Arduino based Midi Trigger box for analog synths

Nikolaus Gradwohl2018-09-14T07:11:26+02:00

I usually control my volca and the Mother32 via midi and create sequences using Bitwig studio or Sonic Pi but I wanted to use the build in sequencers to create a more hands-on feeling and simplify loop creation while jamming but haven't found a satisfying what to synchronize the sequencers to each other and to my computer

I considered buying a bastl klick - but I would need several of them to control different synths at different clock-rates and I would have to sacrifice several audio outs to control them.

So I build a midi-trigger system using an arduino that allows me to send trigger signals to 4 devices using midi note-on signals. Now I can run the sequencers of my devices at different clock rates allowing me to use longer or shorter sequences or create different rhythms by sending trigger signals with different note lengths to the DFAM. Sort of like a clock-divider on steroids combined with a sequenceable trigger pulse.

trigger-box

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New Song - A Target you can't see

Nikolaus Gradwohl2018-06-19T06:49:45+02:00

a repeating yet ever changing 10 note pattern creating a world for the melody to live in

A Target you can't see

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New Song - Turn into a Tune

Nikolaus Gradwohl2018-05-22T07:01:38+02:00

A song starting as a simple arpeggio slowly evolving into a tune

Recorded and Mixed in Bitwig Studio drums are from a volca beats and sample, pads from streichfett and blofeld. The synth sound are from bitwigs polysynth and a 0-Coast

[TITLE]

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new Song Ice5

Nikolaus Gradwohl2018-03-01T05:20:02+01:00

An ambient electronic 5/4 track inspired by the -10°C we currently have outside

ice5

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how to connect additional soundcards to your jack setup

Nikolaus Gradwohl2017-11-29T07:55:13+01:00

alsa_in

Many hardware synthesizer come with an USB port these days and some of them even connect as a soundcard, allowing you to route the audio from the synth directly to your daw without wasting an input on your soundcard. And sometimes you want to record something using an USB microphone or USB Guitar cable.

To connect such devices to my DAW via jack on linux I created a little startup script that runs every time I start Bitwig Studio to make sure all the external devices are connected. I use alsa_in - a command line tool that allows you to connect an additional alsa sound card. a2jack needs some parameters like the device name, sampling rate or buffer size to use and starts a process. Then it starts a process that listens to the alsa device and forwards the input to jack by connecting as a jack client application with some inputports. These ports can be configured as input routes in your daw like Bitwig or ardor - just like you would do with an input channel on your main sound-card.

To route audio from your daw to the output of an second sound you can use alsa_out

My music startup script connects the audio interface of my Yamaha MX61 and an usb-soundcard, that is connected to my Korg KaosPad Mini, so I can use it as an external effects processor in bitwig-studio

alsa_in -j "MX61" -d hw:CARD=MX49MX61,DEV=0 -r 44100 -p 256 &
alsa_in -j "FX" -d hw:CARD=Device,DEV=0 -r 44100 -p 256 &
alsa_out -j "FX" -d hw:CARD=Device,DEV=0 -r 44100 -p 512

You can get a list of the available alsa device names by running the command

aplay -L

Unfortunately the USB soundcard I use always selects the microphone input when it is plugged in or my computer restarts. To fix this I use the amixer command to change the capture channel to line and mute it - so I don' t generate feedback loops (I spent hours finding out where that distortion came from :-/)

amixer -D "hw:CARD=Device" cset numid=11 on # Line capture on
amixer -D "hw:CARD=Device" cset numid=5 off # Line mute

you can get a list of supported controls and their id by a running

amixer -D "hw:CARD=Device" controls

just replace "hw:CARD=Device" with the device identifier of your sound interface.

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Processing and Blender Sound Visualizer for Magical Dreams

Nikolaus Gradwohl2017-09-29T07:51:40+02:00

I finally managed to finish a project where I could combine most of the tools I love and use. I created a processing sketch to visualize the stereo correlation of my song "Magical Dreams", exported the frames and used blender to create an animated highfield based on the brightness of the images. Then I rendered these frames and combined them to a video with the original track exported from bitwig.

Hmmm ... maybe a bit more complicated than needed, but that's one of advantage of a hobby project - you don't have to justify yourself for inefficient processes and toy around as long as you want to :-)

Magic Dreams

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new Song: Still Awake

Nikolaus Gradwohl2017-09-27T07:14:31+02:00

I finally found the time to sit down and arrange and mix one of the song fragments that are waiting on my harddisk. I'm currenly very tired after a week full of nightshifts, overtime and bughunting but I'm still awake ... (ok not the best song title ever, but my thoughts are still a bit fuzzy - did I mention sleep deprivation?)

Still awake

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How to modulate Midi-CC values in Bitwig Studio

Nikolaus Gradwohl2017-09-15T06:26:53+02:00

to make a synth line played on a hardware synth more interesting you can modulate some parameters like filter cutoff, decay time, etc using a midi cc value. This can be done using bitwig studio by either using a automation lane sending the cc value or by using the cc device.

To use an automation lane simply click on the "Show automation lane" icon and select the controller value you want to send in the "midi" section

bitwig cc lfo modulation

then draw the cc values in the lane you just created. I used this technique in my latest song to create the filter cutoff of the highpass filter on my moog mother32 for example

bitwig cc lfo modulation

The second version uses the "Midi CC" device. With this device you can use bitwig's brilliant modulation sources to create the cc you want do send. You could combine several modulation sources like lfos step sequencers etc to influence your sounds.

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New Track: Drops in the Dark

Nikolaus Gradwohl2017-07-12T06:58:30+02:00

I recorded a new track featuring my mother32, 0-Coast, Streichfett and the repro1 recorded and mixed using bitwig-studio

Drops in the Dark

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Battle of the Bass-Machines

Nikolaus Gradwohl2017-05-08T07:48:43+02:00

Korg Volca Bass vs Roland TB-3

a battle of the Bass-Machines recorded and mixed using Bitwig-Studio

Battle of the Bass-Machines

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