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Old 03-04-2017, 02:09 PM
jim jim is offline
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Default 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
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Old 03-04-2017, 04:26 PM
jim jim is offline
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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.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2017, 04:28 PM
jim jim is offline
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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
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:15 PM
BMG BMG is offline
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Hi Jim

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


cheers
b
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:29 PM
Sifaka Sifaka is offline
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Nice....
Are you at Superbooth this year ?
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:32 AM
jim jim is offline
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Originally Posted by Sifaka View Post
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
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:28 AM
jim jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMG View Post
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
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:19 AM
Luddite Luddite is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim View Post
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.
This all looks very promising and exciting! Numerology was always crying out for a dedicated controller. Something between the ease of use of, say, a dark time from Doepfer and the capability of the Cirklon would make sense. Being able to program from Numerology on the computer and then load into the module would be great. One thing that would occur to me would be to incorporate features that the Cirklon does not have (complex envelope/LFO sequencing like the Control Forge does). I would think though that it may need a dedicated breakout box for advanced CV sequencing.

Would also love to meet up at Superbooth if you can make it Jim!
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:07 PM
jim jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite View Post
This all looks very promising and exciting! Numerology was always crying out for a dedicated controller. Something between the ease of use of, say, a dark time from Doepfer and the capability of the Cirklon would make sense. Being able to program from Numerology on the computer and then load into the module would be great.
That's the general idea -- create patterns on hardware, load into the computer or vice-versa. Indeed, I just got the SD card to mount via USB on my Mac. However, don't go overboard with expectations, the hardware seq isn't going to be able to load full Numerology stacks -- that's too much for this little chip to handle. Think instead of a generic "hardware compatible" stack -- a couple simplified mod seqs, a main sequencer (mono or poly), presets and playlist settings.

The controller bit comes in when you want to keep you main work on the computer -- for bigger stacks, running audio plugins, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite View Post
One thing that would occur to me would be to incorporate features that the Cirklon does not have (complex envelope/LFO sequencing like the Control Forge does). I would think though that it may need a dedicated breakout box for advanced CV sequencing.
I'm hoping to have 2 mod seqs for each main sequencer, mostly for internal modulation, but you would be able to override say the "accent" out for a part to use a mod seq instead of the "velocity" part of the main seq. Indeed, if I can swing it right, you'd be able to have sub-sequencers for accent and gate, w/ the main seq for pitch. Sound familiar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite View Post
Would also love to meet up at Superbooth if you can make it Jim!
It's looking pretty slim right now, but I'll post here if I can go.

Jim
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