||Hybrid synthesis, anyone?
| br>I'm interested in finding out how (and if) wigglers use computers to control their modular systems.
I'm not talking traditional MIDI from a DAW, although I realize MIDI protocol is the cheapest route. (There is a very thorough thread already.) Personally, I have found MIDI too limited since it first came out. I suspected it would encourage electronic musicians to think in terms of "notes" and equal temperament, and I was correct. Before MIDI, most synthesizer addicts thought along the lines I see on this forum. After, we were forced to filter our music through the MIDI paradigm. If you don't believe me, listen to "Sidewinder", then "Key to Songs". Key used a computer based control system similar to Mort's earlier ghost scores, but the synthesis is all MIDI.
I've done plenty of MIDI pieces, usually with lots of CV and SYSEX action, but I prefer the detailed control I can get by going around the five pin pipe. I also miss the well known qualities of the analog signal path. So I'm setting up an eRack, since I no longer have access to University owned synthesizers. I've looked at controllers, (and bought a basic MIDIin ) but haven't found any non MIDI options beyond Expert Sleepers. So I will continue to build my own interfaces.
My first hybrid was an Ohio Scientific IIp (Apple 2 precursor) controlling a large Moog with an 8 output 8 bit interface (built from a schematic published in CMJ-- I've made many versions since.) Currently I have a 16 channel 12 bit board controlling a Serge shaped system and a simple MIDI interface to a Werkstatt for my WX5. Both are Arduino based-- the 16 channel connects to a Mac running Max/MSP via a serial port at 57600 baud.
Max/MSP serves as my data switchboard. I can route MIDI, hi, OSC, or Arduino gathered data to CV outs after sufficient massaging. I can also use Max as a generative system of course.
As an example of what I do, on my most recent performance I was playing
WX5->VL70 (that's a wind instrument modeling box)
VL70 thru -> MIDI -> Max
Max <-> MIDI<-> Dave Smith Evolver
With this combo I can generate sounds from the WX many ways, including any VST plug you'd care to name.
I can also control the Evolver sequence and modify settings on the fly. What the audience hears is me jamming along with ever changing Evolver patterns.
The new eRack will replace the Werkstatt in this scenario. Theoretically, with as many CV channels available as I care to build, all I need to buy is sources, filters and VCAs, but I am getting (or building) enough of the usual control sources that I can take the rack out on its own when needed.
My question is, who is doing things similar to this, and how? br> br>
| br>While I do use MIDI, sometimes I only use it to generate gates, clocks and triggers and perhaps non-pitch information, and then let my modular produce or convert pitch signals from those.
E.g. combining 4 gates (which may be directly converted from MIDI, or may be the result of gate/trigger processing or sequences) in a matrix mixer to generate 4 independent pitch CVs, each of which has 16 possible combinations.
Or much more simply, to clock and reset Eurorack sequencers, or to directly gate (and perhaps transpose) oscillators with otherwise fixed pitches. br> br>
| br>So you use your computer to control timing? Excellent idea. One of the few credible criticisms of synthesizer music is that the rhythms can be cheezy. We are still living down the 8 step sequencer. Hence the plethora of trigger logic circuits that control whether an event may or may not happen on a certain beat. In the computer, we can run clocks at 960 ppm and trigger at any point. br> br>
| br>I agree that controlling the modular from the computer is an excellent idea, and for precisely the same reasons, although I don't do it that way myself. Actually I think I tried sending trigger signals once and it worked well. But I'd need an AC-coupled soundcard to do any serious work. br> br>
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