Picante: 31-band Graphic Distortion


This endlessly flexible distortion is more like a scalpel than a sledgehammer, producing smooth saturation precisely where you want it. Add a little heat to one part of the sonic spectrum without toasting the whole thing. Accentuate the growl of a vocal without overemphasizing the sibilance. Bring a snare to life without making the cymbals too abrasive.

Picante works similar to a typical graphic equalizer, dividing the sonic spectrum into 31 individual frequency bands, each ⅓ of an octave in width. Raising any of these bands above the center line (0dB) results in a soft saturation which becomes increasingly aggressive with each added decibel of gain, while lowering any band simply attenuates it.

Virtuoso Charlie Arbelaez on the sax.


Picante’s main interface is a unique multislider/multispectrogram.  Each white bar of the multislider represents a frequency band ⅓ of an octave in width, ranging from 20 Hz (far left) to 20 kHz (far right), the same as a 31-band graphic equalizer.  However, unlike an equalizer, raising a band above the center line (0 dB) will result in a soft saturation distortion specifically within that frequency band.  Click and drag to quickly draw a frequency curve.  The numbers in the upper left corner display the center frequency and gain of the most recently modified band.  Each slider ranges from -30 dB to +30 dB, allowing for significant attenuation or distortion.  Superimposed behind these white bars are a pair of spectrograms displaying the input (translucent grey) and output (yellow) of the effect, providing visual comparison between the two.  Notice how raising the gain of a single band increases the energy in the bands above it.


Harmonic distortion increases the energy in the higher frequencies, resulting in a brighter sound.  Use this filter to tame that brightness by removing all energy above the specified frequency.


Control the mix between no effect (0%) and full effect (100%). 


Use this slider to control Picante’s overall output.  When this is set at 0 dB, an internal overload protector ensures that the output will never clip.

Reset Arrow

Click on the white arrow to return all controls to the default settings.  This will reset every frequency band to 0 dB (no added gain), the filter to 20 kHz (no filtering), the mix to 100% (all effect), and the output to 0 dB (no added gain). 


The menu in the upper right corner of the multispectrogram contains 15 distinctive presets.

System Requirements

Mac OSX 10.5+ or Windows 7/8/10

Ableton Live 9 Standard and Max for Live or Live 9 Suite



Designer & Programmer: Chris Warren

Testers: Serena Andrews, Kristopher Apple, Cooper Baker, Joseph Del Carpini, Christopher Donahue, Samuel Doshier, Nicholas Drashner, Kevin Haywood, Christian Kjeldsen, and Sergio Togliatti.

Special thanks to Miller Puckette, F. Richard Moore, and Jonathan Abel.

Made in California – Copyright 2015 SuperHoax