What is your favorite control device?

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Pelsea
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What is your favorite control device?

Post by Pelsea » Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:17 pm

I may have mentioned* in some of my posts that my current euro system consists almost entirely of audio modules and simple controllers (set and forget things like LFOs and function generators). Instead of complex controllers (sequencers, Turing machines and the like), I am driving the automatic actions of the synthesizer by a laptop running Max/MSP. The system is more or less finished, and it is time to turn my attention to the Max part.
*Ad nauseam, I suspect.

My question here is what (besides performance interfaces) do you drive patches with, and what are the best features and limitations of the modules you have used? My plan is to write Max patchers that emulate the devices you describe, try them out in my own music, and eventually include them in a book on techniques of algorithmic composition. I will also share what I come up with in the software forum.

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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by FetidEye » Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:09 pm

I mainly use clocks & dividers & logic, phase offsetted lfo's and vco's, Lorentz attractors (O&c app), voltage controlled envelopes, and feedback systems (audiorate and CV, in the form of resonant EQ's and matrix mixers) to control my patches.
However, sometimes I want to have a little bit more control over the patterns, so I think of using more (trigger) sequencers.

Recently I acquired a MN Rene, which does excellent voltage controlled XY sequences. these are very interesting and complex, while still controllable.

I never use computers to control my modular, because I started using modulars to get away from computers.
But it might happen. I still have some interesting patches with Brownian functions and certain pseudo random generators.
And Max has all those new objects for interfacing...

ps: thanks for all those max tutorials. back in the day when I was learning Max, they helped me a great lot!

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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by starthief » Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:58 pm

Manual:

16n Faderbank -- really flexible since it will do CV and MIDI, so I can control mix levels and effects in Bitwig as well as in my rack and it doesn't feel any different.

Ladik P-075 Dual Switch -- a simple passive module, it's two channels that have a toggle switch and a momentary pushbutton that inverts the toggle state. I keep it next to a Shades, so I can use it for gated transposition.

Automated:

Monome Teletype -- I mostly use it for gate manipulation and fun algorithmic rhythm patterns. Sometimes also CV, with programmed sequences or algorithmic ones or tempo-synced modulation, or S&H or algorithmic quantization. I also have it set up to give me offsets for clean FM ratios on the Hertz Donut mk2. It's a good partner for:

Marbles -- I often use it to grab short looped sequences, maybe with slow mutation or maybe not. Sometimes I will run a sequence from Stages or my SQ-1, or even just an LFO into the sampling input, and use it to reorder and requantize.

Bitwig Grid -- there are some step sequencing, clocking, probability and other tools in it, as well as "waveshaping" that can be applied to CV streams as well as audio. I've got an Expert Sleepers ES-3/ES-6 combo, so passing CV back and forth between the modular and Bitwig works pretty well (though it doesn't do pitch scaling accurately).
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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by lauprellim » Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:08 pm

I would really like to learn how to control my synth using MAX/MSP patches like you do. I have a colleague who is a real expert in that field but I have very little extra time right now to invest in learning the ins and outs. I have had some success using the Ableton CV tools, but probably I should sit down with a book and just slam through example after example in MAX...maybe after the semester is over?

Do you send CV out to the synth using an ES-8 or ES-3 or something along those lines?
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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by thetwlo » Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:29 pm

100's of comparitors! it would be endless like the Joranalogue Compare 2.

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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by Pelsea » Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:25 pm

lauprellim wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:08 pm
Do you send CV out to the synth using an ES-8 or ES-3 or something along those lines?
I use a home made USB CV interface. This particular version is based on an Arduino Due, so it's just 12 bit. A 14 bit version is in the works. It has 16 CV lines and 4 trigger lines (although any output can be a trigger). You won't have to build one though--I send all output through a bridge module that handles whatever is necessary for the available interface, which could as easily be expert sleepers or plain ol' MIDI.
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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by MindMachine » Sat Mar 07, 2020 1:39 am

I have been using some cheater modules lately in Euro.

Ladik Composer N and Busrst Generator, 2HP TM and ARP.

With the Cloq and 4ms QCD and even Grids, I can generate a lot of lines.

Add a ribbon controller or wheels to drive the cv aspects and you have a little more control.

edit - forgot to mention the Hungry Robot CV Keys is an amazing little controller for any modular format.
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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by authorless » Sat Mar 07, 2020 8:09 am

Aside from what you already mentioned...

For voltages:

Different implementations of clocked random voltages (think Buchla 266)
Sample and hold
Shift registers
Min/max

For clocking:
Dividers
Flip Flops
Comparators
Logic gates
Trigger delays
Slope Detector
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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by luchog » Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:41 pm

Multiple Serge DUSGs (4U and Euro)
Serge TKB touch keyboard sequencer
Zorx ribbon controller
Last edited by luchog on Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by ZargZorg » Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:03 pm

I'm a computer fan. Nothing I've done with sequencers or clocks ever came close to it connected to the es8 and mainly using Ableton live. arpeggiators, randomisers but most of what made it great was the Ableton workflow and the clip launching options.

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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by KSS » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:40 am

Pelsea wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:17 pm
My question here is what (besides performance interfaces) do you drive patches with, and what are the best features and limitations of the modules you have used?
The first things coming to mind were Analog -or digital analog of analog- sequencers, slews, comparators, and LFSRs.

Sequencers. 960, 717 and TKB you already know well, along with their strengths and weaknesses. Need mentioned, but well covered and understood, so moving on.

Slews. AKA timers AKA filters. Between this and the next category, nearly every synth function is available. Hardware limitations are disappearing with high resolution digital versions of analog slews. And having adjustable granularity of a slew is useful. Wide range and control2output relationship are places where your software can do better than analog.

Comparators. Keep coming back to these. Single, window and stacked. 'Stacking' can be vertical like a LM3914-6, or horizontal where the inputs go to comparators which then feed comparators. The comparator version of modulating the modulator. You can never have too many comparators!

Putting comparators in front of dividers to effect all kinds of conditional results based on analog inputs. Believe any boolean module is improved with adjustable comparators on its inputs. While this can be done in software, the haptics aren't the same. I want to turn a knob or move a slider interactively instead of adjusting a screen value. Add CV to these adjustable input comparators. Sprinkle through patch as appropriate. :tu:
I'm looking forward to physical knobs-switches-sliders which sit -anchored- on touchscreens arbitrarily positioned as a function of the usage-app, which means configurable haptics for digital devices. Until then, I want classic haptic interaction. There are some devices already on the market along these lines, but they're not quite ready for prime time IMO.

A window pair with a single is a nice module. I put that on the bottom of a 2600 VProc module aimed at a different modular format which left empty space to be filled. Limitation in hardware window comps is switching between high-low setting vs span-center. Each has its strengths and weakness.

LFSRs. Klee, Turing and their ilk. Great stuff! Have been playing with a Triad MUSE based version of this and it's fertile ground. Have added two important functions to the basic Muse. Both are based on integration, one is digital in nature and the other is analog. Although not used in the original Muse, I have always been interested in looking at the end of the pulse stream as a CV source. Roland JP4 EG ish. In simplest terms, a capacitor being fed by the pulse-gates coming out the 'end' of the LFSR. Now adding the controls seen in old LunarLander text based games, where the capacitor has CV to add and-or resist integration. To both build and bleed the base result of pulse train only. Finally a scale control to fit the resulting CV to whatever comes next. The format I'm using only allows 10 lower and 10 upper outputs, so this analog integrator is on the bottom.

I put a similar but digital integrator up top. Again fed by the LFSR stream. This is kind of like a Serge NCOM, and again uses the LunarLander topology. Except this is now integer based, and since the Muse is already using 4 bits to set tones, this becomes capable of being used for tone selection. V/Oct output.

These additions -along with a separate corollary voice module- bring the initially interesting but let's face it kind of ultimately boring LFSR based Muse into exciting territory.

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Re: What is your favorite control device?

Post by black_label » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:22 am

Wow! Learning a lot in this thread. I’ve been using sequencers and LFOs for just about everything until now.

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