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drum sequencer, soliciting advice
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author drum sequencer, soliciting advice
Grumble
So, I'd like to make a drum sequencer. Electronics will not pose any big problems, but it's the question what features will be handy or a necessity.

My main components:

A 8x32 LED matrix



An OLED display



One or more rotary encoder with pushbutton switch

An Arduino Nano (Atmega328P) a number of pushbutton switches, undetermined number of 3.5mm jacks.

My initial thoughts are:
5 channels for drums, sequence length can be set with rotary encoder, visualized on the rows of the LED matrix.
2 channels for 1v/oct output, 5 octaves with accompanying gate out
1 channel for output of the clock, and to visualize where the sequence is (that makes 8 channels in total, this are the columns on the LED matrix.

clock:
push-button to advance and an internal/external-clock input, the clock output will be available x1 and x2.

outputs:
Pulse at start of sequence.
Pulse at the end of the sequence.
Midi Out, channel 10 for the drums and channel 1 for the 1v/oct.

questions:
-What in/outs am I missing?
-What are good frequencies/pulsewidths I should use for drum sequences?


Any input will be highly appreciated
ashleym
Good luck with this.

Off the top of my head: accent, tap tempo, swing.

Then it depends on how you want the machine. Live performance? Then why not notes on each channel or 2 sets program switches to work on 2 channel at a time. Note repeat.

Why not try some generative program for making the rhythms?
euromorcego
Grumble wrote:
So, I'd like to make a drum sequencer. Electronics will not pose any big problems, but it's the question what features will be handy or a necessity.

An Arduino Nano (Atmega328P) a number of pushbutton switches, undetermined number of 3.5mm jacks.

My initial thoughts are:
5 channels for drums, sequence length can be set with rotary encoder, visualized on the rows of the LED matrix.
2 channels for 1v/oct output, 5 octaves with accompanying gate out
1 channel for output of the clock, and to visualize where the sequence is (that makes 8 channels in total, this are the columns on the LED matrix.

clock:
push-button to advance and an internal/external-clock input, the clock output will be available x1 and x2.

outputs:
Pulse at start of sequence.
Pulse at the end of the sequence.
Midi Out, channel 10 for the drums and channel 1 for the 1v/oct.

questions:
-What in/outs am I missing?
-What are good frequencies/pulsewidths I should use for drum sequences?

thumbs up looks like an ambitious project. There are already some arduino-based drum sequencer (like the robaux, and the http://www.e-licktronic.com/en/content/21-square-sequencer-arduino-mid i-controller-diy).

Some comments:

- why pulse at start AND end of sequence (isn't this the same?). A reset input/output is essential.

- ideally it should be possible to modify pulsewidth. Some drum modules want a short trigger (few ms). But a drumsequencer can also be used for other stuff. The Robaux can switch between trigger and gate.

- why not start with a pure drum sequencer first? And then use a similar platform for the V/Oct. 5 channels drum is not much (since one can do all kind of things with trigger sequencers, not just drums).

- And if people what accents, that is an additional channel. So with Bd, Sd, CH, OH and accent you are already full.

- Midi output is excellent.

- do you think about using two ATmega one to run the actual drum sequencer, and one for all the display and led stuff? Solid timing is essential for any sequencer.

- Many of the current drum sequencer lack CV inputs. I would really like to see more stuff here. For example gate inputs for mute or rolls, or CV for randomization (playing a steo with a certain probability). These inputs can be assignable (so not all tracks need them).
For example, a cv input with probability: if all steps are set, it would simple mean the trigger probability, otherwise the pattern can be regulated (per track) from empty (0%) to the full programmed track (100%).

- standard should be: 32th steps/substeps and different length per track (e.g. with global reset after 32 or 64 steps if needed).

- clock output should optinally also have 24ppqn (Din Sync), if possible.
Grumble
Thank you for the comments.

Quote:
accent, tap tempo, swing

Accent: I could use one of the channels with the DAC's for accents (or frequency shift, filter cv etc)
Tap tempo: There already will be an external/internal/pushbutton clock generation, I think that is enough (for now smile )
Swing: a CV for clock generation is planned which could also be used for swing.
Grumble
Quote:
- why pulse at start AND end of sequence (isn't this the same?). A reset input/output is essential.

I thought it might be handy , the trigger out for the first step might be used to start another sequencer and the last pulse of the sequence to restart this sequencer

Quote:
- ideally it should be possible to modify pulsewidth. Some drum modules want a short trigger (few ms). But a drumsequencer can also be used for other stuff. The Robaux can switch between trigger and gate.

I was thinking about this to change the pulse-width with a potmeter where all pulses will be the same length, using a triggerable mono with an LED that lights up when the pulsewidth is too long.

Quote:
- why not start with a pure drum sequencer first? And then use a similar platform for the V/Oct. 5 channels drum is not much (since one can do all kind of things with trigger sequencers, not just drums).

I allready have a "true" analog sequencer in the pipeline, loosely based on the sequencer made by Ryk M185, so now I want more of a drum sequencer.

Quote:
- And if people what accents, that is an additional channel. So with Bd, Sd, CH, OH and accent you are already full.

I also plan for 2 DAC channels that could have this function.

Quote:
- Midi output is excellent.

Yes, thought so

Quote:
- do you think about using two ATmega one to run the actual drum sequencer, and one for all the display and led stuff? Solid timing is essential for any sequencer.

I'm not sure, maybe I have to upgrade the Arduino with an Arduino2650

Quote:
- Many of the current drum sequencer lack CV inputs. I would really like to see more stuff here. For example gate inputs for mute or rolls, or CV for randomization (playing a stero with a certain probability). These inputs can be assignable (so not all tracks need them).
For example, a cv input with probability: if all steps are set, it would simple mean the trigger probability, otherwise the pattern can be regulated (per track) from empty (0%) to the full programmed track (100%).

I was thinking about using some kind of random fill with euclidean rhythms

Quote:
- standard should be: 32th steps/substeps and different length per track (e.g. with global reset after 32 or 64 steps if needed).

Do you mean that each channel is independent qua sequence length? And repeats itself until the global reset? Or has a number of steps and repeats that after a global reset?
I thougt that all sequences has the same length, and repeats (or not) after a global reset?

Quote:
- clock output should optionally also have 24ppqn (Din Sync), if possible.

Now, these are things I don't know much about and need more input concerning these matters.
Could you elaborate on this? Because this is what my original question is about, rhythms, timing, pulsewidths, gate lengths and stuff...
euromorcego
Grumble wrote:
Quote:
- why pulse at start AND end of sequence (isn't this the same?). A reset input/output is essential.

I thought it might be handy , the trigger out for the first step might be used to start another sequencer and the last pulse of the sequence to restart this sequencer

might be interesting. But when a pattern loops , the end of the sequence is identical to the start of the sequence. So both would be the same pulse. hmmm.....

Grumble wrote:

I was thinking about this to change the pulse-width with a potmeter where all pulses will be the same length, using a triggerable mono with an LED that lights up when the pulsewidth is too long.

maybe even be too much effort. For gates this is a very useful feature, but for drums a fixed trigger and optional gates are sufficient.

Grumble wrote:

Quote:
- why not start with a pure drum sequencer first? And then use a similar platform for the V/Oct. 5 channels drum is not much (since one can do all kind of things with trigger sequencers, not just drums).

I allready have a "true" analog sequencer in the pipeline, loosely based on the sequencer made by Ryk M185, so now I want more of a drum sequencer.

but this is what I say: why not only drums, maybe with two modulation outputs (even envelopes, for example). And then another sequencer for the cv/gate with 1v/octave.

Grumble wrote:

Quote:
- And if people what accents, that is an additional channel. So with Bd, Sd, CH, OH and accent you are already full.

I also plan for 2 DAC channels that could have this function.

with accent I mean a simple trigger/gate output. Some drum modules have accent inputs that expect a trigger/gate to modify the sound. No DAC needed.

Grumble wrote:

Quote:
- Many of the current drum sequencer lack CV inputs....

I was thinking about using some kind of random fill with euclidean rhythms

with CV input or offline?. Both is good. I also thought for programmed rhythms it might be useful to control the probability to play a programmed trigger with a CV. Just like these https://www.modulargrid.net/e/west-oakland-music-systems-skipmin built-in.
For a kind of ratcheting fill, a gate input is sufficient. In general, CV inputs would be a big bonus.


Grumble wrote:

Quote:
- standard should be: 32th steps/substeps and different length per track (e.g. with global reset after 32 or 64 steps if needed).

Do you mean that each channel is independent qua sequence length? And repeats itself until the global reset? Or has a number of steps and repeats that after a global reset?
I thought that all sequences has the same length, and repeats (or not) after a global reset?

best is of course if all sequences have their own length, like one track with 7 steps, one track with 12 steps, etc ...
But then it is also good to have a global reset, like Metropolis, after a fixed number of bars. Anyway, this is up to you ...

Grumble wrote:

Quote:
- clock output should optionally also have 24ppqn (Din Sync), if possible.

Now, these are things I don't know much about and need more input concerning these matters.

standard clock in a modular is usually 16th, that is 4 beats per quarter note. But it is not possible to have for example triplets in this frame.

Din Sync is widely used to sync (older) gear and has a clock with 24 triggers per quarter note. It doesn't change anything on the outside (it is still a 16th step grid) just the internal counting. Some modules need a 24ppqn clock to sync (for example MI GRIDS).
electricanada
ashleym wrote:

Why not try some generative program for making the rhythms?


I saw a web page where a guy successfully loaded Grids into a Teensy.
bartleby
individual pattern lengths per channel would be cool.
Grumble
Thank you all for input!
But,
Quote:
standard clock in a modular is usually 16th, that is 4 beats per quarter note. But it is not possible to have for example triplets in this frame.

This puzzles me still seriously, i just don't get it
What does it mean for say 160bpm? Is the clock input 16 x 160bpm = 6Hz? ( (60/160)*16 ) and is internally devided to get a 1 at 160bpm?
Ayab
There does seem to be a lack of diy drum sequencers. Am liking the idea of your project and will be watching with interest.

Clock in/out 16ppqn and 24 note ppqn would be ideal. You have mentioned it will have midi too which can cover most sync possibilities with some conversion by the user.

I think 5V trigger outs would be good.

Programming by combination of step time and tap live input would be good. Hope that the programming controls can be as close to a dedicated set as possible so that it is intuitive and can be live programmed.

Maybe a gate to trigger circuit could be included for the 2 v/oct tracks so that they can be additional drum tracks with CV if required. However these 2 tracks being available for basslines and other sequences is excellent.

Definitely second Euromorcego's suggestion for different track lengths is a good one.

Swing/shuffle assignable to individual tracks (probably obvious, sorry) with strength %. Being able to push/pull individual notes would be great. Maybe some preset flam and rolls.

Pattern and track copy and paste. Pattern memories that are be saved as midi patterns would be great.
Ayab
16ppqn as 1/64 note resolution
24ppqn is 1/32 triplet note resolution - this is also Midi clock
Grumble
mind you, I will only use an Arduino Nano (Atmega328) so the possibilities will be limited, but I will take all advise under consideration, thank you!
and as a side note: I’m not planning to make this project available as a module/diy project, just a one-time perfboard module for my diy synth (see the link below)
Ayab
Hi Grumble,

That is a shame. Would you provide details for me to copy your on perfboard?

Would only be for personal use.
Grumble
sure, I will not make a secret out of it but it might take some time... meh
Ayab
Take me even longer to become a real diy er like you, if I can ever!

Great videos btw you have built some excellent modules applause
TheMentat
euromorcego wrote:



Din Sync is widely used to sync (older) gear and has a clock with 24 triggers per quarter note. It doesn't change anything on the outside (it is still a 16th step grid) just the internal counting. Some modules need a 24ppqn clock to sync (for example MI GRIDS).


Not to diminish the importance of this feature, but Grids will accept other clock resolutions. Without any inputs, hold the tap button for a half second to enter settings. The “hi hat” density knob will dial the resolution.
euromorcego
TheMentat wrote:

Not to diminish the importance of this feature, but Grids will accept other clock resolutions. Without any inputs, hold the tap button for a half second to enter settings. The “hi hat” density knob will dial the resolution.

somewhat misleading.

First, Grids doesn't know anything about clocks. Any stream of clock pulses will do ... however, of course, the patterns will be distorted (in time).

So, yes, you can sync with a 4ppqn clock, but then patterns that are not on a strict 16th grid will be quantized to the grid.

From the manual: "Clock resolution is set by E1. The 3 LEDs indicate the current value of this setting (4, 8, and 24 ppqn respectively). Grids does not try to regenerate a high-resolution clock from a low-resolution clock (think of it as a form of quantization). Thus, using the 4ppqn clock might distort the patterns that use 32-th notes; and using 8ppqn or 4ppqn might distort the patterns that use triplets."
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