through-zero effects of tape flanging, while adding random motion and complexity to produce an effect that is remarkably similar to a jet flying overhead.
  • Delays. ÜberMod allows the user to sync the delays to the DAW tempo, as well as dialing in specific delay times in milliseconds.
  • Multitap Delays. With up to 32 taps, ÜberMod can create dense clusters of delays, rhythmic tapped delays, strongly pitched comb filtering effects, and all sorts of multitap sounds. The TAPS controls allow the user to shape the spacing and amplitude of the delay taps via intuitive high-level controls.
  • Ping-Pong Delays. The new WARP InputPan control (introduced in the 1.0.1 ÜberMod release) allows for any of the delay Modes to be turned into a ping pong mode. This goes well beyond the standard ping pong delays, and can produce ping ponging delay clusters, ping pong delays with strange rhythmic divisions, ping ponged multitap clusters, and tons of other effects that bounce back and forth between speakers.
  • Tape and BBD delay emulations. ValhallaÜberMod has a flexible overdrive section, including pre and post gain, as well as noise that can be mixed into the signal. The delay time changes can also be slewed, using the WARP Smoothing control, to produce the slow delay transitions and pitch changes that are typical of analog delays. By dialing in overdrive, noise, and feedback, and adjusting the flexible EQ section, the user can get low-bandwidth BBD emulations, wobbly tape delays, and long echos that degenerate into shrieking oscillation.
  • Diffuse delays. Many of the high-end Lexicon and Eventide rack units combined diffusion delays with longer delay lines, to soften the attacks of echos. ValhallaÜberMod has a flexible diffusion section, to create smeared echos, clusters of delays, and all sorts of diffuse effects.
  • Reverbs. The diffusion section in ÜberMod has variable size and modulation parameters, similar to ValhallaShimmer, but more optimized for generic delay effects. Crank up the diffusion size and turn up the feedback, and all sorts of reverb effects can be produced: short ambiences, large rooms, huge halls.
  • Nonlinear and reverse reverbs. Combine the diffusion section with a Mode that has a larger number of delay taps (8/16/32 taps) to generate short gated reverbs, “reverse” reverbs that fade in slowly over time, room reverbs with a truncated decay, etc.
  • “Glitch Shifting.” The triangle oscillators in ÜberMod were designed to create “detuned” choruses, without an obvious sense of pitch wobble. Crank up the OverMod control, however, and all sorts of unpredictable pitch shifted and reversed sounds can be produced. I call this “glitch shifting,” although I still feel dirty whenever I type that phrase.
  • Oscillations. Turn on the DRIVE, and crank up the feedback, and ÜberMod will start making sounds on its own. By adjusting the delay and modulation settings, all sorts of crazy burbling whirling machine noises can be generated.
  • Stereo Widening. Use short Diffusion settings to widen the stereo image. Add a bit of modulation to create stereo choruses. Crank up the DEPTH control to create super-stereo effects.
  • Chimeras. This is the term I use for sounds that combine aspects of several effects to create sounds that are new, weird, and in many cases defy easy categorization:
    • Reverbs with ensemble modulation
    • Ping-Pong Reverbs
    • Tape Reverbs, where the sound gets more distorted as it decays away
    • Sounds that don’t have names yet

So, why create a single plugin that covers all of these sounds, instead of several plugins where each plugin is tailored to a specific application? I’m not exactly sure. In many ways, I feel that ValhallaÜberMod was a plugin that designed itself, instead of me creating something that did exactly what I wanted it to do. At each stage during the development process, I uncovered new and exciting sounds that defied easy categorization. I decided to create a plugin that allowed for those sounds to be dialed in, as well as sounds that as yet remained undiscovered.

ValhallaÜberMod is “close to the metal.” There are a lot of controls, that have been grouped according to logical function. In some ways, ÜberMod is like a Swiss Army Knife for modulated delays, but this doesn’t really describe the chimera effects that are neither fish nor fowl. The oddball possibilities are what I find most interesting about ÜberMod. It explores the spaces, the shared commonalities, that lie underneath the common modulated delay effects, while making room for other effects that don’t fit within the standardized categories. I nearly went crazy designing ÜberMod, and I think that some of that over-caffeinated energy was captured within the plugin, in the context of a logical structure that allows the user to control the sanity/insanity ratio.

ValhallaUberMod: The TAPS Parameters

ValhallaÜberMod, at its heart, is a multitap delay. The TAPS section of the ÜberMod interface is used to control the delays and amplitudes of the taps. Instead of providing individual delay/gain controls for each tap, a few high level controls are used to adjust the broader tap characteristics.

A few notes about the TAPS parameters:

  • All changes to the TAPS controls that affect delay times (TAPS Spread, TAPS Skew, TAPS Random) are smoothed, with the smoothing time controlled by the WARP Smoothing parameter. This can result in flanging or pitch bending sounds as the TAPS parameters are adjusted.
  • The delay times that are set by the TAPS parameters are also modified by the MOD controls and DEPTH setting. The TAPS controls are used to set the base delays, and the modulation LFOs controlled by the MOD controls will add on to these base delays in a time varying manner. For the most part, the modulation LFOs add a few milliseconds of delay to the base tap delays, but the MOD OverMod control can result in tap delays that are far different than what the TAPS and DELAY settings would suggest.
  • The TAPS parameters are used to control the general distribution of the taps with regards to the DELAY slider, as opposed to specific tap delay times. You can think of the TAPS section as being used to create a specific shape, that is then stretched by the DELAY parameter.

The TAPS parameters:

  • TAPS Spread: controls the spread of the tap delays in time, relative to the setting of the DELAY parameter.
    • A TAPS Spread setting of 0% corresponds to all of the taps having the same base delay length – they are “right on top of each other.” This is useful when creating flangers, as the individual taps will move around the base delay, back and forth past each other, resulting in through-zero flanging effects.
    • Setting TAPS Spread >0% results in the taps being spread out in time. The longest tap delay will always be at the time set by the DELAY slider, while the other taps will spread out to fill the times between no delay and the DELAY setting.
    • An example: With TAPS Spread set at 50% and a DELAY of 100 msec, the taps will have delays between 50 and 100 msecs.
    • With TAPS Spread set to 100%, the taps will be evenly distributed between no delay and the maximum delay set by the DELAY slider. By using the delay modes with multiple taps, you can create rhythmic subdivisions of the delay time.
  • TAPS Slope: Controls the amplitude distribution of the taps with regards to time.
    • TAPS Slope at 0% results in all taps having the same amplitude, and is useful for choruses, gated reverbs, flangers, and clusters of echos.
    • With TAPS Slope set to <0%, the taps will “fade in” over time.
    • A TAPS Slope setting of -100%, in conjunction with higher settings of TAPS Spread, longer DELAY values, and a MODE with a fair number of taps (i.e. 8Tap/16Tap/32Tap), will create a “reverse reverb” effect.
    • With TAPS Slope set to >0%, the taps will fade out over time. This creates the effect of a “truncated reverb,” that starts decaying away, but then is abruptly cut off.
  • TAPS Skew controls whether the tap delays are shorter on the left or right side of the stereo image.
    • A TAPS Skew value of 0% results in identical delay times for left and right channels.
    • TAPS Skew values <0% result in the first delays being heard from the left channel.
    • TAPS Skew values >0% result in the first delays being heard from the right channel.
    • Setting TAPS Skew to +/- 100%, and TAPS Spread to 100%, results in delays that will ping pong back and forth between the output channels in a rhythmic manner. The specific rhythms depend on the MODE being used.
  • TAPS Random is used to randomize the spacing between the tap delays.
    • A TAPS Random value of 0% results in the taps being equally spaced from each other. Depending on the settings of TAPS Spread and DELAY, this can result in metallic comb filter artifacts. Which are either good or bad, depending on the sound you want.
    • TAPS Random values >0% result in the spacing between taps being randomized, which breaks up the metallic comb filter artifacts. For nonlinear reverbs, you probably want to set TAPS Random above 0%, to avoid a metallic sound.
  • TAPS TapGain controls the overall gain of the output taps. This can be considered a trim gain for the “wet” signal.
    • When TAPS Spread is set close to 0%, the wet output gain can get considerably louder, so the TapsGain parameter can be used to manage this signal level.
    • For most settings of TAPS Spread and modulation depths, the output taps will be decorrelated from each other, and TapsGain can be left at 0 dB.