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Cooper FX Arcades Modular Multi-FX Workstation : Card Spotlight Series #5 : GENERATION LOSS

Bitcrushing and Lo-FiChorus and VibratoCooper FXDelayEnvelope Filter and Auto WahGlitchModulationTape Delay+-
2020GPXCooperFXArcadesGenLossCard700.jpg

This Card is obviously largely based on Tom’s most celebrated pedal to-date - the Generation Loss - while it doesn’t fully replicate that experience, nor the added chorusing elements available via the Chase Bliss Audio collaboration variety of Generation Loss.

 

The first two modes essential split off two of the key elements of the Generation Loss - the Wow and Flutter side, and the Signal Fidelity / Degradation side. You then get two modes which combine both those elements to different extents - where Mode 4 / ComboB is closest in nature to the original Generation Loss Pedal - yet still doesn’t provide absolute equivalency.

 

If you really love the Generation Loss effect - you are still best off with an original stand-alone pedal, or Chase Bliss Audio’s collaborative version - which takes things into slightly different territory and offers a superb new chorusing voicing into the mix.

 

All of the effects here are rather ’Ambient’ - being particularly sound-track-y and sci-fi even in places.

 

I pretty much like all the additional non-generation algorithms here as much as the Generation Loss ones.

 

Tip 1 - As this is such a textural and atmospheric effect you can further exaggerate the signal degradation by tweaking the Clock Rate

 

Tip 2 - Tone can also be used to further accentuate the algorithms with the High and Low Pass Filters in particular

 

Tip 3 - Also you use your guitar tone and volume controls with these algorithms to accentuate further or add nuance to those effects. I use the guitar tone control here quite a lot actually


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1 : W + F - Wow and Flutter magnetic media low frequency pitch variation

My testing notes always offer up some amusement - and for many of these flavours I use descriptives like Ghostly or Haunted - obviously befitting the ambience of these effects. The W + F mode with my preferred settings sounds somewhat like 'ghostly wind-swept plain' definitely some sort of minor storm action. You can obviously dial things back a touch - but I like to get the overall feel and potential of the algorithms so I try each extreme first, and then dial things back a fraction.

  • A : WSPD - Wow Speed
  • B : WDPT - Wow Depth
  • C : FDPT - Flutter Depth - from smooth to distorted and crinkly
  • D : FCHR - Flutter Characteristics - increase harsh tape irregularities as you turn CW

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(2) (5) (5) (5) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


2 : Fidlity - Signal Fidelity - Filtering, Noise, and Sample Rate Reduction

With my settings this sounds somewhat like a sustaining / decaying metallic buzz - just the merest hint of a sort of ring modulation note in there too. A somewhat 'industrial' / electrical-sounding effect.

  • A : LPF - Low Pass Filter / Cut-off frequency
  • B : HPF - High Pass Filter / Cut-off frequency
  • C : GEN - Generation - Sample Rate Reduction - lo-fi modulator essentially - dial back for digitisation / semi-bitcrushing effect
  • D : NOIS - Noise - adds in unique white noise artefacts and dirty Flutter characteristics

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(10) (10) (7) (3) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


3 : ComboA - Combines W + F and Fidelity High Pass / Low Pass Filtering Options

This sounds like a haunted detuned cello with my settings - a slightly muted and off-kilter flavour with some distinctive smoothness to it. I like to turn the tone dial right down on the guitar for this - in fact that accentuates several of these modes.

  • A : WOW - Intensity / Amount of Wow
  • B : FLUT - Intensity / Amount of Flutter
  • C : LPF - Low Pass Filter / Cut-off frequency
  • D : HPF - High Pass Filter / Cut-off frequency

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(3) (3) (10) (10) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


4 : ComboB - Closest Arcades algorithm to the Original Generation Loss effect / pedal

Where I get to with this is a sort of Deep Underwater Warble - it's not quite an undulation or a pulse - but rather a series of slight 'wobbles' with the signal somewhat degraded and muted / softened even - and then with noise artefacts on top. Each of the 4 Gen Loss modes is sufficiently different - they're obviously from the same sort of family, but each is fairly distinct too.

  • A : SPD - Wow Speed
  • B : SPAN - Wow depth control from first version of the Generation Loss
  • C : AGE - Mix of mostly Low Pass with some slight High Pass Filtering too, and a boost in noise levels
  • D : DIST - Equivalent to the NOISE MOD version of the Generation Loss - adds tape crinkle and distortion (not saturation) to the signal plus a little more harsh warble

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(3) (3) (3) (5) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


5: VHSdly - Video Tape style delay with Filtering and added Noise

This is a delightfully sort of sludgy wobbly delay as I have it set - actually a really neat textural delay with a kind of smear to it.

  • A : TIME - Delay Time between hitting strings and first audible repeat - also controlled by TAP footswitch
  • B : FBK - Feedback - length of decay / number of repeats - turn fully CW for Freeze / Hold Infinite Delay
  • C : AGE - Mix of mostly Low Pass with some slight High Pass Filtering too, and a boost in noise levels
  • D : DIST - Equivalent to the NOISE MOD version of the Generation Loss - adds tape crinkle and distortion (not saturation) to the signal plus a little more harsh warble

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(10) (12) (10) (10) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


6: Vintage - Vintage Time Capsule Random Vibrato Modulation

This sounds like an otherworldly wobbly chorus with my settings - possibly a little more textured than some would like - but very satisfactory nonetheless, and you can always tone it down.

  • A : SPD - Vibrato Modulation Speed
  • B : DPT - Vibrato Modulation Depth / Intensity
  • C : SHPE - Shape of Random Modulation - from sharp Square Waves to Smoothed out almost Sine-Waves full CW
  • D : DYNA - Dynamics - Adjusts how Vibrato Filtering and Volume Characteristics react / respond to your string attack and playing dynamics

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(1) (2) (5) (2) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


7: CDskip - Glitchy CD Skipping tracking error effect

Weirdly this took me the longest time to get the balance perfectly right for me - you need to be careful with the filters, otherwise you can get some weird honky / clangy tones - which I tempered with my Guitar Tone control, as well as the Tone and Clock Rate on the common settings. It's important to note the settings here - unless you are going for a somewhat more unusual and overly pronounced sounding version of the effect.

  • A : SIZE - How big a chunk of audio is glitched upon skipping
  • B : ACT - Skipping Action - envelope sensitivity or LFO speed depending on how SRCE dial is set
  • C : RAND - Randomizaiton - the degree of Skipping Randomness
  • D : SRCE - the Source of the CD Skipping - Envelope Filter to the left, and Random LFO to the right

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(2) (11) (2) (12) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


8: Radio - Bad Radio Signal Static Noise Effect

This took slightly longer to dial in than expected, but was not as tricky as getting the CDskip perfectly balanced, Here I tried all the settings at various extremes - while I spent most of the time betting the right balance between the LPF and HPF Filter. I feel this algorithm can be somewhat improved towards sounding more like a car radio with poor reception and signal drop-out. It's close, but not quite there for me.

  • A : STAT - the amount of Static and Hiss noise
  • B : LPF - Low Pass Filter / Cut-off frequency
  • C : HPF - High Pass Filter / Cut-off frequency
  • D : INTR - the degree of Interference - or amount of Random volume / signal drop-out

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(5) (10) (9) (5) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


Final Thoughts

Interesting one this one, I obviously have the Chase Bliss Audio collaborative version of the Generation Loss which is a slightly different thing and which this card doesn't really replace. I believe Tom wanted this to be a Flavour of Generation Loss - but obviously you don't have all those parameters available to you simultaneously here. And the CBA Generation Loss has a really cool chorusing function - which I use quite a lot as a sort of more textured chorus mostly.

 

I think if you really want the Generation Loss - then you are better off with one of those pedals as this doesn't quite wholly replicate that magic - while the 4th ComboB algorithm gets very close.

 

Rather unexpectedly I had the most fun with the VHSdly and CDskip modes - while that latter was a bit of a pain to dial in, but once I got the right balance it was great.

 

These are very cool textured effects as I mention, while I would like to see some improvements to the Radio algorithm to make it sound more authentically like a moving car radio with bad reception - cutting in and out of crackle and static and signal reception. I had both 'noise' controls on max and it was still not quite as I would have imagined or wanted.

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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