Cutting Room Floor - Recovery Effects
by Ellison Wolf
Slimmer, stylier, and more streamlined than its predecessor, Recovery Effect’s new Cutting Room Floor is a definite upgrade in every way over its predecessor, and it’s even less expensive...I’m not sure how that happens! With elegantly understated text on its black, white, and gold faceplate and a gold and PCB-thru LED light up tape reel taking center stage, this new Cutting Room Floor takes up only 6 HP [as opposed to its previous 14] and delivers a saturated tape-ish sound that can go from slightly murky to gritty, nasty, and messed up in a way that only a PT2399-based delay [or a PT2399-based emulation] can.
It seems lately that PT2399-based delays aren’t quite the trendy thing as they were just a few short years ago, with more digital delays seemingly taking up the, um, saturated delay territory, so it was a nice surprise to find this on my desk and to give me a reason to jump back in with a PT2399 and rediscover its characteristic sounds.
With controls over TAPE LEVEL, DELAY LEVEL, DELAY TIME, WOW, FLUTTER, and SHAPE and a CV input to control the DELAY TIME, there are a lot of ways to sculpt the sound and I found the descriptions for the controls pretty apt. The CV IN control was interesting because unlike other delays I’ve used for this same purpose, when used with a square wave or constant voltage, this ends up turning the delay on and off, effectively becoming a CV controlled bypass. I was pretty happy to discover this as I think having a way to bypass effects, especially delay and distortion, is a very welcomed thing, especially without needing to change settings like turning a mix knob all the way CCW or just pulling the patch cable out. While there is no bypass button/switch on the module itself, I patched the CV into the switch on my Switchenator [Waveform DIY project #2], to select between sending out a constant voltage or none at all when I wanted to be able to bypass it, though an offset or VCA could have the same effect. I also passed an attenuated LFO sine wave via Pamela’s New Workout with the Level on 24% with the DELAY LEVEL on max to do random pitch shifting. Again, if the LFO was at 100% it would bypass the effect, so it’s necessary to attenuate the CV in so as not to bypass.
The controls themselves are pretty standard for a tape-based delay, with WOW and FLUTTER being the most used descriptors of analog tape-speed quirks/characteristics, and SHAPE, which turns the FLUTTER shape from a triangle to a square wave and all points in between. Cutting Room Floor also has a toggle, STABIL, that turns the FLUTTER off and on, an S/R toggle switch to select between single or repeat delays, and there is also a momentary FREEZE push button that—as the name states—momentarily freezes and holds the tone being played. This messes up the sound in a way that’s almost like a feedback loop, but not quite as unwieldy as is typical, as it’s still a bit controlled and doesn’t do the self-oscillating thing to the point where you need to watch the output. Though speaking of out of control, with the DELAY LEVEL maxed out, and the S/R switch on S, the delay goes away completely while still leaving the other controls to effect the sound. Whether this is a quirk of the module or a planned determination, I rather liked this, and the sound is different from having the DELAY LEVEL minned out [I may have just coined that term], that being turned completely counter-clockwise.
I found that the Cutting Room Floor was best used to blow stuff out, make odd sounds, and obliterate things—very much good things, but still does well giving sounds a less extreme, but warm, fuzzy delay. It’s not pristine, and if I need a nice tweakable delay with crystal clear repeats and surgical control, I’ll jump over to a digital delay, but if warm, saturated, or tripped out and beat up sounds are your thing, Cutting Room Floor has your number.
6 HP +12V 150mA