The Mangle - Some usage tips

This list was previously buried at the bottom of my previous post, “Mangle beta release announcement”. However, I realised it didn’t really belong there, and was liable to be missed. So if you’re the owner of a shiny new beta Mangle, read on:

I’m planning to write a full html manual for the Mangle, but it’s not ready yet, so in some ways you’re on your own. However, I think most features should be relatively self-explanatory, but there are a few that are not, or are hidden. Here are some tips:

Parameters

Each grain is given the properties of the parameters at the moment of its creation, which then remain fixed. So if a grain is created at a certain pitch ratio, then you change the pitch parameter while it’s still playing, the existing grain won’t be affected. This goes for all the parameters except the filter, which is applied over the whole grain stream.

The Duration knob is actually just a shortcut to the “Grain Envelope” settings. You can change which parameter of the grain’s envelope gets changed by Duration with a little dropdown below the knob (click the label).

Modulation

Modulation is done by drag and drop. Drag the modulator’s selector button to the target you want to modulate. The first thing you should try modulating is the grain origin Position, even if it’s only a tiny amount. When the grains all originate from the same place the effect can be a bit unpleasant, as the same harmonics ‘pile up’ as they’re repeated. Just a little jitter in the origin position can make a sound much more pleasing.

To modulate the Position or Amplitude of the grains, drag your modulator over the white triangular ‘handles’ at the left and bottom of the waveform display.

When setting up modulations you may notice that for some values the modulation marker doesn’t move in a linear way - it’s moves faster in a certain part of the knob’s range. This is because some knobs aren’t themselves linear - e.g. there is more ‘travel’ in the pitch knob at the low end because we don’t perceive pitch in a linear way, and because smaller pitch changes are more common. The modulation markers follow this, but I’m aware the behaviour can be annoying and I’m considering other ways of approaching this.

Parameter & Modulation Locking

For the Rate, Pitch and Position parameters you have the ability to make the knobs ‘stick’ to particular values as you move them.

For example, you can set the pitch ratios to stick to a scale using the little dropdown below the pitch knob. My favourite is Octaves & 5ths.

To create rhythmic sequences that lock to the tempo of your track you’ll have to go to the “Sound Setup” tab. Then under “Timing” check “Quantize grains”, then choose the types of timings with the toggle icons at the bottom of the section (you can choose dotted, whole notes and triplets, and any combination).

Position locks are also set up in the Sound Setup tab.

You can lock modulations of these parameters to the same values as the knobs stick to. Use the little ‘padlock’ toggle icon when setting up your modulations.

‘Slots’

The Mangle has 8 slots, each of which contains its own entire set of parameters, modulations and audio. The slots can each be mapped to any range in the Sound Setup panel. This allows you to make multi-timbral ‘sampler instrument’ style patches, to layer different grain streams, or simply to use fewer instances of the plugin (useful if you’re using the Mangle for incidental effects).

The slots are located on the left of the panel. Each has a preview button to trigger the slot’s sound (and to let you know which slots are playing). If you right or ctrl-click the slot, you can copy the settings from a slot and paste it into another. This even works between different instances of the plugin! You don’t have to paste all the settings, you can choose just to paste the audio, the settings or the sequences if you like.