After many weeks of clue dropping and online sleuthing, the fabled Easter Egg mode in Mutable Instruments Warps has been revealed. The latest module from the popular French maker, Warps is capable of many functions including Ring Modulation and Vocoding, but the tease of a hidden function had users in a fury to discover and define the final mode.
Olivier Gillet, creator of Mutable Instruments, began posting about the Easter egg back in March, referencing Yahtzee in a comment about the mode. Then, he started slipping in more hints three weeks ago in response to a comment on the MuffWiggler thread discussing Warps. A forum user commented that they had “Tried a few combinations but no dice” to which Gillet cryptically replied “you need one, though…”
A series of coded comments later, and the manufacturer had stumped everyone. References to pizza, trolls, dark parallel universes and the Police song “Roxanne” left the community wondering. An altered image of the Warps panel art came next, converting six of the mode symbols to numbers and displaying knob positions of the other knobs.
Then on Wednesday afternoon, forum user “DMR” announced he’d discovered the connection and decoded the clues, leading him to former NBC/now Yahoo Screen comedy series Community from Dan Harmon…
Season 3, Episode 4 of the TV Show “Community,” titled “Remedial Chaos Theory”: Features a several dark parallel universes or “timelines”, specifically 6. Each timeline is selected by the roll of a single die. In one universe or timeline, a troll doll is set on fire. The character Britta sings “Roxanne” by the Police . The characters both make and order Pizza. The characters play a game of Yahtzee.
This led other users to reveal the exact pattern to unlock the new mode: Dialing in a series of numbers, 2, 4, 3, 6, 1 and 5 (according to the numbers on the coded image above) while hitting the Int Osc button after turning the dial to each number. The new mode then became the source of curiousity, with Gillet revealing the specifics of it in a later post. I’ll post it in it’s entirety here, as it is a great, in-depth explanation.
With INT. OSC enabled, the module works as a frequency shifter.
ALGORITHM knob and ALGO CV input: frequency shift. No shifting at 12 o’clock, positive frequencies when turning CW, negative frequencies when turning CCW. The control curve is linear until 50 Hz then becomes exponential. The response of the ALGO CV input (which modulates shifting amount) depends on the position of the big knob – it is linear when the big knob is near its central position, and 1V/Octave-ish when the big knob is above 50 Hz or below -50Hz.
INT. OSC: carrier waveform. Available waveforms: sine, three harmonics, “random” signal created by summing 7 harmonics with random amplitudes/phases. With a low frequency shifting amount, you can think of this as the tremolo/delay/phasing modulation waveform. Another way to think about this parameter is that there will be one shifted “copy” of the input signal per harmonic of the carrier waveform.
LEVEL 1 CV/knob: feedback amount.
LEVEL 2 CV/knob: dry/wet amount.
TIMBRE: balance between the lower and upper sidebands. Both sidebands are present (ring-modulation) when the knob is at 12 o’clock.
AUDIO IN 1 & 2: two audio inputs, summed together.
AUDIO OUT 1+2 / AUX: the two audio outputs react reversely to the TIMBRE knob. For example, if TIMBRE is fully CCW, 1+2 will output the lower sideband, and AUX will output the upper sideband. Great for generating a wide stereo image!
Now what happens when you disable INT. OSC? The module becomes a kind of “quadrature cross-modulator”. Mathematically, it computes the product of the analytic signals obtained from inputs 1 and 2, and another complex exponential – then the real and imaginary parts of the result are dispatched to the two outputs. This one is tricky to explain! You can think of it as frequency shifting, except that instead of dialing the shifting frequency with the big knob, you directly feed a sinewave at this frequency on input 1 to shift input 2. Obviously, feeding a waveform more complex than a sinewave on input 1 will cause multiple shifts of the signal on input 2 – creating very complex inharmonic tones! When INT. OSC is disabled, ALGORITHM controls the amount of phase shifting on the result of the modulation. You won’t hear much difference when you move it very slowly – the magic happens when it is modulated.
Warps has revealed itself to be a very complex and useful module with many complimentary modes. We’ll be examining it in greater detail in the weeks to come.
Are you modulating with Warps? Tell us about it in the comments!
Want to learn more about Vocoders and Frequency Shifters? Check out our Sound Design 101 Course!