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Shimmer... before “shimmer” was a thing
Old 3rd April 2018
  #1
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Darxxxell's Avatar
Shimmer... before “shimmer” was a thing

Shimmer... before “shimmer” was a thing.

I am curious as to how the beauty of shimmer achieved? Experimentation is the key to everything... just like Hugh Padgham defining gated reverb sound.

What methods are utilized to achieve this sound?

Have you guys found anything interesting in your experimentations that just ‘haven’t caught in yet’?
Old 3rd April 2018
  #2
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

pitch shifter into reverb and make a feedback loop with the reverb into the pitchshifter.Adding a delay can also be fun.
I’ m pretty sure it was Eno that is credited with developing the technique.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #3
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
Of course, other effects can be put in the feedback loop, ie samplerate division, ring modulation, etc, in addition to the pitch shifting.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #4
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fudge rutgers's Avatar
yeah, pitch shifter on a cheap rackmount effects box will get you the primary result, along with reverb. IMO, it's difficult to make it sound 'good', after the novelty of the effect wears off - unless it's subtle and done effectively. I believe it sounds a lot better with sustained sounds, rather than short, staccato series of sounds.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #5
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CathodeRay's Avatar
I have found the Lexicon PCM81 to be an amazing tool for exploring & creating shimmer types of effects as well as many others.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #6
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Here is how:
Sonicstate shimmer reverb tutorial.
Both in hardware and in software.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #7
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grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutantt View Post
Here is how:
Sonicstate shimmer reverb tutorial.
Both in hardware and in software.
In that video, Nick is using an X-18 mixer which I have, when I first saw that I began experiments with it and read as much as I could find about how Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois were able to pull it off

Then I began to play around using hardware and an analog mixer

An analog mixer and rack gear is by far the way to go if you want to try and home brew a 1980s Brian Eno type shimmer

The most essential piece of gear you need is a pitch shifter that can shift sounds up an octave and you send that into a reverb and then send the reverb back to the pitch shifter

By far the best pitch shifter for this is the Lexicon MPX-100 or MPX-110. They are both exactly the same only the MPX-110 operates at a little higher sample rate, either one will work just as well. The real key is that you don't want a modern pristine pitch shifter, you want a low-fi cheap gritty one. I have had great success with lots of old pitch shifters, but I am reccomending the Lexicons mainly because they are cheap and easy to find. You can get them for less than $50, I paid $39 a piece for mine.

Once you have your pitch shifter you need a reverb, the reverb you choose will determine the character of your shimmer. This is where the fun really starts. You can pretty much use any reverb you want and each will produce a different flavor. Again the cheapy 1980s and early 1990s rack units really shine here. I like using Yamaha SPX-90's, Midiverb II's, and another lexicon MPX-100 or 110. In fact if you already have an Analog Mixer getting two MPX 100/110's would be a perfect way to make killer shimmer for less than $100

You can use any Analog Mixer you want as long as it has at least 2 Aux Sends, one being prefader and 2 or 3 spare channels on the board. Set one Aux send to go into the input of the pitch shifter, set it for an Octave up, 100% wet and the output pretty hot, (running it's as mono is fine) Then run it's output into an extra channel on your mixer. Keep the fader down but send a prefader aux send to your reverb, select a reverb 3-4 seconds long, 100% wet and route it's stereo outputs to a pair of inputs on your mixer, if you are not using a reverb with stereo outs mono will be fine. Then use an aux send to set up a feedback loop back to the pitch shifter.

Then you can play around to taste all you want. The real fun starts when you add other things to the mix. I have 4 aux sends on my Analog mixer and like to add other Reverbs, Chorus, and delay to the insanity. Doing it the same way and sending one thing into another, this is where the controls you get on an analog mixer with knobs and faders really comes into play

Brian Eno did exactly that on this track

Old 3rd April 2018
  #8
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by xanderbeanz View Post
Of course, other effects can be put in the feedback loop, ie samplerate division, ring modulation, etc, in addition to the pitch shifting.
Absolutely. Yesterday I put a bit mangler in the feedback loop using Melda Production’s MXXX and got amazingly evil things happening. It’s $999, but it comes with pretty much every effect you can imagine and the quality is high. There’s also a free version which comes with his freeware and you can add effects ala carte and he’s always got a 50% off sale going on. Anyway, it’s a great tool to make shimmer, glimmer, blimmer, flimmer and flipflooperer.
Old 4th April 2018
  #9
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Darxxxell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Anyway, it’s a great tool to make shimmer, glimmer, blimmer, flimmer and flipflooperer.
This could well be the best sentence I’ve ever read. Flipflooperer is like my favourite word when I MC’d - uncombowable!

Seriously, nice replies to one and all! It’s interesting to hear these replies. These show just how experimentation is the basis to unique and signature sonic characteristics.

I’m in awe
Old 4th April 2018
  #10
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gentleclockdivid's Avatar
 

THat's why audio mulch rocks
Old 4th April 2018
  #11
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soundebler's Avatar
Extended shimmer effects made with manipulating reel to reel by Brian Eno on Roxy Music Ladytron album


Old 4th April 2018
  #12
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Anyway, it’s a great tool to make shimmer, glimmer, blimmer, flimmer and flipflooperer.
It’s like Snow White and the even reverbs.
Old 29th November 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
In that video, Nick is using an X-18 mixer which I have, when I first saw that I began experiments with it and read as much as I could find about how Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois were able to pull it off

Then I began to play around using hardware and an analog mixer

An analog mixer and rack gear is by far the way to go if you want to try and home brew a 1980s Brian Eno type shimmer

The most essential piece of gear you need is a pitch shifter that can shift sounds up an octave and you send that into a reverb and then send the reverb back to the pitch shifter

By far the best pitch shifter for this is the Lexicon MPX-100 or MPX-110. They are both exactly the same only the MPX-110 operates at a little higher sample rate, either one will work just as well. The real key is that you don't want a modern pristine pitch shifter, you want a low-fi cheap gritty one. I have had great success with lots of old pitch shifters, but I am reccomending the Lexicons mainly because they are cheap and easy to find. You can get them for less than $50, I paid $39 a piece for mine.

Once you have your pitch shifter you need a reverb, the reverb you choose will determine the character of your shimmer. This is where the fun really starts. You can pretty much use any reverb you want and each will produce a different flavor. Again the cheapy 1980s and early 1990s rack units really shine here. I like using Yamaha SPX-90's, Midiverb II's, and another lexicon MPX-100 or 110. In fact if you already have an Analog Mixer getting two MPX 100/110's would be a perfect way to make killer shimmer for less than $100

You can use any Analog Mixer you want as long as it has at least 2 Aux Sends, one being prefader and 2 or 3 spare channels on the board. Set one Aux send to go into the input of the pitch shifter, set it for an Octave up, 100% wet and the output pretty hot, (running it's as mono is fine) Then run it's output into an extra channel on your mixer. Keep the fader down but send a prefader aux send to your reverb, select a reverb 3-4 seconds long, 100% wet and route it's stereo outputs to a pair of inputs on your mixer, if you are not using a reverb with stereo outs mono will be fine. Then use an aux send to set up a feedback loop back to the pitch shifter.

Then you can play around to taste all you want. The real fun starts when you add other things to the mix. I have 4 aux sends on my Analog mixer and like to add other Reverbs, Chorus, and delay to the insanity. Doing it the same way and sending one thing into another, this is where the controls you get on an analog mixer with knobs and faders really comes into play

Brian Eno did exactly that on this track

Sorry, I must just be the slowest guy on here and found this comment so informed I thought I'd dare to ask.
I'm trying to set up a patch to do this using the four channels on a Sony dps-v55, and not getting anywhere close to the familiar effect.

Am I wrong or while the video sends first the dry synth signal into a long reverb, and then the reverb tail into the pitch shifter (the fader of which is muted, but its aux is feeding back into the reverb), you are suggesting here to send the dry signal first into a pitch-shifter through an aux, and start the feedback loop from there using the second aux to feed into the reverb? Do you think it works best this way, are they equivalent techniques, or I just missed the point completely?
Thank you!
Old 29th November 2018
  #14
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grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holland2226 View Post
Sorry, I must just be the slowest guy on here and found this comment so informed I thought I'd dare to ask.
I'm trying to set up a patch to do this using the four channels on a Sony dps-v55, and not getting anywhere close to the familiar effect.

Am I wrong or while the video sends first the dry synth signal into a long reverb, and then the reverb tail into the pitch shifter (the fader of which is muted, but its aux is feeding back into the reverb), you are suggesting here to send the dry signal first into a pitch-shifter through an aux, and start the feedback loop from there using the second aux to feed into the reverb? Do you think it works best this way, are they equivalent techniques, or I just missed the point completely?
Thank you!
I did a bunch of research on how Eno did it, and then tried to mimic it. With lots of experiments that were loads of fun this is what I have discovered. Also please know I have a thing for collecting old cheap rack units and make heavy use of them.

The first thing to keep in mind is you need lots of harmonic content to start with. So use synth sounds that are fat and rich. Having one or two sources of chorus can sound awesome

I use a currently use a 24 channel Mackie 8 Bus mixer. Any analog mixer should work however. I have often thought about getting a small mixer and having it permanently set up for this

1.)feed your synth(s) into your mixer.

2.)use aux 1 to send signal to your pitch shifter. On its way you can send it through a chorus. This can often help. No need to route this into the mixer. Just patch inline. Since you will have a mono signal a mono chorus is fine.

3.)return pitch shifted signal to mixer into a regular channel

4.)on that channel use a pre fader send to send that signal to your reverb. On it's way feel free to patch inline something to enrich the signal. In addition to chorus I have used Aphex Exciters, and BBE Maximizers. An eq can also be fun and handy.

5.)send signal from reverb back to board on a pair of channels panned hard right and left.

6.)use prefader aux send on those channels to send back signal to pitch shifter. Use the fader on the channels to send effect to mains. Or use other sends to send to other effects

Edit:Should mention I have every input, output and aux sends on the mixers and all my rack units on patchbays. Makes all the connections easy
Old 29th November 2018
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
I did a bunch of research on how Eno did it, and then tried to mimic it. With lots of experiments that were loads of fun this is what I have discovered. Also please know I have a thing for collecting old cheap rack units and make heavy use of them.

The first thing to keep in mind is you need lots of harmonic content to start with. So use synth sounds that are fat and rich. Having one or two sources of chorus can sound awesome

I use a currently use a 24 channel Mackie 8 Bus mixer. Any analog mixer should work however. I have often thought about getting a small mixer and having it permanently set up for this

1.)feed your synth(s) into your mixer.

2.)use aux 1 to send signal to your pitch shifter. On its way you can send it through a chorus. This can often help. No need to route this into the mixer. Just patch inline. Since you will have a mono signal a mono chorus is fine.

3.)return pitch shifted signal to mixer into a regular channel

4.)on that channel use a pre fader send to send that signal to your reverb. On it's way feel free to patch inline something to enrich the signal. In addition to chorus I have used Aphex Exciters, and BBE Maximizers. An eq can also be fun and handy.

5.)send signal from reverb back to board on a pair of channels panned hard right and left.

6.)use prefader aux send on those channels to send back signal to pitch shifter. Use the fader on the channels to send effect to mains. Or use other sends to send to other effects

Edit:Should mention I have every input, output and aux sends on the mixers and all my rack units on patchbays. Makes all the connections easy

Thanks so much, this was so helpful.
Paying more attention to the sound I was putting in, and adding a chorus before the pitch-shifter somehow helped me seeing the thing coming out. Although it's still far from usable, I can now recognize it's there and how it works.

Apart from the original sounds and the effects chain, I guess different results are achieved varying the balance between the amount of pitch-shifted signal going into the reverb and the amount of reverb going back into the pitch-shifter (in the process trying to prevent the feedback loop from running wild...). The amount of dry signal going into the reverb aux also a factor.

Again, thanks for your help!
Old 30th November 2018
  #16
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BTByrd's Avatar
Eventide. The undisputed kings of pitch-shifted delays. Brian Eno loved his H3000SE so much that he wrote Eventide a letter to congratulate them on its design.
Old 30th November 2018
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Daniel Lanois should also be credited in this thread.

Eno/Lanois Shimmer Sound: How it is made - Valhalla DSP
Old 30th November 2018
  #18
Gear Maniac
The effects in the Behringer Deepmind 12, particularly with the last two signal paths, are incredible for Shimmers...
Old 30th November 2018
  #19
grasspike, I sincerely appreciate your detailed recipe, but can't I just press a button on a Strymon BigSky and get the same sorta thing? Or, do I need both a BigSky and a Timeline?
Old 30th November 2018
  #20
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grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post
grasspike, I sincerely appreciate your detailed recipe, but can't I just press a button on a Strymon BigSky and get the same sorta thing? Or, do I need both a BigSky and a Timeline?
You can, but what would be the fun it that?
Old 30th November 2018
  #21
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grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Djnro666 View Post
The effects in the Behringer Deepmind 12, particularly with the last two signal paths, are incredible for Shimmers...
Agree they are the same ones in the X series Mixers

The Hall reverb is "inspired" by the Lexicon 224, the same one Eno and Lanois used
Old 30th November 2018
  #22
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What a great thread. Sean Costello's research for developing the Valhalla plug-in is the key text for software implementations of shimmer, but this hardware implementation is beautiful too and the clearest I have read.

I agree that chours works really well wih this effect (also, through the feedback loop you get chorus on chorus, which increases the complexity - Lanois once alluded to this as being one of the key elements of ambient music), and the old Yamaha Ensemble chorus can be great for this, Eno and Lanois were huge fans of a number of SPX units that had versions of this effect.
Old 30th November 2018
  #23
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grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago View Post

I agree that chours works really well wih this effect (also, through the feedback loop you get chorus on chorus, which increases the complexity - Lanois once alluded to this as being one of the key elements of ambient music), and the old Yamaha Ensemble chorus can be great for this, Eno and Lanois were huge fans of a number of SPX units that had versions of this effect.
The Symphonic Chorus on the old Yamaha Units is also beautiful with it.

There is an old Yamaha box called the FX500. It's a half rack unit designed for guitar but it handles line levels just fine. (I have 3 of them)

One of the presets is called "Soft Focus" it makes heavy use of the Symphonic Chorus and a wet reverb. Using that as the source of shimmer is amazing as is feeding shimmer into one

I often go full Eno/Lanois and set up a dozen or more channels on my mixer as effects returns and send one thing into another and into another, pure Ambient bliss
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