Catalinbread CSIDMAN Glitch/Stutter Guitar Effects Pedal
Having released acclaimed echo and delay units in past years such as the Adineko, Belle Epoch, Echorec, and now discontinued Montavillian, there was plenty of buzz when Catalinbread unveiled two new designs at this past January’s NAMM show. The Bicycle Delay was released first and has proven popular with guitarists looking for colorful pitch-shifting weirdness. Released next was the CSIDMAN, a delay inspired equally by glitch-employing sound manipulators and skipping CD players.
The CSIDMAN provides 5 controls: Mix for wet-dry balance, Feed for amount of regeneration, Time for delay time and glitch rate, Cuts for the buffer memory length, and Latch for the amount of time the effect is in the glitching state. Cuts and Latch are the two main parameters in the stuttering sound you are probably seeking here, but the other three controls are key to keeping the effect under control.
When Latch is turned fully counter-clockwise, the CSIDMAN will function as a regular digital delay with filter-free clean repeats, featuring a delay time of up to 725ms. Between the 9′ and 10′ o clock position on Latch is where the glitch behaviors become more apparent. From this point, the Mix and Feedback knobs will be your allies in helping you rein in the stammering trails and swells, whether you want the sound to be digital whispers and sputters underneath your quieter passages to something akin to possessed computer screaming out as it malfunctions.
Turning up the Latch past about 1 o’clock or so with the Time in a similar setting past noon brought slowly creeping waves of mangled, ghostly noise. A swarm composed of fragments takes over your speakers, sounding like chirping robotic insects on faster delay times to randomly cut phrases on longer times as the noise grows larger and louder. Rolling back the Feed to between 11′ and 12′ o’ clock positions and below tames the effect to a more usable area for most players, but scaling down the Latch will also help instead of dialing down the amount of regeneration you want. If there is ever an update in the future to the CSIDMAN’s design I would love to see an expression jack added to control Time and/or Latch on the fly, maybe even a mini toggle to choose which parameter you want assigned to the expression pedal.
I found myself enjoying this pedal most when set more subtly. Adjusting slightly from the “ambient behavior” suggestion on Catalinbread’s website, I set Mix to 10′, Feed to 12.5′, Cuts to 11′, Latch to 12′, and Time to 2′. Whether I was playing clean or setting the Earthquaker Devices Sound Projector 25 used to test the CSIDMAN to just past starting to overdrive, the gurgles and trails of fragmented riffs were easily manipulated with the dynamics of your playing, making them as present or transparent as I wanted.
The effect of playing dynamics on the CSIDMAN was the challenge that made me love this pedal. Tweaking settings and learning how to get the effect I wanted out of it on command, I learned the threshold can fluctuate a bit depending on how your controls are set. The pedal takes the strongest signal hitting the input and sends it into its glitch state, while softer signals can vary between standard delay repeats and light stutters. Those softer signals are not necessarily sent into heavy skipping CD behavior, though. It does require a little bit of time, but learning where the threshold made by how you set the CSIDMAN is and then adjusting your playing dynamics to emphasize what you want sent into the glitch state kicks open the creative potential available here.
When put behind a distortion or fuzz, the CSIDMAN’s glitchy aspects can get a little lost, with the mix needing to be turned up for it to really stand out. Using more tightly set distortions or overdrives yielded easier to control results than behind heavy, wild fuzzes. As mentioned above, players aiming for stuttering gain-soaked riffs and lines will have to work a bit on the dynamics and articulation of their playing to make it work for them. The CSIDMAN does play nice with other pedals though, and works well for spacey soundscapes when paired with reverb, modulation, and stacked with other delays.
Catalinbread has created a cool new delay option for guitarists here, building on their already stellar reputation for innovative new takes on classic effects. The CSIDMAN is more versatile than its unusual nature would suggest, as long as you are willing to take the time to get to know its range and capabilities.
-Eric Lucero, Pitbull Audio Product Specialist
- TIME Controls the echo delay line’s delay time up to 725mS, as well as the rate of the glitch.
- MIX Gives you control over the wet/dry balance from 100% wet to 100% dry.
- FEED Controls the amount of feedback going back into the unit.
- CUTS (used in conjunction with the LATCH knob) controls the buffer memory length.
- LATCH controls the relative time in a cycle that the CSIDMAN is in a latching skipping state. When full counterclockwise, it doesn’t skip, allowing you to use the pedal as a traditional digital delay. When full clockwise, the unit is stuck repeating whatever is in the buffer memory. At noon, this knob is a 50/50 balance (though random) between a skip-playback state and non-skip sample state.
Strukture S6P48 Right-Angle Guitar Patch Cable 6 in.
Length: 6 in.
High quality woven outer covering
State-of-the-art shrink-wrap sleeve
Thick ABS sleeve protects solder connections
Dual right angle connectors
TIME Controls the echo delay line’s delay time up to 725mS, as well as the rate of the glitch.
MIX Gives you control over the wet/dry balance from 100% wet to 100% dry.
FEED Controls the amount of feedback going back into the unit.
CUTS (used in conjunction with the LATCH knob) controls the buffer memory length.
LATCH controls the relative time in a cycle that the CSIDMAN is in a latching skipping state. When full counterclockwise, it doesn’t skip, allowing you to use the pedal as a traditional digital delay. When full clockwise, the unit is stuck repeating whatever is in the buffer memory. At noon, this knob is a 50/50 balance (though random) between a skip-playback state and non-skip sample state.
For skipping CD behaviors:
MIX full clockwise
FEED full counter-clockwise, though turning it up creates cool overloading effects that responds to playing dynamics.
TIME to taste
CUTS above noon
LATCH above noon
For an “ambient collaborator” behavior:
MIX Noon or to taste.
FEED anywhere turning it up creates cool overloading effects that responds to playing dynamics, but can run away regardless of MIX setting.
TIME to taste, but I like starting from 9 to 12 O’clock
CUTS just below noon
For a traditional digital delay set up:
Set your LATCH knob full counter-clockwise, ignore the CUTS knob, and use your TIME, MIX, FEED knobs for the desired sound as you would a traditional delay.