Yearly Archives: 2012

Chroma and Gris-Gris: Sequenced Monster Monosynth

Ladies, Gentlemen, Exalted Bipeds, may I introduce to you my latest creation, the Chroma and Gris-Gris ensemble:

Chroma is a performance oriented monosequencer and VA carefully tuned for ergonomic ease of use and glitch free operation in standalone and plugin mode. Slur features in Chroma match up with legato and glide features in the Gris-Gris synth to create a slinky sinuous note articulation.

Sequences can be created and controlled via mouse, MIDI, Konkreet Performer, TouchOSC and Lemur. Since there is now full OSC support in the Reaktor plugin version, you can do everything with Chroma in your preferred DAW that you can do stand-alone. A dream come true!

Now, about those Konkreet Performer mappings:

TouchOSC and Lemur templates are included in the package but there’s something special about Konkreet Performer that sets things on fire when it’s paired with Chroma and Gris Gris, a certain magic in the way it morphs and distorts sound. It is my firmly held opinion that not nearly enough people use KP and if you want something really special and unusual on your iPad you should rush right over to  Konkreet Labs or head straight for the App Store and buy a license.

The Gris-Gris synth is easy to program, surprisingly versatile, screams like a bastard and can be played on its own with MIDI input. Check out the effects bank for some wild quasi-modular sounds. A dedicated filter LFO with a morphing shape control and chaos flux knob provide mutating automation. Flux controls are also provided for the mix and filter feedback sections. Want more sounds? Here ya go:

Chroma’s MIDI output can be used to trigger external synths as well, depending on the completeness of the synth’s MIDI implementation. Tested and fully working synths include NI Massive, NI Absynth, U-he Tyrell and Tal Noisemaker. Some synths may work perfectly for note sequences but not for slur and glide.

Here’s the full cheat sheet:chromanotes

Chroma is 24.99 USD temporarily reduced in price to $19.99 and can be purchased and downloaded immediately. Remember, Chroma is a Reaktor ensemble and requires a full installation of Reaktor 5.8.0, not just Reaktor player.

Buy Chroma and Gris-Gris Now Add to Cart

Poly Theremin, Exclusively for Konkreet Performer

Hey gang, did you notice that the Konkreet Performer half price sale is still in effect? Go get it right now. Even if you don’t have an iPad – you can get that later, it’s a good reason to get one. (edit: sale is long gone but the Performer software is still there and it… is… fantastic!)

As a little bonus for Konkreet users, I’ve reskinned and refreshed my theremin ensemble, with some features from the Chroma sequencer.

Here’s what it sounds like:

And here’s what it looks like:

Download here

The onscreen display is just a display – to make some noise, set up Konkreet Performer with three nodes and a ribbon. The three nodes control its three voices, and the ribbon controls beat-repeat and voice panorama.

It’s a lot of fun to play and if you’re ambitious, the structure within is a good introduction to mapping Konkreet parameters to Reaktor voices: node angle from the central node controls pitch, distance from the central node controls vibrato intensity and resonance, and touching and releasing the nodes gates the voices.


ParamDrum: fun with TR samples and misc. effects

I found a terrific little dubby echo here courtesy of Boscomac and decided to hotwire it into my Paramdrum ensemble.

I added a router to the beat delay like so:
Whenever one of the beat repeat buttons is engaged, the “compare” module detects that its output is  greater than zero – this changes the multiplier from zero to one on the extra outputs where the sound is directed to the Echophonic effect. If you have ParamDrum it’s a quick and easy modification. This way, the dry signal doesn’t normally go through the Echophonic and it becomes a haze that drifts around the stuttering when you engage the beat repeat.
This is one of the many reasons I like Reaktor rather than compiled VSTs – you can do little tweaks like this to existing ensembles as the mood strikes you. Here’s how it sounds:

This uses the samples from an earlier edition of Paramdrum, the TR edition, which has a sample map of simpler, cleaner drum hits – analogue sounding but with a morphing twist. You can download the TR edition samples for free here. Of course, I think they sound best in Paramdrum. 🙂

Like what you’re hearing? Buy Paramdrum here. (You need a full working installation of Reaktor 5 to use this instrument, not just Reaktor player)

(Download Boscomac’s Echophonic effect free here – he has lots of other very cool goodies too)

TB Midi Stuff

One iOS control surface that’s getting too little love in my poll on the left is TB MIDI Stuff.

It sends and receives OSC and MIDI, including NRPN, so you can do 14 bit high resolution MIDI. It even does bi-directional Sysex. The editor is built in so there’s no need to edit your layout on a computer then sync – add, delete and modify controls and pages right on your device. There are some built in control surfaces like a standard keyboard (with arp!) and an MPC type drum pad and many other editable templates.

Get it here for only $4.99 – daaaaamn that’s cheap – and I guarantee you will find uses for it. It’s worth that coffee-and-muffin price just for the default keyboard and MPC and the Wicki-Hayden templates, to say nothing of the custom templates you can put together quickly and easily. Oh, did I mention there are built in scales and customizable scales you can play from ribbons and other objects? Well, there are. It’s a Swiss army knife of MIDI features for a toothpick price.

Finally, here’s a video of one of the 1.x versions of TB MIDI Stuff (2.0 was recently released)

A Working Clock

Recently I’ve been working on some new sequenced ensembles and found to my horror that the clock macro I’d been relying on no longer worked properly. Bit rot? Slow change in behavior from version to version? I’m not sure. The problem was the old zero reset bug – old hands at Reaktor are nodding sagely right now – where the first beat or note would not fire off after resetting the song position to zero.

So I went through some frantic experiments and experienced a genuine Dark Night of the Soul until I put something together based on my old clock macros, hints from forums, and ideas from the Reaktor user library.

Unfortunately in the process I upgraded to the current version of Reaktor, 5.7.1, because there seemed to be some subtle differences in behavior between 5.6.2 and 5.7.1 and there’s a limit to how much time and effort I can dedicate to old versions.

Here’s what the new, fixed, stable, working macro looks like on the inside:

As you can see it’s fairly simple. If you’re still sticking with 5.6.2 you should be able to throw one together from this schematic in a few minutes.

Special thanks to Owen Vallis who came up with the idea of using the mod output of the Modulo module to gate the Div output. So much better than using a silly old step filter. Owen posted his fix in this thread on the Reaktor forums so go thank him there.

I’ve stuck the macro in this demo ensemble:

Click here to download the new clock macro.

Grab the macro labeled “SeqDriver 571” and use it in your own creations. Of course, nobody’s perfect and no fix lasts forever so let me know if you find a bug, a sequencer where it doesn’t work or works erratically, or if you need help wiring it into your own creations.