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a157b - A new Software for Doepfer's A-157
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Author a157b - A new Software for Doepfer's A-157
raizen
After a lot of reverse engineering (I love it!) and some coding I would like to present you the alternative software a157b for the Trigger Sequencer A-157 from Doepfer:



Some highlights: clock divider per track, 10 different „Gate Modes“ (trigger, random, rachet, swing, envelope, gate and some more), quantized live recording, included pattern library, euclidean rhythms, up to 8 pattern with sequencing (repeat, loop and chain), alternative reset behavior, real-time activities controlled by the „Func1-4“ inputs or internal routing tracks.

The software (for Windows, Mac and Linux) and the manual are here:
https://www.rusche.ch/a157b/.

If you are a Windows user (the Doepfer uploader is only available for this operating system) it is no problem to go back to the original Doepfer software without losing the saved data there. So it shouldn't be a that risky to try out a157b.

But, I think it is necessary to read the manual: Without a display on the module it was not possible for me to write a completely self-explanatory software.

The beta test of the software goes on until the start of August, feedback is very welcomed! Also feature requests for the next version.

With greetings from Switzerland, Christian
Bogus
Holy cow man this is incredible. I will definitely be trying this out in the coming weeks
I have to ask though is there any risk of this firmware bricking the module?
raizen
Bogus wrote:
I have to ask though is there any risk of this firmware bricking the module?

Not really, the bootloader from Doepfer remains untouched, so you can reinstall the original software (if you have a Windows computer). I have tested it with some Windows, Mac and Linux computers, but of course: I couldn't try all combinations and setups. Here is a short video how to install the software:

https://www.rusche.ch/a157b-video/

And: If there is any problem with the installation, please mail me, I will help you: a157b@rusche.ch
ersatzplanet
Have you thought of contacting Dieter about this? He is very open and may even support your efforts and you may be able to monetize your efforts. He often responds to post on his Yahoo board.
Dcramer
Sweet love
Jaypee
Fantastic work!
dbeats
we're not worthy
The A-157 is still one of my favorite modules, even compared to Metron. I will dive deeply into this alternative firmware for sure as soon as I have time for it (will take a few weeks).
batch
Wow! Thank you. Will definitely give this a shot.
batch
OK, so I have it installed.

Used the Mac loader, it’s verification step failed, but the software loaded no issue. Am now playing with it. Will report back.
batch
I’ve been playing with this for the last hour or so and have to say that it’s utterly fantastic. The clock divider and function capabilities alone really open up the module and make it so much better than the original firmware. Am really enjoying the ratcheting feature. The use of the leds as screens also works really well.

I’ve always thought this was an under appreciated module that desperately need a decent firmware and you have done an amazing job of doing exactly that. Hats off to you my dear sir!

One question, on the mute/ solo functionality - I wonder if you could change this to be like the Erica Drum Sequencer with its mute arming. It’s an awesome feature. The way it world work works is as follows

1. Press Shift
2. Press track mute buttons, the leds would flash for selected tracks but nothing happens
3. Press shift and the mutes for all tracks selected take effect, anything that wasn’t muted becomes muted, anything that was muted becomes unmuted

This is my favorite feature of the Erica DS as is awesome for live performance. You can effectively do soloing with this feature.

Anyway, thank you so much for doing this - it’s awesome!
batch
Another question - how do you determine which patterns are in the 8 slots in multi mode? Is it just the first 8?
batch
Ok, noticing something a little odd.

When looping patterns with clock dividers set differently by track or tracks with different lengths, the playhead doesn’t move all at the same time. So this means that a track from pattern 1 can still be playing even though the other tracks have moved onto pattern 2. Anyway to change this so when it goes to pattern 2 all tracks move at the same time?
raizen
ersatzplanet wrote:
Have you thought of contacting Dieter about this?

I met Chris Assall from Doepfer in Munich: he is a very nice and very smart person, and I admire him and of course Dieter very much. We together came to a conclusion to leave the project a157b separate from the official firmware. So I can focus completely on a new behavior and requests.

batch wrote:
it’s verification step failed, but the software loaded no issue.

Thank your for your feedback! I have to check this with different setup, here it works fine.... but of course I have to fix it.

batch wrote:
I wonder if you could change this to be like the Erica Drum Sequencer with its mute arming.

This is a great idea, i will add it in a next version. Did I understand it correctly: the tracks that were changed (i.e. from mute to unmute or unmute to mute) would blink? And at the end all these changes would be activated at once?

batch wrote:
How do you determine which patterns are in the 8 slots in multi mode? Is it just the first 8?

Yes, now the software only has 8 patterns (each with 8 tracks and 16 steps), this 8 are then arranged by the functions Loop and Chain. There would be enough memory for probably 24 patterns, but I am not sure how to select them easily. So - right now - there are only 8 to make it easy and straightforward.

batch wrote:
When looping patterns with clock dividers set differently by track or tracks with different lengths, the playhead doesn’t move all at the same time. So this means that a track from pattern 1 can still be playing even though the other tracks have moved onto pattern 2. Anyway to change this so when it goes to pattern 2 all tracks move at the same time?

I've been thinking a lot about how the behavior should be for tracks with their own clock divider. In the end I thought that such tracks should be rather separated. Either you set them as "single", then they always play the same pattern, or you just need them independently from the other tracks and maybe you're happy that they don't change patterns in between because another playhead changes patterns.

But I was (and am) not sure if this really makes sense, I could also add a different behavior - or make it adjustable per track, when a pattern change should take place.
batch
Glad to know you are in contact with Chris - he was very helpful to me when I first got this module.

Mute Arming - yes, that’s right. The changes all takes effect at the same time when you release the shift, so something like

1. Press shift
2. Press a bunch of the mute buttons (on or off, ones selected flash)
3. Press shift again and the change takes effect

On the DS you press and hold the shift button but don’t think that would work here.

Pattern change - I can see that this could be a challenge because you could have every track with different clock dividers and different lengths. How about making this a global setting where you tell it what to follow so settings could be

Setting: PC (for Pattern change)
Values = 1-8 (for the track to follow), Fr (First), Lt (Last). In (independent)

With this, the current behavior is “independent” (ie they each have independent playheads). The track numbers means you could specify which track to follow, when it gets to the end of that track, it switches all of them. For first, it’s what ever gets to the end of its track first, then switches all. Last would wait till the longest track finishes then switch all of them.

This idea is inspired by the loop sync behavior on Roland RC505s and 300s.

I like the idea of keeping the independent mode as an option because you could make some absolutely crazy generative type patches with it!!

Thanks again for making this. It’s such an awesome update!
batch
Oh, I’ve just got my head around the patterns.

When you save, you save absolutely everything. So when you turn on in AB mode you have 8 patterns each made up of 8 tracks of up to 16 steps. And using loop and repeat you can repeat each pattern up to 16 times per loop step for a maximum of 256 repeats.

And the memory slots remember all of this for one “snapshot”.

This is a amazing! I think you just made this the most powerful trigger sequencer on the market.

Wow.

OK, now to get my head around the “background” concept.
batch
And chaining is almost like scenes in Ableton. Oh man.

If anyone out there is wondering whether to install this. You really must. It’s incredible.
batch
OK - so background means the pattern gets combined with other patterns using an “or”.

Effects are powerful, if I am understanding this right you could create a full pattern that “effects” a track that’s triggered when one of the Function inputs goes high.
raizen
batch wrote:
Mute Arming

I implemented this feature, the new version 0.9.3 is available on the download page:
https://www.rusche.ch/a157b-download/

If you now first hold down the Shift key (and keep it pressed) and then press additional mute buttons, the corresponding LEDs will blink and all changes will be made all at once when you release the Shift key. I hope this works for you?

By the way: To see which version you have installed, you can press the button at the bottom left while you are in the system function.

batch wrote:
How about making this a global setting where you tell it what to follow so settings could be

I like your idea very much! I just need some time for the implementation, because this part of the software is a bit tricky...

batch wrote:
background means the pattern gets combined

Exactly, that way you can play a pattern in the background, often with only a few steps and a lot of randomness. And on top of that come the expressive parts.

You have a "normal" effect for all 8 tracks - and up to 4 additional track effects through "Misc1/2". These can be set with the "Func" inputs/buttons - or by another track: To do this you give it for instance the gate mode "F1", then it will control the input Func1 internally. This routing is maybe a bit difficult? I'll make a tutorial about it soon.
batch
Awesome. I’ll download this evening and give it’s a spin.

The Function routing makes sense, but it did take me some playing to get my head around it. Mainly because I had to unlearn the old way. The new paradigm is extremely powerful.

One random idea. I am noticing that the loading of save locations is very fast. Am not noticing any latency. Given this, what do you think about putting it under CV control?

The Function options could be to move forward or backward through the memory slots when they receive a trigger. (So moving forward and backward would require use of two of the Function inputs). This would be similar to how Morpheus preset sequencing works. Just an idea.
batch
Downloaded and installed 0.9.3 no problems. The verification step failed again (using Mac) but the firmware works without problem so no worries.

Mute Arming is working perfectly!! This is awesome.

BTW - I love the fact that when you update the firmware you don't lose any of the saved settings. Thats pretty cool too.
dbeats
I‘ve installed the firmware today, from a windows pc, no problems at all, except the „verification failed“ text.

I am only half way through all the new functions, but I can already say, it‘s absolutely amazing!! applause we're not worthy It's peanut butter jelly time!

So many useful additions and improvements over the stock firmware, most of them very easy to learn and use, often easier to handle than the simpler original functions.

At the moment I‘m using the euclidean sequencer together with probablility - gorgeous!
atte
Soo cool, actually considering getting an a157 now....
raizen
batch wrote:
I am noticing that the loading of save locations is very fast. Am not noticing any latency. Given this, what do you think about putting it under CV control?
Cool idea, I try to bring it with a next release. Please give me some time.

batch wrote:
The verification step failed again
dbeats wrote:
no problems at all, except the „verification failed“ text.

I couldn't find the bug yet. I keep on searching, shouldn't be a big problem, but still not nice.

The last version (0.9.3) has added Performance Modes: With these 5 new gate modes you can use the A-157 as a controller for other modules. This also works in parallel to the sequencer: For example 6 tracks could play a sequence and with two "tracks" the musician controls live settings like pitch, speed etc. Here is a video:
raizen
Release 0.9.4 is ready!
It comes with Accent, Ratchet and Random per Step, access to all 8 patterns in "Single Pattern“ mode and also better track control in „Multi Pattern" mode. And as a gimmick I built in a rhythm generator according to the rules of "Game of Life“.



I couldn't implement all your requests yet, sorry, some features will come in the next release.

The complete release notes can be found here: https://www.rusche.ch/a157b#release-notes
And here the software: https://www.rusche.ch/a157b-download/

Feedback is very welcome! Christian
Jaypee
Does 157 accept multiple clock input through functions?
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