Poly Effects Beebo review | Engadget


Image Credit: Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Alright, however a very powerful half is what’s inside: the software program. Despite a couple of warts, it’s largely successful. Yes, the UI is usually a bit gradual to reply. And sure, it’s a lot simpler to chew by means of the DSPs energy and max out the CPU than you may anticipate. But the modules are all fairly helpful, simple to make use of and sound nice. There are 97 of them starting from easy VCAs, to amp emulators, to ports of Mutable Instruments modules like Plaits and Clouds.

There’s clearly no approach to cowl all of them, however let’s discuss a couple of highlights. The ports of the Mutable Instruments modules are all wonderful, however I discover Grids (referred to as Drum Patterns) and Clouds (Granular) to be essentially the most helpful. Clouds is a granular “texture synthesizer.” In quick, it chops up incoming audio in realtime and spits it again out as an nearly unrecognizable mass. Until now, when you wished to get Clouds in your pedalboard it might have meant sticking one thing extraordinarily fragile like a eurorack case or an Organelle on there. So this can be a huge deal for guitarists with a extra ambient or experimental bent.

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Grids is a form of automated drum sequencer, and it’s nice for rapidly placing collectively rhythms. But you should use its outputs to manage something that can settle for a CV (management voltage) enter (which is a lot of the modules). So you could possibly create rhythmic interaction between a delay and a bitcrusher the place totally different parameters are accented at totally different occasions.

Speaking of bitcrushing, the Bitmangle module is gorgeous. It makes a few of the finest sputtering and ugly noise I’ve heard. It’s not a typical bitcrusher, and as a substitute combines cross modulation with the standard bit-based degradation. Just one factor to concentrate on: It is loud. It’s extremely really helpful that you simply mix with a compressor, noise gate and a VCA after the actual fact to maintain your ranges in verify.

The neatest thing about these modules is all of them play good with the interior CV controls so that you add LFOs, or a 16-step sequencer, or the Chaos Controller so as to add motion to the parameters, so your results by no means keep static. And sure, you possibly can even mix these modules with Grids continuously altering patterns of parameter modulation. (For instance, an LFO can slowly change the drum sample on Grids, which in flip rhythmically maxes out the time on a delay in an evolving approach.)

  • In this fundamental instance and LFO is getting used to pan between two totally different results — a pitch shifter and a refrain. The first half is a gradual sinewave LFO the second a part of the demo is a sq. wave at 320bpm with a temp ratio of 320x, creating an nearly ring modulated impact.

Poly Effects Beebo

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

My one gripe is that there’s no visible suggestions as to what the modulation and sequencers are altering. If you join an LFO to the time of the delay, you don’t see it change, the slider simply stays the place you left it. This means you really want to trace down any downside areas along with your ears.

Perhaps the issues I used essentially the most have been the amp sim, cab sim and convolution reverb modules. The two energy amp sims are fairly respectable. They’re not the perfect amp simulators I’ve ever heard, however they’re not dangerous both. I’d like to see Poly Effects develop and enhance on these choices. Still, between these and the cab sims, the Beebo makes a stable DI (direct enter) field. I don’t know that it may utterly substitute my amp, but it surely’s undoubtedly higher than the builtin amp sims in Ableton.

The cab simulators are IR- based mostly, and Beebo comes loaded with an entire bunch of IRs to get you began, together with these recorded from traditional amps like a Fender Bassman and a Vox AC30. But you can even load customized ones that you simply’ve downloaded and even recorded your self.

The identical is true of the convolution reverb unit. There are a bunch of impulse responses already included from classic analog and digital reverbs, to actual areas just like the London Palladium and Pool of the Black Star in Winnipeg. You can even simply discover free reverb IRs on-line to load your self. Or, if you wish to have some actual enjoyable, you possibly can load any 48 kHz .wav file and use that as a reverb. Your outcomes will range, relying on the pattern you utilize, however I had numerous success with a bong rip harvested from Elektron’s free Aotearoa sound pack and a recording of a wierd rhythmic HAM radio broadcast. You can use a drum break and get a patterned delay, or run drums by means of the reverb with a melodic pattern loaded as an IR and get chaotic cascades of no matter you’re utilizing as an IR.

This is the actual power and pleasure of utilizing Beebo: the flexibility to experiment and do issues that simply aren’t potential (at the least with out hundreds of {dollars} value of substances) in the actual world.

The one evident gap within the module lineup is the dearth of a looper. There’s a looping delay module, but it surely’s fairly barebones. Poly Effects is engaged on a reasonably robust looking multi-loop module, however there’s no concrete timeline for when it’s anticipated to land.

Somewhat surprisingly, I discovered myself much less drawn to the synth aspect of Beebo than I anticipated. That’s not as a result of it’s dangerous; I simply have extra handy methods of getting lots of the identical sounds. My MicroFreak has a few of the oscillators from Plaits (Macro Osc) and the Organelle has a port of Grids that I can load up with my very own drum samples. If you’re completely a guitarist, however wouldn’t thoughts having a approach to dabble on the earth of modular synthesis with out dropping a bunch of cash, this can be a nice approach to do it. But, I seemingly would not purchase it for the synth sounds alone.

While you should use the pitch monitoring module or the built-in 16 step sequencer together with the quantizer to play the resonator or macro oscillator, it actually calls for an exterior MIDI controller to benefit from it. This provides an entire different layer of complexity to the equation that you could be or is probably not able to embrace.

This means both going all in on MIDI integration in your board or leaving the Beebo in your desk. Neither is fallacious, but it surely’s one thing to concentrate on. I lately took the plunge and rigged my pedalboard as much as benefit from MIDI, however the Beebo nonetheless discovered a house on my desk as a rule. And that’s largely as a result of I discovered myself utilizing it fairly otherwise than I might the ZOIA.

With Empress Effects’ modular pedal I usually discover myself loading it with new presets as soon as each couple months. And I design a brand new patch about as usually. But with the Beebo I used to be much more more likely to begin from scratch every time. The interface is way more quick and it’s simpler to navigate complicated patches and make tweaks.

Empress Effects ZOIA

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Which brings us to the massive query many individuals are in all probability asking: Should you purchase the ZOIA or the Beebo. And the reply is… each? This may sound like a little bit of a copout however, although they’re comparable in idea, the execution and have listing is totally different sufficient to say it’s not essentially an either-or state of affairs.

But, when you have to choose (and I get it, they’re not low-cost), right here’s what I’ll say:

If you need the world’s strongest multi-effects pedal, with an insanely lively neighborhood sharing new presets on daily basis, go along with the ZOIA. There are individuals much more gifted than I’m constructing new and distinctive results and sharing them on patchstorage.com — practically 800 as of this writing. Its reverb algorithms are second to none, it excels as an experimental looper, and it simply serves because the MIDI grasp of an adventurous pedalboard. ZOIA is an ideal end-of-chain do-it-all pedal and would undoubtedly be on my desert island listing.

Poly Effects Beebo

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

But, when you’re extra curious about exploring modular on a small scale and plan to continuously tweak and customise patches, go along with Beebo. Its interface is way more conducive to on-the-fly digital rewiring. It can mainly substitute your amp and the IR-based reverb is a supply of infinite enjoyable. Plus, the ports of Mutable Instruments Eurorack modules are among the many most unusual issues you could find in a guitar pedal.

Beebo isn’t excellent. It will be buggy. And although the interface is intuitive, it’s nonetheless a posh gadget. But, it’s additionally a completely distinctive and unbelievably highly effective piece of music gear. For the relentless sonic experimenter its draw shall be simple.