Discord3 review: harmonizing chaos

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AudioDamage have just recently released Discord3 – a major update to their popular pitchshifting delay plugin (Mac OS X/Windows, VST/AU, no RTAS, no PPC Macs).

In its first versions the Discord plugin was loosely modeled on a couple of old Eventide hardware effect racks (the H910 and H949). They were very popular in the late ’70 and early 80’s (Eno, Hassell, Bowie, Prince, etc.). The new version goes beyond that, and offers the user many more ways to design your sound.

The setup

Discord3 offers three pitch shifting algorithms to choose from: a ‘vintage’ emulation of hardware (basically this is the old Discord version), a ‘ clean’ algorithm, and an algorithm that makes use of granular synthesis.
You can pitch up or down up to three octaves, in minute increments, and there are various other parameters to play with, such as buffer size, which is useful for adapting the effect to the different types of sonic material you use, or (for the granular algorithm) grain duration and interval – to enable choosing the size, and time gap between each grain.
Just below this there are two delay units, one for each channel, that can be synced to a DAW host, or just set to Hz. The delays both have frequency filters, controlled via a simple XY pad (cut off, and bandwidth), and there are feedback and cross feedback for both channels.
Then there are two LFO (again, one for each channel) with various wave shapes, that can be assigned to the pitch shift, delay time, and filter frequencies. These can also sync to host tempo, or Hz.

Finally there are a few sliders that determine the wet/dry mix, input and output levels, and a left/right channel link button, which ensures that anything you do to the left channel will also happen in the right channel. All this is housed in a very pretty and uncluttered little interface, and the direct interaction between the Pitchshift, Delay and LFO elements make for an excellent variety of effects that can be created, from simple choruses, glitchy delays, and fast vibratos, to crazy wild howling walls of sound, and other delightful noise.


It is easy to get using this plugin – the manual is very straightforward, and the 30 odd presets are great places to get you started. There should be a warning that comes with this plugin – you WILL waste hours just tweaking and admiring the sounds you can create from a simple drum loop, as I did.

I especially loved combining the Granular synthesis algorithm with the delay unit to create some brilliant sounding bubbly pulses and glitched out rhythms when used on percussive sounds. Great for IDM style grooves. I loved the ‘Chaos’ function on the granular algorithm. The manual says that it “applies a variable amount of randomization to the granular process” by changing durations of grain size, pitch etc. While I really couldn’t get my head around how it worked exactly, the rhythmic variation it created every time I moved it around was very inspiring.

The plugin also has great effect when used subtly. I got great results on the ‘vintage’ algorithm setting with small amounts of delay and LFO on the pitch to give synth pads that thick, chorusy, Boards of Canadaesque wavering tone.

The Midi learn function on the plugin is a simple SHIFT CMD click on the parameter you want to control, then move the appropriate slider, button etc. A very useful way to get set up to perform using this plugin. Automation is also available, so if you are recording your performances, it’s easy to adjust the performance later.

Here’s a good demonstration of all that this plugin can do, provided by AudioDamage.


Discord3 is an intuitive delay plug-in optimized for live performance, and capable of a wide range of pleasing results. At the price, it’s a plugin definitely worth adding to the sound-design arsenal, and one that you’re probably going to reach for often.

Price: $59
For those of you out there that already own earlier versions of the Discord plugin – there are enough additions to this new one to make it very worth your while investing in the $10 (see below for the link).
(It’s worth noting that if you don’t own an INTEL-BASED mac, then this plugin is not going to work. PPC Macs are NOT supported. There are also 64-bit versions coming shortly…)

An intuitive delay plug-in optimized for live performance, and capable of a wide range of pleasing results.

Product page
The upgrade version is here.


  • Simple and pretty layout
  • Not too consuming on the CPU
  • Fantastic sound
  • Intuitive
  • Great price
  • Simple Midi-Learn

Love it or hate it

  • Creative and colorful sound-design use – if you’re wanting a more ‘surgical’ pitchshifting plugin, to fix tuning perhaps, this isn’t the one for you


  • Can’t really think of any at this price (well, I guess PPC users would have loved it …)

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