Poly Effects Beebo review | Engadget

by Jeremy

Alright, but the most crucial part is what’s inside: the software. Despite a few warts, it’s essentially a success. Yes, the UI can be a bit slow to respond. And yes, it’s much easier to chew through the DSP’s power and max out the CPU than expected. But the modules are helpful, easy to use, and sound great. There are 97 of them, ranging from simple VCAs to amp emulators to ports of Mutable Instruments modules like Plaits and Clouds.

There’s no way to cover all of them, but let’s discuss a few highlights. The ports of the Mutable Instruments modules are all excellent, but I find Grids (called Drum Patterns) and Clouds (Granular) to be the most useful. Clouds is a granular “texture synthesizer.” In short, it chops up incoming audio in real time and spits it back out as an almost unrecognizable mass. Until now, if you wanted to get Clouds on your pedalboard, it would have meant sticking something extremely fragile like a Eurorack case or an Organelle on there. So this is a big deal for guitarists with a more ambient or experimental bent.Poly Effects Beebo

Grid is a sort of automatic drum sequencer, and it’s great for quickly putting together rhythms. But you can use its outputs to control anything that accepts a CV (control voltage) input (which is most modules). So you could create a rhythmic interplay between a delay and a bit crusher where different parameters are accented at other times.

Speaking of bit crushing, the Bitmangle module is stunning. It makes some of the best sputtering and ugly noises I’ve heard. It’s not a standard bit crusher but combines cross-modulation with the usual bit-based degradation. Just one thing to be aware of: It is loud. It’s highly recommended that you connect with a compressor, noise gate, and a VCA after the fact to keep your levels in check.

The best thing about these modules is that they all play nice with the internal CV controls, so you add LFOs, a 16-step sequencer, or the Chaos Controller to add movement to the parameters, so your effects never stay static. And yes, you can even combine those modules with Grids that constantly change patterns of parameter modulation. (For example, an LFO can slowly change the drum pattern on Grids, which in turn rhythmically maxes out the time on a delay in an evolving way.)

  • In this basic example, LFO is used to pan between two different effects — a pitch shifter and a chorus. The first half is a slow sinewave LFO. The second part of the demo is a square wave at 320 bpm with a temp ratio of 320x, creating an almost ring-modulated effect.

My one gripe is that there’s no visual feedback on the modulation and sequencers changing. If you connect an LFO to the time of the delay, you don’t see it change; the slider stays where you left it. This means you need to track down any problem areas with your ears.

Perhaps the things I used the most were the amp sim, cab sim, and convolution reverb modules. The two power amp sims are pretty decent. They’re not the best amp simulators I’ve ever heard, but they’re not bad. I’dStill, the Beebo makes a solid DI (direct input) box between those and the cab sims. I don’t know that it could completely replace my amp, but it’s better than the built-in amp sims in Ableton. I’d love to see Poly Effects expand and improve on these offerings.

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