Squinky Labs' ThisThing for Disting - now beta testing

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lloydcole
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Squinky Labs' ThisThing for Disting - now beta testing

Post by lloydcole » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:15 pm

My old friend Bruce Frazer (Voyetra, Sequencer Plus, etc) and I have teamed up to create alternative firmware for Expert Sleepers Disting. We're calling ourselves Squinky Labs. I design and test. Bruce codes. Our initial offering will be a suite of 16 CV Utilities called ThisThing.

It will be free, and all you will need is MicroChip Pickit and their IPE software. A series of instructional docs will be available. It's not difficult to do. If I can do it, anyone can...

UPDATE 12/14 - we're looking for beta testers. Please PM me if interested. Disting mk I only for now.

It will initially only work on mk I Distings but Andrew has offered to lend us a couple of mk IIs to do the necessary testing to be sure we make it compatible. mk III is not hackable, yet.

It will not be open source, as such, but we will make source code available for those who wish to hack/modify. We will not offer guarantees or support. Be sure to back up your Disting before you do anything... if you don't like ThisThing, you can go back to the original firmware.

The initial choice of algorithms is entirely selfish. I was looking to fill gaps in my system and/or replace modules which were frustrating or maybe just really big for the one function I may have used. ASRs are great fun but almost no-one makes one and they go out of tune, why not a DSR? That sort of thing...

I'll post a full list of algorithms when we're ready to make it available. We are still doing last minute bug fixes, but I think we are close and hope to make it available before the holidays.

For now, here are 14 videos showing the functionality of 15 of the algorithms. #16 needs no demonstration. I'm going to try to keep the videos short and simple, I won't do voiceovers, all pertinent info and patch notes are on the individual vimeo pages (where the videos look much nicer, BTW).

Algorithm 1A - Dual Sample & Hold
[video][/video]

Algorithm 1B - Sample & Hold Dual Clock
[video][/video]

Algorithm 1C - Sample & Hold and Track & Hold
[video][/video]

Algorithm 1D - Dual Clock Track & Hold
[video][/video]

Algorithm 2A - Probablistic Sample & Hold
[video][/video]

Algorithm 2B - Probablistic Track & Hold
[video][/video]

Algorithm 2C - Track & Hold ala a-152
[video][/video]

Algorithm 2D - Track & Hold ala a-152 with extended functionality (two ThisThings playing together in video)
[video][/video]

Algorithm 3A - 2 stage digital shift register
[video][/video]

Algorithm 3B - Dual semitone slope detector is featured in most of the other videos sending triggers to Optomix, etc...

Algorithm 3C - Rise and Fall Detector
[video][/video]

Algorithm 3D - Dual Function Quantizer Helper
[video][/video]

Algorithm 4A - Precision FM Helper
[video][/video]

Algorithm 4B - Octave adder, subtracter
[video][/video]

Algorithm 4C - Semitone adder, subtracter
[video][/video]

Algorithm 4D - Tuning and Voltage Threshold reference
No video. Outputs 8 octaves of .750v (A) and alerts to input voltages outside the operating range -8v to +8v. Note triggers are not limited to 8v.

That's all.
Last edited by lloydcole on Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:46 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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joem
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Post by joem » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:22 pm

Neat! Is this for the mk.3 only, or will it work on older Distings?

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lloydcole
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Post by lloydcole » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:28 pm

joem wrote:Neat! Is this for the mk.3 only, or will it work on older Distings?
I knew I'd forgotten to write something. Only mk Is for now but eventually all, I hope. Mk IIs as soon as these are working.

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Post by kingspill » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:39 pm

Thanks Lloyd and Bruce! This is very cool.

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Post by SineBrave » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:02 pm

This is great news! Really excited about this.

I am not able to see the embedded videos for some reason. Would you mind posting direct links to the Vimeo pages?

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Post by junklight » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:04 pm

So I thought that the idea behind the mk3 is that the code is open source and you can load it via the SD card

Are you going to port it over at some point (when you've gotten your hands on a mk3 )?

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Post by Flohr » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:22 pm

Sweet, I've been looking forward to seeing alternative firmwares for Disting. It's actually nice that this is for mk1s as many wigglers caught up in the craze for the latest and greatest will be likely selling their's off to replace them with mk3s. Could be a good time to stock up on cheap mk1s.

Curious to see the full list of algos.

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Post by lloydcole » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:23 pm

SineBrave wrote:This is great news! Really excited about this.

I am not able to see the embedded videos for some reason. Would you mind posting direct links to the Vimeo pages?
That's odd. They are all here - https://vimeo.com/user8828591

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lloydcole
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Post by lloydcole » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:25 pm

Flohr wrote:Sweet, I've been looking forward to seeing alternative firmwares for Disting. It's actually nice that this is for mk1s as many wigglers caught up in the craze for the latest and greatest will be likely selling their's off to replace them with mk3s. Could be a good time to stock up on cheap mk1s.

Curious to see the full list of algos.
That's why we're trying to release it ASAP so folk buying mk IIIs might consider holding on to older models.

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lloydcole
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Post by lloydcole » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:30 pm

junklight wrote:So I thought that the idea behind the mk3 is that the code is open source and you can load it via the SD card

Are you going to port it over at some point (when you've gotten your hands on a mk3 )?
The code we needed to do this is only available for mk I and mk II for now. Andrew has no ETA on mk III but when it is we will make the firmware code, if we still exist as a team...
All the SD card does, as I understand it on mk III (I don't have one) is make the updates possible without having to use a Pickit.

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Post by brandonlogic » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:44 pm

lloydcole wrote:
The code we needed to do this is only available for mk I and mk II for now. Andrew has no ETA on mk III but when it is we will make the firmware code, if we still exist as a team...
All the SD card does, as I understand it on mk III (I don't have one) is make the updates possible without having to use a Pickit.
I sold my mk2s and replaced them with mk3's so fingers crossed for the mk3 release.
Out of curiosity, what do you mean Andrew has no ETA on the mkiii? Do you mean the next batch of modules because the current are sold out?
Also, the ad card is for changing the firmware but Andrew has hinted at the ability of using the sd card as sample playback as well, so lots of possibilities there.

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Post by lloydcole » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:59 pm

brandonlogic wrote: Out of curiosity, what do you mean Andrew has no ETA on the mkiii? Do you mean the next batch of modules because the current are sold out?
No, not discussing hardware here... Andrew told me that he didn't have a schedule in place, yet, for making the mk III code available to the public, as the mk I and mk II code is.

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Post by lloydcole » Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:31 pm

Flohr wrote:Curious to see the full list of algos.
Can't rule out last minute changes so we'll wait until we have 16 algorithms working as we expect before we announce the list... but there are, for now -

8 S&H and T&H variations, 2 of the T&H are based on a-152 so triggered sequences rather than gate length dependent (they are featured in two of the videos)
1 Digital Shift Register
2 Slope Detectors (dual semitone one is in the videos posted)
1 Quantizer Helper which is a combo S&H and slope detector (put one before your quantizer and the other after and your uScale or Quantimator can have a-156 behaviour).
3 Precision Adders, various configurations
1 tuning and voltage threshold reference utility

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Post by Noha » Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:55 pm

Cool! Now I see why you bought my Disting v1. I'm happy to see that it is being gleefully hacked!

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Post by noisejockey » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:43 pm

Oh man, you might've just ironically sold a lot of Disting mk3's with this. :-) Sounds super handy so far, even from that incomplete list!

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Post by damase » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:21 pm

This has got me interested in a disting which ive never owned yet. Love the a152 but it was too large for my performance rack. Im slightly intimidated by everything id have to do to get this uploaded n working though. But i love these utility ideas like the DSR also

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Post by calaveras » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:24 pm

I was contemplating picking up another Disting. This clinches it.

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Post by bgf » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:55 am

damase wrote:Im slightly intimidated by everything id have to do to get this uploaded n working though.
As Lloyd mentioned, it's not very difficult. We will have good instructions. If you can put together a Eurorack system, you can easily do this.

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Post by Kirk Degiorgio » Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:25 am

any chance one of the Precision Adder algo's being a semitone transposer?

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Post by lloydcole » Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:40 am

Kirk Degiorgio wrote:any chance one of the Precision Adder algo's being a semitone transposer?
Yes! + or - up to 12 semitones via knob or CV. The other ones are octaves and smooth precision for precise FM (and whatever else you need it for).

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Post by lloydcole » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:14 pm

Two more algorithm videos uploaded.
3D is not very exciting but very useful, methinks.
3A is a lot of fun and I will post a video with two of these as soon as that blank panel at 9 0'clock is replaced by an e-350.

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Post by lloydcole » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:15 pm

Three more videos added to first post.
I'm starting to get the hang of Handbrake to compress them, so no more shaky starts and endings from the record button.
Bruce is getting closer with the bug testing code.
I'm sure we'll have something up at GitHub in a week or two.

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jenz
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Post by jenz » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:19 pm

So with my Disting mk1 I would need something like this


And my mac? Wich softwear?

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lloydcole
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Post by lloydcole » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:53 pm

jenz wrote:So with my Disting mk1 I would need something like this


And my mac? Which softwear?
Yes. Exactly. Bruce bought mine.

For software I'm using MPLAB IPE software. you can get it here: http://www.microchip.com/pagehandler/en ... ly/mplabx/

Once we are ready to go we will issue several instructional documents. All this will be covered.

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Post by jenz » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:59 pm

Is it going to overwrite the Distings programs or add to it?

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