Catalin Bitters

Sale price$209.99



In 2004, the Alesis company released a series of effects geared towards tabletop musicians and DJs. This series was called "ModFX" and featured seven relatively pedestrian effect types, including vocoder, tremolo, compression, phaser, flanger, and filter. The seventh one, however, was a beast all its own among its ModFX peers and pedals in general. It is called the Bitrman. Our Bitters distills the madness of this circuit, fixing up the original’s shortcomings and trimming the fat to deliver an infinitely more usable version. Occupying the darkest corner of the soundscaping realm, the Bitters will give you lush, usable effects or completely render your signal into a puddle of digital mess. Just like the original, the Bitters pairs just as well with synths, drum machines, and DAWs as it does with electric guitar and bass. And since the original didn’t have a mix control of any kind, the Bitters is infinitely more usable than the original ever was. The Bitters is essentially a multi-effects device on steroids, giving you individual knobs for distortion and phaser, along with a third user-selectable program called "Bitters." This program can be one of four different effects: Decimator, Bitcrusher, Frequency Modulation, and Ring Modulation. These three effects are run in series, but you can reverse the order such that Bitters comes first for some complete sonic mayhem.


  • Distort: Imparts a tastefully appointed and harmonically rich digital distortion whose gain increases as the knob is turned up. When all the way down, the distortion circuit is removed from the signal path.

  • Mix: Sorely missed in the original, the mix control lets you blend your pre-Bitters signal in with the output of the Bitters. Turn the control all the way down to hear just your dry signal, turn all the way up for full wet.

  • Bitters: The function of this knob is mode dependent, and you can select one of four different programs, listed below. Turning this knob to zero removes it from the signal path. Each program is listed twice. This lets you select the order in which these knobs occur in the signal path. The ">" symbol next to the program means that the order of the programs is "Distortion → Phaser → Bitters," while "<" means that the order is "Bitters → Phaser → Distortion."

  • Dual: Turning this up increases the speed of a deep sine-wave phase shifter. Like the original, this phaser ranges from slow and syrupy to a lightning fast 20 Hz, beyond the limits of most phasers. Turning this knob down decreases the rate to 0 Hz, which puts the phaser out of the circuit.

Program Wheel:

  • Decimator: Every manufacturer that tapped into this effect type had their own name for sample rate reduction, and this is what Alesis called it. It samples your input signal and lowers that sample rate, which introduces Nyquist aliasing.

  • Bitcrusher: This reduces the fidelity of the input signal all the way down to one bit for some true digital destruction. Because this also introduces noise, we’ve applied a noise gate to keep it in check.

  • Frequency Modulation: Otherwise known as pitch vibrato, you can dial ours down to a subtle warble (and use the mix control to get a killer chorus sound!) or let it rip and tear the signal up like Alesis intended.

  • Ring Modulator: Though it sounds like outer space noises, the humble ring modulator is a tremolo with an extremely fast modulation. This introduces additive and subtractive frequencies relative to the input signal and the carrier frequency.

Power Supply

The Bitters accepts a center-negative DC power supply from 9 to 18 volts.

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