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Arturia EFX Refract rebuilt in Bitwig Studio

Tutorial | Jan 05, 2024

In this video, I demonstrate how to replicate the concept of Arturia's EFX Refract plugin using Bitwig Studio's Bitwig Grid. I outline the process of creating multiple voices, applying delay and modulation effects, and implementing a bandpass filter for each voice. While I couldn't replicate the plugin's 3D interface or harmonizer, this tutorial serves as an inspiration for creating similar effects in the Bitwig Grid.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

This video is a tutorial on replicating the EFX Refract plugin by Arturia in Bitwig Studio, emphasizing the use of Bitwig's grid. The main points include:

  1. Refract Effect Replication: Replicating the basic concept of EFX Refract, a chorus-like effect, within Bitwig. The tutorial doesn't replicate the 3D interface or the harmonizer of the original plugin.

  2. Creating Multiple Voices: Using Bitwig's grid to create up to 16 voices from a monophonic signal, exceeding the 8 voices limit in EFX Refract.

  3. Applying Effects: Each voice is sent through a band pass filter or other effects like a comp filter, bit crusher, distortion, and an attempted harmonizer.

  4. Modulation and Delay Settings: Detailed explanation of setting up and modulating delay and LFOs for each voice. This includes changing delay times, LFO rates, and phases to create a diverse chorus effect.

  5. Stack Spread Modulator: Using this modulator to create varying delay times across voices, enhancing the chorus effect.

  6. Stereo Panning: Implementing a technique for stereo spreading of voices, assigning different panning positions to each voice.

  7. Filter and Modulation: Experimenting with band pass filters and modulation settings, including pitch and amplitude modulation for the attempted harmonizer effect.

  8. Macro Controls: Incorporating macro controls to easily adjust parameters like modulation amounts and chorus intensity.

  9. Downloadable Preset: A Bitwig preset replicating the effect is provided for download.

  10. Limitations and Variations: Acknowledgment of limitations in fully replicating EFX Refract, especially the harmonizer, and encouragement to use this as inspiration for creating unique grid patches.

The tutorial concludes with a reminder that this is an inspiration-based approach, as replicating the exact sound and functionalities of EFX Refract is challenging due to unknown parameters and fine tunings.

Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

How does the EFX Refract plugin work?

The EFX Refract plugin functions as a chorus effect by creating multiple voices from a monophonic signal and sending each voice through a bandpass filter or other effects. The plugin allows for up to eight voices and offers options to adjust delay time, LFO speed, and modulation amount to create different chorus effects.

Can the EFX Refract plugin be replicated in Bitwig Studio?

While the EFX Refract plugin cannot be replicated exactly in Bitwig Studio, the concept can be implemented using the FX grid. By using delay, LFO modulation, and voice spreading techniques, a similar refract effect can be achieved. The bandpass filter and harmonizer aspects may require additional experimentation and creative use of effects within Bitwig Studio.

What are the limitations of replicating the EFX Refract plugin in Bitwig Studio?

The limitations of replicating the EFX Refract plugin in Bitwig Studio include the inability to replicate the 3D interface and potentially the harmonizer functionality. The precise implementation of the harmonizer, such as using a pitch shifter or steep bandpass filter, is unknown. While a similar effect can be achieved, it may not match the exact sound and functionality of the EFX Refract plugin.

How can the EFX Refract concept be implemented in Bitwig Studio?

To implement the EFX Refract concept in Bitwig Studio, one can use the FX grid with delay, LFO modulation, voice spreading, and effects such as bandpass filters or distortion. By adjusting parameters such as voice modulation amount, delay time, LFO speed, and panning, a unique refract effect can be created. Additional experimentation with harmonizer techniques may be necessary to achieve desired results.


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00:00] So in this video, we want to replicate the idea of EFX Refract by Arturia.
[00:00:06] It's a new plugin that came out late last year.
[00:00:09] At the moment, it costs 99 bucks.
[00:00:12] There's also a demo version.
[00:00:14] And like I said, we can only replicate the idea.
[00:00:16] We can't replicate a nice 3D interface here.
[00:00:20] And we also can't replicate maybe the harmonizer.
[00:00:25] I'm not really sure how they implemented the harmonizer.
[00:00:28] Maybe they did a real pitch shifter there.
[00:00:30] Or maybe it's just a very steep band pass filter.
[00:00:33] I have no idea.
[00:00:35] So how this works is basically you have in the beginning here Refraction effect, which
[00:00:40] is more or less like a chorus device or chorus effect.
[00:00:45] And we can create multiple voices from just one monophonic signal up to eight voices here.
[00:00:50] Inside of the grid, we can use 16 voices so we can make it already a bit better.
[00:00:56] And then we send each voice into a band pass filter or into a second effect here.
[00:01:00] We can exchange the band pass filter for comp filter, bit crusher, distortion and the harmonizer.
[00:01:07] And that's basically it.
[00:01:09] So we try to use this concept and implement it inside of Bitwig Studio here.
[00:01:14] If you're already kind of a synth running, it's just a monophonic voice.
[00:01:20] There's no unison enabled here.
[00:01:22] So it's just really a monophonic voice.
[00:01:25] A monophonic sound.
[00:01:27] So we want to use an FX grid on that.
[00:01:31] In here we have a sound input and sound output.
[00:01:34] And all we need to do now is to use a delay to delay the signal.
[00:01:40] And yeah, we want to use an LFO of course.
[00:01:45] And we want to switch this to sine.
[00:01:47] We want to disable here the retriggering.
[00:01:49] So each time we press a key on the keyboard here to play a sound with the Polymer, we
[00:01:53] don't want to reset the LFO.
[00:01:54] So we switch this off.
[00:01:57] And we want to change this to hertz because we don't want to be dependent on the BPM of
[00:02:01] the project.
[00:02:02] So it's free running a free running LFO.
[00:02:04] We can change the speed here easily.
[00:02:08] So now that we have this, we have just one voice at the moment.
[00:02:11] It's monophonic.
[00:02:12] So you can see voices here as mono.
[00:02:15] And we want to do multiple voices.
[00:02:17] So we want to create multiple voices.
[00:02:19] So let's say we want to create eight voices from that.
[00:02:24] And now we have to change some settings on each of these voices to make these voices
[00:02:28] actually different, right?
[00:02:30] So at the moment, everything has the same delay and the same LFO setting on each voice.
[00:02:35] So we want to implement here a stack spread modulator.
[00:02:40] Goes from zero to one.
[00:02:42] You can see voice one gets here basically a zero value and voice eight gets value plus
[00:02:48] one.
[00:02:49] So on everything in between.
[00:02:50] So we can delay now here the sound on each voice differently by different amount.
[00:02:56] And when we do this all the way and I play a sound, you can hear this, right?
[00:03:05] You can hear basically each voice play at a different offset.
[00:03:12] And when we modulate this here by a small amount, it's more like a comp filter.
[00:03:24] So now we want to modulate the delay with an LFO.
[00:03:29] So we do this here by a small amount.
[00:03:33] Let me see.
[00:03:34] Just by a very small amount, 0.03.
[00:03:39] I don't know.
[00:03:40] You can change this at any time.
[00:03:41] So we have to fine tune this anyway at some point.
[00:03:45] So I want to also increase here the global delay time.
[00:03:55] So now each voice has the same frequency for the LFO and also the same the same phase of
[00:04:02] the LFO sine wave here.
[00:04:05] Also with a phase, we can basically offset, yes, you can see the sine wave by let's say
[00:04:14] 360 degrees, which means each voice starts at a different position in the face of this
[00:04:22] wave shape.
[00:04:25] And we maybe also want to change the delay or the LFO speed on each voice.
[00:04:32] Maybe we want to start even lower.
[00:04:37] Let's say this.
[00:04:49] So you can fine tune this until it sounds right to you.
[00:04:54] You can have more drastic chorus effect and a more like, you know, subtle chorus effect
[00:04:59] when you choose your smaller amounts of delay time and so on.
[00:05:18] So it depends on your taste, basically.
[00:05:22] Then we can implement here, amplifier to make this bit quieter 80% because we are
[00:05:29] have multiple voices now and they add up in volume, of course, 70.
[00:05:35] And you want to use an N here.
[00:05:41] So now we want to spread out the voices, right?
[00:05:43] We want to have voice one on the left side and voice eight on the right side.
[00:05:49] So voice one left, voice eight, right and everything in between.
[00:05:53] So this goes from zero to one, which would be from here to here, but we also want to
[00:05:59] modulate into the negative range.
[00:06:01] So we have to use different stacks spread here and choose minus one to plus one.
[00:06:06] So now we can modulate this here by plus 100% and it also goes into the negative range.
[00:06:13] You can see voice one has now minus one and voice eight has plus one modulation value.
[00:06:19] So we spread out each voice on a different point in the panorama.
[00:06:41] So this is without.
[00:06:50] So this is more or less like the refract effect.
[00:06:53] Yeah, you have also an amount.
[00:06:55] I don't know what they modulate with the amount here, but it's probably something like the
[00:07:02] LFO frequency or the phase dispersion or, yeah, the offset of the delayed initial offset.
[00:07:10] So you can implement here a macro for that and then change basically these parameters.
[00:07:16] I changed all the time, basically the modulation amount and so on.
[00:07:19] And maybe we can do this here with a macro.
[00:07:22] Let me see.
[00:07:23] So we have here some, we have this, this and this.
[00:07:28] So now with this macro, we can change the modulation amount, right?
[00:07:32] All these parameters.
[00:07:33] You can call this maybe spreads or something like this.
[00:07:46] Maybe we use some drastic things here, drastic modulation amounts for the maximum position
[00:07:54] here.
[00:07:58] Until it breaks apart into multiple sounds.
[00:08:08] Something like this.
[00:08:09] And then you can dial it down here.
[00:08:19] So at 50%, it sounds cool.
[00:08:22] Okay, so now we have here minus one plus one and uses on pen already.
[00:08:28] Nice.
[00:08:29] Can move this over here.
[00:08:31] And this is basically our refract effect.
[00:08:33] This here display for that.
[00:08:38] Call this refract.
[00:08:40] Give this some kind of color.
[00:08:46] Okay.
[00:08:47] So that's refract.
[00:08:48] Then we can implement here the second part, a band pass filter on each voice.
[00:08:55] So we use maybe, let's say, cell and key.
[00:09:04] And we disable here this one.
[00:09:06] We switch this to band pass filter, maybe BP four double click.
[00:09:10] So it's a center frequency.
[00:09:13] And we want to spread out the frequencies here on each voice differently.
[00:09:17] We can use here zero to plus one, right?
[00:09:21] So each voice gets a different center frequency.
[00:09:37] Or maybe minus one to plus ones.
[00:09:40] We have also frequencies now here in the negative range.
[00:09:56] Maybe BP eight here.
[00:09:57] Let's see.
[00:09:58] That's a much steeper filter.
[00:10:05] Or we can say we don't want to modulate your frequency directly.
[00:10:09] We want to use notes.
[00:10:11] So then use a value, maybe switches to bipolar and say, you know, it's, then we send this
[00:10:23] for quantizer here.
[00:10:24] And say we only want to have maybe a minor or C major, put this in here all the way up.
[00:10:33] And then we modulate maybe minus one to plus one.
[00:10:37] You can see we populate basically all the notes on the C major scale.
[00:10:45] So each voice now gets a different note for the center frequency.
[00:11:04] Maybe let's use a macro here and call this white.
[00:11:09] And we change the modulation amount here of the panning knob.
[00:11:13] Let me see.
[00:11:16] And any exactly.
[00:11:22] So here we can make the signal mono again.
[00:11:27] It's basically the modulation of this one to the pan now, right?
[00:11:31] We can make this zero percent.
[00:11:34] So it's basically in the center.
[00:11:37] This one is only 50%.
[00:11:49] Yeah.
[00:12:04] Okay.
[00:12:05] So here we have the modulation to the notes.
[00:12:07] So we can say we have here a step modulator.
[00:12:10] I think that's not possible in in EFX.
[00:12:14] So we can make this rhythmically interesting.
[00:12:18] So let's say three steps here and then modulate basically here the notes modulation amount.
[00:12:27] So here we don't modulate with this one and here we modulate to the full strength.
[00:12:33] This one.
[00:12:34] Let's see how this sounds.
[00:12:48] Three more steps.
[00:12:58] That's maybe too much, but you can do it if you want to.
[00:13:09] So instead of this one here, we can also use of course, then some shapers as the quantizer
[00:13:17] already here.
[00:13:20] Distortion wave folder.
[00:13:21] Yeah, we can use distortion here.
[00:13:24] We can go with each voice into a quantizer and then into the output.
[00:13:33] And then say each voice has a different parameter for the quantizer.
[00:13:44] And the same with distortion.
[00:13:47] We can also replace the sound key here with the comp filter, something like this.
[00:13:59] Use this one here.
[00:14:16] It's a very metallic sound.
[00:14:25] So this is basically the whole idea behind this EFX plugin.
[00:14:30] I haven't downloaded this plugin yet, so I can't compare it actually to the sound what
[00:14:36] we did here in the grid.
[00:14:38] But this is kind of how I see how this works.
[00:14:42] At least that's what the description is.
[00:14:44] So I haven't compared this, but I think it's a great idea actually to use these kind of
[00:14:50] plugins as inspiration for grid patches.
[00:14:54] So this is here my idea for that.
[00:14:57] I change this here to selling key again.
[00:15:03] Use BP.
[00:15:05] And then I put this preset here in the description below so you can download it for yourself
[00:15:09] and try it out.
[00:15:11] I think for the harmonizer they just used a very steep bandpass filter like I showed
[00:15:18] you earlier here with this BP thing.
[00:15:23] But maybe they used pitch shifters for that.
[00:15:26] So you have to fiddle around with some delay timing here with the mod delay, something like
[00:15:32] this.
[00:15:33] And then additional LFO.
[00:15:37] And then you go into that here, right?
[00:15:39] And then use the same timing.
[00:15:41] I think this is here 16 notes, maybe 1/4, 1/4, something like this.
[00:15:51] Then you go into here, out there.
[00:15:55] Let's see how this sounds.
[00:16:06] And then you use different settings for the LFO here in the mod delay.
[00:16:18] It delays too long here the initial delay, so this is 6/1/16 note.
[00:16:40] So this is more like a pitch shifter here.
[00:16:42] It's not the best pitch shifter.
[00:16:47] You have to also introduce a lot of amplitude modulation to get these clicks and props out.
[00:16:51] But this is a general idea about the harmonizer, I think.
[00:16:54] And then of course you need to harmonize or use octave shifts.
[00:16:59] Or I think you can also use chords there.
[00:17:03] So yeah, this is basically missing.
[00:17:05] This is hard to implement, this harmonizer effect here from EFX.
[00:17:11] But you can try it out.
[00:17:13] You can play around.
[00:17:14] Like I said, it's just an inspiration for grid patches.
[00:17:17] You can't replicate anything to 100% because we don't know the real parameters and the
[00:17:22] fine tunings and so on.
[00:17:25] So everything has a different sound to it.
[00:17:28] So that's EFX Refract inside of the grid.
[00:17:32] Like I said, preset is in the description below.
[00:17:35] Leave a like if you liked the video.
[00:17:37] Subscribe to the channel.
[00:17:38] Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video.
[00:17:40] Bye.