Incipit is a delay plugin effect which can be used as a conventional delay but is really geared towards experimentation and sound design. At its core, Incipit comprises of 3 effect layers each of which has a pitch shifter, delay and amp controls. These can be routed in parallel or series and there’s a multimode filter that can be applied to their output.
The real creativity and power of Incipit comes from the 4 LFOs and 3 macro modulators that can be applied to the audio signal. The modulation sources can be mapped to most of the effect parameters in complex ways where they can be combined and cross-modulated.
Incipit comes bundled with more than 70 presets with template presets in the root folder and there are 3 subfolders titled dubs (echo effect patches); manglers (mutate and destroy the input signal); tones (add overtones, turn into textures). A number of these are excellent and can be used ‘as is’ or as a basis for further modulation or variation. There’s also a handy randomiser module which can give useful and sometimes unusual starting points.
The interface has two main views, the control panel and the modulation matrix panel and you switch between them using a button located in the top right corner.
The 3 effects chains are displayed at the top of the control panel screen:
The output module, preset, oscilloscope and randomiser module are displayed in the middle on the control panel screen:
The LFOs and modulation scale control / macro modulators are displayed at the bottom of the control panel screen:
Each of the 3 effects chains has the set order of pitch shifter, delay and amp sections.
The pitch shifter is geared towards creation of interesting timbres and artifacts rather than a high fidelity transposed signal. There are controls for pitch (-24 to +24), grain size, feedback and mix.
The delay can be used with a sync timing or set in milliseconds and has a ‘wide’ toggle which alternates between a regular delay and ping-pong mode. There are also feedback and mix controls.
The amp section has level and pan controls which can be left, central or right. It can also be turned off (bypassed) which is recommended when not in use rather than lowering the output. On the left of the bypass switch on chains 2 and 3 is a switch for parallel processing which is the default or serial which routes the output of the previous chain to the input of the current chain. It is also possible to combine parallel and serial processing. There’s also a very handy option to copy/paste settings from one effects chain to another.
The output section sums the output from the 3 effects chains and processes them with a multimode filter before mixing with the original signal. The filter has the 4 usual modes of low pass, high pass, band pass and notch with cut-off and resonance settings. The output amplitude is displayed in the top right corner and can be altered up and down as if it were a regular slider and this only impacts the wet portion of the dry/wet mix. There is a dry/wet parameter in the output module which mixes between the input and processed signal.
The modulation matrix looks like a beast but it’s easy to get the hang of when you start using it, I’ve probably made it sound more complex than it is in my explanation.
It contains all of the parameters that can be modulated and these modulations are applied at audio rate but to limit CPU usage only those modulations in use are calculated. The modulation signal consists of the sum of each source’s current output scaled by the corresponding modulation matrix depth control. These are bipolar i.e. negative to the left and positive to the right which means that when the depth is in the negative range the modulator output will be inverted and will act on the same range. This means in practice you can alternate between delay and pitch shift effects rather than layer them by using a square LFO as the modulator on both effects and using the negative range on one and positive range on the other.
The global scale parameter determines how much the modulated signal is scaled and then there’s a final scaling by the global modulation depth parameter which is the mod scale knob in the bottom left of the control panel.
There are two types of modulators, LFOs and macros. Both of these are set from the main control panel but must be assigned in the modulation matrix.
The macros are the 3 knobs at the bottom of the control panel labelled 1, 2 and 3. Once routed to a target in the modulation matrix, the knobs off-set the value of the target parameters by the amount specified in the modulation matrix. They are available as modulation targets themselves so can be modulated with one or several LFOs.
The LFOs are colour coded yellow and located at the bottom of the main control panel. They all have 7 wave shapes – sine, square, saw up, saw down, triangle, sample and hold, smooth random – with an optional 20+Hz toggle which gives access to a wider range of frequencies and can give audible artifacts, FM tones for example.
The randomizer has 4 buttons which correspond to the sections that can be randomised and a knob which determines the amount of modulation applied when you click one of the buttons. There are buttons for LFO, effects, matrix and all which is the equivalent of the other 3 at the same time.
There’s also a config menu which has a range of options including undo/redo, scale display, initialise etc. Incipit also has midi cc learning and midi program changes.
Incipit really excels at producing some unusual delay effects so it is ideally suited for experimentation and is equally capable of producing subtle or extreme effects. So whilst you can use it as a conventional delay you’re really missing the point. As with a lot of effects, the results are very dependent on the input signal so you’ll get different results whether you use percussive or string sounds, for example.
The presets give you a really good range of sounds, I especially like the dub and tones ones. I’ve used a few of the presets on a simple drum loop and Incipit creates some excellent rhythmic effects and implied basslines. On this demo track I’ve used bipolar echo and squirrel exorcism (dubs) Impersonating and skank_feeder (tones) then the plain loop with no effects followed by clown wars (manglers).
I’ve also created a demo track titled ‘Guilty Little Secrets’ using 4 instances of Incipit on keys, background sounds, drums, vocal samples and bass drone which is embedded at the top of this post. I’ve also used Dirty Delay by Metric Halo on the spoken vocals.
Incipit is available from Inear Display for 39 euros + VAT.