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Cooper FX Arcades Modular Multi-FX Workstation : Card Spotlight Series #8 : PITCH

Cooper FXOctaverPitchPitch-ShiftingShimmer Reverb+-
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2021GPXCooperFXArcadesPitchCard700.jpg

The PITCH Card covers everything from standard Octaver, through POG, arpeggiation and classic twinkly shimmers - with all kinds of shades in-between. You can of course endeavour to make it sound as natural and subtle as possible, or you can get totally experimental with some otherworldly tones and textures.

 

Beware of slightly ice-picky upper pitch-shifted notes - meaning that judicious application of the Tone control is necessary - either on your guitar or on the actual device. I found myself needing to ’dampen’ some of the upper pitches on occasion to make them sound rather more mellifluous.

 

Because of the nature of the Pich-Shifting being applied to both note-bends and frequency rate - you can do a lot with the Clock Rate to accentuate those textures.

 

It’s also something of a lottery as to when you’re encouraged to go full-on experimental or largely play it safe. Note that when dual-pitch-shifting the lower pitch can often dominate and needs to be tempered usually.

 

Tip 1 - Judicious application of Tone is essential for achieving optimal musicality - use both the onboard Arcades Tone control as well as your guitar’s tone knob

 

Tip 2 - Clock Rate can be used to cleverly accentuate some of the textures here - again usually requires careful calibration


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1 : Dual - Standard Two-Voice Octave Up/Octave Down and Variable Pitch-Shifter

A classic 2-Voice Octaver with my settings - one octave up, one octave down and with maximum / full pitch-shift applied.

  • A : PIT - Amount / Degree of Pitch-Shifting
  • B : INTA - Interval first Pitch Voice Bends to - STOP | -OCT | -5TH | -4TH | -m3RD | 0 | +m3RD | +4th | +5TH | +OCT
  • C : INTB - Interval second Pitch Voice Bends to - STOP | -OCT | -5TH | -4TH | -m3RD | 0 | +m3RD | +4th | +5TH | +OCT
  • D : VOLB - Volume / Blend of Second Voice

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(5) (5) (8) (5) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


2 : EnvGld - Glide between Two Pitch intervals depending on how hard you strum

A slight sort of dive-bomb pitch-shifter with my settings - you can have even more fun with this by adjusting the Clock Rate too - for more textural accentuation. Each note drops down from the higher to the lower pitch and is particularly emphatic when adequate space is given to each note.

  • A : SEN - Sensitivity of incoming signal trigger
  • B : P-1 - Select First Pitch Interval : -16 > +16 Semitones
  • C : P-2 - Select Second Pitch Interval : -16 > +16 Semitones
  • D : PORT - Portamento or smoothness of glide between the two P-1/P-2 Intervals

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(2) (5) (9) (12) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


3 : Arppeg - Two-Step Arpeggiator with ±16 Semitone Intervals and Speed control

A sort of wobbly slightly detuned arpeggiation with my setting. A rising arpeggiation which sounds slightly artificial and otherworldly.

  • A : SPD - Speed of Arpeggiation
  • B : P-1 - Select First Pitch Interval : -16 > +16 Semitones
  • C : P-2 - Select Second Pitch Interval : -16 > +16 Semitones
  • D : PORT - Portamento or smoothness of glide between the two P-1/P-2 Intervals

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(2) (9) (3) (10) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


4 : ArpFrz - Two-Step Arpeggiator with Octave Up and Octave Down and Freeze Control

A really cool sort of raspy synth-like bassline kind of effect with my settings. Can play for ages within this groove of 80's style synth basslines.

  • A : SPD - Speed of glide between two frozen pad effects
  • B : OCT+ - Level of Octave Up - fully CCW to Mute
  • C : OCT- - Level of Octave Down - fully CCW to Mute
  • D : FRZ - Freeze : Freezes pattern if turned fully CW, otherwise degrees of that - sort of feedback to a degree

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(3) (9) (3) (7) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


5 : Organ - Poly-Octave Generator with Vibrato and Cathedral Reverb

Somewhere between a Barrel Organ and a Church Organ - this actually took a while to dial in - and the Clock Rate has a significant impact on the texture here. It took me a while to get the best balance of the Octaves so as to get a relatively clear and crisp texture - this one can require some patience on the dial-in. And you need to be careful here or the lower octave can overly dominate.

  • A : OCT+ - Blend of Upper Octave
  • B : OCT- - Blend of Lower Octave
  • C : RVRB - Decay of Cathedral style Reverb, fully CW Freezes the signal
  • D : VIBR - Degree of Vibrato effect added to the mix

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(2) (10) (11) (2) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


6 : Grains - Delay-Line with adjustable playback Speed which creates Pitch-Shifting effect

With my settings this is best described as a twinkly, rising shimmery delay. Quite untypical of a Grain style delay somehow - a really interesting texture no doubt - which requires some finesse on calibration - and as always the upper pitches can require some tonal damping at times.

  • A : SIZE - Size of Grain/Delay Buffer to be Pitch-Shifted
  • B : FRZ - Non-additive Feedback Loop - Freezes signal fully CW
  • C : PIT - Pitch/Speed of Grain
  • D : FBK - Additive Feedback which created ascending Pitch-Bends

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(10) (11) (5) (9) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


7 : Glass - Reverse Reverb with Pitch/Speed Playback adjustment

With my settings this produces a somewhat fluttery mechanical Reverb effect - a touch slicer / pattern tremolo and somewhat suggestive of a phantom stealth helicopter. Interesting texture which didn't take me too long to wrap into a sort of groove. The Clock Rate does some cool things with this effect too. Oh and dial the tone right down on your guitar for best effect.

  • A : DCY - Reverb Decay - freezes signal when fully CW
  • B : PIT - Pitch of Reverb ranging from No Pitch to Octave Up
  • C : SLCE - Adjusts the Size of the Pitch-Shifted Grain - similar to SIZE in algorithm 6
  • D : PROM - Prominence / Aggressiveness of Pitch-Shifter

Example / Preferred Settings :

'A' 'B' 'C' 'D'
(12) (7) (3) (2) o'clock (7 is min, 5 is max)


8 : Crystl - Dual Pitch-Shifted Reverse Delays with Proportional mix

Pretty much as the description - a delightful twinkly shimmery effect with rising pitch - you need to temper the high frequency pitches a touch as they can get a little sharp and icy. Either dampen with your guitar tone knob, or else adjust the Tone on the device. I find myself tweaking that quite a bit for some of these algorithms.

  • A : BAL - Proportional Mix between P-1 and P-2 Voicings
  • B : P-1 - Pitch of First Delay Line - from Root Pitch to Octave Up
  • C : P-2 - Pitch of Second Delay Line - from Root Pitch to Octave Up
  • D : FBK - Degree of Ascending Additive Feedback Loops within the Pitch-Shifted Delays

Example / Preferred Settings :

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


Final Thoughts

Tom once again gives really smart coverage with his 8 algorithms - pretty much covering every major eventuality for the Pitch-Shifting genre. I state several times that the dividing line between natural and artificial is often very slight. And several of these algorithms require some degree of patience in calibration.

 

My favourite algorithms on this occasion are the ArpFrz, Grains and Glass - each one of those kind of got me in a groove as such. Be aware that it largely depends where you land on any given day. Like I say - the dividing line between subtle and otherworldly is often quite fine really. While I also found myself subconsciously dialling in almost the same values from day to day!

 

I didn't really mess with the effect levels here - but just occasionally tweaked the Tone and Clock Rate. As with nearly all these cards - patience here leads to the best results - and I would say this was rather an intermediary Card where some of these algorithms can be a little tricky to balance out.

 

This is the final Card of the main series, while I am expecting Tom to send me a couple more cards in the near future - the Ambient Endeavors one, and one which Tom has been working on for the last few months - which I'm not sure I'm at liberty to divulge yet!

 

So I will hold back on the final overall overview and recommendations - until such a time that I have reviewed those Cards too. Shouldn't be too much longer!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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