It must be hard being Audio Damage: it’s perpetually having to live up to its own reputation when trying to come up with ideas for new plug-ins. These tend to fall into two categories: a classic concept executed brilliantly, or something utterly wild and wonderful that nobody’s thought of before.
The company’s latest, Ricochet, is a rather special little delay module, and it definitely falls into the former category.
The first thing you notice is the grid-based graphical interface, reminiscent of Logic Pro 8’s Delay Designer. There are five so-called ‘tap dots’ on offer, each represents a delay line. The vertical height indicates the level of each, while the horizontal position relates to timing (you can run Ricochet in tempo sync or free mode), and the grid size determines the overall timescale of the delays.
Each tap dot also has its own sub-menu (accessed by right-click or Ctrl+click), containing a 3-mode resonant filter (low-, band- and high-pass) and pan control.
So far, all very Delay Designer-like, but we expect a bit more from Audio Damage, and this it delivers in the main control section.
Here, we have a low- or high-cut knob labelled Filter. Now, rather than controlling the frequency, it affects the strength of the filter’s action – from bypassed (centre position) to full strength (clockwise or anti-clockwise for low- or high-cut, respectively). The frequency cutoff points can then be adjusted by clicking the Mod button, taking Ricochet out of grid display mode and offering up additional controls.
Next up is Pre Delay, which comes before the five main taps. It has a single knob that either changes the pre-delay in milliseconds (free mode) or in musical note values (tempo synced).
Then we come to the Feedback knob. Like the Filter knob, the centre position gives no effect, but turn it clockwise and the pre-delay signal is sent back into the delay’s input (but not the tap delays). This effect is called Echo because that’s what it sounds like.
Turn it the other way and it’s the taps that go back into the input, and none of the pre-delay, directly. This is called Reverb, because that, again, is the general effect.
Having these two modes is great, as is the ability to sweep between them in real time.
And the innovation and ingenuity doesn’t stop there. As you might have spotted, routing the pre-delay back into itself with a time of zero would normally generate some horribly harsh feedback. That doesn’t happen, though, because Ricochet instead activates a ‘hidden’ tap delay, which is fixed at one quarter of the way across the grid’s timeline, ensuring the results remain musical.
The rest of the front panel is taken up with standard wet/dry and output level controls, but there are still a few tricks in the Mod display.
The first of these is a chorus effect, which softens things up beautifully. Finally, there’s a soft saturation effect, which also takes the edge off harsh frequencies and adds some appealing analogue warmth into the bargain.
So that’s Ricochet. Let us assure you our cold, clinical description is the exact opposite of this plug-in’s sound – this is another top-drawer winner from Audio Damage. While not exactly breaking the delay mould, it offers you a powerful, fun and insanely cheap way to creative delay heaven, and comprehensive MIDI learn is on board too.
The only improvement we’d like to see is the ability to tune the individual delay taps - and perhaps to have more than the five taps – but that’s not really a criticism, just a suggestion.
Ricochet sounds great and is versatile enough for all studio uses (and even live performance, for that matter). Buy it now!