LZX: Loom, Topogram, Marionette, Hourglass, & Tower

Discussion of modular and standalone video generating/processing techniques and associated hardware.

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337is
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LZX: Loom, Topogram, Marionette, Hourglass, & Tower

Post by 337is » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:11 pm

These images of concept modules were shared by Lars over on the FB group. Sharing here for those not on FB.

Image
Image

Link to Tower post:



Thread highlights from Lars :

“Just bear in mind these aren't product announcements yet, this is just a BITS peek at some of the background projects we have been conceptualizing when we need a mental palate cleanser in between Orion stuff, which is where most of our efforts are focused now and through this Summer.”
“I'm breaking my oath to not say a word about all the new Expedition releases, but what the hell. Tower (frontpanel WIP) is an H/V ramp regenerator with integrated ramp generators. Rather than different waveshape outputs, you get 7 different rotated angle combinations of H & V ramps. It can also be a processor, or a redistribution bus for your Cortex ramps (or any H/V waveform pair) that will give you fixed rotations of the inputs. So think of it kind of like 7 Navigators frozen in place. Feed this with ramps rotated by Navigator and you have a supermodule concept... Windmill! So could also be thought of as a Navigator, Cortex, or Diver expander. 8HP.”

“I guess where there's a hole there's a rip, and I can share a little concept work. Ask me about all this again after you get the shipping notifications on your Diver, Fortress and TBC2.”

“Winston Giles Edwards With Tower, I may add some waveshaping (especially Ramp->Triangle) options instead of having 7 angles. Maybe 4 angles with some switches and mixes. To do what you want, this is the module to do it.”

“Luix Bot Yes, you get it! Hourglass is basically a triple linear ramp/envelope generator where each ramp fires (then stays high) one after the other -- that way you can make a thing happen, then another thing happen, then another. you can then patch those master control ramps (timelines) into modules like topogram, staircase and doorway to generate complex cascading sequences and sub events. it's a big missing piece, i think, after years of thinking about it. the other modules are all very "diverse output heavy" and are designed specifically to balance out what is currently a very input heavy system. Loom is kind of a "pick any 3 outputs -> RGB" themed dual osc and pattern gen. and marionette can program in ANY quadrilateral figure, and position it under voltage control, finally making analog shape computation and positioning possible in a single module (but of course, expandable with Shapechanger and Navigator as well.)”

“Steve Thomas For years I've been thinking about how to realize an elegant system for patch programmable animation sequencing in Expedition series, and expand on what I'm fascinated with about the Scanimate frame counter ramps. I believe that when combined with the other complex waveshapers in the series, Hourglass is the only (or most important) missing piece. This module outputs three staged 1V ramps. Think of voltage as representative of the sand in the "hourglass" of each stage. 1V = empty hourglass, 0V = full hourglass. The time knobs control the overall amount of sand (how long it takes to empty each hourglass.) The outputs are a linear positioning control -- like HV ramps are for space, but for motion/time instead.

So you can kind of think of Hourglass in the same context you think of HV ramp generators, when patching. But when the other modules are processing it, they take on new contexts...

Staircase becomes a linear frequency multiplier -- it can take an Hourglass ramp and divide it up into CYCLES at various divisions. These are all proportional in time to the speed of the Hourglass ramp, as it changes.

Doorway becomes a 1-shot event generator (in outline mode) or delayed subramp. Doorway is great because you've got the "before" and "after" (rather than background/foreground) crossfaders built in!

Topogram becomes a sequencer. It slices up the input ramp and gives you up to 5 sequential segments/sub events, with a diverse range of control outputs.

Essentially we're using video soft keyers as animation event controllers.

Since these modules all process video signal paths as well, things can get very interesting when nested modulation across frequency ranges starts coming into play.”

“TLDR; Hourglass adds "LF ramps" (low freq) to the same patching contexts in the system as "HV ramps". Yes, you can already do this with external envelope generators and LFOs (I think it's one of Bill's big tricks...) Hourglass just packages 3 system native envelopes in a sequential structure that's easy to program, retrigger, and offers a unique timing control structure which I feel like is better suited for animation than the plethora of complex envelopes already out there in EuroRack world.”

“To think about this in the Scanimate way, when you patch a 1V hourglass LF ramp to a CV input, the bias knob on the module is now the "START POSITION" and the CV attenuverter is now the "END POSITION". When you fire the ramp, the parameter in question will move from the beginning position to the ending position according to the time set on Hourglass. So instead of having some huge HP sequencing module like a typical step sequencer for music, the positional controls are distributed across the entire system at their destination nodes, and control comes from a very compact functional block.”

“Steve Thomas To control video crossfading and amplitude modulation, you would patch Hourglass ramps (or sub events thereof) into CV inputs on RGB processor modules such as Marble Index or Luma processor modules such as Doorway.”

“If you want to have both an animation sweep and a video source controlling a single parameter, you would mix them or multiply them using bread and butter modules like Passage and Bridge, before patching to the destination parameter.”

“In simple audio synth world terms, consider Hourglass to be Expedition's envelope/sequencer and Pendulum to be Expedition's LFO.”

“I am trying to keep "patch programmable" and "voltage control" in the forefront of my mind when considering how this whole system fits together, and the core instrumentation concept under which it is used. For Expedition series, also "analog computation." In Orion series, there will likely be a keyframe based sequencer at some point, geared around control of large numbers of parameters and MIDI Rx/Tx in a way that is prohibitive to achieve compared to the analog modules (but ultimately less playable and fluid). We may also work a sequencing engine into some of the larger Orion modules.”

“For Topogram, it's the new big brother to Staircase and Doorway, and the spiritual successor to the Visionary 8 Stage Quantizer/Sequencer. When source input is Luma video and outputs are patched to colors (Color Chords, direct RGB inputs, etc) it becomes a 5-band colorizer with variable softness.”

“The core themes though, with the next batch of Expedition releases: Add more output heavy modules to balance out the current range of input heavy modules. Make it easier to have lots of source options in smaller systems and without requiring several Prismatic Rays. Add a single module shape generator with positioning that expands rather than overlaps Navigator/Shapechanger. Add the missing functional block required for modular, expandable animation event programming. Oh, and solve the constant plea for a simple ramps generator functional block without sacrificing any usability/system design principles!”

“Steve Thomas I imagine two or three more more years and a final module tally between 25-30 and I'll feel like Expedition series will be a closed chapter from the R&D perspective. In that time we've got a lot of work to do, and there may be some models discontinued and others revised to mk2. I'd be doing all this in my free time whether or not anyone was buying it!! Thanks to making it a career, I think I'll be done in less than 10 years rather than 20.”

“Orion series will probably end up around 15 modules and take us well into the 2020s. After that maybe we'll hire some biomedical engineers and start in on the retinal implants before 2030.”

“Leslie Rollins I love talking about this stuff! And I love it when my own ideas evolve in the course of discussion. So let me explain what I'm after. The instrumentation concept here is a little different from how we approach envelopes in an audio synth -- it's a paradigm lifted directly from the world of animation (specifically the Scanimate) instead of the world of music. Hourglass is essentially an *analog timecode clock* rather than a modulation envelope. The ramp outputs represent *percentage of total timeline length*. And speed/time of the ramp represents *length of timeline segment*. Think of it more in terms of a frame counter being fed proportionally into a DAC. In this sense, *linear* envelopes are exactly what we want (and ALL we want) at the source -- any waveshape variation is like having a clock without any absolute definition of what "seconds" or "minutes" means. You lose the mental tether that enables you to compose complex patches the way an animator might plan out a short list or a film editor might cut to music. HV ramps are much the same -- we want linear ramps, or else we are distorting our ability to identify discrete points on the screen. Why are linear source ramps important? Because now we can distribute them in parallel to many destination waveshapers, which can generate the full range of quadrilaterals, or in the case of Hourglass/LF ramps, the full range of animation events and slopes, all within the realms of analog computing and entirely untethered from concepts of discrete pixels or clocks.

So, I see the ramps as *fixed* in what they are supposed to mean. They are related to master control and not to the specifics of the patch:

H sync = a pulse that triggers the start of a new line
V sync = a pulse that triggers the start of a new field
H ramp = a linear slope that starts on each scanline at active video and reaches 1.0V by the end of active video
V ramp = a linear slope that starts at visible scanline #1 and reaches 1.0V by the end of visible scanline #480 (or #576)
LF ramp = a linear slope that starts at the beginning of the timeline segment and reaches 1.0V by the end of the timeline segment”
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Post by nerdware » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:06 pm

That's a lot to think about. It's good to see that more good things will happen in the Expedition series. Thanks!
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Post by Agawell » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:36 pm

+1

I've now re-read it 3 times

I now want all these modules... hehehe

I was hoping that the 3 modules on order, a bit of diy and maybe one more module (fortress) next year would do me for a while!

at least they're only concepts - and we know how long those can take to materialise, if at all

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Post by johnwynberg » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:14 am

Seeing all the LZX announcements and discussions that seem to take place in Facebook, more than in their own LZX forum, makes me almost want to check on FB. Until I remember all the FB hassle… So, thanks for spreading the info here!
If LZX are not producing more Prismatic Ray, Loom seems like the most obvious reason, as a double VCO, hopefully still around the price of one Ray (which has more features, like Pedestal).
Hopefully Loom would materialise soon enough, so there wouldn’t be a time when there are no video VCOs available to buy. As far as I know, LZX are the only ones that produce VCOs for video, capable of horizontal sync.
Tower also seems like an obvious companion for the Visual Cortex ramp generator, so that would also be an instant buy from me.

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Post by nerdware » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:37 am

The most interesting common feature amoung these concept modules is the large number of outputs vs inputs. As Lars points out, some modules in the Expedition series are a little heavy on the outputs vs inputs. The PR is a notable exception in this respect, as it has slightly more outputs than inputs. So I really like how these concept modules are designed to address that issue.

The 'concept' nature of these modules, at this early stage, is not lost on me. :razz:
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Post by hdd » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:38 am

Really wondering if there will be a successor to marble index.
Not the best time for me to buy one :/ and scared that it ll not be possible next.


tower and marionette looks nice,

all this outputs of LOOM made a weird workflow for me, would be more easy and more alive in a system to have a waveshaper type osc.
I suppose this may be thinked to be associated with audio osc, but weirdly most of LZX system only have LZX modules.

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Post by nerdware » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:52 am

This is why I try to budget for emergency purchases, like buying something that I'd rather not buy today but which I know might not ever be available again. I'm not very good at practicing this kind of budgeting, of course, but it does sometimes work. :doh: BTW, there's another thread nearby for discussing this very problem. :lol:
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Post by hdd » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:18 am

"New products will be announced in the next newsletter on October 31st!"

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Post by lud » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:00 am

These look excellent! I'll echo what's been said about lack of outputs Vs inputs on current modules (I have), these will go someway to remedying that. As it stands can't afford to catch em all thought!
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Post by hdd » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:28 am

it's on LZX Video Synth Community, i don't think it's public.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/lzxindustries/

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Post by Agawell » Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:59 am

topogram is announced for pre-order - should be shipping start of december

also announced is the chromagnon

Standalone and EuroRack out of the box. Includes an injection molded skiff enclosure for standalone use. Power from EuroRack power header or any 12V DC wall wart.
A holistic visual instrument or core module for EuroRack video synthesis. Includes video sync generation, video input/output interface, complex cartesian processor and video waveform generators.
Multi format visuals. Chromagnon supports several complete workflows within a simple interface: colorization, chroma keying, shape generation, and scan processing with ILDA lasers and XY displays. For you vector heads who’ve been waiting for a dedicated LZX instrument for Rutt-Etra style scan processing or downscaling video for live display using lasers and Vectrex monitors, Chromagnon is for you!
Third generation LZX analogue circuitry. High performance discrete wideband circuitry based on a decade of incremental research and development.
$799 USD.
26HP EuroRack Module w/Standalone Case Included.
Shipping estimated for the Vernal Equinox, 2020. (March)
Pre-orders open on January 1st!

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Post by nangu » Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:01 am

Image

:sb:

My 5th attempt at finding an XY monitor that actually works and doesn’t have horrid phosphor burn should arrive tomorrow..

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Post by johnwynberg » Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:07 am

Agawell wrote:also announced is the chromagnon
So they're discontinuing Visual Cortex and Vidiot! Still trying to figure out if Chromagnon completely supersedes Visual Cortex, doing everything the VC does, plus more.

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Post by nangu » Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:17 am

It doesn’t have any of VC’s mixing, keying, or LFO features. But it adds a lot of Navigator stuff.

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Post by hdd » Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:31 am

i'm really curious about topogram.
I think i get the doorway and staircase part of it, you input a layer, and you have different harmony level of soft keying on the output.
i can imagine the render of that part.

But i'm missing the sequential part.
Really would like to see some demos, with hourglass i guess, to consider a preorder.
But it may be best for me to wait the second batch :hihi:

Sad for vidiot, but other standalone machines are coming

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Post by Apfelmann » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:51 am

i very much like the idea of standalone/module combo like on the koma field kits and i would love a vidiot conversion kit

will the chromagnon be overkill in combo with a vidiot? I NEED that spin feature and originaly thought of buying a navigator soon. started building a video rack (Staircase, Bridge, Diver) to accompany the vidiot and now im a bit stuck in where to go.

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Post by 337is » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:07 am

Link to full details and most recent announcements:

http://mailchi.mp/8cebbc193b20/happy-ha ... zx-topogra m-and-chromagnon
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Post by lud » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 am

Can't believe they're discontinuing Vidiot! Exciting to see Chromagnon though

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Re: LZX: Loom, Topogram, Marionette, Hourglass, & Tower

Post by nerdware » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:13 am

Consolidating Topogram-only info:

Image
Topogram becomes a sequencer. It slices up the input ramp and gives you up to 5 sequential segments/sub events, with a diverse range of control outputs.

Essentially we're using video soft keyers as animation event controllers.
For Topogram, it's the new big brother to Staircase and Doorway, and the spiritual successor to the Visionary 8 Stage Quantizer/Sequencer. When source input is Luma video and outputs are patched to colors (Color Chords, direct RGB inputs, etc) it becomes a 5-band colorizer with variable softness.
Thanks.
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Post by nerdware » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:18 pm

More info from the website:
Topogram is a sequential soft key generator capable of splitting live video and patterns into discrete bands for colorization and control. Edge transitions feature voltage controlled gain for creating hard edges or smooth gradients. Upper and lower thresholds for the keying range may be voltage controlled separately.

Topogram takes simple inputs and slices them up. Six non overlapping regions can be patched out for 6 band colorizer patterns, along with another 8 outputs which group and span multiple ranges.

Driven with LFOs and low frequency envelopes, Topogram becomes a frequency independent sub-event generator for animation control of your patch.

Topogram features elevated technical and performance specifications, and is the result of years of research and testing of discrete analogue video circuitry. The signal path is fully active, and CV attenuverters have a deadband range in the center. The circuit is entirely analogue.
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Post by nerdware » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:52 pm

[video][/video]
https://vimeo.com/user2264453
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