Emptyset's feedback loop techniques

Discuss everything related to production, recording, composition, etc.

Moderators: Kent, Joe., luketeaford, lisa

jacksonick
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:38 am
Location: UK

Post by jacksonick » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:55 am

Really useful thread for me, thanks all!

I've only recently taken the plunge and started a case. My curiosity was initially sparked by reading in a noise music forum that CV could be sent into a passive matrix mixer to add to the feedback.

User avatar
blinosynth
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 529
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:05 am
Location: Scotland

Post by blinosynth » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:27 am

nice reading guys
i love emptyset and i always want to emulate their sound (not easy though)
i found this photo in the internet and this is the setup they used
pretty amazing :guinness:
Image

User avatar
robotfunk
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 636
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:55 pm

Post by robotfunk » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:15 pm

That looks compact. Last time I saw them live they had a copious stack of compressors, at least 6 of them.

User avatar
PhineasFreak
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2088
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:49 am
Location: South Wales
Contact:

Post by PhineasFreak » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:07 pm

kollo wrote:...Try mixing noise, kick, slow (lfo speed) sine or sine slowly modulated and some higher pitched sine or feedback. Set the levels very carefully. Run it all through distortion/wavefolder etc. The kick will eat the headroom making everything duck, the noise and high pitched sounds will slowly come back at the decay of the kick and the slow sine will create rhythms by eating headroom.. Fine tune. Introduce hihat. Etc...
i followed this exact recipe and this was my result:

//soundcloud.com/ylem-records/waxcide-doepfer-emptyset-attempt1-1

this was pretty much all doepfer basic modules doing the work:

a-145 lfo and a-147 lfo cross modulating for cv sine and rhythm
a-107 pinged to make a kick (tho any filter would do)
a-110-4 for high pitch sine (any sine source would do)
a-118 for coloured noise
a-188-1 4096 stage bbd in the feed back loop to the main mixer
RYO ampmix x 2 for mixing andd feedbacking
RYO vertmix for mixing and inverting to avoid phase cancellation of certain feedbacks/mixed signals
2hp eg for pinging the filter
coupla mults
and... the main killer driving force: WMD SSF ultrafold

13 modules and about 30 patchcables

technically you could skip the a188-1, one of the lfos, use a real cheap basic filter and a way cheaper distortion instead of the ultrafold.

i'm a) thrilled how good the sounds i got first go were
b) surprised how much was basic doepfer modules
c) it's a real simple patch - all the skill is in feedback loops in the right places and tweaking til things just start to 'play themselves'

yay!

User avatar
flabby
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 721
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:12 pm
Location: spain

Post by flabby » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:33 pm

Was just checking their stuff out today. Wasn't so keen on the earlier stuff, but their most recent release sounds like they've really nailed the sound. So much space in it. Really gives it that kinda 3D sound.

ambientnoise
Common Wiggler
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:21 pm

Post by ambientnoise » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:36 pm

Been trying to do make sounds like this kind of music, but I always fail to do so!

User avatar
wavefold
sonic lad
Posts: 910
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:51 am
Location: Italy
Contact:

Post by wavefold » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:04 am

another Emptyset fan here, recently I've been messing around w/ feedback loops and distortion techniques and I must say this kind of approach is giving me some serious good vibes! nice thread
Wavefold Racing Team

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/wavefold

ambientnoise
Common Wiggler
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:21 pm

Post by ambientnoise » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:22 pm

Any gear suggestions to acquire this Emptyset type of sound? Other than the stuff they’re using..

User avatar
lasesentaysiete
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1534
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:23 am
Location: Barcelona

Post by lasesentaysiete » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:26 pm

ambientnoise wrote:Any gear suggestions to acquire this Emptyset type of sound? Other than the stuff they’re using..
compressors, equalizers, distortions. Then feed them back into each other.

The doom video above pretty much nails it, I think.

User avatar
mt3
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2889
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:18 pm
Location: vancity
Contact:

Post by mt3 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:06 am

ambientnoise wrote:Any gear suggestions to acquire this Emptyset type of sound? Other than the stuff they’re using..
Run sinusoidals through the following (and permutation chains):

Synchrodyne
Mysteron
Piston Honda
bit crushers
Metasonix
uHC
Plague Bearer
Sound of Shadows
DSM Character
etc

User avatar
mt3
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2889
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:18 pm
Location: vancity
Contact:

Post by mt3 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:10 am

[video][/video]

crookedtapes
Common Wiggler
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:25 pm

Post by crookedtapes » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:28 am

I interviewed for the music magazine I worked for.
A lot of decent compressor, eq on their feedback paths.
And yeah, real plate reverb must be a key.

James has been playing zither like diy string instrument for their live set recently. Which was cool but their set on LUFF festival many years ago were serious mind blowing experiment for me. I could almost shit on my pants really.

crookedtapes
Common Wiggler
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:25 pm

Post by crookedtapes » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:31 am

Also they said they prefer chaining multiple function generator thing in series to build up sequence.


ambientnoise
Common Wiggler
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:21 pm

Post by ambientnoise » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:12 pm

Thanks guys, that's awesome. I've seen those Doom vids, interesting stuff! But man, sooo much gear to get that sound though. Maybe i'll just stick with my Elektron machines for my productions and hopefully achieve similar results. 8-)

User avatar
supergregg
Common Wiggler
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 7:11 am
Location: London

Post by supergregg » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:19 pm

So happy to discover this thread and really interested in learning more about these techniques.

For those who are interested I wrote down the pedals mentioned by Mick Gordon in the Doom video posted above:

The source signal (monophonic sine waves with varying amplitude and pitch) enters 4 parallel fx chains. Each chain had the following pedals in series:

Chain 1
retro mechanical labs 432k distortion box
metasonix kv 100
geiger counter
dwarfcraft fuzz
splitter (one signal to the output, others to sidechain the compressors at the end of the 2nd and 3rd chain for dynamic mixing)

Chain 2
geiger counter
metasonix tx 3
mutron bi phaser
dod 70s phaser
compressor

3rd Chain
watkins copycat tape echo
trogotronic valve distortion (used for compression)
akai reel to reel driven hard
spring reverb tank
compressor

4th Chain
fender speaker mini amp driven too hard
mic
splitter with little amount of signal fedback into mini amp

The 4 chains entered a mixer and then an EQ with gentle boosts at 30-60hz and 8-10khz and finally a compressor with 30ms attack, release adjusted to tempo, ratio of 12 or 20 to 1 with threshold set so it was always knocking off about 20db while the source signal played and lifted the background noise when the loud sounds died away.


Can't wait to try my own version of this type of rig.

Howes
Common Wiggler
Posts: 103
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:46 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Post by Howes » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:46 am

Love emptyset and that doom vid is amazing.

Time to buy some distortion pedals i guess

User avatar
mt3
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2889
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:18 pm
Location: vancity
Contact:

Post by mt3 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:59 am

Howes wrote:Love emptyset and that doom vid is amazing.

Time to buy some distortion pedals i guess
Compression is Distortion.
Distortion is Compression.
:zen:

ambientnoise
Common Wiggler
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:21 pm

Post by ambientnoise » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:19 pm

mt3 wrote: Compression is Distortion.
Distortion is Compression.
:zen:
Wow it all makes sense now!

User avatar
BugBrand
Knowledge of Bugs
Posts: 7425
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:59 am

Post by BugBrand » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:00 pm

Having met them a few times I would say that a large part is having a decent studio setup and deep practice with your gear. Ginz has been doing studio work for ages - lots of experience. I seem to remember him saying that it was a revelation when he started really listening to how gear sounded/behaved rather than being lead by the level/clipping indicators on them - drive 'em hard if it sounds good!

User avatar
xthrasherx
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:37 pm
Location: Auburn, ME
Contact:

Post by xthrasherx » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:27 pm

Welp... time to log back onto modulargrid and start mapping out a feedback / fx case :deadbanana:
"While we scream and perish, History licks a finger and turns the page.”
― Thomas Ligotti

Instagram::YouTube::SoundCloud

User avatar
Oldstench
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2480
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:26 am
Location: 5th, no, 6th circle of Hell

Post by Oldstench » Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:16 pm

Loved Emptyset for years. This thread rules. Their process isn't really available to me due to a somewhat limited amount of room, but it's super interesting to read about how they do it.
Humanity has doomed itself.

rsntr
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:02 am
Location: Berlin

Post by rsntr » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:10 am

That Doom video is absolutely great. Any suggestions regarding specific modules that resemble this guy's approach in the modular realm - i.e. mangling sine waves into more complex stuff? Wavefolders are an obvious answer. Maybe some specific phasers or distortion units?

User avatar
suboptimal
A Towering Mediocrity
Posts: 4807
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: San Diego

Post by suboptimal » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:02 am

I've been listening to their latest album and can't help but think that compressors are the first place to start. And/or VCAs, EGs, envelope followers.

"Borders" feels like they've taken their style about as far as it can go musically. It's so drained that all the interest lies in the sounds emerging from the compressors' fists. Sound nerd stuff. :nana:

User avatar
mt3
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2889
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:18 pm
Location: vancity
Contact:

Post by mt3 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:15 am

BugBrand wrote:...a large part is having a decent studio setup and deep practice with your gear...
:zen:

Post Reply

Return to “Production Techniques”