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Re: Vortex info

On Mon, 10 Nov 1997, Leonardo Cavallo wrote:

> Listening to lot of comments about Vortex unique greatness I'd like to 
> more about this unit. Ok, it's a morphing think, it's stereo, and this is
> all I know. Can you say me more? Hou do you use in your looping rigs?
> Post privately if no public interest.

Well, the first thing to know about the Vortex is that it is out of
production.  :(  This means that finding one may take some time and

That being said, I think the Vortex is the COOLEST programmable effects
unit I've ever used!  I don't think of it as a "multi-effects" box in the
usual sense.  Those tend to be a bunch of single effects, each with their
own parameters, lined up in series.  The Vortex is more coherent, for lack
of a better word.  The various effects tend to interact with each other in
interesting ways.  Sometimes it's difficult to predict what changing a
given parameter will do to the sound.  

In simplest terms, the Vortex consists of a few discrete effects.... two
delay lines, two modulators, an envelope follower, and a simple mixer.  It
also has an expression pedal input, assignable to any parameter but delay
time.  Delay time itself is set by tapping in a tempo with a footswitch or
front panel button.  Each delay is set to some fraction of this tempo.
This makes it easy to get perfect cross-rhythms, such as three against two
(or seven against thirteen, or whatever), in time with your playing.

The envelope follower really makes the Vortex come alive.  It is assigned
to some parameter within the program, and makes the program respond
dynamically to your playing.  One of my favorite effects is the "Shadow"
program, in which the envelope follower controls the delay level.  While
you are playing, echo levels are reduced.  When you stop playing, they
rise up in the mix.  This way, you can play with strong echoes without the
echoes stepping on your playing.  

Another thing to consider... NO MIDI.  It would take some effort to sync
the Vortex up to a MIDI effects system.  Moreover, it's kind of a pain to
step through programs.  It's more a studio toy than a live toy.

Speaking of live Vortex... I need to get mine out again!  I haven't played
with electronics at all in MONTHS.  I have played nothing but unplugged,
solo acoustic guitar.  The last time I used my Vortex was an impromptu
performance with a jazzy scat singer at a gay rights rally.  Quite a shock
to the audience after an afternoon of show tunes and drag queen

But tomorrow, I have a first session with a drummer and bass player, in
what may turn into my first band in over six years.  After having two
bands fall apart on me through no fault of my own, I've been leery of
committing to playing formally with others for a long time.  But now, I
think I may be ready again.  Tomorrow, we jam.  If the three of us get
along musically, we'll try to pursue this more seriously.  

I have some ground rules in mind... NO electric guitar (for my own
self-protection), and no drums that require sticks.  Hand percussion only.
However, I'd like to try using the Vortex and JamMan, albiet with the
acoustic guitar as a tone source.  And the bass, of course, is electric. 

Wish us luck.   


By "beauty," I mean that which seems complete.
Obversely, that the incomplete, or the mutilated, is the ugly. 
Venus De Milo.
To a child she is ugly.       /* dstagner@icarus.net */
   -Charles Fort