Dec 112009

Download the Combinator: arp-box


Description: Lewis from “Resonant Filter” told me he really liked Arps, so I thought I would put another one together which focusses solely on utilizing the Arp within a Combinator, and providing for most of the control of the Arps from the Combinator. So this is an Arp Box Combinator I developed, which uses 2 Arps working together to provide some interesting sound design potential. The Combinator has full automation applied to the Rotaries and Buttons. Furthermore, it uses the Malstrom Curves to adjust some settings on the Arps (documented below).

Features: The “Arp Box” has several features associated with it. I was attempting to get a cross between a playful glitch-inspired machine and a traditional Arp. The following are the main features according to Combinator assignments:

Pitch Bend: This affects the Modulation Rate of both the Rate and Gate for the 2 Arps. Moving it down slows down the arp, while moving it up can speed up the Arp, and create a fast-pitch stuttering effect. Best used when performing for quick little quirky Arp changes.

Mod Wheel: This affects the mode of the Arps at the same time. Moving the Mod wheel changes the Arps’ progressions (either Up / Up+Down/ Down, etc.)

Rotary 1: Controls the Rate/Gate Malstrom’s A curve, which in turn affects the Rate of both Arps. Adjusting this Rotary cycles through the Malstrom’s 31 curves.

Rotary 2: Controls the Rate/Gate Malstrom’s B curve, which in turn affects the Gate Length of both Arps. Adjusting this Rotary cycles through the Malstrom’s 31 curves.

Rotary 3: Controls the Velocity Malstrom’s A curve, which in turn affects the Velocity of both Arps. Adjusting this Rotary cycles through the Malstrom’s 31 curves.

Rotary 4: Adjust’s the Thor’s Filter 3 Frequency.

Button 1: This turns the Arps’ Hold buttons on (when lit) and keeps Hold off (when not lit).

Button 2: Affects the Insert of the Arps. When the button is not lit, the Insert is 3-1. When the button is lit, the Insert is 4-2.

Button 3: When this button is off, the Arps do not respond to velocity shifting from the Velocity Malstrom. Velocity is constant. When turned on, the Velocity is shifted according to the curve in the Velocity Malstrom. Note that with the Velocity turned off, adjusting Rotary 3 has no effect.

Button 4: When this button is off, there is very little resonance applied to the Thor Filter (and as a result, the sound). When this button is turned on, a high resonance is applied to the Filter. There’s also a little more balancing going on in order to more closely match the volume between low and high resonance, but essentially this is a quick way to get a whole new sound out of the Arp Box.

Note: In addition to the above programming, you can use the Thor Filter underneath the 6:2 Line Mixer to set up the Delay and Chorus for some quick FX. Button 1 turns on the Delay, and Rotary 1 adjusts the Delay Time. Button 2 turns on the Chorus, and Rotary 2 adjusts the Chorus Delay. So you have a few additional parameters with which to work.

Usage: It can be used as is to insert an adjustable Arp in your tracks, played in a live performance setting, or used as a template with your own sounds. Just keep the Arps as they are and switch out the sound source to your own device or patch.

Other Notes: Feel free to change the Patches for the two NN-XTs or change the device to another sound source (either a Sampler or Synth). Also, you don’t have to have both devices playing the same sound at all. So experiment here first. Also, by default (and for the default sound of the Arp Box), the first arp is set to -1 Octave Shift, and the second Arp is set to -2 Octave Shift. This is so that the first Arp provides the main melody line, while the second Arp provides a bottom end. Depending on your sound, you may want to adjust this Octave Shift setting to whatever you wish. Also, if you don’t like the Low Pass Ladder filter in Thor, you can switch it to any other filter. Depending on your sound source, one of the other filters may suit your own patch better. Finally, if the Rate of the Arp is not to your liking, you’ll have to change this setting on one or both Arps manually. Though the Pitch Bend wheel affects the Rate, it may not be the best rate when the Pitch Bend is in its default position. Playing with the Rates on both Arps can produce some interesting sound designs.

Let me know what you think?

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