New Thunder: Buchla + Sensel Morph

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

Moderators: Kent, Joe., luketeaford, lisa

User avatar
pantalones
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 278
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:46 pm
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Contact:

Post by pantalones » Fri May 10, 2019 9:04 pm

Just wanted to say I've had mine for a few weeks now and am completely underwhelmed.

It doesn't have aftertouch, it has pressure. This means that it can't distinguish between initial keypress and deliberate AT. So if you have pitch bend mapped to AT, for example, every note you hit will have a pitch bend bump on it. There's thresholding, but it's not the same. They say that a future version will have user-defined curves, but that's not now.

Furthermore mine has been buggy as hell. Some keys send AT. some don’t. My preset says A#3 pad 3, but it’s sending C3. This kickstarter-level QA bullshit is why I sold my KMI QuNeo as well.

Between the confusion between AT + velocity, poor QA, crashing editor, and lack of responsiveness from the developer i don’t recommend this device. But moreover who the hell thought it was a good idea to use high friction rubber for pads meant for expressive finger sliding? There are so many things that just miss the mark here.

User avatar
realitycontrol
Common Wiggler
Posts: 226
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:36 am

Post by realitycontrol » Sat May 11, 2019 9:11 am

damn, such a shame that it misses the mark.

User avatar
rkilman
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 387
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:05 pm
Location: PHX

Post by rkilman » Sat May 11, 2019 9:35 am

That sucks, you should definitely return it. I'm loving mine - there are some things that I might want to change, but no complaints for a sub $300 thunder that is easy to program and tiny :bananaguitar:

User avatar
Knarzwaltz
Common Wiggler
Posts: 149
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:08 pm

Post by Knarzwaltz » Sat May 11, 2019 9:37 am

:ripbanana:

User avatar
scottmoon
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2223
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:11 pm
Location: Sierra Foothills
Contact:

Post by scottmoon » Sat May 11, 2019 9:44 am

I've been having fun with it playing the ContinuuMini. It also has a good layout configuration for finger drumming.
"If you think this world is bad, you should see some of the others" - PKD

My band's noise https://soundcloud.com/lunarasylum

User avatar
neuroportal
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1192
Joined: Thu May 07, 2015 4:59 am
Location: Wales

Post by neuroportal » Fri May 24, 2019 6:51 am

I've just ordered one of these for use with, primarily, and Endorphin.es Shuttle system. Looking forward to trying it out.

herrjano
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed May 10, 2017 12:02 pm

Post by herrjano » Fri May 24, 2019 8:18 am

neuroportal wrote:I've just ordered one of these for use with, primarily, and Endorphin.es Shuttle system. Looking forward to trying it out.
Be warned that it's still not supported natively in the Shuttle Control so you need to proxy the Morph through another device. I've contacted both Sensel and Endorphin.es support but I don't know how soon there will be a fix if any. I'm still on the fence about returning mine.

User avatar
neuroportal
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1192
Joined: Thu May 07, 2015 4:59 am
Location: Wales

Post by neuroportal » Fri May 24, 2019 8:59 am

herrjano wrote:
neuroportal wrote:I've just ordered one of these for use with, primarily, and Endorphin.es Shuttle system. Looking forward to trying it out.
Be warned that it's still not supported natively in the Shuttle Control so you need to proxy the Morph through another device. I've contacted both Sensel and Endorphin.es support but I don't know how soon there will be a fix if any. I'm still on the fence about returning mine.

Ahhh shit.

Thanks for the heads up.

User avatar
ryangaston
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 395
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:53 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Post by ryangaston » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:33 pm

Just wanted to add to this post to say that I absolutely love the Morph + Thunder overlay combo. I'm using it primarily with Max/MSP so far—building a patch that takes inspiration from the Buchla 400 voice architecture, with some other elements inspired by the original Thunder's OS. Also controlling a 200 clone system with the combination of the Morph and this Max patch.

I can't speak to the issues others have noted about MIDI related oddities—but for my purposes, it's easy to make use of all of the various types of data the Morph sends. It's very straightforward to make it do what you want to if you're working in Max (and presumably in PD, Supercollider, or any other "roll your own" sort of context).

I will note that I personally think the touch response is spectacular. The velocity and pressure sensitivity are perfect for me, and I don't personally feel any issues with sliding my fingers across the surface—perfectly comfortable there. I've tried a million controllers and thought I was going to have to stick it out with the QuNeo (which slightly missed the mark for me), but the Morph and Thunder overlay are very quickly finding a way into what I do.

Cheers! :guinness:
"I have always been outside and I've chosen to remain there."
--DB

User avatar
Phil999
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 660
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:59 pm
Location: Cavardiras

Post by Phil999 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:27 pm

I agree, it's a very good controller - the best I ever had actually. I also agree on what you said about the QuNeo. However, using both is quite nice (QuNeo as percussion pad and for non-dynamic parameters, Sensel Morph for keyboard performance, MPE instruments, etc.). Minimum desktop space, maximum expression and control. I was also tempted by the small duophonic Haken, but for my purposes the Sensel Morph does it already.

Until now I used the normal keyboard layout more. It's very good with Madrona Labs synths, and brilliant to play non-standard tonality/scales, without the need for microtonal .scl or .tun files. It's a dream come true. But I see a lot of potential in the Thunder layout, which I will explore more in the coming years. Takes some time to find out a perfect Morph preset and synth/modular patch.

User avatar
ryangaston
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 395
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:53 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Post by ryangaston » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:15 pm

Phil999 wrote:Takes some time to find out a perfect Morph preset and synth/modular patch.
Agreed. As with any good controller, it takes time to figure out how to make it make sense for your purposes—honestly, after a long time using analog CV touchplates as a primary playing method (Pressure Points, TKB, 216, yadda yadda), though, it's really amazing what a difference something like the Morph provides. Much more setup involved (I'm tweaking things every day still), but in the end it's quite rewarding.

Still would love to use a vintage Thunder, but for now the Morph will do just fine for me :bananaguitar:
"I have always been outside and I've chosen to remain there."
--DB

User avatar
pantalones
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 278
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:46 pm
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Contact:

Post by pantalones » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:22 pm

ryangaston wrote:
Phil999 wrote:Takes some time to find out a perfect Morph preset and synth/modular patch.
Agreed. As with any good controller, it takes time to figure out how to make it make sense for your purposes—honestly, after a long time using analog CV touchplates as a primary playing method (Pressure Points, TKB, 216, yadda yadda), though, it's really amazing what a difference something like the Morph provides. Much more setup involved (I'm tweaking things every day still), but in the end it's quite rewarding.
Would you mind sharing what you've done and how you have yours set up?

Despite my mild disappointment with it i did keep it and have been using it as kind of a multitouch multidimensional kaoss pad controller for dub fx sends, using C-G as

y - level
x - parameter 1
z - parameter 2

on things like permut8, valhalla delay, etc.

User avatar
ryangaston
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 395
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:53 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Post by ryangaston » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:53 pm

pantalones wrote:Would you mind sharing what you've done and how you have yours set up?
Yo! Sorry for missing this before. Definitely glad to share details. I'm expecting a lot of TL;DR from this, but here it is anyway. Short summary: I'm using it moooostly as a keyboard where each key is also an XYZ controller, and then processing the MIDI data in Max and using that to drive a weird synthesis engine and to convert to CV to control a 10U clone system.

Aaaaaaaand here's some audio of the Morph+Max+clone setup. Be warned, you will only find goofy skronky squeaky cartoon sounds here.

http://soundcloud.com/ryangastonmusic/b400v200r
_____________

Longer answer:

My strategy has so far been to build a polyphonic "instrument" in Max that is designed around some of the Morph's strengths, with lots of inspiration from other Buchla devices: some MIDI-related processes inspired by the original Thunder, and a voice architecture & general interactive inspiration from the Touché and Buchla 400 (fwiw, I've never actually played an original Thunder, Touché, or 400...I've just read the manuals way too many times!). Here's what it looks like (a lot of UI stuff is still finding its final position, so forgive the visual clutter):

Image

I haven't even really dug into using MPE yet at all—so far I have all of the long keys and central hexagonal/pentagonal keys set up as XYZ pads with note values set to a chromatic scale. The X and Y CCs are the same for each key—so the key most recently pressed winds up acting as an "expressive" control source (the routing can be arbitrarily defined preset-by-preset in the Max patch).

The large hex pads are sending X and Y CCs to some of the more important synthesis parameters. The top row of smaller keys are toggles, momentary buttons, etc. for navigating menus in the Max patch, turning different behaviors on and off, etc. Some of the buttons on the very very top row act as latching and momentary octave transposition controls, and a means of navigating the preset system I have built into the patch.

Aside from all the normal synthesis "expressive" controls, there's also an arpeggiator and "MIDI effect" generator that can be conditionally controlled via XYZ CCs and velocity: for example, a weird pseudo-arpeggiator could be activated only when velocity exceeds a particular value, or when pressure exceeds a particular value, etc. The speed of that arpeggiator thing could be controlled via pressure, velocity, key Y or X position, etc. That's the part that's more inspired by the original Thunder. There's a similar thing that applied arpeggio-like behaviors to the velocity values as well, creating strings of notes with a lot of dynamic range. That "velocity effect" can also be used as a CC source for other parameters, so it could be routed to control basically anything in the patch aside from volume as well.

I use this patch with an Expert Sleepers ES-8 to control a small clone system. The ES-8 has eight CV outputs, so I have eight channels of CV output in the patch: each one can produce values derived directly from the Morph (pitch, pulse, pressure, velocity, X, Y, etc.) or values derived from the weird MIDI processes described above (arpeggiated pitch, velocity effects, etc.) or random values (random CV values or random pulses triggered with each keypress or from each new note in the various arpeggio/MIDI effect processes).

I then use the inputs on the ES-8 to route the clone system back into Max. The external inputs can either be mixed with the final output or mixed in with each voice's oscillator prior to the filter and gate, so you can get some really nice interactions and bring the computer and synth together in a way that feels pretty consolidated. As a person who has been playing touch plate keyboards for years (Pressure Points, TKB, 216, 217, 218, blah blah blah), having a controller that actually produces pressure values and not "surface area" values—all while producing actual reliable velocity and finger position values—has been pretty insane. Oh, and it does that all polyphonically. Wtf.

____________

My takeaway:

A lot of the heavy lifting in my case is done by Max, and could in theory be done to some extent with any MIDI controller—but being able to use each key as both a "note" source AND and XYZ CC source has been pretty mind-blowing, and is helping me to develop a playing style that just wouldn't be possible with a typical keyboard controller. You might be able to get to some of the same stuff with another MPE controller (Linnstrument, Seaboard, etc.), but being able to freely assign the behavior of the individual UI elements is a big thing for me—it's easy to make some keys produce notes, other to act as CC toggles, others as only XYZ sources, etc. None of those other controllers are this freely re-configurable.
"I have always been outside and I've chosen to remain there."
--DB

ddp
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:17 pm
Location: San Rafael, CA

Post by ddp » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:39 am

It's an okay MIDI controller, a 223e or a real Thunder is in another world, don't let the shape of the keys confuse you. I have one, but I also have a Skylab, so it's mostly in my, things I would consider throwing in the backpack after the LinnStrument. ;-)
Buchla, Polyend, MicroFreak, Minimoog Model D, Subsequent, Moog One, Prophet X, Tempest

User avatar
Phil999
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 660
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:59 pm
Location: Cavardiras

Post by Phil999 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:51 pm

well, in the end, it's always the question how you patch it. The Skylab, the 223, or the Sensel Morph with Eurorack or softsynths ...

The Morph is just a very affordable controller that enables people to do things that were reserved for only few chosen ones.

Personally I'm still thrilled by this controller, and will be for a long time, because it makes my dream come true, to play exactly those pitches my ear wants to hear. I see the Sensel Morph primarily as a microtonal controller, which is something I wanted for a long time.

The Haken Continuum was too expensive for me, and I always disliked that red surface, and the offerings from Roli or Linn didn't appeal to me enough. The Morph made me very happy, and everytime I connect it to a device or software it is real pleasure.

As said before, it takes some thinking and patching until you get there. Which applies to a Skylab and a 223 as well, I guess ... never had the chance to touch, or even view such a system in person. Of course I would gladly switch with such a system, but it probably won't happen in my lifetime.

ddp
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:17 pm
Location: San Rafael, CA

Post by ddp » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:40 pm

That was my strange way of saying I like mine, I bought the the Sensel just to get the Thunder overlay, I like it a lot.
Buchla, Polyend, MicroFreak, Minimoog Model D, Subsequent, Moog One, Prophet X, Tempest

User avatar
js213
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 364
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:08 pm
Location: mn.usa

Post by js213 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:27 am

I just got mine yesterday. Is there some way to get the overlay to stay in place better? I was really expecting there to be a magnet or sticky surface to keep it from sliding around so much. It doesn't move to much when I'm actually using it, but if I move the unit, or bump it, the overlay get knocked around.

User avatar
Phil999
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 660
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:59 pm
Location: Cavardiras

Post by Phil999 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:47 am

I'm storing and transporting the Morph and all the overlays, including a micro USB cable, in the original box. Keeps everything together and protected.

I may even think about painting the box with a laquer like Urushi.

User avatar
tIB
Stainer!
Posts: 9379
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:28 am
Location: UK

Re: New Thunder: Buchla + Sensel Morph

Post by tIB » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:58 pm

Does anyone know where there is info on the stored presets on the thunder skin? I can't seem to find any documentation on it.

User avatar
ryangaston
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 395
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:53 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: New Thunder: Buchla + Sensel Morph

Post by ryangaston » Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:17 pm

tIB wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:58 pm
Does anyone know where there is info on the stored presets on the thunder skin? I can't seem to find any documentation on it.
I usually navigate Thunder presets by keeping the top middle teal strip set to "Setting Button," with setting "Load Preset". Then, when you hold it down, you can select presets by pressing pads 1–9. The LED strip will illuminate above the pad that corresponds currently selected preset. Pretty sure you can set any of the pads or buttons to act as the Load Preset setting button, but the top middle long button was the default when I got my Morph and I've kinda kept it that way.

LMK if that doesn't answer things, I've used it a bunch and think I have an OK grasp on most stuff!
"I have always been outside and I've chosen to remain there."
--DB

User avatar
tIB
Stainer!
Posts: 9379
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:28 am
Location: UK

Re: New Thunder: Buchla + Sensel Morph

Post by tIB » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:57 pm

ryangaston wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:17 pm
tIB wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:58 pm
Does anyone know where there is info on the stored presets on the thunder skin? I can't seem to find any documentation on it.
I usually navigate Thunder presets by keeping the top middle teal strip set to "Setting Button," with setting "Load Preset". Then, when you hold it down, you can select presets by pressing pads 1–9. The LED strip will illuminate above the pad that corresponds currently selected preset. Pretty sure you can set any of the pads or buttons to act as the Load Preset setting button, but the top middle long button was the default when I got my Morph and I've kinda kept it that way.

LMK if that doesn't answer things, I've used it a bunch and think I have an OK grasp on most stuff!
That's great thanks. I found a bit of info on the different presets on the manual too - seems the defaults are a mixture of scales and sliders. Suppose it's best to work own cofigs in the app and save - it's great there's a bit of storage and recall in there from a point of view of using it in a live context.

User avatar
ryangaston
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 395
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:53 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: New Thunder: Buchla + Sensel Morph

Post by ryangaston » Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:57 pm

tIB wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:57 pm
ryangaston wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:17 pm
tIB wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:58 pm
Does anyone know where there is info on the stored presets on the thunder skin? I can't seem to find any documentation on it.
I usually navigate Thunder presets by keeping the top middle teal strip set to "Setting Button," with setting "Load Preset". Then, when you hold it down, you can select presets by pressing pads 1–9. The LED strip will illuminate above the pad that corresponds currently selected preset. Pretty sure you can set any of the pads or buttons to act as the Load Preset setting button, but the top middle long button was the default when I got my Morph and I've kinda kept it that way.

LMK if that doesn't answer things, I've used it a bunch and think I have an OK grasp on most stuff!
That's great thanks. I found a bit of info on the different presets on the manual too - seems the defaults are a mixture of scales and sliders. Suppose it's best to work own cofigs in the app and save - it's great there's a bit of storage and recall in there from a point of view of using it in a live context.
ah i see what you were asking. yeah, i basically just wound up programming all of my own presets from scratch—there are so many options for how it can work that it feels pretty unlikely it could be fully plug and play, aside from basic note stuff or the typical MPE setup. once you get into mapping CCs or other specialized controls it's very much a roll-your-own kind of endeavor in my experience. luckily it's pretty easy to customize, so i'm not complaining :party:
"I have always been outside and I've chosen to remain there."
--DB

User avatar
pinkandbluenoise
Common Wiggler
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: New Thunder: Buchla + Sensel Morph

Post by pinkandbluenoise » Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:40 am

Would anyone care to share some preset ideas that work for them, particularly within Eurorack? Both "keyboard" layouts and value controls and every mix between the two? Understandably, it's such a idiosyncratic process, but I'm curious how people are using their Morphs. For me: I've been using a kalimba-esque layout, just playing around really with an Easel-esque setup.
sludgeflesh

Post Reply

Return to “Buchla, EMS & Serge”