Some Strange Beads Questions

So, hi! Got my Beads in the mail yesterday and have been playing with it since. I love it! I have a few questions though that I didn’t see answer in the manual. (Sorry if some of these might be obvious).

  1. Is it normal for the Freeze light to strobe? I timed it, and it happens ten seconds after freezing, so I’m assuming it’s the module indicating that it’s saved the buffer. I want to make sure, though.

  2. Do the attenurandomizers add to the knob position regardless of their direction? That is to say, when they’re unpatched and sending random voltage, is it always positive voltage? And if this is the case, what happens when you attenurandomize when the knob position is fully CW?

  3. Are there any good rules of thumb to determine the virtual notches in the Pitch knob? I thought about 9 and 3 o’clock would be one octave down and up respectively, but I then found it was out of tune with my incoming signal (note: the Pitch attenurandomizer was off).

  4. Can you describe what the Time knob controls when using Beads as a delay, when Seed is latched? I’m assuming that it sets the size of the record buffer.

  5. Okay, this is more of personal interest than anything: what’s the story behind modeling the reverb “on the acoustics of Thoreau’s cabin, or of a strip-mall spa”?

Thanks so much for your time! :slight_smile:

  1. Yes, it indicates that the buffer is being saved. It is not advised to switch the module off while the process takes place, or you’d end up with a half-saved buffer.

  2. The interaction between the knob and the attenuverter is as follows: up to a certain point, the knob defines a center value, and the attenuverter defines the spread around this center value. Past a certain point, the knob loses its influence.

For example, if the knob is at 20%, and you progressively turn the attenuverters, you’ll get random values in the range 19.9%-20.1%, then 19%-20%, then 15%-25%, then 10%-30%, then 0%-40%, but from that point, since it can no longer extend in the negative direction, it becomes 0%-60%, then 0%-80%, then the full range. when the attenuverter is fully CW or CCW.

But the shape of the distribution is preserved! It is not like generating a random number between -40% and 80%, and then clipping it to [0%, 80%] and ending up with streaks of 0%

  1. No, 9 and 3 o’clock are not one octave down and up. There is no rule of thumb, except putting tiny stickers on the panel maybe?

  2. TIME applies a multiplier on the base delay time selected by DENSITY. If DENSITY selects a delay of 0.05s, then TIME will switch between a delay of 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, 0.20, 0.25s etc up to a multiplier of 16.

  3. It’s not much more serious than the bees :slight_smile:


Thanks so much for the info! Do you have any other tips for dialing in the virtual notches aside from stickers? I’d hate to ruin such a beautiful panel.

You can experiment with this if you feed Beads an oscillator at a constant pitch and play with the different parameters until the grains fuse together to form a clearly pitched signal.

These are the settings I started with:

  • PITCH at 12 o’clock
  • All attenurandomizers at 12 o’clock except for SIZE, which I set slightly CCW (a bit of randomization prevents comb filtering)
  • DENSITY around 9 o’clock
  • SIZE around 2 o’clock
  • SHAPE at 9 o’clock

Then, with MIX set so you can hear the interval between the dry and wet signals, steadily turn the PITCH knob up or down from the center. If you don’t go too slowly, it’s easy to hear where the pitch “lingers” on an interval. To my ears, this was (in both directions) at a minor second, a minor and major third, a fifth, an octave and two octaves above or below the original pitch.

The first octave is indeed a little beyond 9 or 3 o’clock, respectively (as it was in Clouds, too). The positions for the smaller intervals are too close together to be easily conveyed in text. I guess you could repeat the experiment, cut out a paper ring that fits around the knob and mark them? Then once you get a feel for them, you can remove it again.

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Great idea! I’m going to try something like this today. I’m hoping I can get a feel for how to place the pitch naturally, but worst case I’ll just use a quantizer. Thanks again!

Since I had the test set up anyway, I recorded a short demo! Turn on subtitles for annotation.

The input signal is from Plaits tuned to C. I think I’m hearing B, A, Ab, F, C-1 and C-2 counterclockwise, and Db, Eb, E, G, C+1 and C+2 clockwise.

(Those are just the “notches”, of course, with careful wiggling you could set it to any pitch!)


That’s awesome! Thanks so much for doing this!

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