Matt Black (aka: Jiggery Pokery) has done it again. Instead of providing a new ReFill, he has dazzled us with a new Rack Extension: Shelob, a 4-input, 16 stereo /32 mono audio output Splitter. Think of it as 4 Spiders locked together in a nice compact unit, but with a few extras. And all for the low price of $9.00 USD. In this article, I’ll discuss a little about what you can do with this baby.
You can download a few free patches here: Shelob Patches. These patches outline a few ways you can use Shelob to crossfade, parallel process, stripe a range of effects splits played via keys on your MIDI keyboard, group splits, create a fade in / fade out combinator, etc. Use them as templates and lessons in how to route things up in Shelob. See the videos below for a little more about how Shelob works.
First, let’s take a look at what Shelob replaces or improves upon:
Next, let’s take a quick look at Shelob from the front and from the back:
The following showcases the differences between the original Spider Audio Merger/Splitter and the Shelob:
- Uses 1 device rather than 4 Spiders. Note that the Spider can take 1 input signal and split it 4 ways, as well as take 4 input signals and merge them into 1. On the other hand, Shelob can take four input signals and split each of those signals 4 ways (or any combination of those, for example, you can take 1 input signal and split it up to 20 ways; 16 straight outputs and 4 pass-through outputs). There is no merging capability with Shelob, though I have it on good authority that a merging device is on the way.
- Off/On of each of those 4 channels and 16 stereo/32 mono outputs can be automated
- Each set of 4 inputs can be used as a pass-through in order to create “Split Groups” that can be turned on/off
- Ability to fade the signals in or out. This opens the door to creating crossfades between signals on Shelob, and fade in / fade outs of any audio signal. The Fade is “global” so it affects all signals sent in or out of Shelob. The fade can be anywhere between 1 millisecond to 20 seconds.
- Ability to “Stripe” the signal. This means you can take one input signal and send it to all 20 outputs without any additional inputs or routing.
- All switches on the device can be automated or programmed in the Combinator to be on / off. In addition, the fade knob can also be automated or programmed to a Combinator control.
Here’s a quick introduction to the device:
The fade essentially determines how long the sound “fades out” after you turn that specific channel from “On” to “Off.” In the default position, turn any channel off and the sound stops immediately. With more fade, turning any channel off will let the sound fade out slowly. This also works both ways, so you can “fade in” a signal when you turn a specific channel from “Off” to “On.”
Fade is global, so it affects all channels, and it can be automated. But of course you can create multiple Shelobs to control fade on some channels and then fade differently on others.
Fade times work both ways – switch on (fade in), and switch off (fade out).
As Rob says above, Fade time can be automated as required.
With a maximum fade time of 20s, you could even stick a Shelob on your master outs, or just before Ozone if using that for dithering, and flick a switch for fade in at the start and fade out at the end
The Fade knob is 0-100 milliseconds in the white area, and 101-20000 milliseconds (20 seconds) in the green area. This means you can create a fade 0-20 seconds long. To create a simple crossfade between two signals, for example, program a Combinator Button to switch Channel 01-A to go on/off and Channel 01-B to go off/on. The button is now used to crossfade between the two signals. Program the Rotary 1 to adjust the Fade knob and use it to determine the fade time from 0-20 seconds. This makes it one of the easiest ways to crossfade between two audio sources or two effects.
Here’s a video that shows you how to Crossfade and parallel process your audio signals:
With the Stripe switched turned on, you can send one audio signal into Channel 1 input, and then split that signal on all outputs (A through P) at once, without any further input signals. This means you don’t need to Chain an output split to the next 3 Channels (for example, from A-1 to Channel 2 input). With Stripe Off, the Channels can be used separately (as if you have 4 independent Channels in Shelob, or more to the point, the Shelob acts more like 4 Spider Audio Splitters in one).
Incidentally, if you want to use Shelob exactly as you use the Reason Spider Audio Splitter, keep Stripe off, and turn on all output splits (A through P). Now, all splits are open or on, and you can send four different audio inputs into all four Channels and split them into their respective splits.
Also, with the Pass-Through, you gain an additional output on each Channel, meaning that you have 4 extra Splits (for a total of 20 outputs). Though this is not the intended use of Pass-Through (discussed more below), you can indeed use it this way.
Again, from Matt:
While you can get 20 ouputs, the recommended setting here is to not connect the Pass jacks, but you can do.
Put your input into Channel 1, and turn on Stripe. Channel 1 will then be sent to Channnels 2, 3 and 4. Now you can turn each Channel off/on either as a Channel group with it’s Pass Switch (hence why it’s recommended not to use the Pass Jacks), and you can turn all Channels 2, 3 and 4 on and off simultaneously via the Stripe switch!
This opens the door to a lot of possibilities. Here’s a quick video to show you how to use the Stripe Feature and showcases a few of the included Combinators:
Inputs 1, 2, 3, and 4
Simply, this is where you input your audio source(s). Pretty straightforward. There are four Channels, and you can source four audio signals.
Pass-Through 1, 2, 3, and 4
Pass-Through allows you to send audio from one Channel to another. Since each Pass-Through has an on/off switch on the front of the device, this means you can “group” your splits and turn on/off all four splits of each channel with one switch. To use it, simply ensure you have an audio source going into a Channel (let’s say Channel 1, for example). Then send the Pass-Through from Channel 1 to the input of Channel 2, 3, or 4. Now, the audio source into Channel 1 is also input into Channel 2, without the need to steal a split from Channel 1 to chain Channel 1 to Channel 2 (via split A, B, C, or D). This is one other advantage Shelob has over Reason’s Spider Splitter.
Here’s a video to show you how Pass-Through operates:
Splits A through P
The Splits take whatever Audio is input into a Channel (or from a previous Channel, if Stripe is turned on), and sends it out to whatever destination you like. You can send a split out to other effect(s), or straight to a Mixer Channel or to a Mix Channel device, or other splitters. The audio can be sent to whatever audio destination you like.
That’s the Shelob utility Rack Extension in a nutshell. Hopefully, this gives you some ideas and helps you understand how to use the device. Check out the attached Combinator patches and have some fun playing with it. For less than the price of an iTunes album, it’s well worth the expense to get a little more functionality out of audio splitting. Happy Reasoning! And thanks so much Matt, for such a great addition to the Rack. Cheers mate!