Gross Beat

Play with time! Gross Beat is a real-time, audio-stream playback, pitch, position and volume manipulation effect. Gross Beat stores audio in a 2-bar rolling buffer controlled by 36 time and 36 volume mapping envelopes for easy beat-synced glitch, stutter, repeat, scratching and gating effects. Welcome to Gallifrey Time Lord!

VST Hint Bar

Main Options

Time Settings

Volume Settings

Envelope Mapping Panel

The envelope mapping panel displays the selected Time or Volume mapping envelope (slots are directly left of the Mapping Panel). Some notes about the mapping area:

  • Mapping controls - A series of controls & options run down the left side and under the mapping area. Top-left is a drop-down menu (as described below). Right-clicking a control-point will open a context menu with options for graphing shapes (as shown in the screen shot, right).
  • Width vs height - The mapping panel is 4 beats (1 bar) wide and 8 beats (2 bars) high. This means it is possible to step back up to 8 beats (2 bars) from the current playback position, as long as the audio buffer is full (i.e. the plugin has received at least 2 bars of audio).
  • The beat is indicated by the Playback locator - a vertical green scrolling line, visible only when the host is playing.
  • Angled guide markings - You will notice single darker and multiple lighter angled lines across the mapping area:
    • Safety line - The single dark 'Safety Line' cuts across the first 4 beats. The Safety Line shows the safe area for mapping envelopes during the first bar of a song. The area above the Safety Line (and behind the position of the Playback Locator) has buffered audio while the area below does not. If the Time mapping envelope goes below the Safety Line before the time-marker reaches that point, silence will be heard (or is that Gross Beat implodes creating an EMP, causing satellites to fall out of the sky? I can't remember, you will just have to experiment). While it's not shown, imagine the Safety Line continues down to the end of the second bar.

      If you need to start a song with a full audio buffer add two pre-song bars (with audio, of course) and start with a Volume mapping envelope flat-lining line along the bottom of the Mapping Area, so the pre-bars won't be heard. After two bars have played then any mapping curve is safe. Bear in mind that if you move into a new section of the song, change from verse to chorus for example, the previous two bars will be stored in the buffer and may not match the audio needed for the new section until another two bars have passed.

    • Reverse guides - The multiple grey diagonal lines show the slope required to effect a normal speed reverse playback. Slopes steeper than this line will play fast reverse, shallower will be slow reverse, depending on the angle of the line. NOTE: You can change the slope in semitone units using the Mapping Options menu (select the right-most point defining a slope and apply the 1 semitone up / down function).

  • Time Mapping Envelopes - These envelopes control playback of the audio from the 2-bar, rolling, audio buffer. The Time envelope is a sample 'offset' envelope, i.e. realtime audio + 'offset' define the playback position, direction and speed. The top of the Mapping panel is 'real time' audio, while mappings down from the top of the Mapping panel move backward in time according to the beat scale down the left side. Some commonly used envelopes include:
    • Normal speed playback (+100%) - Horizontal mapping segments play forward at normal speed (see diagram right). The Hold envelope is useful for creating horizontal segments.
    • Fast / Slow playback - Straight sloping mapping segments will change playback speed (pitch). Slopes upward from left to right play faster (higher pitch), while slopes downward from left to right play slower (lower in pitch). Use the Single curve envelope mode for straight sloping mapping segments (reset the tension handle to straighten the curve if required). The slope angle adjusts speed - playback becomes progressively slower with increased downward angle. When the slope matches the Safety line angle, playback will pause. If the slope angle is steeper than the Safety line angle, playback will reverse, reaching 'normal speed (pitch)' reverse playback when the angle matches the Reverse guides. A tool in the Mapping Area Options Menu lets you add or subtract slope in semi-tone units (select the right-most point defining a slope and apply the function).
    • Reverse playback (-100%) - Match the slope of the Reverse guides for 'normal speed reverse' playback. Slopes steeper than the guides will play fast reverse (see diagram right). Use the Single curve envelope mode for constant pitch slopes (reset the tension handle to straighten the curve if required). There us a useful tool in the Mapping Area Options Menu that can add or subtract slope angle in semi-tone units (select the right-most point defining a slope and apply the function).
    • Jump backward / forward in time - Step the envelope down to jump backward or up to jump forward. The number of beats jumped is measured on the vertical axis (left). Use the Hold envelope to create steps.
    • Rising / Falling pitch & Scratching - Use curved mappings (e.g. Single curve, Double curve, Half sine envelopes and adjust the tension handle).
    • Pause playback (0%) - Match the slope of the Safety Line (see diagram right) with a straight Single curve envelope. This will pause playback for the duration of the slope. Alternatively, use a stepped envelope mapping with these slopes for tuned/harmonic effects.
  • Volume Mapping Envelopes - These behave as standard volume envelopes; the top of the mapping area is 100% (max) volume, the bottom is 0% (silence). The Normalize option, Scale Level and Envelope Sequencer tools (available from the Mapping Options menu) are useful for working with the Volume Mapping Envelopes.

Editing Mapping Envelopes

Envelopes conform to the standard Image-Line envelope behaviors with some additional features tuned for use with Gross Beat.

Mapping controls

Down the left-hand side of the mapping area are a number of controls as follows:

Mapping Options Menu

Click on the down-arrow in the top-left corner of the area to access the following mapping envelope options:

Snap Settings

Snap determines how the envelope points snap (lock) to the nearest time/volume grid division.

NOTES: ( Left-click+Alt) overrides snapping, ( Shift+Left-click) locks vertical movement and ( Ctrl+Left-click) locks horizontal movement of control points.

Step Settings

Slide Settings

Freeze Editing

Envelope Settings

Lower Panel Controls

Running along the bottom of the Mapping area are the following controls:

Plugin Credits

Code & Graphics: Didier Dambrin.

VSTi Port: Frederic Vanmol.

...watch out for falling satellites!