Frap Tools USTA

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leeboiacid
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by leeboiacid » Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:51 am

hawkfuzz wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:22 pm
Any clock input needs two pulses to get in sync. It can get weird.

Are you multing the pulse from Pam's out to the USTA and Varigate?
Yes, I've multed the clock and a start pulse to both Usta and Varigate 4+. I've experimented some more and come to the conclusion that Usta seems to start going out of sync once you start diving the stages up into more than 1 unit (even where all stages are set to a length where it should remain in sync). This isn't a problem. It just means that I have to work keeping the stage lengths at 1 and use multiple patterns, or, if I want to use longer stage lengths/repeats, set Usta as my master clock and use one of the gate outputs on Usta for clocking everything (not tried this yet).

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by hawkfuzz » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:45 am

Isn't the Play/Reset input used for this reason? I think rather than clock it just moves a STAGE per pulse.
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by leeboiacid » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:09 am

hawkfuzz wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:45 am
Isn't the Play/Reset input used for this reason? I think rather than clock it just moves a STAGE per pulse.
Mmm, not as far as I'm aware (but happy to be told otherwise). Simone said that the clock input moves Usta on a stage with each pulse when the track is set to 1:1 only. It looks like there's an option to configure what the reset input can do but this isn't available currently.

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by hawkfuzz » Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:29 am

Does it only reset currently?

I know on the Stillson Hammer I had if I sent a clock sent to the RUN jack it would take each pulse as a STEP/STAGE.

I think using the USTA as a master would probably solve most the issues until the other input is usable.
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by synonymist » Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:39 pm

synonymist wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:43 am
It's a silly game. One that I will be willing to play for a further eight days from now. If the USTA isn't in the mail to me by then, I will cancel and get a refund. No hard feelings in that case, but also no sale.
Finally I got the shipping notice for my USTA. And I was just about to cancel. :) All's well that ends well. I do look forward to playing this module.

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by hawkfuzz » Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:58 am

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by hawkfuzz » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:53 pm

Man I love this thing. Glad to finally grab one.
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by synonymist » Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:02 pm

In my first try of USTA, I found it to be quite likable. It is good. And beautiful. :)

Although I read the user manual while waiting for my USTA to arrive, by the time I played it yesterday, some of its operation was non-obvious to me. Since I had already spent time reorganizing my modules (and their boxes), I wasn't about to start reading a user manual again. It was time to patch.

With that limitation, still I got far. I was able to play USTA with intention and like an instrument. The little screen was bright and readable, its menus shallow (none more than one level deep, I think) and easily understood. For me, one of the main selling points of this module was its many non-12-tet scales. USTA did not disappoint in this regard.

Once I learn USTA's hardware UI, it should prove to be a formidable tool for me. I still don't understand why there is no direction parameter for sequences, however. I encourage Frap Tools to add one. Even direction as a static setting would be useful; but under CV control it would be very powerful. Just as it is in other well-known eurorack sequencers. ;)

Here is music from my first go with USTA. To get a sense of the strength I found in the module, you want to hear not only the undulating bed of voices, but the busy melody voice along with them. Yes, it's akin to stuffing an LFO into a quantizer. But with so much control and easy possibility for variation of every sort, notably time.

If you're short on time or patience, skip to 6:50 in the first piece. That will give you a few seconds of context before the melody starts.

USTA is the only sequencer I used here, employing only two of its channels. Session notes are at each track's webpage. (Special thanks to STEFFCORP, whose sadly retired VCOs and VCF are sublime.):




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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by closedLoop » Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:04 pm

synonymist wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:02 pm
I still don't understand why there is no direction parameter for sequences, however. I encourage Frap Tools to add one. Even direction as a static setting would be useful; but under CV control it would be very powerful. Just as it is in other well-known eurorack sequencers. ;)
The lack of control of direction of playback is one of my main gripes with USTA. That and the lack of internal attenuation/offset of the assignment of the two CV inputs to parameters across the 4 tracks. That software/firmware criticism leads to me to a more fundamental hardware criticism: there aren't enough inputs. The fact that you can run 4 INDEPENDENT, unsynchronized internal clocks is just amazing, but why in a MODULAR environment wouldn't there be 4 clock inputs, one for each track? Similarly, give us at least two reset inputs. If we had the potential to alter the playback direction, that takes away one of the 2 CV inputs. Again, there should be one CV input for each track.

Because there's only two CV inputs, internal offset/attenuation ala Pam's New Workout would really be perfect for getting a greater breadth of assignment across all the different aspects of the 4 tracks.

With something as complicated as a sequencer like USTA, it's hard not to find fault or bias because the design is so complicated. It would be impossible to find a design that would suit all approaches, especially in so little physical space. That said, of all the eurorack sequencers I've owned or tried, USTA is the most developed, natural, and intuitive. The implementation of microtonal scales and the stage length polyrhythmic possibilities are so endlessly expansive.

My big hope is that Frap Tools looks at serious firmware updates to push this functionality past some of these early growing pains.

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by synonymist » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:30 pm

closedLoop wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:04 pm
The lack of control of direction of playback is one of my main gripes with USTA. That and the lack of internal attenuation/offset of the assignment of the two CV inputs to parameters across the 4 tracks.
Hello. If you didn't already, have a look at Vector Sequencer by Five12. It does all that and much more, with a beautiful user interface. (Also with only one clock input and one reset input.)
closedLoop wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:04 pm
That software/firmware criticism leads to me to a more fundamental hardware criticism: there aren't enough inputs. The fact that you can run 4 INDEPENDENT, unsynchronized internal clocks is just amazing, but why in a MODULAR environment wouldn't there be 4 clock inputs, one for each track? Similarly, give us at least two reset inputs. If we had the potential to alter the playback direction, that takes away one of the 2 CV inputs. Again, there should be one CV input for each track...
Why not get a Z8000 and some quantizers, etc. and roll your own? Seriously. That would be completely modular and have a 1-to-1 relationship between each sequencer and its inputs and outputs. Indeed what is in question is the definition of "a sequencer". The Z8000 is actually multiple sequencers in one module, each both discrete and interoperable, all with a pure hardware interface (if I understand it right). Another alternative could be Teletype, which uses a generalized software approach instead of a dedicated hardware one.

In my opinion USTA, like Vector Space and most other advanced sequencers, is by its charter not multiple sequencers; rather it is a sequencer that has multiple channels.

That the one sequencer shares some of its resources (clock, reset, modulation) with all its channels, while each channel has resources that it does not share (pitch and time parameters, etc.) seems natural to me. It's as if USTA has one brain that can organize multiple functions simultaneously, rather than having four brains each directing its own functions completely separately.

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by hawkfuzz » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:41 pm

I am surprised by the lack of CV inputs as well but maybe one of the pin sets in the back are for an expander...but I'm almost positive they aren't...
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by closedLoop » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:24 am

synonymist wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:30 pm
Hello. If you didn't already, have a look at Vector Sequencer by Five12. It does all that and much more, with a beautiful user interface. (Also with only one clock input and one reset input.)
I have taken a really hard look at the Vector Sequencer, but I've never had hands on it. Luckily, I had opportunity to try USTA before buying, and I still fundamentally really like it. I really like the Buchla-esqe encoder ring, the non-standard quantized scales, and the stage-length step design. I'm not sure the Vector Sequencer implements any of this?
synonymist wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:30 pm
Why not get a Z8000 and some quantizers, etc. and roll your own? Seriously. That would be completely modular and have a 1-to-1 relationship between each sequencer and its inputs and outputs.
This is a really good point, and a direction I'm already moving in. If it's in a modular system, then it should be modular. Otherwise, just run the sequencing over USB from a computer, right? I often use my clock modulators, switches, mixed control-rate waves through quantizers, logic modules to make sequences. It's a slower process, but far more interesting. Though the way I've been approaching it, to have multiple voices, it takes far more modules than I currently have space for.

Points well taken.

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by Graffie » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:25 pm

Finally got my USTA and while it definitely has some pro's and cons I'm pretty happy to have bought one and don't think I'll get rid of it any time soon. So for whoever is interested. Here are some of my first impressions after a full evening of using it:

- The interface is not as intuitive as I thought it would be. My assumption was that because every step has its dedicated led knobs it would be easy to keep track of whats going on. But during the evening there where multiple occasions where I kind of got lost because at quick glance it wasn't always apparent enough in what layer I was working. But having that said I'm fairly confident that I eventually will get the hang. Its just not as quick to learn as something like an TR-8s (I know apples and oranges but you get the idea). On the positive side it did lead to quite a few happy accidents.
- Love the ability to have the sequences run at different bpm's
- Knobs are made out of steel and have solid feel to them. In my use case I didn't find them to be slippery or anything.
- The way the sequencer works (stages and steps) really helped me getting out of the classic 16 steps per bar way of thinking and working. It also felt like while working on a sequence. The sequence sort of evolved in a very organic way and I can see this having lots of potential from a performance point of view.
- I ended up using the combination of pressing coarse + turn knob quite a lot. So I probably gonna put this thing somewhere else in my case so its ergonomically easier to pull of.


On the firmware improvement side.
- Since USTA excels in adjusting sequences in way's so it sounds like something new it would be nice to have a randomize function to get a bit of a head start. Like being able to randomize the all cv value's per cv channel. Same could be said for stage and steplenght.

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by hawkfuzz » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:31 pm

I really want the ability to make a random sequence. Even if it was just in the function menu and you just selected 'Random: Cv/CV+GATE and you do the LAYER and STAGE LAYER yourself, I'd be happy.

I can't figure out how to copy a sequence from A to B...and I think it has to be possible but can't find it in the manual.
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BrokenBo
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by BrokenBo » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:06 am

i suggested that feature to Simone via the offical feature request form on the website.

he answered and said that they are working on it but the problem is in defining smaller voltage ranges. right now you only have 0-5 or 0-10V which means 5 or 10 ocataves.

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by wigwig » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:48 am

hawkfuzz wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:31 pm
I can't figure out how to copy a sequence from A to B...and I think it has to be possible but can't find it in the manual.
I think this is what you’re lookng for:
Manual p.34 wrote: 5.2. CLONE A STRUCTURE

It is also possible to clone structures (STRUCT) of stages: these are in fact layers, patterns, and tracks.
The layer and pattern clone depend on the selected track.
To clone any of these structures, simply select CLONE STRUCT (hold the ESC button and push SHIFT ALL, then release them).
The CLONE STRUCT menu will appear in the display, proposing all structures that can be cloned. Three options are available and depend on the first thing done at this point.
At any moment simply push ESC to exit the Clone Struct function.
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by hawkfuzz » Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:04 pm

Not from what I've tried. You get the option to select the layer and pattern but when you choose the destination you only choose the pattern not the layer.

I've been using a mult which is fine, but it seems weird that you can't do that considering what you can do. I have to be missing something.

I like using a tracking effect on a lot of parameters but sometimes a step or two inspire a different note and would love to not enter an entire sequence again, but can and have.
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by Graffie » Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:43 am

hawkfuzz wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:04 pm
Not from what I've tried. You get the option to select the layer and pattern but when you choose the destination you only choose the pattern not the layer.

I've been using a mult which is fine, but it seems weird that you can't do that considering what you can do. I have to be missing something.
No I think you're right. I also haven't found a way to do this. At the moment it appears that cloning destination only consists of patterns and not cv channels (CVa, CVb, lenght, GTa and GTb).

Something else that I'm not sure i'm doing right. The scenario. If I'm in edit mode and hearing pattern 1 being played and I want to edit and hear pattern 3. I do the following:
- Turn the silver encoder to select pattern 3.
- Go to performance mode
- Set end pattern to 3
- Set the set starting pattern to 3
- Go back to edit mode.

Is there a faster way to do this?

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by wigwig » Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:26 am

Cloning works fine here: tracks, patterns, and layers.

Are you pushing the Stage encoders (rather than the main encoder)?
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by wigwig » Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:38 am

Graffie wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:43 am

Something else that I'm not sure i'm doing right. The scenario. If I'm in edit mode and hearing pattern 1 being played and I want to edit and hear pattern 3. I do the following:
- Turn the silver encoder to select pattern 3.
- Go to performance mode
- Set end pattern to 3
- Set the set starting pattern to 3
- Go back to edit mode.

Is there a faster way to do this?

Assuming you’re on 150, are you using the new fast way?
In performance mode
Hold SET ALL and push an encoder for the first pattern and another for the last pattern
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by Graffie » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:02 am

wigwig wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:38 am


Assuming you’re on 150, are you using the new fast way?
In performance mode
Hold SET ALL and push an encoder for the first pattern and another for the last pattern
Nop still at 149. Thanks for pointing out :). Still, I think it could be even faster if it was something like hold esc and rotate main encoder to simultaneously switch the pattern your seeing and hearing.

Regarding the cloning layers. We were trying to do something like copy track 1 layer CVa to track 1 layer CVb. And for as far as I can tell you are only able to select a pattern as a cloning destination. Not a specific channel within a pattern.

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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by wigwig » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:16 am

Ah, ok.
Yeah cloning layers is between patterns: Pattern 1 Layer A to Pattern 2 Layer A, e.g.
Might be nice to have more options but also then more complexity...
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by hawkfuzz » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:40 am

I don't think it'd be more complex. You choose a layer and encoder to copy, so choosing a pattern and layer could be as easy as it already is but allows you push the layer button in addition.
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by wigwig » Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:08 pm

You could be right.
Why not suggest it to Simone?
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Re: Frap Tools USTA

Post by hawkfuzz » Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:39 pm

I did.
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