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Difference between revisions of "Flanger block"

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(Flanger algorithm)
(Available on which products)
 
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Latest revision as of 07:34, 12 February 2020

Flanger block.PNG

Available on which products

  • Axe-Fx III: 2 blocks
  • FM3: 2 blocks
  • Axe-Fx II: 2 blocks
  • FX8: 2 blocks
  • AX8: 1 block

Channels or X/Y switching

  • Axe-Fx III and FM3: 4 channels
  • Axe-Fx II: X/Y
  • FX8: X/Y
  • AX8: X/Y

What is flanging

"Flanging" originated from pressing on the flange of a tape reel of two tape decks that were synchronized. This caused a small delay between the two decks, creating the famous whooshing sound.

Wikipedia

Premier Guitar: Behind the Bucket Brigade

Flanger algorithm

Firmware Ares 12 completely overhauled the Flanger block:

  1. "The Delay parameter on the Basic page has been replaced by a "Manual" knob. It functions the same as a typical pedal/rack flanger. To manually control the flanging set Depth to zero. The sensitivity of the Manual control is inversely proportional to Depth and the Manual control is disabled when Depth is at maximum.
  2. The Depth control mixes the LFO and Manual controls. When Depth is at minimum the delay time is controlled entirely by Manual. When Depth is at maximum the delay time is controlled solely by the LFO.
  3. There are now separate Minimum Time and Maximum Time parameters. These set (not surprisingly) the minimum and maximum delay time when the Depth is at maximum and Manual is at minimum. These are updated when the type is changed. The Flanger block now allows minimum delay times as short as 340 microseconds. If one of the Thru-Zero modes is selected the dry path is delayed accordingly resulting in a net minimum delay time of zero.
  4. The "Focus" parameter cuts the bass in the wet path but unlike a low cut compensates the dry path so the net frequency response is flatter.
  5. There are three "VCO Curve" types. Linear yields a linear delay time vs. LFO. Exponential gives an exponential response which can be more "musical" because the notches will move more linearly with the logarithm of frequency. Square-law is sort of in-between and is what the old A/DA flanger used.
  6. The "Exponent" parameter controls the exponent for the Exponential type. A value of 1.0 is "ideal" and results in the notches sweeping linearly with log(frequency). Higher values cause the delay time to dwell at shorter times and then increase rapidly towards the longer times. Lower values cause the delay time to dwell at longer times.
  7. There are five new types based on classic pedals. The MXF-117 is based on the MXR 117, the BBF-2 is based on the Boss BF-2, the Electric Mystery and Deluxe Mystery are based on the Electric Mistress and the D/AD 185 is based on the aforementioned A/DA flanger.
  8. There are two Thru-Zero modes: AUTO and MANUAL. AUTO automatically adjusts the thru-zero so that the zero-point is mid-sweep regardless of the Manual value. MANUAL is intended to replicate manual tape flanging. To use MANUAL set the Depth to zero and vary the Manual control to simulate pressing on the tape flange. If Dry Delay is 50% the zero-point on the Manual control is 5.0. Lower values of Dry Delay will shift the zero-point down and vice-versa. Set Thru-Zero to MANUAL and attach an expression pedal to the Manual parameter for the "Ultimate Tape Flanger".
  9. The LFO Monitor graph allows monitoring the LFO waveform in real time. Note that for some models the LFO waveform will be distorted due to the nonlinear filtering that occurs. This tends to make a triangle wave look like something in between a sine wave and a sawtooth."

Prior to firmware Ares 12:

"The core flanger algorithm is a delay with feedback. Very little difference between using the delay block as a flanger and using the flanger block."
"It is basically the same as the delay block but with finer control over the base delay time. It's essentially the same algorithm."
"The basic algorithm IS a delay. Chorus and flangers are basically delays. If you can do it with the delay block then you can do it with the flanger block UNLESS the base time is greater than 10 ms."
"The issue isn't the algorithm. It's understanding the parameters and how to adjust them. Obviously things are too confusing for some people and I will have to give some thought on how to make the effect easier to adjust or clarify the controls. If anything, the flanger block is superior to the delay block for flanging because you have more precise control over the time. The delay block is quantized to 1 ms increments."
(Axe-Fx II firmware 17) "The Flanger block has been completely rewritten. The new algorithms now model the behavior of classic bucket-brigade device (BBD) units (except they are true stereo). The Depth parameter works somewhat differently now and sets the maximum delay time (up to 20 ms). When Auto Depth is not off the maximum delay is reduced as the rate is increased. There are now three Auto Depth values: Low, Medium and High. Turning Auto Depth to Off allows complete control over the delay time. The minimum time is set by the Delay parameter and the maximum time is set by the Depth. Several new Flanger types have been added which demonstrate the new algorithms."
(Axe-Fx II firmware Quantum 1.00) "Dry Delay Shift has been renamed to Dry Delay and works differently (and more intuitively). The parameter now sets the delay time of the dry signal as a percentage of the maximum delay time of the wet signal. For classic thru-zero flanging this parameter should be set to 50%. For interesting new sounds experiment with lower or higher values. Note that this parameter has no effect if Through Zero is set to Off."

Position of the Flanger block on the grid

The Flanger block can be placed before or after the Amp block. For guitar it often sounds best when placed before distortion. As a studio effect, put it after the Amp block.

Mono or stereo flanger

Flanger is mono or stereo. It defaults to mono to prevent phase problems when used before an Amp block.

To make it stereo, adjust LFO Phase.

More information about phase cancellation

Flanger types

  1. Digital Mono
  2. Digital Stereo
  3. Analog Mono
  4. Analog Stereo
  5. Thru-Zero
  6. Stereo Jet
  7. Zero Flanger
  8. Pop Flanger
  9. MXF-117: based on the MXR 117
  10. BBF-2: based on the Boss BF-2
  11. Electric Mystery: based on the EHX Electric Mistress
  12. Deluxe Mystery based on the EHX Deluxe Electric Mistress
  13. D/AD 185: based on the A/DA flanger
  14. Manual Thru-Zero Flanger
  15. Step Flanger

The difference between the Thru-Zero and Zero types is the Phase Reverse setting.

Parameters

Parameters table

Parameter Axe-Fx III / FM3 Axe-Fx II AX8 / FX8
Type yes
Rate yes
Tempo yes
Depth yes
Feedback yes
Manual (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes no no
Delay (firmware Ares 12 and later) no
Low Cut, High Cut yes
Focus (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes no no
Drive yes
Minimum Time, Maximum Time (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes no no
Through-Zero yes: Auto / Manual
Dry Delay (Shift) yes
Phase Reverse yes
LFO Type yes
LFO Phase yes
LFO Bypass Reset yes
LFO High Cut yes
LFO Quantize (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes
Auto Depth yes
VCO Response (firmware Ares 12 and later yes no no
Exponent (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes no no
Low Cut (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes
Low Cut Order (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes
High Cut (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes
High Cut Order (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes
Bass Focus (firmware Ares 12 and later) yes
Stereo Spread yes
Global Mix yes

Manual

Firmware Ares 12:

"The Delay parameter on the Basic page has been replaced by a "Manual" knob. It functions the same as a typical pedal/rack flanger. To manually control the flanging set Depth to zero. The sensitivity of the Manual control is inversely proportional to Depth and the Manual control is disabled when Depth is at maximum."

Depth and Time

Firmware Ares 12:

"The Depth control mixes the LFO and Manual controls. When Depth is at minimum the delay time is controlled entirely by Manual. When Depth is at maximum the delay time is controlled solely by the LFO."
"There are now separate Minimum Time and Maximum Time parameters. These set (not surprisingly) the minimum and maximum delay time when the Depth is at maximum and Manual is at minimum. These are updated when the type is changed. The Flanger block now allows minimum delay times as short as 340 microseconds. If one of the Thru-Zero modes is selected the dry path is delayed accordingly resulting in a net minimum delay time of zero."

Prior to Ares 12:

The Depth parameter sets the maximum delay time (up to 20 ms). When Auto Depth is not off, the maximum delay is reduced as the rate is increased. There are three Auto Depth values: Low, Medium and High. Turning Auto Depth to Off allows complete control over the delay time. The minimum time is set by the Delay parameter and the maximum time is set by Depth.

"The key is getting the depth and time right."
"I think the problem is people set the Depth too high. For slow rates the Depth should be between 10 and 20%."
"The temptation is to turn Depth up but that can actually decrease the intensity of the effect. Depth controls the sweep depth but if you turn it up you'll sweep too much and ruin the effect. Always start very low and bring it up gradually."
"Depth controls the sweep depth. Time controls the minimum delay time of the wet signal. Depth controls the maximum time, up to 10 ms beyond the minimum time. If you set Time to 1 ms and Depth to 100% the delay sweeps from 1 ms to 11 ms. Personally I like around 1 ms for the time and 10 - 20% for the depth."
"If you can do it with the delay block then you can do it with the flanger block UNLESS the base time is greater than 10 ms. I've never seen a flanger have more than 10 ms of delay since then it's really not a flanger anymore but a chorus."
"The Axe-Fx time parameter sets the minimum time. The modulation is unipolar on top of the base time, up to 10 ms of modulation. So the maximum time is 20 ms which is longer than the A/DA. Technically a flanger is a very short delay."

Feedback

"Feedback was something that was added to "flangers" that were intended to emulate this effect but the original flanging technique did not have feedback. There is nothing to say a chorus can't have feedback as well. It just happens to not sound good so it's not done."

Delay

Firmware Ares 12:

"The Delay parameter on the Basic page has been replaced by a "Manual" knob. It functions the same as a typical pedal/rack flanger. To manually control the flanging set Depth to zero. The sensitivity of the Manual control is inversely proportional to Depth and the Manual control is disabled when Depth is maximum."

Prior to firmware Ares 12:

The minimum delay time is set by the Delay parameter and the maximum delay time is set by Depth.

"Delay range: 0 to 10 ms. Technically the block is capable of 0 to 20 ms but I've never found any use for that. Just sounds strange to me."

Focus

Firmware Ares 12:

"The "Focus" parameter cuts the bass in the wet path but unlike a low cut compensates the dry path so the net frequency response is flatter."

VCO Curve

Firmware Ares 12:

"There are three "VCO Curve" types. Linear yields a linear delay time vs. LFO. Exponential gives an exponential response which can be more "musical" because the notches will move more linearly with the logarithm of frequency. Square-law is sort of in-between and is what the old A/DA flanger used."
"The "Exponent" parameter controls the exponent for the Exponential type. A value of 1.0 is "ideal" and results in the notches sweeping linearly with log(frequency). Higher values cause the delay time to dwell at shorter times and then increase rapidly towards the longer times. Lower values cause the delay time to dwell at longer times."

Mix

"The ideal mix is 50% as this will create the most intense effect but sometimes a little more or less is desirable. If you deviate from 50% you'll reduce the depth of the notches caused by the comb filtering. This can make the effect more subtle but perhaps more "organic". Deep notches aren't always desirable."

LFO Bypass Reset

This resets the LFO whenever the block is bypassed. This allows synchronizing the sweep to the engagement of the effect.

Not supported on the AX8.

LFO Phase

This sets the stereo field of the Flanger. 0 is mono.

Dry Delay

For classic Through-Zero flanging, this parameter should be set to 50%. For interesting new sounds, experiment with lower or higher values. If Dry Delay is 50%, the zero-point on the Manual control is 5.0. Lower values of Dry Delay will shift the zero-point down and vice-versa.

This parameter has no effect if Through Zero is set to Off.

Through-Zero flanging

Firmware Ares 12:

"There are two Thru-Zero modes: AUTO and MANUAL. AUTO automatically adjusts the thru-zero so that the zero-point is mid-sweep regardless of the Manual value. MANUAL is intended to replicate manual tape flanging. To use MANUAL set the Depth to zero and vary the Manual control to simulate pressing on the tape flange. If Dry Delay is 50% the zero-point on the Manual control is 5.0. Lower values of Dry Delay will shift the zero-point down and vice-versa. Set Thru-Zero to MANUAL and attach an expression pedal to the Manual parameter for the "Ultimate Tape Flanger."

The only difference between the Thru-Zero and Zero flanger types is the Phase Reverse setting.

Tape flanging

Firmware Ares 12:

"The MANUAL Thru-Zero mode is intended to replicate manual tape flanging. To use MANUAL set the Depth to zero and vary the Manual control to simulate pressing on the tape flange. If Dry Delay is 50% the zero-point on the Manual control is 5.0. Lower values of Dry Delay will shift the zero-point down and vice-versa. Set Thru-Zero to MANUAL and attach an expression pedal to the Manual parameter for the "Ultimate Tape Flanger"."

For authentic results, put the Flanger at the end of the chain.

Stereo Spread

Values beyond +/-100% increase the apparent image beyond the stereo field.

Tips and tricks

Fixed flanger

Set Rate at zero.

The Resonator block is basically a type of fixed flanger. Well, four of them in parallel actually. source

Contour the taper

"If you want to contour the taper of a flanger, try this trick: Place a modifier on the TIME. Set the source to SEQUENCER. Add a little damping. Now you can craft any kind of sweep shape you want. Use MIN and MAX in the modifier to set the depth. You can also do this with the DELAY block MONO TAPE algorithm. It has a different sound than the Flanger block. Modify MOTOR TIME using an LFO or the trick above." source

Tremolo

The Flanger can be configured to operate as a tremolo.

Create a flanger effect with other effects

The Multitap Delay block and Delay block can be used to create flanging effects too.

More information about flangers

EVH's flanger settings: