[SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

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crumb dinger
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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by crumb dinger » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:20 pm

I'm about to install this after having read the manual. Thanks to all the hard work from you and Joe. I was about to sell my Stages and pick up another Just Friends instead but this firmware is going to give it an entirely new lease on life!

After reading through the manual the only thing I could possibly hope for would be to add normalization to the gate inputs for the six DAHDSR mode, along with a global phasing control and a global retrigger toggle for all six envelopes, maybe with the unused pots? I try not to make feature requests as a rule, but this would be a total slam dunk for me.

I'll try and comment on the change proposed above once I get up to speed on all the new capabilities!

edit: the final unused pot in my proposed scheme could be a global toggle to enable gate input normalization.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by qiemem » Sun Aug 23, 2020 7:51 pm

crumb dinger wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:20 pm
I'm about to install this after having read the manual. Thanks to all the hard work from you and Joe. I was about to sell my Stages and pick up another Just Friends instead but this firmware is going to give it an entirely new lease on life!
:chug:
crumb dinger wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:20 pm
After reading through the manual the only thing I could possibly hope for would be to add normalization to the gate inputs for the six DAHDSR mode, along with a global phasing control and a global retrigger toggle for all six envelopes, maybe with the unused pots? I try not to make feature requests as a rule, but this would be a total slam dunk for me.

I'll try and comment on the change proposed above once I get up to speed on all the new capabilities!

edit: the final unused pot in my proposed scheme could be a global toggle to enable gate input normalization.
For gate normalization, would that be normalizing adjacent gates or something, effectively multing the envelope corresponding to a particular gate?

Also, I'm afraid I'm not sure what phasing control means in the context of an envelope generator. Would you mind explaining?

Finally, for retrigger control, would the options be basically always retrigger, block retrigger on attack, and maybe block retrigger altogether?

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by crumb dinger » Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:12 am

Sorry I wasn't more clear! I'll try and explain. Thanks for being open to my idea, also.

To re-preface my request: Just Friends has a mode much like the 6 env mode on this alternate firmware. The difference is that the gate inputs on JF are normalled so that one trig on the far right will fire all six envelopes. The trigger inputs can be used to break the outputs into groups, like on stages, but in the opposite direction, right to left instead of left to right (the direction would work in either orientation, of course, I imagine you would want to maintain left to right for consistency's sake).

Re: retriggering: I think the three potential modes you mentioned would be perfect.

The phasing control on this mode in JF (called 'intone') offsets the total length of each resulting envelope in a cascading fashion, at the CCW extreme the 6 outputs are arranged so that the first envelope's length is 1x the global 'time' control, output 2 is 2x, then 3x, and so on up to 6x. At noon everything is the same length. Fully CW and you get the cascaded length but it is divided instead: /1, /2, /3, etc. Calculating the total length of the envelope seems difficult on stages, though, so maybe this isn't feasible.

I'm asking a ton so do feel free to ignore me! Even just something to easily offset the 6 envelopes in time would be very fun in combination with the re-trigger blocking behavior. Maybe a control for a gate delay that works in this cascading fashion, in order to use a single gate to fire off the same envelope across the outputs but at various times.

Thanks for hearing me out, I'm sure this would probably be an immense amount of work. Better just learn some C++ and dive into the code myself sometime!

By the way, I'm already loving the alt firmware. The random segments are such a blessing.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by gelabs » Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:42 am

I didn't understood everything but I am willing to test :cloud:
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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by qiemem » Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:45 pm

crumb dinger wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:12 am
Sorry I wasn't more clear! I'll try and explain. Thanks for being open to my idea, also.

To re-preface my request: Just Friends has a mode much like the 6 env mode on this alternate firmware. The difference is that the gate inputs on JF are normalled so that one trig on the far right will fire all six envelopes. The trigger inputs can be used to break the outputs into groups, like on stages, but in the opposite direction, right to left instead of left to right (the direction would work in either orientation, of course, I imagine you would want to maintain left to right for consistency's sake).

Re: retriggering: I think the three potential modes you mentioned would be perfect.

The phasing control on this mode in JF (called 'intone') offsets the total length of each resulting envelope in a cascading fashion, at the CCW extreme the 6 outputs are arranged so that the first envelope's length is 1x the global 'time' control, output 2 is 2x, then 3x, and so on up to 6x. At noon everything is the same length. Fully CW and you get the cascaded length but it is divided instead: /1, /2, /3, etc. Calculating the total length of the envelope seems difficult on stages, though, so maybe this isn't feasible.

I'm asking a ton so do feel free to ignore me! Even just something to easily offset the 6 envelopes in time would be very fun in combination with the re-trigger blocking behavior. Maybe a control for a gate delay that works in this cascading fashion, in order to use a single gate to fire off the same envelope across the outputs but at various times.

Thanks for hearing me out, I'm sure this would probably be an immense amount of work. Better just learn some C++ and dive into the code myself sometime!

By the way, I'm already loving the alt firmware. The random segments are such a blessing.
Ah! Thanks for the explanation! Up until now, my understanding of JF was vaguely "interrelated modulation source"; super interesting! Sounds like a really fun module.

This should be pretty straightforward to implement, as I think you could multiply each segment time by the given number, and not have to calculate total time at all. The only tricky thing would be sustain, which would probably be fine unscaled (so if the gate is still open when any segment reaches sustain, it does so).

This sounds really cool and I hope to have time to try it out. My main hesitation is that global parameters might be confusing, since Stages is so oriented towards local control, so to speak. Having to remember that pot 5 controls, e.g., relative phasing would be pretty tough. I wonder if there's a way to get a similar feature while keeping parameters local... Anyway, I'll have to mess around and see how it feels. Let me know if you have any more ideas after playing with the firmware!

Thanks for the suggestion! I'm always open to suggestions, so please don't hesitate if you have more.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by crumb dinger » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:00 am

This sounds really cool and I hope to have time to try it out. My main hesitation is that global parameters might be confusing, since Stages is so oriented towards local control, so to speak. Having to remember that pot 5 controls, e.g., relative phasing would be pretty tough. I wonder if there's a way to get a similar feature while keeping parameters local... Anyway, I'll have to mess around and see how it feels. Let me know if you have any more ideas after playing with the firmware!

Thanks for the suggestion! I'm always open to suggestions, so please don't hesitate if you have more.
Yep, I've been thinking this over and it's a tough challenge. I agree that having global controls on the unused pots would be unintuitive. My first thought was to free up the buttons and use them somehow, but manual control is always nice. Direct slider control over the stages of the envelope is also very desirable.

An alternative might be to replace the somewhat redundant 'slow LFO' mode with a new 'phased multi-env mode.' Here's a rough idea for an implementation:

It could be set up like the harmonic oscillator with channel 1's slider representing the global timebase and the 5 other sliders being local bi-polar controls for multiplication and division thereof. Re-trigger toggling could be handled per channel with the button/pot combo. The pots themselves could handle the amplitude of each channel. Control over the envelope's individual segments across the 6 sliders could be accessed via the button/slider combo. Most people have VCAs and attenuators elsewhere in the rack so I think putting the mult/div amount on the sliders (and thus giving them priority for CV) makes the most sense.

This just leaves the buttons and their behaviors. Green non-looping could represent default behavior, and the remaining colors could be used for reversing the envelope, inverting it, and reversed+inverted. Turning on looping for any color would cycle the output and interact with the re-trigger setting appropriately (re-trigger on = reset, off gives a free-running cycling envelope).

I also understand that a low frequency harmonic osc is in the works, seems like this idea is starting to approach that territory and potentially overlap a bit.

Again, thanks for reading! This post got really long, really fast... Also JF is excellent!

edit: I need stop posting at 4 AM
Last edited by crumb dinger on Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by crumb dinger » Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:11 pm

I've also been thinking about non-gated, non-looping green segments in the adv. segment mode and what they could be used for. The one thing Stages generally lacks is on-board mixing/amplitude control. Maybe non-gated, non-looping greens could be some kind of summing, averaging, or fading segment?

As cross-fading mixers, they could take as input the outputs of all segments to their right. Fading through the inputs could be handled on the slider, with overall level control on the pot. This would let you set up to 5 segments of modulation to the right and then have a (sort of) mix output on the first segment, and it would also allow for free running LFOs, random, or orange segments to the left of a NGNL green in the middle of a setup. Just an offhand idea, anyhow.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by Carrousel » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:05 pm

I know nothing about how the hardware is configured with regards to the software, but could a non-gated, non-looping green section just be used as an individual offset and attenuator channel? The pot could control attenuation of the incoming cv signal and the slider could be offset....this would be amazingly useful imo
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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by SavageMessiah » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:37 pm

A non-gated, non-looping yellow section is already an offset and offset/attentuation doesn't really "feel" related to what green sections do imo. We should probably avoid cramming features into every gap in the UI. I can't deny that it would be useful though. Honestly, it might be a better conceptual fit for the looping single yellow segment - just swapping slew for attenuation but otherwise being the same.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by hvssvh » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:05 am

+1 for the idea of an attenuator segment. if it could be integrated with the stages ui nicely, it would be quite valuable for self patching stages or sending cv in a small system.

also, the idea of a mixing/amplitude segment is really cool!!!

lots of really cool ideas here, i’m enjoying watching this develop. thank you everyone who is doing such great work on this.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by autopoiesis » Sat Aug 29, 2020 6:34 am

+1 on the amplitude segment idea for sure

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by baleen » Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:59 pm

so I finally got around to the current beta and I'm confused about how to get into the Turing Machine. I'm just not sure what this means/how to get there:
This segment type comes after hold (red) segments in the cycle of segments and is indicated by an LED that continuously morphs between red and green.
a little help please? thanks!

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by qiemem » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:47 pm

baleen wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:59 pm
so I finally got around to the current beta and I'm confused about how to get into the Turing Machine. I'm just not sure what this means/how to get there:
This segment type comes after hold (red) segments in the cycle of segments and is indicated by an LED that continuously morphs between red and green.
a little help please? thanks!
Thanks for trying it out! First, make sure you're in advanced segment generator mode by pressing and holding the second button for 5 seconds (the LEDs will flash when changing mode). You then change the type of each segment just as in regular stages: push a segment's button to cycle through the types. In advanced mode, there is a fourth type, random, which is indicated by the LED fading between green and red over and over. The order of the types is green (ramp), yellow (step), red (hold), green-red (random). Again, as in regular stages, patch from right to left, so you probably want to do this on the rightmost segment if you want a standalone Turing machine segment

Without a patch cable in the gate input, a random segment will act as a stepped random voltage source. Once you patch the gate input, it becomes a Turing Machine.

Hope that helps!

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by qiemem » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:54 am

Carrousel wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:05 pm
I know nothing about how the hardware is configured with regards to the software, but could a non-gated, non-looping green section just be used as an individual offset and attenuator channel? The pot could control attenuation of the incoming cv signal and the slider could be offset....this would be amazingly useful imo
SavageMessiah wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:37 pm
A non-gated, non-looping yellow section is already an offset and offset/attentuation doesn't really "feel" related to what green sections do imo. We should probably avoid cramming features into every gap in the UI. I can't deny that it would be useful though. Honestly, it might be a better conceptual fit for the looping single yellow segment - just swapping slew for attenuation but otherwise being the same.
Great idea! I made ngnl yellows attenuation+offset (with bipolar mode allowing for inversion). I kept looping as slew instead of non-looping because slew is sort of like attenuation over time, which feels more loopy to me... Anyway, will be in the next version.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by qiemem » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:17 am

crumb dinger wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:11 pm
I've also been thinking about non-gated, non-looping green segments in the adv. segment mode and what they could be used for. The one thing Stages generally lacks is on-board mixing/amplitude control. Maybe non-gated, non-looping greens could be some kind of summing, averaging, or fading segment?

As cross-fading mixers, they could take as input the outputs of all segments to their right. Fading through the inputs could be handled on the slider, with overall level control on the pot. This would let you set up to 5 segments of modulation to the right and then have a (sort of) mix output on the first segment, and it would also allow for free running LFOs, random, or orange segments to the left of a NGNL green in the middle of a setup. Just an offhand idea, anyhow.

Really interesting idea, but pretty complicated, especially with potentially chained modules involved. Mixing also feels a bit beyond the scope of stages. Having cv scanning over the modulation sources does sound pretty wild though.

Fwiw the lfho mode has a mix output and the vca-esque thing I mentioned a while back gives you a way to crossfade, so there will be some related things in the next release.

Thanks again for the ideas!

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by baleen » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:21 pm

qiemem wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:47 pm
First, make sure you're in advanced segment generator mode by pressing and holding the second button for 5 seconds (the LEDs will flash when changing mode). You then change the type of each segment just as in regular stages: push a segment's button to cycle through the types. In advanced mode, there is a fourth type, random, which is indicated by the LED fading between green and red over and over. The order of the types is green (ramp), yellow (step), red (hold), green-red (random). Again, as in regular stages, patch from right to left, so you probably want to do this on the rightmost segment if you want a standalone Turing machine segment
yep that does it! thanks! I may discover this on my own but does switching to Advanced Segment mode lose "slow lfo" settings per stage? ie, i would need to reset those stages to slow lfo?

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by crumb dinger » Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:19 pm

qiemem wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:17 am
crumb dinger wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:11 pm
I've also been thinking about non-gated, non-looping green segments in the adv. segment mode and what they could be used for. The one thing Stages generally lacks is on-board mixing/amplitude control. Maybe non-gated, non-looping greens could be some kind of summing, averaging, or fading segment?

As cross-fading mixers, they could take as input the outputs of all segments to their right. Fading through the inputs could be handled on the slider, with overall level control on the pot. This would let you set up to 5 segments of modulation to the right and then have a (sort of) mix output on the first segment, and it would also allow for free running LFOs, random, or orange segments to the left of a NGNL green in the middle of a setup. Just an offhand idea, anyhow.

Really interesting idea, but pretty complicated, especially with potentially chained modules involved. Mixing also feels a bit beyond the scope of stages. Having cv scanning over the modulation sources does sound pretty wild though.

Fwiw the lfho mode has a mix output and the vca-esque thing I mentioned a while back gives you a way to crossfade, so there will be some related things in the next release.

Thanks again for the ideas!
You're positively welcome, and thank you for taking the time! Really excited about the attenuation segment coming in the next version. I think it makes perfect sense.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by qiemem » Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:33 pm

baleen wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:21 pm
I may discover this on my own but does switching to Advanced Segment mode lose "slow lfo" settings per stage? ie, i would need to reset those stages to slow lfo?
Nope! All segment settings are saved between modes and advanced and normal mode share settings. Note that witching segment type does reset polarity and lfo frequency. I went with this so there was a quick way to get back to normal segment behavior.

There is a bug to be aware of here: if you have any random segments on and switch to normal segment generator (mode 1), the module will get very confused (restarts over and over). This is fixed in the upcoming version, but just a heads up until then. That said, the only reason normal version is there is for people that don't want the features of advanced: there is little reason to switch between them if you're okay with, e.g., having a fourth segment type. It doesn't seem like anyone has run into the bug; presumably people are just sticking to advanced. BTW, if anyone does run into this, the fix is to reinstall stock Stages and then reinstall this firmware to trigger a settings reset. Try to avoid it though... :eurosmoke:

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by SavageMessiah » Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:37 pm

Do the turing segments save their shift registers across power cycles?

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by qiemem » Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:14 pm

SavageMessiah wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:37 pm
Do the turing segments save their shift registers across power cycles?
No they don't. I could try adding it, but I think it would interfere with running the module at audio rates. Saving causes the module to briefly pause, creating discontinuities in output. If you're using any segments at audio rates, this creates a very audible pop (this already affects button presses, polarity changes, etc.). Thus, the TM segments would cause the module to pause every time they changed state.

To be honest, I also kind of like the imposed ephemeral nature of the resulting melodies (I believe TMs themselves work this way, though I don't actually have one), but I recognize that's not very practical and others will certainly disagree :P

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by SavageMessiah » Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:31 pm

It could maybe work like Mimetic Sequent, which only saves when the sequence is locked. It's not that important though.

You should probably put the attentuation on yellow segments on the looping segment rather than the default, otherwise the behavior of the segment will change in a weird way when they are chained. Unless you're making it attenuate then too, but then how do you use the slew as glide in a sequence (as it is now) since looping a segment will just keep the sequence from ever finishing? On the other hand, looping a single yellow segment does nothing different at all right now (that I know of) so that seems like the safer place to put it. Heck, it feels a little weird because it essentially changes the meaning of 'looping' for this segment to just mean 'attenuating', but you could just enable that all the time, not just in single segments. Then you can chain a few of them and get something like a muxlicer - switching between attenuated versions of a couple of inputs. I suppose that logic works for making attenuation the default too :despair:. I just don't want the default behavior to change lol.

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by qiemem » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:30 pm

SavageMessiah wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:31 pm
It could maybe work like Mimetic Sequent, which only saves when the sequence is locked. It's not that important though.
That's a pretty good idea, but it would mean you couldn't go between evolving and fixed sequences during a performance or recording (or you'd have to do it with CV). I could also have, e.g., holding the mode button down save settings for that mode or something. Or add a button+slider combo for TMs... I'll think about it.
SavageMessiah wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:31 pm
You should probably put the attentuation on yellow segments on the looping segment rather than the default, otherwise the behavior of the segment will change in a weird way when they are chained. Unless you're making it attenuate then too, but then how do you use the slew as glide in a sequence (as it is now) since looping a segment will just keep the sequence from ever finishing? On the other hand, looping a single yellow segment does nothing different at all right now (that I know of) so that seems like the safer place to put it. Heck, it feels a little weird because it essentially changes the meaning of 'looping' for this segment to just mean 'attenuating', but you could just enable that all the time, not just in single segments. Then you can chain a few of them and get something like a muxlicer - switching between attenuated versions of a couple of inputs. I suppose that logic works for making attenuation the default too :despair:. I just don't want the default behavior to change lol.
That's a good point. I can make non-gated, looping single yellow segments attenuate instead. You're right that it feels like it's changing the nature of looping, but the fact that it's safer outweighs that. BTW this is going in advanced mode, the whole point of which is that the module may not behave quite like you expect anymore (without actually removing any functionality). I still want it to feel coherent, but some violation of expectation is okay. Though this almost makes me wonder if gated, looping single yellows should be attenuated S&H instead of T&H... :despair:

There isn't really a way to get it working in groups without eliminating the default behavior (which obviously I won't do). In groups, there's not really such a thing as a looping segment: there's only a loop with a start and an end (which may be the same segment). So, you can't have three looping segments in a group, you can only have a group with a loop that is three segments long. I could make it so that a yellow segment attenuates if it happens to be the start or end of a loop, but that feels really weird.

Thanks for the feedback! Very much appreciated!

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by SavageMessiah » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:52 pm

qiemem wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:30 pm
Though this almost makes me wonder if gated, looping single yellows should be attenuated S&H instead of T&H... :despair:
That's what I would expect, as a user. Honestly everything seemed a lot simpler without attenuation :omg:

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by qiemem » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:52 pm

SavageMessiah wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:52 pm
qiemem wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:30 pm
Though this almost makes me wonder if gated, looping single yellows should be attenuated S&H instead of T&H... :despair:
That's what I would expect, as a user. Honestly everything seemed a lot simpler without attenuation :omg:
Fair enough. I've been using attenuation in almost every patch since implementing it, though, so I'd really like it in there somewhere. I definitely cannot say the same about T&H. I've also found myself wanting attenuation of S&Hs. Is anyone super tied to T&H?

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Re: [SPLIT] Alternative Firmware(s) for Mutable Instruments Stages

Post by crumb dinger » Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:14 pm

qiemem wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:52 pm
Fair enough. I've been using attenuation in almost every patch since implementing it, though, so I'd really like it in there somewhere. I definitely cannot say the same about T&H. I've also found myself wanting attenuation of S&Hs. Is anyone super tied to T&H?
One vote for S&H here, that's also what I would expect coming from OG stages.

Just mapping everything out because I feel like I might be misunderstanding:

-looping, non gated, single yellow: Attenuation on slider, offset on pot.

-non-looping, gated, single yellow: Sample and hold with attenuation on slider and slew on pot.

-non-looping yellow in group: Traditional step segment as in original Stages.

Is that right?

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