Click anywhere on the interface to jump to a control’s definition.

Meet Wow Control: an audio plugin entirely focused on the weird & wild ~modulations~ of analog tape and other less-than-perfect analog playback devices. In developing Wow Control, we set out to accurately capture the essence of three tape machines spanning three decades: every noise, every wobble, & every harmonic. The plugin that has resulted is the most comprehensive analog tape model we’ve ever heard.

Wow Control expands and improves upon the wow & flutter section from the classic Vulf Compressor — bringing more expressive shape controls, beat-syncing, and an extensive randomization section for creating complex and unpredictable modulation effects. At its extreme settings, it will bend and distort anything that it touches. Used gently, however, it can breathe a little life or movement into individual mix elements or bring color and richness to an entire master.

You can keep your trusty 424 around if you want, but you no longer need to if you own a copy of Wow Control.

Background

Turntables & Tape Machines

Anyone who’s put on a warped record has heard their music bend and wobble as it moves unevenly under the stylus. Similarly, if a tape player reel, capstan, or pinch-roller doesn’t spin smoothly (or isn’t perfectly round) the tape will speed up and slow down under the repro head. The speed of this movement directly correlates with the pitch of the audio: moving the media too quickly sounds high pitched, while moving it too slowly sounds low pitched. These continuous pitch changes, exhibited by all turntables and tape machines (to some degree), are called wow & flutter.

What Are Wow & Flutter Specifically?

Wow & flutter are repeating, gradual pitch shifts where the wow repeats slowly and the flutter repeats more quickly. Together, they create a wobbly feel that is more expressive and less mechanical than traditional modulation effects.

How exactly wow & flutter are related is easiest to see by looking at a graph:

Wow & Flutter AloneWow & Flutter AloneWow is slow and deep. Flutter is fast and shallow.

Wow & Flutter TogetherWow & Flutter TogetherTogether, wow & flutter make a more interesting waveform.

Controls

Primary Controls

Shape

Amount

Adjusts the depth of the wow & flutter modulation .

0% is no modulation. 100% is maximum modulation.

The maximum depth is set by Amount Multiplier.

  • Min 0%
  • Max 100%
  • Default 15%

Amount Multiplier

Scales the range of Amount by a multiple.

Shape

Blends the pitch modulation shape between square , sine , and triangle .

  • Min 0%
  • Max 100%
  • Default 0%

Wet/Dry

Controls the blend of the wow & flutter signal with the dry, uneffected signal.

0% is all dry signal. 100% is all wow & flutter signal. 50% is an equal blend of the dry and the wow & flutter signals that produces interesting phasing and comb-filtering effects.

  • Min 0%
  • Max 100%
  • Default 100%

Rate

Rate Mode

Determines how the wow speed is set.

Speed

Controls the wow & flutter speed in hertz (Hz).

Speed is active when Rate Mode is set to Hz.

  • Min 0.1Hz
  • Max 20Hz
  • Default 0.55Hz

Note

Sets the wow & flutter speed based on musical note durations, ranging from a whole note: 1, to a thirty-second note: 1/32.

The Note control supports clicking, dragging, and the arrow keys. Use Shift + or to “lock” the current row when changing notes.

Note, BPM, and Tempo Sync are all active when Rate Mode is set to BPM.

  • Min 1
  • Max 1/32
  • Default 1/4

BPM

Wow Control’s tempo in beats per minute (BPM).

BPM can be set via tap tempo. Use f or j when the control is highlighted to tap in your desired tempo.

  • Min 30BPM
  • Max 300BPM
  • Default 120BPM

Tempo Sync

Determines how the tempo (BPM) is set: either manually or synced from the host/DAW.

Analog

Analog On/Off

Turns On or Off Wow Control’s Analog section.

Analog Color

Controls the amount of analog-modeled coloration of the frequency spectrum.

At 0%, the frequency response is perfectly flat. At 100%, the frequency response matches the real-world response of the modeled tape machine. At settings above 100%, the response is intensified, and the analog model exhibits slightly higher noise levels.

  • Min 0%
  • Max 200%
  • Default 100%

Analog Saturation

Controls the amount of analog-modeled saturation.

At 0%, no distortion or saturation occurs. At 100%, the distortion matches the real-world response of the modeled tape machine. At settings above 100%, the distortion is greatly intensified.

Analog Saturation includes a level meter embedded in the slider. This meter shows the peak level of the signal after the Color and Saturation have been applied.

If the signal peak exceeds or equals 0.0dB the meter color turns darker red, indicating that clipping could occur. Wow Control will never clip internally, due to its double-precision floating-point processing, but the signal might be clipped at a later stage (by the host/DAW or DAC).

  • Min 0%
  • Max 200%
  • Default 100%

Analog Mode

Selects the analog tape model used for the entire Analog section.

Tape TypeAboutFreq. ResponseSNR (A-Weighted)
15 IPSReel-to-reel machine running at 15 inches per second (ips). The most “hi-fi” Analog Mode in Wow Control. Features strong 3rd-order harmonics and a beefy low end.20Hz – 20kHz (±3dB)-68 dB
7.5 IPSReel-to-reel machine running at 7.5 inches per second (ips). Features strong 3rd and 2nd-order harmonics and a rounder sound.18Hz – 13kHz (±3dB)-67 dB
Cassette4-track cassette machine running at 1⅞ inches per second (ips). Features significant saturation with strong 3rd-order harmonics, particularly in the low end.24Hz – 10 kHz (±3dB)-61 dB

At their default settings, each Analog Mode produces some noise. To adjust the noise level, use the advanced Analog Noise Gain control.

Advanced Controls

The Advanced section offers more precise control and fine adjustment options.

To access Wow Control’s advanced controls, click the ••• icon in the sidebar.

Trim

Input Gain

Controls the input gain before it hits Wow Control’s processing.

Input Gain includes a level meter embedded in the slider. This meter shows the peak level of the signal before it hits Wow Control’s processing.

If the signal peak exceeds or equals 0.0dB the meter color turns darker red, indicating that clipping could occur. Wow Control will never clip internally, due to its double-precision floating-point processing, but the signal might be clipped at a later stage (by the host/DAW or DAC).

  • Min -24dB
  • Max 12dB
  • Default 0dB

Output Gain

Controls the output gain after Wow Control’s processing.

Output Gain includes a level meter embedded in the slider. This meter shows the peak level of the signal after Wow Control’s processing.

If the signal peak exceeds or equals 0.0dB the meter color turns darker red, indicating that clipping could occur. Wow Control will never clip internally, due to its double-precision floating-point processing, but the signal might be clipped at a later stage (by the host/DAW or DAC).

  • Min -24dB
  • Max 12dB
  • Default 0dB

Misc

Stereo Phase

Alters the stereo phase of the wow & flutter modulation.

  • At , each channel’s modulation is exactly the same.
  • At 180°, the modulation is completely out of phase. This produces a wider stereo image and interesting doubling effects.
  • Min 0°
  • Max 360°
  • Default 0°

Phase Offset

The Phase Offset makes it possible to offset where the pitch modulation shape occurs in time (generally most useful when Wow Control is synced to the beat).

By default, the downbeat aligns with the start of downward modulation. This means that moments of zero delay will occur on downbeats.

  • Min 0°
  • Max 360°
  • Default 0°

Flutter Amount

Varies the amount of flutter in the pitch modulation.

  • 0% results in long, smooth wow modulation.
  • 100% brings the flutter up to max for a quickly changing, wobbly sound.
  • Min 0%
  • Max 100%
  • Default 50%

Analog Noise Gain

Controls the gain of the analog noise.

At 0 dB, the analog noise level matches that of the modeled real-world analog device.

Though it might seem wise to always turn Off the analog noise, we recommend leaving it On as much as possible and instead turning it down as needed. Unlike some tape plugins, Wow Control’s noise is not simply added white noise. As with a real tape machine, the noise is also affected and modulated by the signal and will have a significant impact on the distortion and overall sound.

You can quickly turn toggle the analog noise On or Off by clicking the small sidebar “noise” icon.

  • Min -96dB
  • Max 24dB
  • Default -6dB

Wet Delay

Wet Delay controls the overall delay of the wow & flutter signal.

Automate it for entirely custom pitch shifting, or combine with >$WetDryMix to create flanging effects or echoes.

  • Min 0ms
  • Max 500ms
  • Default 0ms

Random

The Random section allows many of Wow Control’s controls to be moved randomly over time. This helps add more variability and unpredictability to the wow & flutter modulation.

Random Mode

Selects which control(s) should be randomized.

Random Speed

Controls how fast the random values are chosen.

  • Min 0.1Hz
  • Max 10Hz
  • Default 1Hz

Random Amount

Controls how far the random values can stray from the actual control’s value.

Example: if Random Mode is set to 100%, the random values will fluctuate between ±50% of the actual control’s value.

  • Min 0%
  • Max 200%
  • Default 100%

Random Smoothing

Controls how smoothly the random values move from one to another.

200% produces the smoothest sounding randomization, whereas 25% will yield fast, jumpy control movements.

  • Min 25%
  • Max 200%
  • Default 100%

HQ Mode

HQ Mode is our no-holds-barred processing mode where super high quality audio is given priority over CPU usage. When HQ Mode is turned ON, Wow Control’s processing is internally oversampled, providing better high frequency resolution and reduced aliasing.

We recommend using HQ Mode when you need the highest possible quality and don’t mind 2-4x higher CPU usage (depending on the sample rate). An important lead instrument/vocal or master bus is a great place for HQ Mode.

HQ Mode will require more CPU resources and result in a slightly higher processing delay (latency). To ensure proper delay compensation in your host/DAW, automating HQ Mode is not recommended.

Specs

Supported Channel Configurations

Input Channel # Output Channel #
1 1
1 2
2 2

Acknowledgements

  • Alexander Bersen
  • Chris Conover
  • Tyler Duncan
  • Connor B. Fitz
  • Annlie Huang
  • Theo Katzman
  • TaeHo Park
  • Mark Schleunes
  • Jack Stratton
  • Drew Yeaton
  • Diana Zheng

About Goodhertz Plugins

User Interface

Goodhertz plugins are made to be workhorse tools that sound amazing. We’ve put a lot of thought and care into the audio quality and plugin usability, and for that reason, we’ve opted for simple and direct controls & interfaces that don’t rely on photorealistic knobs or ornamental screw heads to communicate their meaning.

We’ve also decided to only include meters and graphs when we feel they will directly lead to a better sonic result. Meters/graphs can consume significant CPU resources, and we firmly believe that if it sounds good, it is good.

Our meters can be manually enabled or disabled via the “Enable Metering” User Preference.

Keyboard Shortcuts

ActionKeyboard Shortcut
Enter New Parameter ValueOnce you’re tapped or double-tapped a control, type in a value, then hit Enter, Return, or Tab
Increment Parameter Value or arrow keys
Decrement Parameter Value or arrow keys
Jump to Next ParameterTab
Jump to Previous ParameterShift + Tab or ` (backtick)
Escape Parameter Focus / Close any Open DrawersEsc
Toggle A/BA (N.B. For this to work, you must have a control selected.)
Shift A to B / Shift B to AShift + A — this “shifts” the current settings to the opposite A/B state; i.e. if you’re on the A state, hitting Shift+A will copy those settings to the B state. (N.B. For this to work, you must have a control selected.)

Right-Click Actions

ActionInstruction
Reset Control to DefaultRight-Click & select “Reset [control] to Default”
Read about Control in ManualRight-Click & select “Read about [control]”
Lock a control when Switching PresetsRight-Click & select “Lock [control] When Switching Presets”
Copy all current plugin settingsRight-Click & select “Copy all settings as URL to Clipboard”
Paste all plugin settingsRight-Click & select “Paste all settings from Clipboard”
Reset all plugin settings to defaultRight-Click & select “Reset all settings to default”
Go to the plugin’s product pageRight-Click & select “Goodhertz [plugin name]”

Right-Click Preferences

ActionExplanation
Always Open Advanced PaneBy default, this is false — i.e. when the plugins open, they do not show you the advanced controls available by hitting the ••• button in the sidebar. If you’d like to always see the advanced controls, enable this preference.
Enable MeteringBy default, this is true — i.e. in normal operation, all audio meters and visualizations available in Goodhertz plugins are enabled and running. If you’d like to turn them off and disable all metering and visualization, deselect this option. And to turn them back on, simply reselect it. N.B. If you’re struggling to use a large number of Goodhertz plugins on an older processor with an integrated GPU, sometimes disabling metering can help.
Enable Scroll InputBy default, all Goodhertz sliders can be scrolled in addition to dragged. If you find this behavior unnecessary, deselect this option and no scrolling events will be used to control Goodhertz sliders.
Window SizeEnlarge or shrink the Goodhertz plugin window by selecting an option here. This will save your preference for all instances of this plugin.

Mouse Modifiers

ActionCombination (Mac)Combination (Windows)
Reset Parameter to Default ValueOption + ClickAlt + Click
Move Control with Coarse PrecisionShift + DragShift + Drag
Move Control with Fine PrecisionCommand + DragCtrl + Drag
Move Control with Normal PrecisionDragDrag

Automation

Unintentional digital clicks and pops are the worst. They happen for lots of reasons and often end up wasting time with needless revisions or mastering surgery. When they go unnoticed, they can make their way onto commercial albums and releases.

Plugin automation is a common cause of clicks and pops. Sweeping an EQ band, changing a delay setting, and even automating a plugin bypass can cause digital artifacts if poorly handled.

This is not true for Goodhertz plugins. Any parameter in a Goodhertz plugin, even on/off switches, can be automated freely and smoothly without clicks, pops, or zipper noises (unless otherwise noted). You can push them, pull them, LFO them — whatever you do, they’ll handle it gracefully.

Since our Master On/Off controls won’t create artifacts, we recommend that you use them rather than your DAW-supplied plugin bypass if you want to disable plugin processing.

Plugin Settings

Goodhertz plugin settings can be copied and pasted as text urls, which look like this: https://goodhertz.co/vulf-comp/3.0.9?cm=0&wf=0&lf=100&lfc=50

To copy and paste, right click anywhere on the plugin interface and select either the copy or the paste option.

E.g. If you paste “https://goodhertz.co/vulf-comp/3.0.9?cm=0&wf=0&lf=100&lfc=50” into Vulf Compressor it will recall the settings associated with that url. This way you can easily send an exact plugin setting to someone — in an email or even a tweet — without any guesswork or screenshots.

System Requirements

Mac OS X ≥ 10.9

Audio Unit 64-Bit, VST 64-Bit, VST3 64-Bit, or AAX 64-Bit host

Windows ≥ 7

VST 64-Bit, VST3 64-Bit, or AAX 64-Bit host

Contact Support

To send plugin feedback, please e-mail us at feedback@goodhertz.com.

If you have a quick question, send us a tweet @Goodhertz. We’re often able to respond faster to tweets than emails.

If you’re having trouble, experiencing a technical issue, or you think you’ve found a bug, please email support@goodhertz.com.

Find all our contact info & bug-reporting protocol on the contact page.