Paperphone includes seven effects. Two effects can be active at the same time. Effect 1 always feeds effect 2. When no effect is selected, the audio signal passes through the effect slot. To load an effect in the effect 1 slot, click the effect’s grey button in the pink column. Likewise, to load an effect in the effect 2 slot, click the effect’s grey box in the yellow column.

After clicking the effect on/off button, you will see effect names appear in corresponding pink and yellow boxes on the bottom of the screen. Each effect has one or two sliders and a wet/dry knob that you can control. The slider names and parameters will appear with each effect. (Distortion and Pitchshift each use one slider.) The wet/dry knob controls the blend of original signal with the effect signal. Turned all the way to the left you will only hear the original signal. Turned all the way to the right you will only hear the effect’s signal.

Effects can be turned on and off by pressing the first letter of the effect name, lowercase for Effect 1 and uppercase (shift + letter) for Effect 2. For example pressing d will turn on distortion in effect 1, pressing D will turn on distortion in effect 2.

Effect Details

  1. Distortion – This effect only has one slider. With the slider on the left, the signal is relatively undistorted, on the right it is very distorted. This will increase the volume of the signal, so keep an eye on the level meter. The distortion has an additional button to switch types of distortion. The default setting is overdrive, which is the kind of distortion one might associate with a distorted guitar, or megaphone. Bitcrusher is a digital distortion that might be associated with DAT malfunctions, video game soundtracks, and early digital sampling instruments.

  2. Echo – This effect repeats a signal at variable time intervals. The first slider controls the duration of the time interval. With the slider to the left, the interval is less than a millisecond, to the right the signal is repeated after one second. The second slider controls the amount of signal fed back into the echo effect. This creates a series of echoes, diminishing in volume with each repetition. If the feedback is set too high, the signal will never diminish. If this happens, simply move the slider to the left. *Changing the delay time while a sound is playing creates fun pitch shifts.

  3. Reverb – This effect is an emulation of an emulation of the behavior of sounds in a physical space. The first slider controls the size of the emulated room. The second slider controls the duration of the reverberated signal. *Changing the room size parameter while a sound is playing will result in clicking noises.

  4. Chorus – This effect creates slightly delayed and pitched shifted copies of the original sound. The effect, when used subtly, can create the illusion of multiple speakers in near unison. The density slider controls the range variation in pitch and delay time, while the speed slider controls the rate of the variation. For subtle chorusing effects, put both sliders to the left. For more audible chorus, while still remaining comprehensible, slide the density to the middle of its range, while leaving speed on the slow end of its range. For crazy sounds set both faders to the right.

  5. Pitchshift – This effect shifts the pitch of the incoming sound and can be used to play with perceptions of gender based on vocal timbre. The original pitch is slightly to the left of the middle range of the slider.

  6. Vocoder – This effect creates a classic robotic vocal effect reminiscent of Kraftwerk, Laurie Anderson, and Neil Young. The vocoder replaces the sound of your voice with a synthetic sound source. In this chorus, there are two oscillators so you can speak in chords. Slider one controls the pitch of the first oscillator. Slider 2 controls the tuning of the second oscillator in relation to the first oscillator. With slider 2 all the way to the left, both oscillators play the same frequency. With slider 2 all the way to the right, the second oscillator doubles the frequency of the first oscillator creating an octave.

  7. Filter – This effect contains two filters that can be used to block out particular frequencies. The highpass filter only allows sounds above a certain frequency to pass through. The low pass filter allows sounds below a certain frequency to pass through. With the highpass slider set to the left and the lowpass set to the right, the filters are completely open allowing all audio to pass through. With the highpass on the right and on the lowpass on the left, the filters are closed blocking out all frequencies. With the sliders somewhere in the middle, you can create the effect of band-limited audio technologies such as small radios, intercoms, and telephones. With highpass set at low and the lowpass set towards the left, you filter out high frequencies making voices sound muffled. With lowpass set at high and the highpass set towards the right, you filter out all low frequencies making the voice sound small and distant.

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