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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

TimeFrog by Undead Instruments
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Author TimeFrog by Undead Instruments
Paranormal Patroler
So what about this weird MIDI instrument then? Is there anybody who owns one of these and can give us a bit of insight? I know Richard Devine has one, I've seen the videos. But I'm looking for a fellow wiggler who'd share his knowledge on the device's functionality, strengths and weaknesses.

I went through the manuals for the last two firmwares and they're kinda cryptic at best. Especially the latest firmware's manual is almost unreadable. I understand there's a language barrier but I'm trying to overcome it myself! There are a bunch of educational videos on Youtube, some from Olivier himself, but a first hand perspective would be great.

soundwave106
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
So what about this weird MIDI instrument then?


Heh, I don't own one, but yeah, the manual is a bit strange. "The timeFrog is not a MIDI controller"... uh, yeah, by everything else in the manual, it is. hihi (Really a combo controller / sequencer by the looks of it, which isn't an uncommon thing these days.)

I guess they want to distinguish their system, which looks like it can perform some interesting MIDI message sequence / trigger type message math (I think), from the atypical "spin the knob and spit out CC value n" type controller. Manual could indeed be way better though.
flx
Paul from A Box in the Sea owns and uses one frequently in his videos. I also tried to understand it some time ago, but have not gotten far. The "official" tutorial videos aren't really helpful either. seriously, i just don't get it
Paranormal Patroler
Actually I've watched his videos as well as (probably) all videos on Youtube and Vimeo. Paul posted under one of his videos that he intends to make some video demonstrations but I'm really on the edge as I'm very interested in purchasing one (placed it in WTB as well hihi just in case). So, you know, I'd be happy to get some Q&A going here.
CJ Miller
The spinner looks exactly like a hard drive platter. I was experimenting briefly with making something like this a few years ago, but didn't get very far. Too many projects! The bearings in hard drives allow them to spin a really long time. Use a microcontroller to spin the motor, and read the position - and you've got an inertial spin controller.

I never read the TimeFrog manuals, but there are lots of fun things one could do with something like this.
Quasi
Hi Everyone,

This is Paul of "A Box in The Sea" and I'd be happy to answer any question I can. I too had the same experience with the manual. Olivier of Undead Instruments is very nice and helpful but sometimes his clarifications left me more confused than if I hadn't asked at all.

One of the ways I evaluate equipment is by understanding what it can uniquely do, if I can duplicate that with any equipment I already have and if so, how well.

I'm guessing I looked at all the same videos before I bought one (the buying took a long time as Olivier had to build it and customs was a hot mess getting it here from France). What I then discerned and have now been able to confirm is the speed and variation of releasing/changing midi note or CC values. This is impart due to the beautiful spinning wheel and the quick access the 8 knobs and buttons give to manipulate notes or CC's. This is the reason I wanted the Timefrog and it doesn't disappoint.

I have intended to do a video explaining it but was and still am waiting to hear back from Olivier on some big outstanding questions I still have. I have been insanely busy with my normal position leaving very little time to even play much less put together a good overview. So I've held off.

That said I'll do my best as I'm very happy for the chance to give back to so many people on this forum who have been so kind to me.

Cheers
Paul
Paranormal Patroler
Hey Paul, thanks for chiming in. I'm positive your insight will be invaluable! You seem to grasp the device quite well.

a) I know that currently there are three different types of firmware available (and Olivier told me he is working on the fourth). Have you used all three? What do you make of each?

b) What would you say are the major strengths of the device? It's advertised as an instrument and not just a simple controller. Personally I'm not looking for something to just control CC values. I'm more interested in its sequencing and note handling capabilities so what's your take on that part of the device?

c) Are the so-called gestures just a number of chords assigned on the wheel that you can scroll through?

d) I remember reading on the site that the user can use the wheel to "fight" the internal sequencer, or something similar. Any idea on what that means?

e) What are the possible options the user has for using the wheel? I mean, that's the most unique aspect of the device we might as well start there, unless you have other points you want to make.

f) Would you mind expanding on the speed of manipulation of notes and CC's?

I'm sorry if my questions seem vague. I really can't tell heads from tails on this but I sure know I'm excited. How did you go about using it? That might be an interesting thing to post as I presume most readers of the thread will have zero knowledge. Thanks a ton for your time! thumbs up
Quasi
In answering these I'm remembering how much I still don't quite "get" about the TF. Here goes:

a) I know that currently there are three different types of firmware available (and Olivier told me he is working on the fourth). Have you used all three? What do you make of each?

I have only used the 3rd and newest one. Olivier told me that there isn’t room to save any settings so this is a shortcoming I hope he addresses. I haven’t spoken to him at all in a while (sounds like you might have) but I’d be excited for version 4 and it’s possibilities.

b) What would you say are the major strengths of the device? It's advertised as an instrument and not just a simple controller. Personally I'm not looking for something to just control CC values. I'm more interested in its sequencing and note handling capabilities so what's your take on that part of the device?

I think the major strengths are it’s randomizing capabilities. That is the Timefrog has a quick (thought not intuitive at first) controls for changing notes with in a scale, octaves, velocity and probability (Probability is my interpretation and a question I have for Olivier). It is certainly a 16 step sequencer but I haven’t even begun to get into that side of it.

c) Are the so-called gestures just a number of chords assigned on the wheel that you can scroll through?

Hmmmm I’m not sure what gestures are on the TF. Can you describe your understanding of them? Perhaps it’s just a misinterpretation on my part.

d) I remember reading on the site that the user can use the wheel to "fight" the internal sequencer, or something similar. Any idea on what that means?

Yes this is true and speaks to the randomization part. Let’s say the sequencer is doing it’s thing… by spinning the wheel forwards or back you can trigger the notes (or CC values) at any interval you want in either direction. This IS what I love about the TF

e) What are the possible options the user has for using the wheel? I mean, that's the most unique aspect of the device we might as well start there, unless you have other points you want to make.

As far as I know it’s the same answer as “d” really no other point to make.


f) Would you mind expanding on the speed of manipulation of notes and CC's?

Meaning that the interface is layed out for very fast note/CC changes. The knobs (note/CC’s) are indexed so it’s easy to increment very accurately up or down. Push the right arrow key and you go to the next 4 steps of the sequence. It’s very fast to work like this.


I hope this is even helpful. Keep asking if not and I'll try to be more clear.
P
Isolde and Isobelle
I understand that it is primarily a MIDI device but, I wonder how well it can be integrated in to the modular environment. By sending its MIDI messages through a MIDI to CV/Gate convertor, I am interested to what responses would occur. I read that it has an output for syncing analogue synths.
Quasi
Isolde and Isobelle wrote:
I understand that it is primarily a MIDI device but, I wonder how well it can be integrated in to the modular environment. By sending its MIDI messages through a MIDI to CV/Gate convertor, I am interested to what responses would occur. I read that it has an output for syncing analogue synths.


I haven't tried syncing with my modular so I can't speak to that. I have sent midi note and CC messages to the modular with great success. Though I was not able to take advantage of the TF's quick randomization of velocity as right now I can only receive gate and pitch on my modular.

I'd say if you weren't using it as a straight sequencer and only using the TF's wheel to send note and pitch it could be thought of as a random time source with said operator being in control of the timing.

I realize these descriptions are far from clear so please keep asking and I will try to think of different ways to describe it.

Cheers
P
Isolde and Isobelle
Thank you very much for your reply, that is really useful.

There are a fair amount of TF demonstrations but, sadly, not that many involving modular's... in fact, I think, yours are the only ones ( - excellent soundscapes that you produce... especially when it gets sparse. thumbs up)

I have contacted Olivier and hope to reserve one of the upcoming batch... I also asked him if he ever intends to implement CV/Gate in to the device - I'm not sure how feasible this will be.

Thanks again.
Isolde and Isobelle
Hi!

Just a little update to my above post - I contacted Olivier and he told me that although it is possible to mod the TF to have 4 gate outputs, he prefers to keep things as they are. He said, that a MIDI to CV PCB kit which will be able to plug directly in to TF should be available in November.

I am just going to link mine to one of my old Kenton's and see where it goes.
Quasi
Been traveling tons and haven't been able to get back to this conversation. That's great news about the PCB kit!!! Did you get a TF?
Isolde and Isobelle
Yes, I have had one for a couple of weeks now but am still trying to get my head around the best way to implement its features.
To be honest it has been mainly trial and error in my programming of TF... I find the manual a little vague to be honest and I still have not worked out how to use the Sync output - although I have had, in a good way, many unexpected surprises in the note generation it produces. I also find the sequencer side to it a great avenue to explore... it is more powerful than I expected.

If there was any time that I could use a clear explanatory video demonstration, then that surely must be now. If you ever get around to making the one that you mentioned, I am sure that it would provide a great basic tutorial on getting to grips with this marvelous device.

thumbs up
Paranormal Patroler
Isolde and Isobelle wrote:
although I have had, in a good way, many unexpected surprises in the note generation it produces. I also find the sequencer side to it a great avenue to explore... it is more powerful than I expected.


Can you please elaborate? I haven't purchased a TF yet as I spent all my money on other sequencers (some of which have very good randomization possibilities as well), but it's getting higher on my list so it's happening soon enough. I need to revisit the manuals.
youkon
what did you pay for the TF? couldn't find a price on the homepage..
Isolde and Isobelle
I am possibly not the person to currently ask, as I am still learning the device.The sequencer takes a little learning to get the best out of it - the four available buttons/slots can be programmed to send out any number of CC's, etc and these different parameters can be constantly variable by choosing the level within the appropriate page of the menu screen... it also can run on two separate clocks and ,of course, it is not just limited to four steps.

Sorry, that I can not elaborate a little more on all the features.... I'm getting there, tho. hmmm.....

The price including tracked and insured postage was 324 Euros which is about £250 here in the UK.

The timeFrog is sturdily built in an all metal casing - the pots, sliders and disc are all robust and logically laid out. Ableton Live had no problem recognising the device and it appears with its own name within that programme - if you would like blue/green LED's as seen in some of the videos posted about, then I think that you would have to stipulate your preference to Olivier before he builds the unit... mine came with all red.
It only needed the addition of some cheap rubber feet on the base.

Once again, apologies for not being too precise on its operation, hopefully Quasi will be able to chime in with a better explanation.

There is a short Youtube clip of my first use of it (check my signature below)... but, please, don't ask why you can not see my hand... it's a looooong story. oops
Paranormal Patroler
I'm hoping for a Quasi video as well. I honestly don't expect anybody other than Olivier to get into the deep details of what the TF can do, so please do not hesitate making a simple overview or talking about the TF on a level that you feel accustomed to. But please, don't use filters or weird angles like Olivier does on his videos (on top of which his videos are in French, and although I do know a bit of French they're still not much help)! If anybody plans on making an instructional video of any kind (newb level or whatnot) just make sure the screen is on top of the device and the LCD letters are discernible.

I know Olivier is a cool guy as I've been in contact with him during the past few months and I do intend to purchase the device (I'm once again considering of selling some Eurorack stuff to fund it as soon as possible), sit my ass down and work on it for myself. But once again I spent some time going through his videos and I'm very frustrating.
Quasi
I and I,
You did a great job explaining it. I am in the same place. That is Olivier is wonderful but between the manual and videos I am still confused about it's true potential.

My full apologies for not getting a video made about the TF. I have 2 or 3 pieces of music shot that I don't even have time to edit (No complaining here, I have an incredible day job which has me traveling tons so it is literally a time factor. That is I need to be home in the studio to shoot and I'm not going to be for a while).

Paranormal, I totally understand per your request to simply see the TF being operated unobstructed as there's enough mystery in it's operation.

I will try and still answer any questions I can about the TF.

Cheers!
Paranormal Patroler
Quasi wrote:
I will try and still answer any questions I can about the TF


I'm selling some stuff to fund one as soon as possible. So I'll PM you with my communication info and let's start exchanging notes. Once we nail some stuff down we can post 'em here to keep people updated. How does that sound?
Quasi
That sounds wonderful. Let's do it. applause
sicijk
Hi guys...I am new to the forum (being an activist on Elektron-Users, and now on Elektronauts)

Anyway....a timeFrog is on its way to my studio.....I will try to participate in the thin out of fog around the TF......

Hopefully!
Quasi
sicijk wrote:
Hi guys...I am new to the forum (being an activist on Elektron-Users, and now on Elektronauts)

Anyway....a timeFrog is on its way to my studio.....I will try to participate in the thin out of fog around the TF......

Hopefully!


welcome Sicijk!! Can't wait to hear what you think of the TF
sicijk
Ok.....myTF has arrived yesterday afternoon......and I already can say that it was a mini-nightmare to let it plays even notes.....fixed to a scale that I do not know how to change yet!!
The unit is running FW 1.31
The manual.....well....some things are explained.....i.e. how to navigate and few other things....but that's easy!! eheheheh.
I have plenty of questions...I try to answer by myself using it in the next few days....
But a Forum is for conversation right?
So....if anyone wants to chime in ....I'll be grateful! nanners

Did somebody find an understanding of the SERV page in the menu?
How do I actually sync to Ext BPM? So...can I have the TF sequencer to start when I press play on extarnal hardware?
I see that turning the TUNE knob i can change a value for BPM but it jumps to fixed value, like 120-130-150-170 etc.....so far I wasn't able to select a value in between.....but I also must admit that even these fixed values were doing nothing to what I was hearing..... d'oh!

Anyway....TF is for me a crazy device that will disclose some pretty alien stuff....I can't wait....
The real problem is documentation and a real know-how of the device...
I think I should plan a weekend in Marseille!
Paranormal Patroler
Did you try clocking it from an external source? The only place where any type of synchronicity is mention is on page 9 of the manual, on Main View, controlled by the second row of encoders labeled Bx. You should take a look there and let us know what you find.

To the best of my knowledge Service acts as an optical feedback of what the device is doing. Like an overview.
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