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-   -   Vector Sequencer Prototype : An Introduction... (http://www.five12.net/showthread.php?t=3408)

jim 03-04-2017 02:09 PM

Vector Sequencer Prototype : An Introduction...
 
The Vector Sequencer is a digital sequencer in the Eurorack modular format. It provides a significant amount of the sequencing features you can find in the MacOS version of Numerology, including a flexible sequencing engine, sub-sequencers for internal modulation, support for multiple parts, as well as presets and a playlist function.

It has enough built-in outputs to support four or more independent parts. There are two MIDI outputs on 3.5 mm TRS jacks, and two sets of analog CV outputs (Pitch, Gate and Accent), so it will integrate well with both modular gear and standalone synths.

By adding some sort of jack expansion (under consideration), or by doubling parts on MIDI jacks, it will almost certainly be able to support more than 4 parts, but there would be some tradeoff with preset memory. (more on that in a bit).

The UI is based around two sharp and contrasty OLED display panels, resolution is 256 x 64. Don't pay too much attention to the odd fonts in the current videos, those are just the fonts that come with the default driver code for the displays. The displays are graphically adresssable and I will be updating the layout considerably -- custom fonts and sizes, better layout, more indicators about what's going on, etc.

Below the displays are 8 encoders used for editing parameters -- so you can edit one parameter across 8 sequencer steps at a time. There are next/prev buttons for accessing sequences longer than 8 steps. The current max sequence length is 16, which will be expanded later on.

To the left of the displays is a ninth encoder. This can be used to edit all steps of a sequence or a selected subset of steps at a time. For instance, you could select all the odd-numbered steps and edit the gate time for them all at once.

The sequencer engine (for each part) is based on the one used by Numerology's Note Sequencer modules. So for each step, you have several parameters to work with. The current list includes: Pitch, Gate, Velocity (err, Accent), Step Length, Ratchet (aka Gate Divide), Probability, and Random Jump. I expect Step Repeat, Groove, and some sort of Glide will also make it in. Sequence controls also include settable start and end step, direction, rate, key, scale and semitone offset. I plan to replace "end step" with length -- as that makes some modulation tricks (sequencer windowing) much easier.

There is a dedicated button for Modulation which will bring up one or two sub-sequencers that can modulate params on each primary sequencer (per part). These sequencers will be simpler than the Mod Seqs in Numerology, but will work very similarly. They will have up to 8 steps, with params for length, rate, direction, and target param.

There will be presets and some sort of preset playlist. Presets will be grouped into banks and will be loadable from an SD Card. The number of presets per bank will vary according to sequence length -- so if you need longer sequences and can get by with fewer presets, that will be a configuration option.

The SD Card is currently mounted on the back of the module, with the intention that it will be mountable on your computer from the USB connection.

In addition to the sequenced parts, there will be at least a couple "controller" based parts. When they are active, the unit will act as a MIDI controller, either for Numerology (via USB MIDI) or for some other device -- say for other software, or a synth like the DSI Tetra which doesn't have many front panel controls. Of course, there will be a custom controller template in Numerology for it.

Synchronization of various sorts will be supported: External clock (w/ divisions), MIDI Clock (master and slave), and DIN Sync through either a port expander or something like the STG Soundlabs Time Buffer. The run & clock jacks on the front panel will be configurable so that you can use them to generate clocks with any common time divisions.

There are two modulation inputs for external modulation sources.

The module width is 42 hp and is quite shallow -- will measure next time I have it out of the case.

I have one prototype built, and a couple more are in progress for testing. I'm currently working on code to support the USB port (MIDI and Mass Storage), the SD Card, and fleshing out features like presets and sub-sequencers.

Also in progress: the next hardware revision -- some part tweaks, and jack adjustments. I haven't finalized the button selection, but once that is done, I can order some proper front panels. -- The very shiny one you see in the YouTube videos is a temporary plexiglass panel...

More news as I have it. Questions and comments, as always, are most welcome!

Cheers,
Jim

jim 03-04-2017 04:26 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Front Panel Layout... I'm still working out some details as to button color and labeling. There is a possibility I may use Illuminated buttons for some things -- specifically edit modes, but I haven't evaluated any parts for that yet.

The larger round circles are encoders, the smaller ones are all buttons. The front panel will be aluminum with black text and red accent graphics.

jim 03-04-2017 04:28 PM

VIDEOS:

Short teaser -- prototype unit with temporary front panel. Two sequences running -- one via CV/Gate to modules, the other is MIDI to a DSI Tetra.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VvKoZHTycM

BMG 03-04-2017 05:15 PM

Hi Jim

Will this work as a stand-alone sequencer without midi input or is it married to software/computer/midi?


cheers
b

Sifaka 03-04-2017 05:29 PM

Nice....
Are you at Superbooth this year ?

jim 03-05-2017 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BMG (Post 16000)
Hi Jim
Will this work as a stand-alone sequencer without midi input or is it married to software/computer/midi?

It is a hardware sequencer that can work with any combination of modular gear, MIDI gear, and your computer. It is definitely not married to the computer. The USB port is there for two primary reasons: ability to easily mount the SD Card for backup, and as a controller for Numerology.

Jim

jim 03-05-2017 11:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sifaka (Post 16001)
Nice....
Are you at Superbooth this year ?

I do not know yet -- I'm trying to keep the option open, but am mostly focused on sorting out changes for the next round of prototypes.

Jim

CF3 03-07-2017 03:43 PM

I see a "gen" and "evo" on the panel scan..... Generate and Evolve? If so, will these be addressable via the mod1/mod2 CV ins?

Exciting stuff Jim!

jim 03-07-2017 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CF3 (Post 16006)
I see a "gen" and "evo" on the panel scan..... Generate and Evolve?

Correct!

Quote:

Originally Posted by CF3 (Post 16006)
If so, will these be addressable via the mod1/mod2 CV ins?

I don't know yet -- if they are, there will be a few ms (1-3) delay in any output changes -- not noticeable in most cases (most envelopes can't fully open for at least 1 ms anyway), but it might be for some very timing sensitive patches. They *will* be targetable from the internal modulation sources...

I'm working to make sure that certain external triggers are as 'nearly instantaneous' as possible -- specifically run/stop, and reset (not on the front panel yet). And, of course, external clock.

Speaking of reset, I will probably change the trigger I/O from 4 jacks ("run in, clock in, run out, clock out") to 3 ("run, clock, reset") -- that are software configurable as inputs or outputs -- use them for sync and control (in our out), or something else. That allows for having a dedicate reset jack (when you need it), and helps make room for a USB A jack -- another big front panel change under consideration....

Cheers,
Jim

geremy 03-07-2017 10:46 PM

Hi,

I joined to comment on this new module. I admire Numerology and believe this sequencer will be phenomenal. I really like the layout and it looks fun to play.

I'm here to plead with you to make it a quad cv sequencer. Most of the larger complex modules are going quad recently (reference er-301, e370, er-101, teletype, stillson hammer mk2, akemie's castle, the entire qu-bit range, the several recent quad vca modules, newer midi modules, etc.). I'm sure you will sell well regardless but I think you would do much better as a quad.

Also, I personally would appreciate more cv inputs. I understand that increases cost. At the very least allow me to control multiple parameters with each cv input and provide a scale and offset function for each parameter (as opposed to a single scale and offset per cv input).

Thanks.


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