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38 euro, 5x5 MIDI interface (but you have to supply an enclosure and 8 of the 10 DIN jacks yourself, otherwise it's all presldered and ready to go)

 

https://www.usb-audio.com/gm5board/

 

 

Next time I take a stab at making a dedicated Renoise box from the Raspberry Pi 4 and other parts I have around (only thing I don't have is a display - the 11" touchscreen I got was still too small so I'll probably end up rehousing one of the old 4:3 LCD monitors I keep around for this kind of stuff) and a good solution for MIDI.  This would be perfect for MIDI.

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13 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

38 euro, 5x5 MIDI interface (but you have to supply an enclosure and 8 of the 10 DIN jacks yourself, otherwise it's all presldered and ready to go)

I've got a few different MIDI boxes, some with extra features:

  1. ESI M4U Ex - a somewhat versatile 8 DIN jack + 3 USB port interface
  2. Retrokits RK-006 - a very versatile tool for MIDI and sync things, 10 TRS(-A) ports w/ support for up to 160 devices (!) and mapping MIDI to all kinds of CV/gate/sync signals
  3. Blokas Midihub - MIDI interface/processor with amazing features for almost anything you can think of
  4. Doepfer Dark Link - USB/MIDI-to-CV translator, quite capable

Cre8audio East Beast and West Pest have built-in MIDI-to-CV conversion that can be patched out, so they're cool as well.

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I've been reading through the Squarp Pyramid manual, and I think that it's the sequencer I need to get, the features and workflow align with my requirements and ambitions.

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On 7/2/2022 at 6:17 AM, dcom said:

I've been reading through the Squarp Pyramid manual, and I think that it's the sequencer I need to get, the features and workflow align with my requirements and ambitions.

i felt the same before i bought the Pyramid a few years ago. and i got on with it well enough for about a year or so, was using it exclusively for writing and live jamming (minus some on-machine-programming on my Rytm and/or Analog Four). but as i got into writing more complex arrangements, i never got used to the hangups and i was constantly annoyed by the limitations of the interface of the Pyramid:

  • the tiny screen that required constant resetting of my mind for each of its many submenus
    • there's about 5-10 screens types that could pop up at any time depending one what you're trying to program or watch, and many work and display info quite differently. in the heat of trying to program complex arrangements while inspired and/or jamming, swapping between these screens was a constant difficulty that i thought i would eventually get used to but never truly did. it was a constant 'oh, wait, ok this is up and down not left to right, and to see what i'm looking for i have to press what to scroll through the screen? um....' and then i've forgotten the other thing i was planning on doing.
  • the convoluted multi-button shortcuts to do almost all commands. it really started to prove impossible to deal with, despite the general functionality checking many of the boxes i wanted. many you'll often use are 3-button combos which for me was just a bit ludicrous. you can of course do many operations with the screen functionality instead of key combos, but see my first point on that as a problem. 
  • the lack of visual feedback in general was a pain.
    • so the tiny screen did display helpful information, and the main buttons did as well, but they're at two different scales of perspective. watching both at the same time is kind of possible but not ideal, but that's going to be the case with most any hardware so not faulting the Pyramid here...but ultimately for quick feedback there's only the basic keys showing lit or not lit. this is fine for showing which keys are being triggered in a chord or melody, sure. but this gets pretty limiting when you're talking about the multi-tiered hierarchy of multiple Patterns, Tracks, Sequences, etc. that are trying to display information via these keys.

i think if they had focused on more dedicated buttons, knobs, maybe screens, then the Pyramid would've worked for me (the Hapax seems to maybe be a step in this direction but i'm not sold on it). but simply, the whole point of a piece of hardware for music making (at least for me) is provide a dedicated device with dedicated controls and functions that can become second nature. the Pyramid didn't work for my brain like that, and it wasn't ever going to. 

i've gone back to using Ableton Live to sequence my hardware with (Blokas MIDIHub to route all the MIDI). i've still got a gen 1 Push that's a help for physical interaction, but most of what i'm doing is with a mouse and keyboard with a 27 inch monitor these days. i'd prefer a newer Push (waiting to see what they do with a Push 3 if they ever release one) or a dedicated hardware controller but for the time being with what i want to be able to do, this was my best option.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, auxien said:

i never got used to the hangups

Hangups as in bugs or as in you just didn't jell with it?

If Pyramid doesn't work for me, I'll offload it to someone else and try out Toraiz Squid, but Pyramid has nativte support for polyrhythms, polymeters, and euclidean things, arbitrary-length patterns and variations, mono/poly sequencing etc. - and I'm a computer geek anyway, so I'll feel at home with weird key combos and learning difficult things. I'm optimistic about Pyramid, let's see how I get along with it.

Edited by dcom
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The thing about the Pyramid that @auxien is totally right about, there is a high learning curve for it. Certain things can be surprisingly complex to navigate compared to other sequencers (changing the BPM, for example), when you're not familiar with it.

I admittedly had one for a long time before I finally started to gel with it. But that was also due to having other sequencers around and being too lazy to put the time in. I have since done so and found the Pyramid well worth it for precisely what you're mentioning @dcom. There are a ton of things you can do on that box that most hardware sequencers won't ever consider. Some things so unique that a lot of old curmudgeonly fucks will legit doubt is true when you tell them about it (hello prick from the Audiobus forums when I mentioned being able to send PC's on a MIDI LFO!). That kind of thing makes the Pyramid a lovely device, imo.

Kinda like Elektron boxes, if you put in the time to learn their workflow, you'll get rewarded for it. 

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Taupe Beats said:

Kinda like Elektron boxes, if you put in the time to learn their workflow, you'll get rewarded for it. 

I'm a detail-oriented person (being an aspie helps quite a bit), give me a complex environment and I'll just deconstruct and reconstruct it at will, it just takes time. I'm a computer programmer by trade, and what I mostly do is that I take an existing codebase of perhaps ill repute, learn it as well as possible and then make it better. Based on loopop's Pyramid tutorial, I won't have any problems handling the thing if it does what I want.

I've been teaching myself the ins and outs of all the boxen I've amassed, it's fun grokking stuff that makes noise. Instruments like Cre8audio's East Beast/West Pest or the Volcas are easy AF, but they also have hidden depth when there are emergent properties that open up only after you know how to do all the things. Dreadbox's Typhon is menu-diving, and Nymphes doesn't even have a display, so you'll just have to learn it by heart. Then you have the semi-modular side with the Cre8audios, Minibrute 2S et al., ... evwell. Let's just say I won't be bored for a while.

Oh yeah, and why a hardware sequencer and not a DAW? That's what I want to do at the moment, nothing else - the learning curve is steep, but the skills and abilities are directly transferable to a DAW environment. The first proper sequencer I ever used was Music-X on an Amiga 2000, after first pushing Amiga's trackers (Sound/Pro, Octamed) to their limits (the reason I went for Polyend), so I'm not intimidated by software or hardware.

Edited by dcom
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3 hours ago, dcom said:

Hangups as in bugs or as in you just didn't jell with it?

i dont think there were any significant bugs. i'm just talking about the hangups i listed that made me not gel with it fully.

1 hour ago, Taupe Beats said:

The thing about the Pyramid that @auxien is totally right about, there is a high learning curve for it. Certain things can be surprisingly complex to navigate compared to other sequencers (changing the BPM, for example), when you're not familiar with it.

there's definitely a high learning curve, but i don't think in my case that was the issue. i put in the time and effort and learned it pretty damned thoroughly. my issue was that the interface didn't work in the ways that i'd need from a device controlling literally a dozen pieces of hardware at once, it was always a chore bouncing through the menus to get to where i needed to make on the fly changes if jamming, or to make permanent changes to the components of the song for pre-programmed pieces. if someone has a great working memory of exactly what is where, or is willing to put the time into correctly naming all those component song parts, then i could see the interface being a lot less of a hindrance than it was for me. 

my only point really is that on paper, it was pretty much perfect for me. but in practice, it was the issues listed that made it not work for me personally. it's a great machine, and i'm sure the Hapax is too, but the Pyramid was a great idea executed not so well, imo. it obv works for some so :shrug:

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True there's a lot of menu jumping for the Pyramid. I tend to like using its randomness and probability so I don't find myself needing to jump from track to track to change things. For instance, I tend to like to dedicate an entire bank to messing with CC's/notes/whatever on a single channel, and then mute tracks as needed within the bank to bring in what I want. Maybe have a master bank in a sequence to do something like that but with more than one channel? 

To a totally unrelated subject. Am I the only one who thinks it's crazy that Ableton doesn't offer true onboard sample editing? Baffling that I can't truly crop samples on a Push and then have the sample actually cropped if I need to play the sample back elsewhere. I'd love Ableton's sampler if it actually did this.

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On 7/3/2022 at 8:52 PM, dcom said:

Hangups as in bugs or as in you just didn't jell with it?

If Pyramid doesn't work for me, I'll offload it to someone else and try out Toraiz Squid, but Pyramid has nativte support for polyrhythms, polymeters, and euclidean things, arbitrary-length patterns and variations, mono/poly sequencing etc. - and I'm a computer geek anyway, so I'll feel at home with weird key combos and learning difficult things. I'm optimistic about Pyramid, let's see how I get along with it.

Yes I was referring to the Squid earlier. I absolutely love that box. BUT for completely different reasons than I expected. What I was hoping for was a central hub that can be used well for song arrangement. At that it doesn't always fulfill that well for different reasons

  • No pattern chaining
  • You can have only 16 pattern sets per song (the equivalent of 'scenes' in many daws or in maschine)
  • Say you are changing notes tr-x0x style in trigger mode. If you wanna quickly go to a different track to do the same you need to press three buttons to do so. Too slow for me when live-recording a track right into my mixer and changing drum patterns on the fly.
  • No arranger mode whatsoever. There's actually little hardware sequencers that have a decent one that isn't convoluted, but would have been nice if they'd tried. 

Now I often generate patterns on it and record those in to an mmt-8 or another sequencer. Sometimes I make a complete track on it but it has become rare.

Why do I still love it? It's the most ingenious and unique machine for creating patterns and ideas I've ever witnessed. You could make music with this thing focusing almost exclusively on rhythm with whatever sounds you have in endless ways. That whole approach is something no other manufacturer came up with before. LFO's on pattern tempo anyone? A cross-fader that slows down or speed's up the rhythm for the moment you push it? And all these weird moments you can record and remove as you want. +reversing pattern directions, note repeat and another 10 more ways of manipulating rhythm.

Other plus-points to mention:

  • Excellent designed User UI, very logical design
  • Very easy to use with a keyboard and have it as a midi router. I have never switched midi channels on my keystep again since hooking it up to the squid.
  • amazing time warp function... 

The tricky thing with sequencers in general is that feature lists and youtube video's really give you only a very limited impression of how it "feels" to make a track on it. In the end it just comes down to trying it out and making a few tracks with it. And you know if it fits you.

Still thinking myself to get a synthstrom deluge as my sequencer at some point...

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7 minutes ago, e-mertz said:

Still thinking myself to get a synthstrom deluge as my sequencer at some point...

Yeah, I was contemplating that one, too, and Polyend Play, but Pyramid's features got me in the end. I read through Toraiz Squid's manual and it didn't grab me like Pyramid's did. Polyrhythms, polymeters, euclidean things, and other rhythmic tomfoolery is what I'm after, and I didn't readily find those with Squid - although it has plenty of other things going for it. Let's see when I get my Pyramid.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got my Squarp Pyramid MK3, need to start learning the ropes. Still waiting for a couple of noise boxes, then I'll need to start figuring out some setups. Picked up another package and now I finally have the Sonicware ELZ_1 to play with as well - first impression: unusually fun, but with a steep learning curve. Having 8bit Warps and XFM helps quite a bit, but the ELZ_1 is a really unique piece of kit, and I love it.

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The Squarp Pyramid is effin' amazing, I love it. I've only scratched the surface of all the functionality it offers, but for the basics it's exactly what I was expecting it to be. The polymeters are a wee bit clunky due to their implementation (patterns are always multiples of steps, not free) , but nothing I can't work with. Looking forward to getting deeper with it. I wish I had a place for a permanent setup...

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10 minutes ago, dcom said:

The polymeters are a wee bit clunky due to their implementation (patterns are always multiples of steps, not free) , but nothing I can't work with.

I always wanted a step sequencer that used a sort of nesting system, where you could select any arbitrary range of steps in a sequence and open it as a new sub-sequence of any arbitrary length that would play IN THE SPACE OFTHE SELECTED RANGE.  Or better yet, set a pair of call and return steps, so on any step of any sequence you could call any other sequence, and that sequence would be played in the space between the send and return steps.  

 

So a really obvious example is:

On step 1 of sequence A you call sequence B and on step 2 you return from sequence B.  Sequence B is three steps long and it plays in the space of two steps in sequence A, so you get a triplet.  

 

But obviously being able to nest sequences more than one level deep, and the kind of probabilistic and rule based stuff that any modern, full featured step sequencer has would open up all kinds of possibilities.

I think Buzz has something like that (I never explored it when I was using Buzz) and it wouldnt' be too tough to make a Max patch or something but I don't know of any hardware sequencer that does anything quite like I'm talking about.

I thought of it about 12 years ago but didn't/don't have the skills or motivation to actually develop it.

 

 

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5 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

I always wanted a step sequencer that used a sort of nesting system, where you could select any arbitrary range of steps in a sequence and open it as a new sub-sequence of any arbitrary length that would play IN THE SPACE OFTHE SELECTED RANGE.  Or better yet, set a pair of call and return steps, so on any step of any sequence you could call any other sequence, and that sequence would be played in the space between the send and return steps.  

 

So a really obvious example is:

On step 1 of sequence A you call sequence B and on step 2 you return from sequence B.  Sequence B is three steps long and it plays in the space of two steps in sequence A, so you get a triplet.  

 

But obviously being able to nest sequences more than one level deep, and the kind of probabilistic and rule based stuff that any modern, full featured step sequencer has would open up all kinds of possibilities.

I think Buzz has something like that (I never explored it when I was using Buzz) and it wouldnt' be too tough to make a Max patch or something but I don't know of any hardware sequencer that does anything quite like I'm talking about.

I thought of it about 12 years ago but didn't/don't have the skills or motivation to actually develop it.

 

 

you should look at Patterns in Supercollider. They support the kind of nesting you are talking about. Pseq can sequence numbers or if one of the items in the array is a pattern, it will sequence through that pattern.

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10 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

I thought of it about 12 years ago but didn't/don't have the skills or motivation to actually develop it.

That would be a useful feature, and as a programmer I started to immediately think about how something like that could be implemented; the easiest way would be to define the length of the placeholder, then define the group of subsequences to use, and the method of insertion (sequential, random, whatever). If the subsequence's steps don't match the placeholder length, shorter subsequences could loop (polymeter) or stretch (polyrhythm), longer ones could cut (to length) or squeeze (polyrhythm). Things start to get a bit harder when you have nested subsequences, but not at all impossible.

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9 hours ago, nikisoko said:

you should look at Patterns in Supercollider.

Yeah, I didn't make it clear but I meant specifically a hardware sequencer.  CSound can do everything I talked about easily, too, and thinking about it now that's probably where I first got the idea from. 

 

The way I invisioned it is basically the same as how you make pattern chains in the Octatrack/303/many other step sequencers. Back then I'd had an MPC for less than a year and never actually owned or used a hardware step sequencer, only a couple linear hardware sequencers and software so I didn't really have a frame of reference, so the main think I was thinking about was a very fast workflow.  No display at all, just an x0x style row of buttons. Press any two steps and immediately oen a new sub sequence, with a single button press of some kind to return to the previous level.  now I realize that would be TOO fast and you'd be doing it by accident all the time, and it would get too complex to navigate quickly, so I'm thinking the fastest workflow would be:

-One button press to enter the sub-sequence mode

-select range in current sequence (or press any key in an existing range to open a menu that would let you change its size, delete it, or open its associated sequence)

-A list of all sequence locations opens on the display, where you can select any existing or empty sequence for editing

-some kind of simple one or two button command to return to the parent sequence (not necessary but it would probably be useful live)

 

That's it.  It would really just be a pair of pointers in a sequence, one elling it to jump to a new child, the other telling it to return to the parent sequence after one repetition of the child sequence, and the distance between the two determining the speed that the child sequence would play at.

 

That's it.  Could be added to just about any step sequencer UI (and could probably work jsut about as well with no display, instead of a list on a display it could go into the sequencer's pattern select mode, whatever that was, immediately after you select a range and you could choose a pattern to be your sub-sequence (I should have probably been saying "pattern" instead of "sequence" in retrospect, but too late now).  Maybe a bit easier to get lost that way but it'd work.

 

 

I guess on a more big picture scale I just want a hardware step sequencer with the depth you can get out of something like a monome+norns, except with a less abstract UI.

 

If I could program I'd try to branch the MIDIbox SEQ and add what I'm talking about to it, since it's already pretty close to everything I want in a step sequencer, but I've got way to many other things I'd rather do at this point in my life. It actually already has sub-sequences a bit like what I'm talking about implemented, but I still haven't messed with them and IIRC you have to call them manually.  They definitely don't scale to a range, so they're more like fills than like anything w're talking about, but it's a start.

Edited by TubularCorporation
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Anyone been working out an affordable modern storage solution for an old hardware sample? I'd like to get an E-MU Esi towards a hassle-free solution. Tried Gotek and it makes little sense. Scsi2sd is the obvious proven solution but I just don't feel like spending 90+ euro's for it.

Which is like more than half I paid for the machine.

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45 minutes ago, e-mertz said:

Anyone been working out an affordable modern storage solution for an old hardware sample? I'd like to get an E-MU Esi towards a hassle-free solution. Tried Gotek and it makes little sense. Scsi2sd is the obvious proven solution but I just don't feel like spending 90+ euro's for it.

Which is like more than half I paid for the machine.

SCSI2SD in the S5000, Gotek running FlashFloppy in the ESQ.  Flashfloppy is free, makes a lot more sense than the other Gotek firmware I've tried, and works flawlessly for me (other than flashing it through the Gotek pin header, that never worked for me but flashing it over USB with one of those non-compliant, USB-A to USB-A cables you can get for afew bucks on eBay or Amazon or make yourself by splicing the A ends of two normal A to B cables.

 

If you're handy with a dremel and/or hand files it's easy to add an encoder and OLED to the Gotek for about $6, but it's a tight fit (especially the encoder), at least in the older Goteks I have.  I think the new version has a smaller board so it might be easier to get the encoder in now. The OLED especially makes a huge difference, and you only really need the encoder if you have a lot of disk images and need to navigate through them fast, otherwise the stock buttons are fine. Theoretically you shouldn't ahve to do any soldering if you get an encoder with a pin header presoldered, but  couldn't find one small enough so I did end up having to solder leads on. If you don't already do some DIY electronics it would be mor ecost effective to buy a pre-modded one on eBay but if you can solder even a little bit and have all the tools already then you can save a lot (or jsut stick with the stock two character display and buttons and save even more).

 

I know you already tried the Gotek and didn't like it, but it really is the best (maybe only) option, cheap or otherwise.  You might like it better with Flashfloppy.  I hate the UI of the HxC firmware personally, and I haven't even tried the stock firmware because it isn't compatible with any of the stuff I've installed a gotek in. FlashFloppy is well documented and makes sense to me.

Edited by TubularCorporation
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1 hour ago, TubularCorporation said:

SCSI2SD in the S5000, Gotek running FlashFloppy in the ESQ.  Flashfloppy is free, makes a lot more sense than the other Gotek firmware I've tried, and works flawlessly for me (other than flashing it through the Gotek pin header, that never worked for me but flashing it over USB with one of those non-compliant, USB-A to USB-A cables you can get for afew bucks on eBay or Amazon or make yourself by splicing the A ends of two normal A to B cables.

 

If you're handy with a dremel and/or hand files it's easy to add an encoder and OLED to the Gotek for about $6, but it's a tight fit (especially the encoder), at least in the older Goteks I have.  I think the new version has a smaller board so it might be easier to get the encoder in now. The OLED especially makes a huge difference, and you only really need the encoder if you have a lot of disk images and need to navigate through them fast, otherwise the stock buttons are fine. Theoretically you shouldn't ahve to do any soldering if you get an encoder with a pin header presoldered, but  couldn't find one small enough so I did end up having to solder leads on. If you don't already do some DIY electronics it would be mor ecost effective to buy a pre-modded one on eBay but if you can solder even a little bit and have all the tools already then you can save a lot (or jsut stick with the stock two character display and buttons and save even more).

 

I know you already tried the Gotek and didn't like it, but it really is the best (maybe only) option, cheap or otherwise.  You might like it better with Flashfloppy.  I hate the UI of the HxC firmware personally, and I haven't even tried the stock firmware because it isn't compatible with any of the stuff I've installed a gotek in. FlashFloppy is well documented and makes sense to me.

Thanks @TubularCorporation. Actually I do have a gotek drive with oled screen and encoder in it. It has Hxc firmware. Hardware compatability works perfect and the UI also works quite fine for me so far. Problem is more the ridiculously small storage attached to floppies and the ages it takes to save, say 15mb over three disks. Can Flashfloppy help in any way with that?

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On 7/19/2022 at 10:18 AM, dcom said:

That would be a useful feature, and as a programmer I started to immediately think about how something like that could be implemented; the easiest way would be to define the length of the placeholder, then define the group of subsequences to use, and the method of insertion (sequential, random, whatever). If the subsequence's steps don't match the placeholder length, shorter subsequences could loop (polymeter) or stretch (polyrhythm), longer ones could cut (to length) or squeeze (polyrhythm). Things start to get a bit harder when you have nested subsequences, but not at all impossible.

 

On 7/19/2022 at 2:47 PM, TubularCorporation said:

Yeah, I didn't make it clear but I meant specifically a hardware sequencer.  CSound can do everything I talked about easily, too, and thinking about it now that's probably where I first got the idea from. 

 

The way I invisioned it is basically the same as how you make pattern chains in the Octatrack/303/many other step sequencers. Back then I'd had an MPC for less than a year and never actually owned or used a hardware step sequencer, only a couple linear hardware sequencers and software so I didn't really have a frame of reference, so the main think I was thinking about was a very fast workflow.  No display at all, just an x0x style row of buttons. Press any two steps and immediately oen a new sub sequence, with a single button press of some kind to return to the previous level.  now I realize that would be TOO fast and you'd be doing it by accident all the time, and it would get too complex to navigate quickly, so I'm thinking the fastest workflow would be:

-One button press to enter the sub-sequence mode

-select range in current sequence (or press any key in an existing range to open a menu that would let you change its size, delete it, or open its associated sequence)

-A list of all sequence locations opens on the display, where you can select any existing or empty sequence for editing

-some kind of simple one or two button command to return to the parent sequence (not necessary but it would probably be useful live)

 

That's it.  It would really just be a pair of pointers in a sequence, one elling it to jump to a new child, the other telling it to return to the parent sequence after one repetition of the child sequence, and the distance between the two determining the speed that the child sequence would play at.

 

That's it.  Could be added to just about any step sequencer UI (and could probably work jsut about as well with no display, instead of a list on a display it could go into the sequencer's pattern select mode, whatever that was, immediately after you select a range and you could choose a pattern to be your sub-sequence (I should have probably been saying "pattern" instead of "sequence" in retrospect, but too late now).  Maybe a bit easier to get lost that way but it'd work.

 

 

I guess on a more big picture scale I just want a hardware step sequencer with the depth you can get out of something like a monome+norns, except with a less abstract UI.

 

If I could program I'd try to branch the MIDIbox SEQ and add what I'm talking about to it, since it's already pretty close to everything I want in a step sequencer, but I've got way to many other things I'd rather do at this point in my life. It actually already has sub-sequences a bit like what I'm talking about implemented, but I still haven't messed with them and IIRC you have to call them manually.  They definitely don't scale to a range, so they're more like fills than like anything w're talking about, but it's a start.

You should take a trip into the TidalCycles thread, because at least in the software level this sort of thing is implemented there.

However, as a programmer, I found out that I can't stand to look at code in my free time.

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2 minutes ago, thawkins said:

 

You should take a trip into the TidalCycles thread, because at least in the software level this sort of thing is implemented there.

However, as a programmer, I found out that I can't stand to look at code in my free time.

Yeah, there are plenty of ways to do it in software, it's really the idea of having it implemented in hardware with a minimal UI that I was/am most interested in.  It's a thing I could potentially do with my old Axoloti, but I doubt I actually will - I'm more likely to use that to make some kind of generative MIDI processor like we've DMed about a couple times, and then control it from the Livid Code you sent me (which works well with the Axoloti, all I've really used it for so far is controlling 2d vector patches since my old oscilloscope stopped triggering a couple years ago and all I can really use it for now is lissajous patterns)

 

1 hour ago, e-mertz said:

Thanks @TubularCorporation. Actually I do have a gotek drive with oled screen and encoder in it. It has Hxc firmware. Hardware compatability works perfect and the UI also works quite fine for me so far. Problem is more the ridiculously small storage attached to floppies and the ages it takes to save, say 15mb over three disks. Can Flashfloppy help in any way with that?

I can't say 100% since I haven't used one in anything new enough to support images biger than a floppy, but if your EPS supports swapping the floppy drive for a ZIP drive then you should be able to use 100mb images, and the load and save times would probably be faster (since it's emulating the original hardware and zip drives were a lot faster).  I'd chec on that first, it might be enough to solve your problems. I'm about 95% sure Flashfloppy would be good for that, no idea if the HxC firmware would.

 

The HxC firmware is probably just as good, most of my experience with it until recently was a stock (no encoder or OLED) Gotek in an Atari ST and it was pretty tedious to use but now that I've been using it with an OLED and encoder (I've got an s612 and the Gotek aapter for it shipped with a Gotek that already had HxC installed - I'm pretty sure the adapter requires that specific version) I don't mind it.  I think it's more down to personal preference than one being better than the other.  I found Flashfloppy a lot easier to set up.

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48 minutes ago, TubularCorporation said:

I can't say 100% since I haven't used one in anything new enough to support images biger than a floppy, but if your EPS supports swapping the floppy drive for a ZIP drive then you should be able to use 100mb images, and the load and save times would probably be faster (since it's emulating the original hardware and zip drives were a lot faster).  I'd chec on that first, it might be enough to solve your problems. I'm about 95% sure Flashfloppy would be good for that, no idea if the HxC firmware would.

 

The HxC firmware is probably just as good, most of my experience with it until recently was a stock (no encoder or OLED) Gotek in an Atari ST and it was pretty tedious to use but now that I've been using it with an OLED and encoder (I've got an s612 and the Gotek aapter for it shipped with a Gotek that already had HxC installed - I'm pretty sure the adapter requires that specific version) I don't mind it.  I think it's more down to personal preference than one being better than the other.  I found Flashfloppy a lot easier to set up.

That's a great tip using zip images! I know for sure the ESI does support zip drives as mine originally came with one. I got my Gotek also with HxC pre-installed to work for the ESI already so I could save myself some time. Shall take a deep dive into more possibilities.

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I don't know which ESI you have, but the only one the Flashfloppy WII has any notes on is the 32, and it says it works with 1.44mb images specifically, so I'd definitely see if you can get ZIP images working with your firmware first. 

 

The other thing is, if you already know it supports a ZIP drive it will probably support a CF card reader too (although I don't know if the ZIP is SCSI or IDE, the card readers I'm thinking of are IDE).

I'd look at the list of card readers that are confirmed to work with the VP-9000, because that thing is extremely picky and if a card reader will work in it then it should work fine as a ZIP drive replacement in just about anything. 

http://www.barrybutcher.com/roland-vp-9000-resources/how-to-replace-your-vp-9000-zip-drive-with-cf-card

I think the Addonics one is discontinued, but the Startech seemsto still be around and there are probaly a lot of others that would work in your ESI since it probably won't be difficult to get working like it is with the VP9000.  I've used those Addonics cards as ZIP and floppy drive replacements in other stuff and they've always worked fine right out of the box. Probably won't be hot-swappable like a Gotek, though.

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Funny how the discussion here over the past few days has gravitated towards hardware sequencers, coincidentally just as I've been starting to obsess over them again and read/watch some reviews (or, tax return money has started to burn a hole in my pocket 😛).

I've found myself in posession of several synths that don't have sequencers built in, and I'm now looking for interesting ways to sequence them. Of course, I could just sequence everything from the Octatrack, but that's a very specific and deliberate sequencing style that I seem to be less interested in recently. It's the same reason why I very nearly bought a Syntakt but decided against it because the sequencer, despite having all of the Elektron tricks, is still a bit rigid.

I've looked at the Torso T-1, which looks pretty ideal, but is a bit on the expensive side, and is maybe a bit of a one trick pony; I know there would be something that'd annoy me about it. Other similar format sequencers like the Korg SQ-64 look cool with some interesting features, but ultimately seem like they'd be a bit fiddly.

I ended up buying a decent price used Monome Grid, with plans to use it with Max/MSP and/or Norns to make some sequencers myself. I'll probably keep riffing on the Nanoloop clone that I started for Norns (perhaps with some generative features), and port across the browser based sequencers I've been developing over the past few years. I saw that there is also a Processing library for Grid, so that makes it even more interesting in terms of porting my existing sequencers across.

Some drawbacks to this idea: Max/MSP seems a little unstable in terms of timing on my M1 Mac Mini, perhaps there are some settings I need to tweak. And my Norns shield is a little clunky, I need to replace an encoder and possibly build a new enclosure for it as the 3D printed buttons scratch against the (also 3D printed) enclosure when I press them.

I also pulled out my old BCR2000 with Zaquencer and made a new laser cut overlay for it, to replace the crude printed-and-taped version I had on it before. I remember having fun with that sequencing my Nord Lead, so I'm keen to have a play with it again.

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