Max for Cats – Skram Delay and Stochastic Delay Review

Created by Christian Kleine, designer of the Oscillot Max For Live modular synthesizer, Skram Delay and Stochastic Delay are available to buy from Madeleine Bloom’s always interesting music blog for 10€/$14 each or $18/$25 the bundle.
In order to use these effects you need to have Ableton Live and Max For Live installed, but you probably already know that.
So, what does your 25 bucks get you?

Well, it certainly doesn’t get you just another stereo delay line. Oh no, these are designed to inject random elements to your sound, and they are pretty successful.

Skram Delay
Is a stereo delay line with heavy modulations to the feedback loop. The interface is clean and very useable and all the controls map easily to macro knobs and controllers. You get controls for:
Speed, a kind of delay time which functions in tandem with an unnamed fader, which increases random elements.
Feedback, controlling the amount of signal fed back into the delay line/number of repeats.
Ramp, which messes with the interpolation between delays in weird and quite wonderful ways.
And finally, Pan and Dry/Wet controls, which pan and mix….
Left and right signals can be unlinked, offering separate left and right controls for even more delay madness.

Skram Delay

Applied to a simple beat, things get very dubby, very quickly and can get out of control before you know it. Fortunately, the controls make sense enough to bring back your sound from the brink and tailor the effect to your needs with a little experimentation. I like delay lines and this is a keeper.

Stochastic Delay
Is a different beast altogether whose main controls do not resemble a traditional delay line. Again, it is clearly laid out and the controls map well, but this is definitely designed for random experimentation.
There are two sets of four faders labeled Resolution and Delay Unit. The Resolution faders seem to set the delay times at sixteenths, eights etc. of the master clock, the Delay Unit faders impose further divisions upon those. Fortunately there are random ‘dice’ buttons, one for each set of faders to get you going although I found that it all got too much very quickly.

Stochastic Delay

Master clock, which can be synced to host.
Stereo width dial, which widens.
Low and high cut shelving filter, with Q, on the feedback loop. I used this to get rid of unwanted extra frequency and it is surprisingly effective.
A very nice little convolution reverb offering spring, room and hall types. Unfortunately this does not always load, resulting in quiet delays when the reverb mix is up.
Finally Reverb Mix and master wet/dry controls finish the device off.

I really like Stochastic Delay. On harmonically rich material, it can add extra movement and interest to pads (particularly when step sequenced) and drones and is certainly different and very effective. On rhythmic material, I find, it can get too much very easily.

I like both of these, they are well thought out effects and the price is a no brainer.
If you have Max For Live I would recommend these. If you don’t have Max For Live, why not?

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