ValhallaÜberMod, at its heart, is a stereo modulated multitap delay line.
(Wha? For those who like to know about the tech under the hood, read on! For those who don’t, you can just skip this paragraph and read on to learn about all the mysterious and surprising things ValhallaÜberMod can do.) 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?
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.
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.
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.
ÜberMod allows the user to sync the delays to the DAW tempo, as well as dialing in specific delay times in milliseconds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Why UberMod exists
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 drank WAY TOO MUCH COFFEE 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.