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Kilohearts Essentials

Overview

Kilohearts Essentials is a free collection of Kilohearts Snapins. Snapins are individual audio effect modules, each performing a specific task.

Designed to be combined

The Kilohearts Ecosystem give you the freedom to combine these Snapins in infinite different ways in order to create interesting and unique modular effects. Snapins can be also loaded individually into your DAW as a standard VST, AAX or AU plugin.

Kilohearts Snapins are designed with simplicity in mind and with the expressed purpose of giving you the ability to "build your own" plugins from these building blocks. They are optimised to be CPU-efficient so they can be stacked together without melting your computer. Load one of our host plugins and try a few factory presets to get a feel for what you can do with these fundamental ingredients.

When using any of the Snapins in your everyday work it can be easy to forget the extensive modulation options available to you by using them inside one of the hosts instead. It can often be extremely useful to set up a Snap Heap patch with only a single Snapin in it to expand on it's possibilities a hundredfold.

Common controls

All Snapins have some features in common, all of them found in the header section.

Power button
Just to the left of the Snapin title is a blue square. It works as a checkbox to enable the plugin. When turned off, the plugin is bypassed and lets all incoming sound through unaffected.
Minimize (not available in stand-alone mode)
Just like all other Kilohearts modules, Snapins can be collapsed when you want to save screen space for something else.
Preset bar
If you click the small downwards arrow in the Snapin header, controls for handling presets will fold down. These controls let you see the name of the currently selected preset, as well as step through any other presets in the active folder of the associated preset browser. To see the full preset browser, click the little folder icon. The Snapins all have a little Dice icon in the preset bar that you can use to randomize all controls to explore the possibilities.

3-Band EQ

EQ 3-Band is a three band EQ with adjustable split frequencies.

Splits
Adjusts cutoff frequency between low and mid, and between mid and high bands.
Low
Gain for low frequency (bass) band.
Mid
Gain for middle frequency (midrange) band.
High
Gain for high frequency (treble) band.

Bitcrush

Bitcrush can be used to create distorting effects that sound like that of scraping analog radio, or inherently lo-fi sound sources, like old video games. It simulates the audio being sampled and replayed using a low quality sampler with limited sample rate and bit depth.

Rate
Down sample the signal to a minimum of 200 Hz.
Bits
Quantize the amplitude of each sample of the signal. A lower value will result in a more distorted sound.
ADC Q
Quality of the analog-to-digital conversion. A lower value will add dissonant aliasing in the low frequencies.
DAC Q
Quality of the digital-to-analog conversion. A lower value will add dissonant aliasing in the high frequencies.
Dither
Adds noise to the signal in order to reduce distortion caused by quantization.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Channel Mixer

Channel Mixer gives you control over the amplitude of both stereo channels respectively, and also the option to cross-mix them into each other.

Left to Left
Scales the amplitude of the incoming left stereo channel from -1 (phase inverted) through 0 (silent) to 1 (passthrough).
Right to Left
Scales the amplitude of the incoming right stereo channel, but outputs it to the left channel.
Left to Right
Scales the amplitude of the incoming left stereo channel, but outputs it to the right channel.
Right to Right
Scales the amplitude of the incoming right stereo channel, and outputs it to the right channel.

Chorus

Chorus enhances the stereo effect and presence of a sound by mixing it with delayed versions of itself.

Delay
The average delay for the delayed voices.
Rate
The frequency of how fast to vary the delay.
Depth
How much to vary the delay.
Spread
Stereo width of the effect. A lower value will go towards a mono output.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.
Taps
The number of chorus voices.

Comb Filter

Comb Filter will mix the signal with a delayed version of itself, creating a filter with repeated troughs and peaks across the spectrum.

Cutoff
Cutoff setting for the filter, the distance between each peak.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.
Polarity
The polarity setting swaps troughs for peaks and vice versa, with the plus setting having a peak at 0 Hz, and the minus setting a trough at 0 Hz.
Stereo
The stereo setting flips the polarity setting for the right channel, allowing the the comb filter to be used for mono compatible stereo widening.

Compressor

Compressor will even out the audio volume by lowering the volume when the signal is loud.

Attack
The attack time is the time it takes to lower the volume when the input volume is over the threshold.
Release
The release time is the time it takes to return the volume to normal when the input volume is under the threshold.
Mode
In RMS mode the compressor will measure the volume using the root mean square method, which gives an accurate measurement of audio power. In peak mode the compressor will follow the peaks in the audio waveform, which makes it more responsive to transients.
Ratio
The ratio decides how much the compressor will reduce the audio volume. At 1:2, for example, the volume will be lowered until it is halfway between the input volume and the threshold.
Threshold
The threshold for when the compressor will start lowering the volume.
Makeup
The makeup gain will increase the volume of the output signal to compensate for the loss in overall volume that the compressor causes.
VU Meter
Displays the current input level, the selected threshold, and the compressor's current attenuation.
Sidechain
When enabled attenuation is calculated based on a secondary input, but the effect is applied to the main input.

Delay

Delay will delay the input signal for an echoing effect.

Delay
The amount of time beore the delayed sound starts playing. This will be expressed in milliseconds or as parts of a beat, depending on Sync Mode.
Sync Mode
When sync is enabled the delay time will be synchronized to the song tempo.
Feedback
The feedback setting will cause the delayed sound to feed back into the delay. This will create an exponentially decaying echo.
Pan
Adjust the panning of the delayed sound.
Ping-Pong
Swaps the left and the right channel of the delayed sound when it is fed back into the delay. When combined with panning this will make the echo bounce back and forth between the speakers.
Duck
When duck is turned up, the output volume from the delay will automatically be lowered when the input volume is high.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Distortion

Distortion is a versatile distortion effect with a wide selection of algorithms.

Drive
The drive setting will boost the input signal, causing a heavier distortion.
Bias
The bias will add a DC offset to the signal before distorting. Adding some bias can prevent the distorted audio from sounding hollow and uninteresting.
Spread
The spread will add different amount of bias to the left and right channels. This can give some nice and subtle stereo widening.
Type
The flavor of distortion. Select between overdrive, saturate, foldback, sine, hard clip and quantize.
Dynamics
A common problem with distortion is that it can remove the dynamic content of the input signal, forcing the output to maximum volume. Turn up this knob to preserve the dynamics of the input.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Dual Delay

Dual Delay consists of two delay lines that can crossfeed between each other.

Delay Time
The amount of time before the delayed sound starts playing. This will be expressed in milliseconds or as parts of a beat, depending on Sync Mode.
Multiplier
The amount of time before the secondary delayed sound starts playing, expressed as a multiple of the primary delay time.
Tone
Applies a shelf filter on the delayed signal to gently shape the characteristic of the "echo".
Feedback
Will cause the delayed sound to feed back into the delay. This will create an exponentially decaying echo.
Spread
Pans the delay taps altering between left and right.
Duck
When duck is turned up, the output volume from the delay will automatically be lowered when the input volume is high.
Crosstalk
The amount of "bleeding" between the two delay lines.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Dynamics

Dynamics processing featuring upward and downward compression as well as expansion. Thresholds and ratio are controlled by clicking and dragging on the visualization in the upper part of the plugin interface. The visualization shows how input levels are mapped to output levels by the dynamics processing. The current input and output levels are marked in the visualizer by a moving disc.

Low Threshold
Low threshold for upwards compression and expansion.
Low Ratio
Ratio of upwards compression or expansion below the low threshold.
High Threshold
High threshold for downwards compression.
High Ratio
Ratio of downwards compression above the high threshold.
Attack
Adjusts attack time.
Release
Adjusts release time.
Knee
Smoothes the knee of the compression curve across the thresholds.
In Gain
Adjusts gain for the incoming signal.
Out Gain
Adjusts gain after compression.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Ensemble

Ensemble creates the illusion of many voices playing in unison. Much like a chorus it creates this effect by playing delayed copies of the incomping sound. On top of this it also modulates the phases of each voice to create a silky smooth result without any metallic flanging. The delay times for each voice is also modulated in order to detune each voice slighty.

Voices
Number of voices to play simultaneously.
Detune
How quickly to modulate the delay for each voice, affecting how detuned the voices will be.
Spread
Pans voices left or right for a stereo effect.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.
Motion
Selects between different patterns for the modulations of the voices.

Filter

Filter provides a selection of common filters.

Type
The type of filter. Select between low pass, band pass, high pass, notch, low shelf, peak and high shelf filters.
Cutoff
The operating frequency of the filter. In a low-pass filter this is the frequency where the signal is reduced by 3dB.
Q
The filter Q setting. High values for Q will make the filter resonate at the cutoff frequency.
Gain
The gain value for the low shelf, peak and high shelf filter types.
Filter slope
The slope of the filter cutoff, with 1x representing a classic 2-pole filter.

Flanger

Creates a flanging effect by mixing the audio with a slightly delayed version of itself. The length of the delay can be adjusted manually and modulated. Optionally, this effect can also add a phase shift between the dry and wet signals to create an infinte barberpole-style flanging effect upwards or downwards.

Delay
Adjusts the minimum delay.
Depth
Depth of delay modulation. Added on top of the minimum delay set by the delay knob.
Rate
Rate of delay modulation.
Scroll
Enables the phase offset and motion functions of the effect.
Offset
Phase offset between dry and wet signals.
Motion
Rate of modulation for the phase offset.
Spread
Stereo spread between left and right channels. Affects delay modulation and phase offset.
Feedback
Feedback of the wet signal back into the delay line.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Formant Filter

Formant Filter will boost two frequencies to mimic the sounds of different vowels.

Vowel Selector
Selects two frequencies to boost.
Q
Adjust how powerful and narrow the frequency boost is.
Lows
Allow low frequencies through the filter.
Highs
Allow high frequencies through the filter.

Frequency Shifter

Frequency Shifter will shift all the frequencies in the input signal up or down by a certain amount. This kind of shifting will ruin the harmonic content of the input signal, making it sound dissonant.

Shift
How much to shift all frequencies by.

Gain

Gain will increase or decrease the volume of a signal.

Gain
Set how much to increase or decrease the volume, in decibels.
VU Meter
Displays the current output level on the left and right channels.

Gate

Gate will only let audio through when the input level is above a set threshold.

Attack
The attack time is the time it takes to for the gate to fully open when the input volume is over the threshold.
Hold
The hold time is the minimum time the gate will stay open.
Release
The release time is the time it takes to for the gate to fully close when the input volume is under the threshold.
Threshold
The volume threshold for when the gate will open.
Tolerance
A hysteresis range requiring the volume to drop a set amount of dB under the threshold before closing.
Range
The amount to attenuate the signal when the gate is closed.
Look-ahead
When enabled, a 5ms look-ahead will be used, allowing transients through at the cost of latency.
Flip
When flipped, the gate will act in reverse attenuating the signal when the gate is open.
VU Meter
Displays the current input level, the selected threshold & tolerance, and the gate's current state.
Sidechain
When enabled transients are detected based on a secondary input, but the effect is applied to the main input.

Haas

HAAS will widen the stereo of the audio by delaying the left or the right channel slightly.

Channel
Which channel to delay.
Delay
The delay time.

Ladder Filter

Ladder Filter simulates low pass filters found in classic hardware synths.

Cutoff
The filter cutoff frequency.
Resonance
The filter resonance setting. High values will make the filter resonate at the cutoff frequency.
Topology
Selects between transistor ladder and diode ladder topology. The diode ladder have a slightly more gentle rolloff after the cutoff frequency. The two topologies also behave differently when saturation is enabled.
Saturate
Simulates saturation of electronic components in the filter.
Drive
Simulates overdrive of the components in saturate mode.
Bias
Simulates bias voltage over the components in saturate mode.

Limiter

Limiter will prevent the audio volume from going over a certain threshold.

In gain
Gain to apply to the input signal before limiting.
Out gain
Gain to apply to the input signal after limiting.
Threshold
The maximum allowed volume.
Release
The release adjust how quickly the limiter returns the volume back to normal after limiting it due to a peak in the input volume.
VU Meter
Displays the current input level, the selected threshold, and the limiter's current attenuation.

Nonlinear Filter

Nonlinear Filter colors and distorts the signal due to internal nonlinearities.

Type
The type of filter. Select between low pass, band pass, high pass and notch filters.
Cutoff
The operating frequency of the filter.
Q
The filter Q setting. High values for Q will make the filter resonate at the cutoff frequency.
Drive
Overdrives the filter, which makes the effect of the nonlinear behaviour more prominent.
Mode
Selects what flavor of nonlinearity you want. The clean mode has no nonlinearies, and does not color the signal. All other modes distort and color the signal in different ways to some extent.

Phase Distortion

Phase Distortion distorts the signal by offseting the phases of the individual harmonics of the input signal. The amount of phase offset is controlled by the signal itself, much like FM feedback.

Drive
Controls the amount of distortion.
Normalize
Normalizes the signal, making the effect insensitive to input gain.
Tone
Filters the modulation to reduce high frequency noise.
Bias
Adds a constant phase offset to all harmonics.
Spread
Spreads phase offset for left and right channels for a stereo effect.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Phaser

Phaser will filter the input signal, creating a series of moving peaks and troughs in the audio spectrum.

Order
A higher order setting will increase the order of the filters used by the phaser, creating a more pronounced effect with more peaks and troughs.
Cutoff
Sets the cutoff of the filters in the phaser, moving the peaks and troughs in the audio spectrum.
Depth
Adjusts the depth of modulation of the cutoff.
Rate
Adjusts the rate of modulation of the cutoff.
Spread
Adds a phase offset for the cutoff modulation between the left and right channels, for a stereo widening effect.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Pitch Shifter

Pitch Shifter will adjust the pitch of the input signal up or down.

Pitch
How much to adjust the pitch, in semitones.
Jitter
How much randomness to add to the pitch. A high jitter setting can give a unison-like effect.
Grain Size
During processing the pitch shifter chops up the audio into small snippets called grains. This setting adjusts the length of the grains, which can influence the sound.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Resonator

Resonator adds harmonic resonance to the input signal.

Pitch
The frequency at which to resonate.
Decay
Sets how long it takes for the resonance to ring out after the input goes silent.
Intensity
Adjusts how much the resonance amplifies the input signal.
Timbre
Switches between two different harmonic series for the resonance. Choose between all harmonics (saw tooth wave) or odd harmonics (square wave).
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Reverb

Reverb adds the sense of space to any sound by emulating the sound bouncing off the walls in a physical room.

Decay
The reverberation time, i.e. the time it takes for the reverb to go silent after sound has passed through it.
Dampen
Adds damping to high frequencies so that they decay faster than low frequencies.
Size
Adjust the size of the virtual room that reverb simulates. Ranges from closet to church.
Width
Adjusts the stereo width of the reverb. At 100% the left and right channels are completely uncorrelated in the wet sound.
Early
Adjusts the balance between early and late reflections. A higher value will give a brighter and more responsive reverb.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Reverser

Reverser plays back delayed reversed sections of the input, mixed with the original dry sound.

Delay time
How long sections to delay and reverse. For example, setting this to 1/4th means every beat will be played back in reverse 1/4th of a bar later.
Sync
When sync is enabled the delay time will be synchronized to the song tempo.
Crossfade
Time to ramp in/out the reversed audio to avoid pops, in percent of the reversed section length.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.

Ring Mod

Ring Mod modulates the input with either an internal signal generator or a secondary input signal.

Bias
Amount of positive bias to add to the secondary input.
Rectify
Amount of positive or negative rectification to apply to the of the secondary input.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.
Frequency
The base frequency of the internal oscillator or filter cutoff for the internal noise generator.
Spread
Shifts the frequency of the internal generator slightly for left and right channels to achieve a stereo effect.

Stereo

Stereo can adjust the stereo width and panning. It also displays the current balance and channel correlation visually.

Mid
Adjusts the volume of the mono part of the signal.
Width
Adjusts the volume of the stereo part of the signal. The input audio must have at least a little stereo information for this knob to do anything.
Pan
Pans the signal to the left or right.
Stereo Meter
Displays the current balance and channel correlation. When the meter moves into the red area the correlation is less than zero, which can cause problems with mono compatibility.

Tape Stop

Tape Stop simulates the sound of slowly stopping and starting a playing tape.

Play
The current state of the tape motor.
Stop Time
Time until the tape motor reaches full stop when stopping.
Start Time
Time until the tape motor reaches full speed when starting.
Curve
The speed curve of the tape motor starting/stopping.

Trance Gate

Trance Gate will modulate the volume of your audio based on a programmable rhythmic sequence.

Pattern Select
Switches between the eight different pattern slots.
Pattern Editor
Edits the current pattern. Click to toggle steps on or off, click and drag to tie steps together.
Length
The length of the current pattern.
Attack
Attack time for the amplitude ADSR envelope.
Decay
Decay time for the amplitude ADSR envelope.
Sustain
Sustain level for the amplitude ADSR envelope.
Release
Release time for the amplitude ADSR envelope.
Mix
The dry/wet mix of this effect. A lower value will let some of the unmodified signal through.
Resolution
Length of one step in the sequencer.

Transient Shaper

Transient Shaper adjusts the dynamics of a sound, with a focus on the initial hit; the transient.

Attack
The amount of amplification or attenuation of the transient.
Pump
The amount of attenuation directly after the transient, emphasizing the transient without increasing the level.
Sustain
The amount of amplification or attenuation of the sustained sound.
Speed
Higher values results in snappier transient modification, and lower values result in smoother curves.
Clip
When enabled, the output signal is clipped to 0dB.
Sidechain
When enabled transients are detected based on a secondary input, but the effect is applied to the main input.