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Cover image for Dear Santa, I really want a Chase Bliss Generation Loss MKII effects pedal!
Michael Tharrington for #music discussions

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Dear Santa, I really want a Chase Bliss Generation Loss MKII effects pedal!

NOTE: This has very little (possibly nothing) to do with software development, hence the #watercooler tag.

Lately, I've been gushing over Chase Bliss's recently released Generation Loss MKII effects pedal, built for guitar, synthesizers, and other instruments.

picture of Generation Loss MKII pedal

I've heard it described many ways... Chase Bliss calls it a "VHS duplicator", wrote an entertaining article called Chase Bliss Generation Loss MKII Review: A Digital Effect to Make Everything Sound Extra-Analogue, and YouTuber, David Hilowitz Music, referred to it as "an instant nostalgia machine" in this video. All apt descriptions!

The basic thing it allows you to do is simulate recording to tape — VHS, old Tascam Portastudios, reel-to-reel tape recorders, children's toy tape recorders, etc. You have individual knobs that give you control over various parameter and all the strange quirks that come with recording to tape... you can choose from different tape recorder models as mentioned above and then fine tune things like flutter and wow (kinda warbly, modulation sounds), saturation, failure (think about how crinkled tape sometimes sputters and stops), and more. It's really quite tough to describe, so if you wanna learn more, I highly recommend checking out the YouTube videos Chase Bliss has released for the pedal.

I particularly loved this 15 minute video Chase Bliss released on the pedal describing it's sounds and settings:

I have plans to use this thing with my band to create lofi hip hop beats. Whenever we practice, we like to all plug into a mixer and run our audio out through monitor speakers (or individually plug headphones into different outputs on the mixer so we can play without being too loud). If we had this pedal, we could use the AUX send/return (explanation on this here) to route all of our (or just select) instruments through the pedal to make everybody have lofi vibes!

Clearly, I'm geeking out pretty hard over this thing, haha. And yes, I know this doesn't really fit the bill for a site focused on software development, but is there a dev-y angle to this? I'm curious if anybody has thoughts on how Chase Bliss may have created this pedal and if they believe it was achieved via programming. I feel like machine learning could've potentially been involved to mimic the sounds of old tape recorders, but I honestly don't know.

Also, is anybody else hoping to get this thing for Christmas? If so, what instrument do you plan to use it on? Anybody hoping for some other kinda effects pedal or anything else musical?

Well, that's basically it. If you're listening, Santa, please bring me this pedal for Christmas! 🎅

Top comments (2)

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

A long time ago I had a plan to make an app that did this to your music:

  • add radio-tuning-like distortion, with settings for MW/LW, etc.
  • paste in random bits of adverts and news reports from different decades between tracks
  • add decade-specific DJ banter over fade-outs
  • add tape flutter or record crackle
  • stop playing at 2AM

and a few other things. I was going to call it Instant Gramophone.

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

That's freaking awesome! I particularly love your idea of interspersing random bits of adverts & DJ banter from different decades into the music, but really all the bullet point features sound great to me!

If you decide to pick that project back up, I will be happy to test it for you.

You also reminded me of an idea I had... it'd be cool to have a music service that read your location via GPS and offered you music that is local to that area. I know I know... the radio kinda does that to some extent, but really radio isn't playing purely local music, it often just plays the top hits of the day...

I'm imagining being on a road trip and wanting to hear music from folks local to that area. Maybe you could define the style of music or era you're after and you could broaden or narrow the focus area to pick up artists in a very small local area or that are from the whole state/region/etc.