PitchLoop89 remote

Hardware remote control for PitchLoop89

The Publison DHM89-B2, a pitch shifter & looper from 1978 plays an important role for the sound design of the CBM8032AV performances. Unfortunately, the original hardware does not appreciate being carried around anymore. Instead, a contemporary solution has been developed by the artist: A hardware that fits in the rack where the original unit was before. It controls a variation of Robert Henke's PitchLoop89 effect, which is already modelled after the DHM89. The intention of both the hardware and the software is not to create a 100% replica but an inspired version that shares a lot of similarities in process, timbre and operations with the original where needed but departs where desirable.

Photo below shows the original 1978 effects unit, photo above the 2022 version.

General Operation and Features

PitchLoop89 Remote allows to control the pitch, and loop / segment length of both stereo channels individually. It allows to freeze ('latch') the currently processed material, to transpose it, and it provides tactile access to other key parameters.

In comparison with the original hardware from 1978 this offers a number of improvements:

Pitch can be quantised to semitones, and is displayed also in semitones and not fractional ratios. Feedback offers cross-feedback and merging, independent of bandwidth settings.

Instead of having a start and end point for the segments, there is a control for position and one for length, where negative length settings imply backwards playback.

The modulation LFO is reduced to a single control, acting on both channels in a slightly different way and allowing to quickly set meaningful modulation behaviour. An additional 'Spray' parameter adds random variation to the segment position.

There is a single 'Unlatch' control which allows to momentary feed in new material into the effect and freeze it as soon as the button is released.

Technical Background

The interface is controlled via a Teensy 3.2 microcontroller, and communicates via USB with a Max4Live device running on a Mac mini.

This Max4Live device is a derivation of the PitchLoop89 device by the author (see screenshot above), and the main difference to the normal version is the direct communication with dedicated hardware.

It is planned to port the DSP side to a dedicated platform soon, and to run it all without the need to use an additional computer.

Pitch Loop89 Remote Control has been developed and built by Robert Henke in December 2022, using a variation of the PitchLoop89 MaxForLive device, built by the author in 2021.