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Thread To Break The Forum Silence



Ahh, I’ve been down this road and at some point realized that while I’m quite good with coding and circuits, I really suck at working with physical things like wood and metal. So everything I built ended up way too flimsy to be properly used :smiley:

What are you planning on doing? Capacitive touch? Just sliders and Knobs? Joysticks? Or something completely different?


I know what you mean, I am lucky, I am quite old and have made quite a lot of physical things in the past and can cut and drill things straight :joy:

It’s still in development, but I am starting out really simple, mainly knobs and buttons! My current thinking is knobs, momentary buttons and latching buttons!

A joystick would be interesting, but I think the Planar has the crown there and I am not about reinventing the wheel; I’ll have to see if I can pick one up, although I have picked up an old Atari controller which might also be fun to hack.

The ‘touch’ interfaces for me are all lacking in some way, I just can’t find anything that really makes me go wow, but it’s not really what I want anyway. I just want very simple control, really nicely spaced out UI.

I am considering i2c - this would make a lot of sense - but the multi-master thing is the main problem there, I would want two things to act as master and no-one has sorted the code out for that yet. I may end up taking a crack at it, but it feels onerous!


I think that physical control is by far the greatest struggle of modular synthesis or even electronic music in general. There’s a physicality to most musical instruments that is just entirely missing in electronic music. Most of the time, you’re interacting with knobs, buttons and sliders, which are already at least one layer of abstraction away from the sound when compared to something like the string of a guitar, with which you can quite literally bend the sound it makes with your fingers.

Add to that the idea of generalizing controllers (since the instrument can change at any point, the controller has to adapt as well) and you’re getting into a UI nightmare that I don’t think anyone has really found a way out of so far. It has however been my impression that the more designers try to generalize, the worse the controller becomes.

I think the best approach is really to build a controller yourself that is made to interact with a specific system and has controls that are created for a singular purpose. Then don’t change anything about your setup for a few years and study what you can do and slowly iterate on it. I think Robert Henkes Monodeck is a good example for something like this (of course with a different purpose). It’s just very hard to get it right.


I think you are spot on here :smiley:

I started doing electronics work a few years ago as a way to get myself to a point where I could build these things myself. I am finally there, it’s taken a long time, but it’s been a very enjoyable journey.

I still have a lot to do, of course, but once I have the remaining tools in place I will be able to do literally anything - this is quite exciting.

I am watching the 16n project closely, that seems to address a lot of the questions I have and I think it’s awesome tat it’s open source - I plan on borrowing ideas from there - as I have done with the Mutable Instruments designs - these people are so cool and generous :slight_smile:


It ended up being what Don Buchla focused on from 1990-2002. I’m excited that the SSP supports MPE so I can use the Linnstrument with it (and as a result, the rest of the rack, including ER-301).


That’s interesting - how does this work?


It has a USB input that you can just plug any class-compliant midi device into. It understands MPE and I’m sure you can then translate the incoming midi into cv and output it, then send it to other modules.


I see… thanks for the explanation :slight_smile:


Talking of massively parallel computing, the new Xoac devices Odessa additive synthesis module can generate up to 2500 partials! It really looks the business. I really like these very complex ‘macro controlled’ voices.

Xaoc Devices presents:

1975 Variable Spectrum Harmonic Cluster Oscillator

Very mature prototupe units available on Superbooth18, table E220!
· Additive synthesis engine
· 2500 harmonic partials generated
· Straightforward user interface
· Through-zero linear frequency modulation
· Detuneable clusters of up to 5 voices
· 24hp
· Approx. 420 EUR

Odessa implements the principle of additive synthesis controlled by a set of carefully tailored marco parameters to harness thousands of sinusoidal partials that altogether form the resulting sound.

The interface is kept simple and accessible, so you can easily build rich and full, great sounding timbres of very complex spectra, that can be either harmonic or inharmonic. Even though inharmonic spectra yield non-periodic waveforms, all partials are frequency related to the common fundamental controlled by a V/oct input. The series of harmonics can be squeezed or spread apart, tilt, and pruned by a comb-like frequency response, resulting in a variety of unearthy sounds. Animating the comb response yields radical effects similar to flanging and phasing. Additional, often sought after features are implemented: through-zero linear frequency modulation, and unison detune: up to 5 copies of the sound can be spread apart for a fat and dense cluster of voices.

There are nine parameters, each controlled by a dedicated knob, so the workflow is as smooth and immediate as possible. Furthermore, every parameter has a dedicated CV input, allowing live animation for organic audio effects. Odessa sports two main outputs for banks of harmonic partials that can be further scaled in frequency, as well as an additional output that can either spit out a square wave or a a single sinusoid of the fundamental frequency. Interesting spatial effects, crazy modulation feedbacks as well as synchronisation is possible that way.

The hardware is based on a powerful FPGA chip offering massive parallel computing. The synthesized signal is devoid of aliasing through the entire audio range thanks to intrinsically bandlimited algorithm. A simplified spectral analyzer helps you to keep a visual track of what is actually happening to the harmonics.

For even more control over Odessa, you can use our Leibniz subsystem (or just the Lipsk) that can be connected to a header at the back of the module.


Beat me to it! Following this one, and anticipating the upcoming videos on it :+1:


Yeah, this module stood out of the revelations of Superbooth so far. However, with that level of internal complexity, I’m wondering a bit whether I might just prefer building a thing in Max that does similar things to get at the finer details when necessary. From what I’ve found in my experiments with additive synthesis, I have trouble imagining that they’ve found a way of introducing generally applicable and yet musical gestures to this form of synthesis. Which is to say that I don’t know how anyone would map this sort of thing to so few knobs properly without losing all the things that make additive synthesis great. I’ll be very interested to see whether they have managed to do this. Very excited for videos of it for that reason.


It looks like pretty interesting, Razor in your case!!


Yeah, I said the same thing about Modal synthesis until Elements - also a (okay quite odd!) form of additive synthesis.

Sometimes it can work, so likewise very interested to see how this plays out in practice :slight_smile:


If it’s of the quality of the rest of Xaoc Devices stuff it will be very interesting indeed. I have a number of their modules and I’m consistantly impressed with the quality of their function, form and design.


Couldn’t agree more :smiley:

The envelope generator looks fun too… but less curious about that, except I would like to know how one would go about editing the envelopes.


I’m struggling to understand how the primary function will work (or perhaps “work well”)! Like @x2mirko I’m looking forward to some videos…this is the first time I’ve seen/heard of it.


It’s literally just been announced for Superbooth - so no one knows much about it yet :slight_smile:

I am assuming that there will be a DivKid video about both new modules in the near future, and no doubt many others too!


He he, I was already having trouble keeping up with the norns thread over at lines, now I’ve got a slew of Superbooth anouncements to contend with! :wink:

Why can’t people make these kinds of announcement at reasonable, AEST, times!


Oh my, I wouldn’t try an keep up! Looks like a crazy amount of new stuff this year already!

Surprisingly, the new Harvestman modules are not in my wish list, I’m not interested in the preset system and I prefer the grittier sound of the mk][ - I can totally see why Scott has taken this direction though, it will appeal to many people I am sure!


ER-301 get’s an “couldn’t do without live” nod from @rdevine1 post Superbooth.