Doepfer A-188-1 BBD
Lead The Charge
It’s time to take control of time itself, with the Doepfer A-188-1 Bucket Brigade Device for Modular.
Produce and CV-control gritty, distorted delays, flanging effects, choruses and more with this unusual, proto-digital add-on module for Modular, our software Eurorack synth. A BBD uses a chain of capacitors to sample and delay your signal, with increasing loss of fidelity as the delay line gets longer. This can give rise to an enormous range of creative options, and add extra dimensions to any sound, from drums, guitars, and vocals to synth waves.
Before digital delays became the cheapest and most versatile option in the late 70s and early 80s, echo effects in recorded or live music were achieved by a variety of creative analog means. Short tape loops with adjustable playback heads, or variable speeds, were favoured for a while, despite the downside of needing to replace the tape now and again. Designs featuring magnetic drums or discs aimed to solve that issue, but never dominated the market.
Solid state designs enjoyed a brief but fruitful period of vogue in the mid-to-late seventies. These devices, featuring long chains of voltage sampling ‘buckets’ controlled and released in time by a high speed oscillator, lent their unique characteristics not only to electronic, techno, and emergent dance styles, but to guitar rigs the world over.
By passing the signal along a line of capacitors, the sound is delayed in time, but also degraded with high-frequency loss and additional noise (as well as noticeable sample-rate reduction and aliasing at high delay times). This creates a warm and dirty sound, much sought after at the time, and still loved as a creative effect despite the practical disadvantages a BBD unit has compared to more versatile, cleaner digital delays.
Not only can this kind of delay produce tight slapbacks, grungey echoes, and smokey ambience, but by exploiting high feedback and very short delay times Karplus-Strong style plucked string synthesis is also possible.
The length of the delay line – the number of buckets in the brigade – has a significant effect on the sound and capabilities of the effect. The hardware module is available in six versions, each featuring a different number of stages (128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, and 4096). But our software version contains all six, and can switch between them with one click.
In a sense it’s six modules in one, four of which, due to component scarcity, are limited editions in hardware (all but the 1024 and 2048-stage versions).
Another change, as compared to the hardware, is the option to simply switch off the audible bleed from the high frequency clocking oscillator. What would have required careful filtering after the event is now a simple flip of a switch.
Use this module to design your own flanging, doubling, chorus, and depth effects by blending a modulated delay signal in parallel with the dry, unprocessed sound. Or take the wet output separately from the dry and work with them individually.
Ultra-precise model of rare and exciting style of analog delay effect.
Can be used within synth patches in Modular, or for processing external audio in Modular FX.
Six different models in one module.
Great for dirty delays, sharp slapbacks, whooshing swirly ambience, or utter craziness.
Build your own flanger/chorus for guitars, drums, or any other audio source.
Take advantage of the disadvantages of this special design – use the BBD as a bitcrusher or distortion unit.
Keep the original noise bleed, or simply switch it off.