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MPE and Modular: what to patch to what...
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author MPE and Modular: what to patch to what...
This is to start a discussion of ideas for patching Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression MIDI controllers, such as the Linnstrument and Roli Seaboards, to modular synthesizer systems that are capable of some degree of polyphony (although the disucssion can apply to monophonic patches as well).

The idea for MPE is to provide for Y and Z playing directions beyond the traditional X pitch + pitch-bend (and also Velocity - which some might call Y, although it is more usual for Y to be vertical finger location).

So for each finger/voice you get:

* Gate
* Pitch
* Velocity
* Y-Location
* Pressure


*Gate signals are patched to envelope generators (if you're using those) as well as any LFOs that you want to reset at the beginnings of notes... and possibly into the step or reset inputs of sequencers if your "voices" have sequences (there are several multi-track eurorack sequencers on the market today whose tracks can be clocked separately, for example). Can you think of any other good uses for gates in this context?

* Pitch voltages get patched to VCO frequency inputs (assuming you're using VCOs) as well as VCF frequency (scaled to adjust timbral brightness in the upper registers if you're doing subtractive synthesis, for example - or unatttenuated if you're doing somthing like pitched noise for your voices)... possibly LFO rates... anything else?

* Velocity voltages are used to scale note dynamics according to how hard the "keys" are struck. I do this by patching Velocity into the CV input of a DC-coupled VCA, and then patching the envelope output being used to control loudness of a voice through the Velocity-controlled VCA and then patching the output of the Velocity-controlled VCA into the CV input of the Loudness VCA (possibly mixing some Pressure in at some point). I suspect I can also use Velocity to set one of timbral parameters for the VCOs (which in my case include sample-players, wavetable oscillators and so on).

* Y location - I suppose I can use this like I use velocity or as I would normally use a mod-wheel on a keyboard synth. Otoh, I like the "strum-mode" on the Linnstrument, where the Y parameter action is internal (causing sequences of gates to trigger upon strumming up or down, afaik). So some patch technique to increase the percpetion of strumming perhaps...?

* Pressure (in MPE, each voice has its own MIDI channel so that Channel Pressure is per-voice). I tend to mult and mix this with other control signals, envelopes, LFOs, etc. It's probably the most flexible of the parameters for the way I patch. How about you?


what are your thoughts on this?

Looking at it from a different angle, let's say each "voice" has as capabilities (some of which can be mixed together):

* fm
* wavefolding
* am / ringmod
* filter-fm
* feedback loops
* delay (and/or other effects)


* fm - index could be controlled by scaling Pitch for modulator-VCO by a dc-coupled Velocity-conntrolled (or Y-location controlled) VCA. depth can be Y-location or pressure (but probably not Velocity if you're already using that for dynamics... or maybe that sounds good - haven't tried tbh).

* wavefolding - my naive intuition tells me Y for Symmetry and Z for Amt (if your wavefolder modules have those controls).

* am / ringmod - hmm, i don't think i want to use any of the MPE parameters for this (other than for mixing with dry signal or another effect through a crossfader and using some combiination of X, Y and Z to set the ratio).

* filter fm - probably Velocity or Y for amount. or maybe Pressure.

* feedback loops - Pressure all the way!

* delay and other effects - probably Y and Z/Pressure mostly (Y could be time and Pressure could be feedback amt for example).


What do you think?

This might be a total waist of time for me, but I've been messing with the midi interfaces on my 5u. The joystick is kind of interesting since that starts off as a voltage, then I can run that through semie tone quantizer which then gets midi'd back to the computer, while I'm still messing with the raw voltages running through the 5u, which are routed back ITB via a/d. Since that is going as semi tones back into the box, I then can do some playing around with soft modulators doing the "fancy" stuff ITB which is hard to do with 5u, but then can run the soft modulators back to the 5u for more knob twisting.

Not sure if it's useful, but is kind of fun just bouncing things around ... gives it a four dimensional feel (since I get x,y from the joystick on the keyboard ... also some spatial tension via the analog returns ... then I get latency/echo mixed in for a time dimension).
hi, I have a Roli Rise and I've just starting to use it with my modulars.

I've never been able to get the polyphonic playing working properly (I'm using a Kenton 200 Pro latest version but still can't quite get it to work) so I have I think the standard 5 D plus X & Y pad and the 3 sliders.

I think for me that's probably too much - I'd only want to control a few parameters at any time rather than 11...

I think you have all the destinations I've thought of.

One thing i found out when trying to use slide to open up the filter from 0 cutoff is that the Roli cc74 starts at around 60. I found a post somewhere for Cubase users re using MIDI transform to reduce minimum to 0 and then sensibly scale the range.
chamomileshark wrote:

One thing i found out when trying to use slide to open up the filter from 0 cutoff is that the Roli cc74 starts at around 60. I found a post somewhere for Cubase users re using MIDI transform to reduce minimum to 0 and then sensibly scale the range.

I use Shuttle Control to interface my Seaboard Block with the modular. One of the useful features of it is you can decide if it interprets CCs as uni or bipolar. So I usually have the CC74 output set to bipolar which makes 0 volts = a CC value of 64. Works well and makes it feel more "natural" to play.

I've not got access to the Roli right now so can't check but I think its possible to config it using the Blocks app so that CC74 runs from 0 to 127 rather than being centred on 64? Or am I just confusing it with the Shuttle options hmmm.....
I’ve never had success with MPE on modular, but then I can barely get chords going because poly is so expensive. MPE is only useful if you have multiple MIDI channels and most MIDI to CV interfaces can’t take more than a handful of modulations st once.

Linnstrument and Hermod so far is the closest I’ve come but Hermod has a bunch of limitations that make it impossible to record a fully expressive pe dormancy right now.

What are you using as an interface?
The Expert Sleepers FH-1 and expanders are fully MPE compatible. You can set up the FH-1 outputs to send whatever signals you want per midi channel. (note, gate, velocity, cc values, etc.) With the expanders, you can have 64 total outputs to your system. I don't have any expanders yet but can confirm the base unit works amazingly well with the Linnstrument.
I've had great fun using pressure and y-axis into multiple braids color and timbre inputs. The shuttle control editor makes mpe setup fairly straightforward. I tried with the fh-1, but couldn't wrap my head around it.
I have a Linnstrument and use the FH-1 w/ expanders. I have this running into 4 x Dixie’s + Polaris. My experience is that it’s a Pain in the ass to dial them all in and am looking forward to the Doepfer Poly modules (particularly the filter and ADSR)?being released as think this will make things easier.

In terms of patching what to where, I find that you only need to use 3 outside per channel to get expressive play.

Pitch -> 1v/ oct on oscillator
Pressure -> open/ close VCA
Z -> filter or some other dynamic

I don’t bother with gates and velocity except when using the sequencer on the Linnstrument (which is an amazing sequencer).

The FH-1 is confusing, but once set up it works very reliably and Os is responsive on the Expert Sleepers thread.
Arcana wrote:
What are you using as an interface?

at this moment i have an expert sleepers fh1 with multiple fh1x expanders in one eurorack case (which i consider the 'portable mostly digital case') as well a polyend poly, that i ordered as a more plug-and-play alternative during a moment of intimidation over fh1 set-up details, in another eurorack case (which i consider the 'big mostly analogue case').

this way i figure i can have linnstrument and seabord rise controlling modules together at the same time. there are enough extra-long patch cables in house to interconnect the systems in multiple ways, 8 signals at a time. so the two controllers can potentially be combined and played simultaneously in interesting ways (accordians, bagpipes, didgeridoos, harmonicas and kazoos all at once, for example - total sonic bliss, eh? hihi).

both of them arrived relatively recently, along with synthtech e370 quad vco modules and a rossum assimul8or. at this point i'm still pretty much in set-up mode, just trying to wrap my head around it all. woah

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