RPS Effects Bit Reactor


RPS Effects

The Bit Reactor is a downsampling / bit crushing effects pedal and digital noisemaker. This is an original design, handmade in London, UK and part of a limited edition run of only 10 pedals. Each pedal has its own individual serial number engraved on the back cover.

We live in an analog world. But most of the media that we encounter today is digital, meaning it's an attempt to reproduce that world with a stream of 1s and 0s. In the realm of modern electronics there's plenty enough processing power to create a crystal-clear digital copy of pretty much any analog signal. The Bit Reactor, on the other hand, explores what can happen when we take all that processing power and throw it out the window. Think of your old Atari or NES in all its 8-bit glory and you'll start to get the idea.

There are two main parameters to play around with on the Bit Reactor: bit depth and sampling frequency. Less bits means the signal levels can't be properly reproduced, and this can result in anything from a fairly subtle to a super-clipped square wave distortion. Meanwhile the sampling frequency determines the maximum frequency that can be accurately reproduced. As the sampling rate is decreased, it's possible to reproduce less and less of the frequencies present in the input signal. But rather than these frequencies simply being discarded, they reappear at a different, inharmonic frequency due to a phenomenon called aliasing.

The 8 small LEDs surrounding the middle knob represent the number of bits being used (each LED represents 1 bit); as the knob is turned clockwise, more bits are added and more LEDs are lit. The control of this knob can also be taken over by an expression pedal. The Bit Reactor will automatically detect if an expression pedal is plugged in and the player can use it to control the level of distortion, keeping his or her hands free to play the instrument.

The sampling frequency control lowers the sampling frequency as the knob is turned clockwise. At the fully clockwise position the sampling frequency will be so low that virtually no note will pass through unscathed.

Finally there is a simple output level adjustment that can boost or cut the signal as you wish.

Technical specs:

  • Bit depth: 1 - 8 bit
  • Sampling frequency: 300 Hz - 5.1 kHz
  • Output level control: +/- 20dB
  • Expression pedal max resistance: 47kO
  • Input impedance: 1MO
  • Output impedance: 1kO
  • Power supply: +9VDC, tip negative, 60mA  (power supply not included)
  • True bypass


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