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Sell Me on the Monome Grid 128
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Sell Me on the Monome Grid 128
The Mule
So I have an opportunity to pick one of these things up in a trade. I honestly have no idea what I'd do with it but I do have a Eurorack rig and I've heard it can be a good way to control sequencer modules, etc. Or something. I really don't know what this thing does, but if the Muffs encourage me to try it out, I'll give it a shot. This is an older model - not the new one with variable lights. Has a nice walnut enclosure which looks nice and matches my Eurorack case.

Anyone? What would I be able to do with it? How would I hook it up? Etc., etc.... hmmm.....
cackland
Have you checked out any videos?
The Mule
cackland wrote:
Have you checked out any videos?


A few, but they generally haven't made much sense to me. Nothing where someone is actually talking and explaining the functions of this thing. Happy to watch more if you have links, of course.
cackland
I agree, a bit of a mystery device with a whole lot of potential.

I was looking at picking up one when it was available again and reading the information on the website, I understand its one of those devices that allow the user to use it how they like, based on 'applications' written for the hardware.

It would need an interface like Anisble to work directly with eurorack, this is converts the triggers / gates / cv from the device to voltages.

I like the fact that the user has the ability to write their own 'firmware' / 'application', however I would probably spend more time doing that than making music, being the tech head I am.

I'll let others chime in who have direct experience with the device.
x2mirko
Context: I've used different versions of monome grids of some sort for over 12 years now.

I think it's important to first realize what the grid does and how it integrates into a music making environment: It is extremely minimalistic in its function (as in its design). Basically, it can recognize button presses and send events via usb as well as receive events via usb and turn leds on or off. That's it. It has no knowledge of music or applications or midi or anything. It's just a controller (and not even a midi controller).

So if you want it to do something, you have to not only have a grid, but also provide some sort of application that knows how to communicate with a grid and actually does something musically useful.

Originally, the main appeal of the grid was that you could write your own applications for it - to use the grid as an empty canvas to design your own interaction with your music making software. There's also a library (of sorts) of community-created applications that you can make use of.

Then monome started to build eurorack modules that run musically useful applications and can communicate with a grid - most notably ansible. Ansible can run multiple applications, most of which use the grid in some fashion. There's a really nice step-sequencing app on it that is great for building evolving sequences (as it allows you to sequence multiple parameters independently with different sequence-lengths and divisions such that everything is constantly shifting, but stays in scale).

I think it's certainly the step sequencer with the best interactive design in eurorack right now. It feels great to use and it's very easy to create something nice. However, it sort of depends on your use case: If you're mainly looking to explore shorter loops and find nice sequences, it's great. But if you for example composed your music first and wanted to enter a finished song into your sequencer, it would not be very good for that at all. I recommend reading the manual and watching the videos about it to get a good impression of what it does.

Check out at least this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWBXLsbxWlw
and this site: https://monome.org/docs/modular/ansible/

Also note that Ansible does make use of the varibright leds, so if you use a grid with only one brightness level, it'll be harder to see what's going on at times.

TLDR: You'll definitely need more than just a grid and whether or not it is for you depends on what you're looking for.
fwheel
I highly recommend you to check out what kind of experimentations Jason Taylor / Mudlogger does with his Grid, he's got plenty of videos on Youtube and Instagram.
cackland
There you go
The Mule
Thanks, guys. Very helpful - I appreciate it. thumbs up
mdoudoroff
The Mule wrote:
Thanks, guys. Very helpful - I appreciate it. thumbs up


If you wish to delve deeper, you’ll find the highest concentration of monome users over at https://llllllll.co/
The Mule
mdoudoroff wrote:
The Mule wrote:
Thanks, guys. Very helpful - I appreciate it. thumbs up


If you wish to delve deeper, you’ll find the highest concentration of monome users over at https://llllllll.co/


Wow, that's a whole other world... lol
morgulbee
There are a bunch of Max patches for the grid that work in Max standalone or Max for Live. Connect the grid by USB to your computer. No other modules needed for this.
atrostor
Could this be moved to the General Gear forum?
kesserich
atrostor wrote:
Could this be moved to the General Gear forum?


Technically, you are absolutely right, but practically, i'm not so sure. Yes, monome grid basically started off as a concept piece and numerous people wrote applications for it. The reality, however, is that many of those open source apps are limited and/or suffer from pretty intense bitrot.

I have a grid and along with ansible it becomes a fantastic sequencer. The loftier dream, though, of it being some kind of universal platform controller just hasn't really panned out. Monome has a habit of this. They will release products which are conceptually grandiose and then attempt to foster an open source community around them to do much of the actual work. This usually falls flat.

TLDR: Buy the grid if you are also willing to buy ansible. You will get an expensive but fantastic sequencer out of it. Or buy the grid if you are willing to spend time hacking on your own grid apps instead of actually writing music. Otherwise, don't buy the grid.
The Mule
kesserich wrote:
atrostor wrote:
Could this be moved to the General Gear forum?


Technically, you are absolutely right, but practically, i'm not so sure. Yes, monome grid basically started off as a concept piece and numerous people wrote applications for it. The reality, however, is that many of those open source apps are limited and/or suffer from pretty intense bitrot.

I have a grid and along with ansible it becomes a fantastic sequencer. The loftier dream, though, of it being some kind of universal platform controller just hasn't really panned out. Monome has a habit of this. They will release products which are conceptually grandiose and then attempt to foster an open source community around them to do much of the actual work. This usually falls flat.

TLDR: Buy the grid if you are also willing to buy ansible. You will get an expensive but fantastic sequencer out of it. Or buy the grid if you are willing to spend time hacking on your own grid apps instead of actually writing music. Otherwise, don't buy the grid.



I think I have the information I need to make a decision. Time to do some thinking. Thanks everyone! thumbs up
x2mirko
kesserich wrote:
The loftier dream, though, of it being some kind of universal platform controller just hasn't really panned out.


From all I know, the grid was never intended to be used with a community-driven library that anyone could use. It was aimed specifically at the programming computer-musician that was lacking human-computer-interfaces. The application library grew organically from the forums, driven by the enthusiasts that used it. To frame the lack of organization of that library as a failure of the vision is to misunderstand the vision.

But I do think you are right that one shouldn't buy a grid unless they either want to use it with eurorack modules or are willing to do some programming themselves. The library certainly has suffered over the years and apart from a few big projects that are still maintained well, most patches require you to fix something first. No question about that.
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