February 13, 2022

Current Pedal Obsession: TKOG Mini Glitch

Mini Glitch with Volume knob mod

The complete guide to this microlooper-in-disguise

If you’da asked, I’da told you this would happen.

When The King of Gear released the Mini Glitch as Jonny-Greenwood-in-a-pedal, it was easy to see beyond this device’s superb glitching to its microlooping possibilities. Designed for Radiohead fans, this pedal has since ended up on the pedalboards of ambient, jazz, acoustic and non-guitar players.

Why the Mini Glitch is da bee’s meow

The Mini Glitch offers the most flexibility of any pedal for straight-up glitching. The glitches can be timed or random and triggered with the footswitch, by playing threshold or completely randomly. In September 2020, v1.2 of the Mini Glitch was released. It gives you the option of eliminating the “clickiness” commonly associated with glitch pedals. Many who like aggressive glitching love the clicks, but when removed from the equation, it opens up the pedal for smoother, hold-and-microlooping possibilities that non-Radiohead emulators are gravitating to.

Another factor is that Mini Glitch really has two functions: random glitching and timed microlooping. Microlooping lets you play with the repeats and glitching lets you play against them.

If you have a v1.1 board (as noted when you remove the bottom plate) TKOG will update the code for you for the cost of shipping. For a fee they can also install a jumper to switch between clickless and clicky code or add a volume knob (as I’ve done with mine in the photo and I highly recommend). You can contact them at: thekingofgear at gmail dot com for arrangements.

What can Mini Glitch do beyond glitching a distorted signal?

Many of these how-tos mimic familiar effects, but are achieved in the Mini Glitch’s unique ways. I’m sure you want to hear what the pedal itself sounds like, so no other pedals were used unless noted. All demos with a Beat Root tongue drum and the v1.2 code.

Microlooper

Even when not engaged, the Mini Glitch is always recording. So you get a loop of 8ms to 1000ms of whatever is in memory when you hit the footswitch. When the Sample Size knob is at 5p, this creates a 60-bpm rhythm. For a rhythmic repeat behind your playing:

  • Set the Mode Switch to Latch by holding the footswitch while flicking the toggle to Switch.
  • Set the Sample Size knob anywhere except Random. (You’ll find it most useful at 12n or later for rhythm.)
  • Set the Dry switch to Dry Pass.

Play something and immediately hold the footswitch. There’s a dropout at the loop seam that creates a rhythm, even if all you’ve recorded is noise. If you like the idea of simple accompaniment but don’t like the complexities of a looper, Mini Glitch is worth the board space. The demo has a few examples of playing over the loop.


A sorta freeze

Not like a true freeze pedal (that takes a few milliseconds of sound and blends it into a often-boring hum) the glitches can be made short and soft to sound like a freeze run through a fast, square-wave tremolo.

  • Make sure the Latch mode in off by flicking the Mode switch to Threshold and then back to Switch.
  • Set the Sample Size knob to 9a.
  • Set the Dry switch to Dry Pass.

This effect works best when the internal Output trimmer has been turned down a little bit. I wait a two-count after the initial attack before hitting the footswitch. This captures smoother sustain for a subtle pad, but if you want the harshness of the attack you can engage closer to the strike. The demo has no processing afterwards so you can hear what the raw effect sounds like. Follow it with a little reverb to help blend the seams.


Saw-wave tremolo

This takes tremolo to new places, coming up under your playing and remaining while sustain dies out.

  • Make sure the Latch mode in off by flicking the Mode switch to Threshold and then to Switch.
  • Set the Sample Size knob to any speed except Random. (10a is a good starting point.)
  • Set the Dry switch to Dry Pass.

Engage it on sustains or hold it and play new notes overtop.


Randolo

This continually samples and repeats at random intervals behind playing, somewhat like a random tremolo.

  • Set the Mode switch to Random.
  • Set the Sample Size knob to Random.
  • Set the Dry switch to Dry Pass.
  • Engage the footswitch. (It may not turn blue immediately since blue indicates the MG is playing back.)

You can adjust the speed of random changes by holding the footswitch and turning the Sample Size knob (9a for quick, 5p for slow).


Rando gate

Similar to above but without the dry signal. This randomly gates, then stutters your signal. It’s the Jonny Greenwood effect that Mini Glitch was designed for. This can be a cool effect following a freeze or reverb pedal and before a delay to add some personality.

  • Set the Mode switch to Random.
  • Set the Sample Size knob to Random
  • Set the Dry switch to Dry Mute.
  • Engage the footswitch. (It may not turn blue immediately since blue indicates random playback.)

You can adjust the speed of random changes by holding the footswitch and turning the Sample Size knob (9a for quick, 5p for slow).

And here’s a fun one of birds done with the above settings and the Electro Faustus Photo Theremin as the sound source:

Maybe Mini Glitch should be a requirement for all theremins.


A sorta delay

The Threshold mode can be used as an auto-looper with a new loop playing every time you hit a chord or note that’s louder than the threshold.

  • Set the Mode switch to Threshold.
  • Set the Sample Size knob for delay length (9a for about 50ms, 5p for 1 sec)
  • Set the Dry switch to Dry Pass.

To mimic a delay: play a chord, wait two or three repeats then strike again. For this, you may want to turn down the output volume with the internal trimmer. You can set the sensitivity of the threshold by holding the footswitch and turning the Sample Size knob up to trigger (or not trigger) with softer playing.


A sorta ring mod

A little secret of the Mini Glitch: The Threshold and Switch mode slowly fade out over time. This takes minutes with longer samples, but when samples are super short and you get ring modulation with noticeable fade.

  • Set the Mode switch to Threshold.
  • Set the Sample Size knob to its shortest length (about 8a).
  • Set the Dry switch to Dry Mute.

You can set the sensitivity of the threshold by holding the footswitch and turning the Sample Size knob up to trigger with softer playing.


Reducing the sample to digital noise

Turning the Sample Size knob when a sample is repeating will resample the sample and turn it into digital scratching.

  • Set the Mode switch to Latch by holding the footswitch while flicking the toggle to Switch.
  • Set the Sample Size knob anywhere.
  • Set the Dry switch to Dry Pass.
  • Play and tap the footswitch to repeat the loop.

You can now corrupt the sample by tweaking the Sample Size knob. The more you turn, the more it resamples and corrupts until you’re left with a digital buzzing. The pitch will also change with faster turning of the knob.


Glitch the glitch

Another way to corrupt a longer sample is to cut into it or add dropouts by punching-in with the footswitch.

  • Make sure the Latch mode in off by flicking the Mode switch to Threshold and then to Switch.
  • Set the Sample Size knob to 5p.
  • Play something and hold the footswitch.
  • Quickly lift up and then hold the footswitch again.

Each time you quickly let up and then hold while playing, more audio will be cut into the existing sample. If you’re not playing, you can create drop-outs in the loop.


Pedals before and after

While the Mini Glitch specializes in unadulterated glitching, it’s easy to control its personality with pedals before and after. If you’re looking for traditional Greenwood sounds, MG is designed so dirt before and after work well, but here are some ideas that will help you decide where the Mini Glitch lives in your chain:

Pedals before Since Mini Glitch stutters and repeats your signal, it’s excellent for following and corrupting things that can become monotonous like freezes, ambience, drones and pads. Mini Glitch’s random nature can take the monotony out of sustain, hold, reverb and looper loops. Since the Threshold mode has a trigger, placing compression before the Mini Glitch will make triggering more consistent.

Pedals after While Mini Glitch on random settings can relieve monotony in pedals before it in the chain, it can cause monotony when used as a 1-second looper. The repeats benefit from slow modulation (like flanger or phase) after it in the chain. Reverb works well to soften the seams of glitches. Delay can sync with repeats on the microloop settings, or can be completely off kilter with the random settings to spice up your delay. Since the Threshold mode has a trigger, placing compression after the Mini Glitch instead of before will give you more control of whether the trigger will fire or not, making it easier to trigger on chords, and play over it on softer solos.

Because there are so many glitching possibilities within the Mini Glitch, you might consider it’s own parallel effects loop. Pitch shifting and modulation can work well in a loop.

My take

I don’t think of the Mini Glitch pedal as glitch pedal at all. If you do, it limits your thinking of all the uses for this pedal. At its core its a sample repeater, but it’s a chameleon capable of mimicking of delay, freeze, tremolo, etc., or just randomizing your playing. While full-bore glitching may not be your thing, Mini Glitch can add a lot of quirky capability to your pedalboard. For the spectators: 9v, 100mA, SPIN chip, analog dry, not true bypass.


Does TKOG pay me to endorse their pedal? Nada cent. I bought this pedal, paid to have it modded and did this how-to because I actually use it. So if you’ve found this useful, buying me a coffee is much appreciated.


Why buy me a coffee? No third-party ads, no affiliate links, no tracking cookies. Just honest content. Thanks.


music Pedalurgy


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