ValhallaDelay Updated to 1.1.2. Improved Noise Floor!

ValhallaDelay has been updated to version 1.1.2. The changes since the last “official” 1.0.6 release:

  • Fixed bug where some PT users would experience AAE 9173 error when adding the plugin to a project with the transport running.
  • Lower noise floor with feedback values <100%.

A brief explanation of the noise floor: Valhalla Delay was designed to have analog-style behavior. That means, when the feedback is above 100%, the plugin will eventually self-oscillate. In order to have that self oscillation sound decent, there has to be noise in there. Otherwise, the self oscillation will sound really really BAD. Trust me on this one.

However, I did some thinking on a long walk, and realized that the noise gain could be MUCH lower if the delay isn’t self oscillating. And the self oscillation won’t happen at all with feedback gains under 100%. So I shaped the noise level in the algorithm according to the following graph:

The blue line represents the value of the FEEDBACK slider, from 0% to 200%. The orange line shows the noise gain. At feedback values below 100%, the noise gain is super tiny. For feedback values between 100% and 150%, the noise gain ramps up to meet the previous noise gain values. Above 150%, the noise gain tracks the feedback.

This new noise gain behavior was designed to reduce noise for “delay”-style delays, while keeping self-oscillation behavior the same. So your oscillation presets should sound the same. For non-oscillating presets, we’ve seen an improvement of at least 45 dB in the noise floor. It was a pretty small noise floor before (like, -103 dB at feedback values of 90%), but the noise floor is now essentially inaudible, unless you are monitoring at Saturn V volume levels.

The Age control will still add noise and “noisiness” to the various modes. So keep Age to 0% if low noise is your top priority. And the Tape mode is still noisier than the other modes, as that noise is essential to the texture of the feedback echoes (Don Gunn and I dialed in the Tape mode noise floor from my Roland RE-201 Space Echo). If you want a less noisy tape mode, use HiFi, as HiFi was designed as a cleaner tape echo.

UPDATE, 6/16/2021: Since this blog post was originally written, ValhallaDelay has been updated several times, and is at version 2.1.0 at the time of this writing. We’ve added several new modes, with different amounts of noisiness:

  • The Duck Tape mode is based on a tape delay with companding noice reduction (think RE-501, Korg Stage Echo). The overall tonality and behavior is very similar to the original Tape mode in ValhallaDelay, but with FAR less noise than found in the original Tape mode. So, if you like the sound of the Tape mode, but it is too noisy for you, just switch over to the Duck Tape mode!
  • The LoFi mode is going in the opposite direction. We’ve added some crunchy tape asperity noise, to simulate a well worn cassette tape, or the weird Dictaphone tape cartridge used in the Univox EchoChamper EC-80A tape echo.
  • The Quartz and Clarity modes are both bright and clean digital delays, with very low levels of noise.

So, if you want lower noise, we’ve got ya covered! If you want clean delays, ValhallaDelay now has even more options. Many folks gravitate to a crystal clear sound, free of noise. Me, I find myself thinking of the words of the late Steven Jesse Bernstein: “More Noise Please.”

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