Meet Brett Wondrak (a.k.a. @bwondrak), a fantastic guitarist/ambient sound maker out of Cleveland, OH. He is our Featured Neuro Artist for the month of September, 2021. Around three years ago Brett started publishing Ventris Dual Reverb and Nemesis Delay presets on his Youtube channel, Be Here Now. The presets first showed up in the "Moments" series, his experimental live-looping project. "This channel enabled me to dive deep into my love of pedals," said Brett. "I used my Moments series as a way to explore and share my favorite sounds and tonal discoveries. This is actually a big part of what drew me to Source Audio in the beginning (aside from the obviously great sounds that can be attained with their pedals). I love sharing my presets via the Neuro app and have learned a lot from other people's Community presets." Since that time, Brett has expanded his Source Audio sound palette to include the C4 Synth and Ultrawave Multiband Processor. So let's get into it and take a deeper look into some of our favorite @bwondrak published presets. Brett was good enough to talk with us and give us a better understanding of the inspiration behind his glorious tone creations.
When he's not conjuring sonic greatness, Brett studies physical therapy, "I’m half-way through the Physical Therapy Assisting program at a local college and am currently in my first rotation of clinicals. As far as music is concerned, I have a couple projects. I’ve played in my band, Affiance since 2007. We toured extensively and released a few albums that I’m very proud of. In 2017, we decided to go on hiatus, prompting the beginning of my YouTube channel, Be Here Now."
You can download any of these presets directly to your Source Audio One Series pedals via the Neuro Editor or follow the links to download a .pre file directly to your hard drive for later use. Of course, for agreeing to be a Featured Neuro Artist, we sent Brett a Source Audio pedal of his choice - he chose the Collider Delay+Reverb - we can't wait to hear what he does with it. CLICK HERE to learn how you can become a Featured Neuro Artist.
"The Dronely One" & "Hallways On" - Ventris Dual Reverb
Let's get started with a few of Brett's earliest presets. His live-looping video titled, "Moments #18" features three of Brett's finest published presets. "The Dronely One is used for a drone in Moments #18 (a point 1:04 in the video)," Brett explains. "The Shimmer engine is set down one octave, adding an almost cello-like feel. It then cascades into an E-Dome engine that further obscures the notes and creates that smeared, billowy sound. Hallways On is one of the first presets I made with Ventris, and to this day, is still one of my favorites. Even as I’ve tried different reverb pedals and plug-ins, nothing sounds as good in my opinion. To me, Ventris has the quintessential hall sound. Hallways On is used in the intro (0:00) and ending (3:41) of Moments #18 (and in pretty much every other song I’ve written since I bought it)."
"Talking Ghosts" - Nemesis Delay
Moments #18 also includes a preset for the Nemesis Delay. "The Helix engine is already an engine that’s perfect for ambient music and was a huge selling point for me when I purchased the Nemesis Delay. I just added some depth to the tape modulation, applied a high pass filter, and cranked up the time to give it a warm, wavering, ghostly sound. Talking Ghosts is used at 1:34 in Moments #18."
"Maleficent Microwave" - C4 Synth
"Like many of my presets, Maleficent Microwave came about while I was trying to understand how each of the parameters change the overall sound. I was playing with the Q and I loved the glassy resonance it created. I added an octave down saw-wave to thicken it up and an octave fuzz to create a sizzling top end. The end result is a preset with lots of interesting harmonics."
"All I Need" - C4 Synth
We love Radiohead and it's always fun to hear musicians recreate stand-out moments from their vast catalog - this is a great Radiohead inspired preset. Brett discussed the process: "I was chasing a specific sound with All I Need. The Radiohead song by the same name has a really unique, low, gritty keyboard/synth sound that is prominently featured. I used all four voices to try and recreate this sound, and I’m happy with the results."
"Low Fidelity Cave" - Ventris Dual Reverb
"Low Fidelity Cave combines prominent reflections (due to low diffusion) with the unpredictable modulation of the Lo-Fi engine to create a unique ambiance. I changed the controls on the face of the pedal to Diffusion and Hi-Cut so that users can find their preferred balance of texture and tone."
"Tap Two Tremble" - Nemesis Delay
A very nice example of Multi-Feedback Mode (available in the Neuro Editor). This preset uses the Diffuse engine, which gives you a softer, more diffuse repeat than, for example, the Digital or Tape engines. Brett has applied the Multi-Feedback Mode to Tap 2 of the repeats which creates a nice stereo ping-pong effect with a fairly complex rhythm. The easiest way to understand Multi-Feedback Mode is to imagine “stacked” delays – in other words, one delay running into another. You can also think of it this way: if you’re in Normal Feedback Mode and you tap out half notes with Tap 2 set to dotted quarter notes, you will hear your Tap 2 repeat on the “and” after 2 & 4 and that will remain constant. If you’re in Multi-Feedback Mode with the same Tap settings, you will hear the Tap 2 repeats on the “and” after 2, then on the 4, then on the “and” after 1, and so on and so forth. Yes, it’s a little confusing, but that’s how it works. The Feedback is turned up pretty high for this preset, so it eventually settles into a beautiful wash of ambience.
"Electric Eel" - Ultrawave Multiband Processor
Yes! Some Ultrawave action. This preset uses a Diode Hard Gate Fuzz running into a fast attack Multi-band Tremolo - it's one of those presets where you just need to hit a single note and let the pedal do its thing. "Electric Eel is all about diving into the weird," Brett told us. "I imagine it being used for sustained, synth-like Morph sweeps, so I included an envelope to soften the attack and hit the front of the compressor really hard to create a long sustain."
"Warped VHS" - Nemesis Delay
"Warped VHS is a completely weird sound that I stumbled across when I was playing around with the Compound Shifter engine. It’s distorted, modulated, and reminds me of what my siblings and I would hear when VHS tapes started to go bad or were damaged."
"Tape Drone" - Ventris Dual Reverb
The Tape Drone preset is the first sound clip in this video (and BTW, you should definitely check out the entire video - lots of great presets created by a number of different Ventris owners). It takes advantage of the Ventris' Freeze function. "Tape Drone was a different approach with the Ventris reverb," said Brett. "I wanted to take advantage of the reverb hold latching and the dual cascading engines. I imagined this could be used by playing a chord, freezing it, and then playing over it. Using the Lo-Fi engine for the second reverb gives everything a warbly feel and adds a touch of distortion similar to what you might hear from an old tape. Remember Control 1 and Control 2 change the volume of each engine so it's easy to mix your latched drone and your performance over it."
"Tenet" - C4 Synth
"Tenet, is named after the movie whose soundtrack inspired it," Brett explained. "It is built on the shoulders of @thehook’s preset, Horny. It uses Envelope to Speed to create the rising helicopter sound that was prominent in the soundtrack."
"Glitched Out SEQ" - C4 Synth
A very creative use of the C4 Synth's sequencer! At its core this preset combines square, saw, and sine wave oscillators with a very slow moving combination of a 4-Pole Low-Pass and a Classic Wah filter. Filling in the background is a glitchy sounding 16-Step Sequencer pattern controlled by a Sample & Hold LFO. Yeah, there is a lot going on here, and yes, it's all coming from the C4 (plus some reverb in post production).
"Chorused Plate" - Ventris Dual Reverb
This is a relatively straight forward preset with some very nice results. Adding a bit of modulation to the Plate Reverb engine creates a rich and animated chorus effect that is embedded within the reverb trail. "Chorused Plate was another lucky discovery," said Brett. "I was playing around with the different kinds of modulation on the plate reverb and happened upon a sweet spot. This is a fantastic reverb for ambient and ethereal playing."
"Lillies" - C4 Synth
It's too bad that spring 2021 has past us by, because this would be a great preset for the season of blooming lillies! The Lillies preset takes full advantage of the C4's Polyphonic Pitch effect. Brett has two Polyphonic Pitch voices, both pitched up an octave with a subtle amount of pitch modulation to add a nice bit of depth and size.
Of course this is just a sample of @bwondrak's published presets. We highly encourage you to go into the Neuro Editor and try some of Brett's other presets created for the Ventris Dual Reverb, C4 Synth, Nemesis Delay, and Ultrawave Multiband Processor. Huge THANKS to Brett for letting us use his presets in this showcase and for taking the time to talk with us and provide a little insight on the inspiration behind each sound. We really appreciate what he's done with our gear and can't thank him enough for sharing his presets with the rest of us.
We're always on the look-out for the next Featured Neuro Artist, so keep on creating and publishing those presets with embedded sound clips! We can't wait to hear what you've done with our pedals. See you next time.
YOU TOO CAN BE A FEATURED NEURO ARTIST!!
Every month we feature an extraordinary Neuro preset creator. If we choose you as a Featured Neuro Artist, you will win a Source Audio One Series pedal of your choice. All you need to do to be eligible is publish cool presets with accompanying YouTube or SoundCloud links of the preset in action. Show us your presets!!