Meer Power
Boring synth stuff

Feedback Paths, Maybe Loops

One of the fun things about Reason is that it allows feedback paths, unlike a lot of other programs. This make it insanely useful for making horrible screeching noises, but it has some more practical uses as well. Probably the most obvious is constructing feedback paths for the delay unit.

Delay is used to make ‘echoes’, but all it really does is delay the signal by whatever amount of time. The echoes come from the feedback, the output of the delay is fed to the output of the plugin (or whatever) and also back into it’s own input. The delayed signal is delayed again and again… and there are echoes, but to keep it from getting retarded, there should be something attenuating the signal in the feedback path. Every time the same signal goes through the feedback path, it will get quieter and quieter until it’s gone. All delay plugins (or whatever) will have this built-in, and usually there will also be an optional low pass filter in the feedback path, so every echo will have less treble. Oldschool tape delay works in a completely different, kind of retarded way.

So that’s all fun and interesting, but what if something else was in the feedback path? How about a flanger, or another delay or how about some lo-fi distortion and crapinazation for that ‘VINTAGE ANALOG TUBE TAPE’ sound? In Reason, anything can be put in the feedback path (within reason, ahahaha). Once you decide what crazy things you want to do with the delay, the wiring in Reason will probably get insanely messy. Drawing block diagrams is fun, but maybe that’s just me.Reason_feedback1

 The output of the delay will have to be split with an audio splitter, one going through the feedback path and one going to the send return of a mixer or wherever the crazy noises are supposed to end up. Conveniently, some signals will have to be merged before going into the input, Reason_feedback2so only one audio merger/splitter will be need, probably.   To reduce headaches further down the road, I like to make all the crazy devices in the feedback path in a separate combinator. One of the split output channels will go to the second combinator’s input, and in the same way, the second combinator’s output will be connected to merger going to the delay input.

Oh wait! This is all wrong! Hooked up in the manner above, the first echo will be completely ‘dry’ and none of the crazy devices in the second combinator will be affecting Reason_feedback3it.  Sometimes, that might be okay, but having every echo going crazy with whatever effects is probably waaaay cooler. Let’s freaking draw some block diagrams. In order for every echo to be affected by ‘stuff’, the input needs to be connected to it before the delay, and the feedback path returns to the input of the stuff. This way, every echo, including the first, will be affected by whatever, and every time the same signal goes through the feedback path, it will get more and more crazy. If ‘stuff’ is an equalizer attentuating the lower frequencies by 6 db, every time the same echo goes through the feedback loop, the lower frequencies will get quieter and quieter.

Pretty much anything would sound neat.


One Response to “Feedback Paths, Maybe Loops”

  1. You’re a genius.

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