Volta + SH 101

Discussion and support for MOTU's Volta software.

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jonat8han
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Volta + SH 101

Post by jonat8han » Thu May 14, 2009 11:25 pm

Having a lot of trouble calibrating my SH 101 - anyone used one to any success with Volta?

I'm using a 2408 mk3 - the calibration simply fails.

If I calibrate manually & load the 2408 mk3 default calibration, it tracks reasonably well within about 3 or 4 notes, but beyond that is pretty useless.

I've gotta say, I love volta but the manual calibration interface leaves a *lot* to be desired. I'd be much happier with just a simple text table of MIDI notes and levels? Or could manual calibration be done by pressing a MIDI key, then adjusting the output voltage until you're hitting the note you like, then hitting a "store" button, then moving on to the next MIDI key? Could probably work reasonably well with interpolation between points even just by hitting octaves.

This would also let those of us who want to do some alternate tunings!

I'm assuming the reason that the calibration fails is because the SH101 doesn't put out any simple waveshapes (sine or triangle)

If I leave the filter open, the calibration will only output one note, then quits.

If I close the filter all the way while outputting a pulse wave (the closest I can get to a triangle or sine wave on this thing) I get a variety of pitches, and the calibration sounds normal (like it does with any of my modular oscillators for example) then fails with no error messages or anything. sigh.

All of this is with the gate opened by a voltage from the modular, btw. I have no idea why Volta doesn't have the option of sending an "always on" in addition to trigger, gate, and ADSR.

Hope this all makes sense - anyone have any ideas?

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Post by jonat8han » Thu May 14, 2009 11:47 pm

an update - if I set the keyfollow parameter to 98, I get reasonable tracking over about two octaves with the default 2408 mk3 tuning table.

would still love to be able to actually calibrate this thing, though :-)

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 2:55 am

I had this with the pro-1, what you need to do is bring the filter right down so the osc is a sine wave then it should track lovely.

I'm getting 6 octaves from the Pro-1. when the filter is open Volta has a lot of trouble locking onto the frequency. Just give it a nice loud filtered down sound and you should be laughing.

Oh and the other thing, with the Sequential Pro 1 you have to set it to drone as like you say it doesn't send a trigger output when calibrating which is odd? If you can't have the oscilator allways running without trigger then maybe try hitting a note with the longest release and hope it sustains long enough for the calibration to lock to it as you go into the calibration.

I havn't figured out how to save presets yet, maybe I should read the manual lol.

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Post by jonat8han » Fri May 15, 2009 4:24 am

As I said in my initial post, I have tried closing the filter all the way to no avail.

My next attempt (tomorrow) will be running it through another filter that's a little more extreme - hopefully this will work, but it's a little silly. If my $50 rackmount tuner can track the pitch of a saw or pulse wave, why the hell can't volta? ;-)

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 7:12 am

Maybe it's not getting enough volume? I had to experiment a bit with the filter setting on the pro 1 to get it to work.

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Post by 1nput0utput » Fri May 15, 2009 8:31 am

There are some suggestions here, too:
http://www.motu.com/techsupport/technot ... ation-tips

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 8:40 am

I'm having the same problem with the Yamaha CS-30 which seems to play fine but out of tune.

I set the synth to a middle C note, but as soon as you go to calibrate page the tuning drops so low as to be out of range so it can't calibrate.

If you take it out of calibrate mode you can play it fine albeit really out of tune/calibration?

Something is up with the calibration page that sends out a really out of range note. The CS-30 is Hertz/volts.

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 8:51 am

Ok, I did a quick mp3 showing me at first playing the CS-30 through Volta then going to Calibration mode.

You can hear how it's gone from an audible pitch to a thumping sound, really odd.

Then you hear me come out of calibration mode to play the CS-30 through Volta again but still really badly out of tune.

Here is the mp3:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/igr2myf5dzm/Calibration error.mp3

Hope there aren't any pop ups, but take a listen any how.

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 9:18 am

After more investigation it would seem that the calibration isn't sending out a note in the range that it needs to start the calibration process.

i.e if it sent out a C3 note it would be fine.

If I come out of Calibration mode the CS-30 jumps back to around C3 where I set it, as soon as you go into calibration mode it sends out a frequency that is more like an LFO than an audible signal.

I have checked the CS-30, it tracks fine with the midi to cv convertor and cv'd up to my other synths. I think the calibration needs calibrating lol.

Edit to add:

If when I hit calibrate I then instantly hit Preview on Volta I get random pitches....... if I then quickly turnoff preview sometimes it stops on a note that the calibration can start from???? Sometimes it nearly calibrates, how odd.

Stretta heeeeeelp.

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Post by stretta » Fri May 15, 2009 10:12 am

After more investigation it would seem that the calibration isn't sending out a note in the range that it needs to start the calibration process.
We didn't have the ability to test a Yamaha CS synth, but it sounds like it isn't calibrating for the same reason we're saying the MS synths are not currently supported.

If you can, try bias shifting the pitch CV output out of volta. This can be done a number of ways, but the basic idea is to sum the CV signal with a steady DC offset. The A-129/3 slew limiter may be able to do this. Or, sum in a mixer with a steady DC signal, or use Volta to generate a steady ramp and assign that to the same mixer output as the CV signal, etc, etc. If you can get this to work, then this tells me what the issue is.

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Post by stretta » Fri May 15, 2009 10:19 am

As I said in my initial post, I have tried closing the filter all the way to no avail.
Volta can control any device with a CV input, but calibration with a monosynth can be tricky, awkward or even not possible due to their integrated nature.

If the filter is closed all the way, and is not tracking the CV signal, the pitch will get to a point where the signal is filtered completely. You may have to find a way to have the filter track with the CV calibration signal. (maybe simulate manually?)

Before calibration is attempted, be sure you can move the coarse tuning knob and have Volta track the pitch. If that isn't happening, then Volta will not be able to calibrate.

You could also try calibrating a Volta output to a known 1v/oct source, like an oscillator, then patching that output to the SH.

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Post by bar|none » Fri May 15, 2009 10:23 am

For summing with a DC offset. You can use this .wav file which is a constant DC voltage (straight line).

http://experimentsinanalogchaos.com/sam ... 0faker.wav

What I do is load this file into a sample player (not sure which host you are using). In Ableton, I load it into Sampler or Simpler and set it to loop forever, then I can use it as a DC source to sum with another.

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 10:29 am

Stretta, I think something is a little borked with the calibration in Volta.

If I take the CV in and disconnect it from the CS-30 leaving the output of the CS-30 plugged into an input that volta can see..... I can get the red bar in the calibration to track it perfectly.

The CS-30's sine wave is as good as any sine wave out there.... I mean a sine wave is... a sinewave.

Volta will play the CS-30 until you go into calibration, as soon as you do this Volta sends out a really really low LFO type frequency... only if I move the CS-30 oscillator to the highest register can I nearly get it to track.

Then if you come out of Volta it won't play at all and you have to restart it... probably due to the calibration failing.

There is something goofed on the calibration stage maybe? Or maybe not broken but needs something added to it like a starting pitch for calibration. If you play the mp3 I uploaded you can hear the CS-30 being played by Volta happily if out of tune.

Hmmmmm, if I take out the cv in from the CS-30 it holds a nice steady pitch, as soon as I plug a jack lead into it (without the other end attached it drops to almost LFO speed), when I then plug the other end into a cv output from Volta it is playable again........

But as soon as you enter calibration mode it drops back to LFo sounding as if it was C minus 4 octave or something.

So what we need is a starting note output for the calibration mode for synths like the SH-101 and the CS-30. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the CS-30, it tracks over a good range when attached to other cv/hertz synths and midi to cv converters.

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Post by stretta » Fri May 15, 2009 10:48 am

What you're describing leads me to believe a different calibration sequence is required for Hz/V synths. I'm only speculating, though.

Does the CS-30 only respond to positive CV voltages?

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 11:08 am

I'm not sure about positive or negative voltages on the CS-30 Stretta, I'm not too good on the electronics of things. But it seems to be tracking 5-6 octaves of audio within a couple of octaves of keyboard range

I could hook up the midi to cv converter and set it to the CS-30 then measure the voltages maybe?

I think the problem is this, as soon as you enter the calibration mode Volta stops sending pitch data (I think) or at least it goes to sub zero frequency as it waits for you to hit the calibration button.

But as it is nowhere in range it can't calibrate. The odd thing is if I hit the preview button, loads of random voltages are chucked out and if I'm lucky I can quickly turn off preview and then hit calibration if the preview random voltages sent out manage to fall within the starting calibration range.

I hope this all makes sense. The Pro -1 when you plug in a cv cable just goes to around middle C even if the other end is not attached to it but the CS-30 goes to a very low frequency as soon as a cable is plugged into it. This I think is where the problem is.

Hope this helps and that I'm not being annoying with finding these bugs (used to beta test a lot for Native Instruments).

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Post by stretta » Fri May 15, 2009 11:26 am

I think the problem is this, as soon as you enter the calibration mode Volta stops sending pitch data (I think) or at least it goes to sub zero frequency as it waits for you to hit the calibration button.
Ah, so, if Volta is patched to the CS-30 CV input, you're not able to offset the pitch output so that the red line is in the target grey range prior to calibration? (if you can't offset the pitch into the target range, no, volta won't calibrate).

Have you tried applying a bias voltage, as I described to get the red line into the target range?

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 1:12 pm

I have no way of trying that really. It seems that the moment you go into calibrate Volta stops all voltages so the CS-30 reverts back to the lowest pitch it can go.

To be honest I'm not sure really how to do the bias thing in the software and the hardware idea is not doable with the kit I have.

I think I'll wait for an update to volta, what we need is the ability to set a certain pitch in volta when calibrating cv/hz synths... actually I'm not sure what is needed to get it to work.... all I know is that I have 3 x cv/hz synths that need intergrating with Volta.

I'm sure you can figure something out, I would be happy to do a video and post up in a couple of days maybe of the troubles I am having?

Stretta did you listen to the audio file I posted earlier?

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 1:18 pm

Ah, so, if Volta is patched to the CS-30 CV input, you're not able to offset the pitch output so that the red line is in the target grey range prior to calibration?
Maybe this way is better to explain it:

Before I go to calibration Volta and the CS-30 play along just great. I get a very big range out of the CS-30 and Volta.... more so than I do with the Pro-1. It is however obviously totally out of calibration being cv/hz and out of tune.

But you can still control it just fine, so no problem with it talking to Volta.

The problem comes as soon as you go to calibration, it's as if I've unplugged the cv to the CS-30 from the back of the 2408mk3 interface i.e Volta just stops sending any signal so the CS-30 reverts to the lowest pitch it can do which is it's natural idle state when a CV cable is plugged into the synth but with no voltages being supllied at the other end.

I reckon if Volta carried on sending the last pitch you were playing before the calibration stage say C3 then calibrated from there we would be laughing. Getting the calibration to track the oscilator when the cv is all unplugged is no problem at all so I believe the lack of a signal being sent is the problem.

Hope that explains things better :)

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Post by stretta » Fri May 15, 2009 1:41 pm

Stretta did you listen to the audio file I posted earlier?
Yeah. It doesn't really tell me anything.

You can create a bias voltage in volta. If you're using logic/live, create a ramp with a positive voltage and assign it to the same output you're using for CV to the CS-30.

If you're using Digital Performer, you can create another instance of Volta, create a ramp on the same output as your CV output.

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 1:56 pm

Ahh that explains it a bit better,... so one instance running normal and another instance to push up the voltage on the same output so that calibration might work. I'll give it a go.

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 2:21 pm

ok, that kind of worked. What I did was:

Loaded up 1 Volta and assigned it outputs 3 and 4 hooked up to the CS-30

Loaded up a 2nd Volta and assigned to the same outputs

This time the 2nd Volta kept the pitch up enough for the 1st volta to attempt calibration. Calibration didn't quite work but was the closest yet.

It does seem to me that the pitch dying as soon as you enter calibration mode is causing these problems. I also found that after doing the above I had to take away Voltas env and cv and replace again to get it working again.

I'm going to try in another host.

Stretta if you want me to help with beta testing your ideas let me know at sam(at)megablastic.com I'd be more than happy to be your guinea pig for testing on.

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Post by stretta » Fri May 15, 2009 2:34 pm

What this says to me is the Yamaha CS synths behave the same way as the Korgs, which led me note that they are not currently compatible with Volta. I'll update the web site.

Ironically, the MS-20 turns out to be calibrate-able via other means with Volta.

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Post by bar|none » Fri May 15, 2009 2:44 pm

You are sending a positive voltage RAMP on the second instance right? Cause if both are sending CV for pitch and that is being summed, it's not going to be cool.

Which host are you using btw? DP? Cause in Live/Logic you don't need 2 instances to do this. In Live, the cvs are sent via sidechains, so you can create multiple audio tracks each listening to different CV outs, then sum them by sending the track output to a common bus which is sent to the audio out in question.

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Post by Analog>Plugins » Fri May 15, 2009 3:13 pm

I'm using Cubase 5 running Volta under Native Instruments Kore host.

It works just great for my Pro-1 but I think I will have to admit defeat on any cv/hz synths. It's a shame as the CS-30 is a beast when it comes to sound design.

Looks like I will be keeping the kenton midi to cv converter after all :(

But I could still use volta to trigger the CS-30 so that the triggers are sample accurate and then use the cv converter to select the correct notes.

Just tried the live 7 demo, seemed to work better better as the preview button worked...but oddly enough I got a slightly better range calibrating the Pro-1 under Cubase 5/Kore than I did in live lol.

I'll try the CS-5 synth just in case that decides to work for me :)

And Stretta.......................... keep thinking "VSTi version, vsti verson vsti version (fade to silence)"

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Post by stretta » Fri May 15, 2009 4:00 pm

I don't expect the CS5 to work.

You are a dedicated man. :sb:

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