Announcing a new eurorack module by Microbe Modular

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clone45
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Announcing a new eurorack module by Microbe Modular

Post by clone45 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:05 pm

Announcing the Equation Composer

ImageImage

I'm extremely pleased to announce the upcoming release of the Equation Composer by Microbe Modular. Inspired by VIznut's "Algorithmic symphonies from one line of code" and the BitWiz Audio Synth, the Equation Composer creates a wide range of gritty, 8-bit sounding melodies, waveforms, and noise. The module is organized into CV selectable "programs" that range from simple equation playback to stuttery loops, and even wavetable playback and subtractive synthesis.

Internally, the Equation Composer is based on the powerful Arduino Due. Although the module has been built to be enjoyed "as-is", there's a prominent USB jack on the front for easy re-programming, and the software is open source and available on GitHub. 14 extra pins have been brought to an expansion header on the rear. The Arduno code itself is modular, allowing various software "modules" to be strung together into virtual synths. (Re-programming is recommended for advanced developers only and requires some C++.)

Hardware designed by John Staskevich. Software by Gaetan Ro and myself. Front panel design by Hannes Pasqualini. Additional sound design by Sunshine Audio. Special thanks to Josh at Toppobrillo for his support.

Width: 12HP
Current requrements: 170mA
Estimated release date: Early 2014.

Cheers,
Bret Truchan
Microbe Modular

Here are some audio samples. There's a lot more to come, including examples of more traditional (less 8-bit) sounds.

http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/109975519
http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/109973440
http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/109973628

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wbkennedy1
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Post by wbkennedy1 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:21 pm

whoahhh yesss woah these last few weeks i have been really digging into v1znut's blog and his ibniz programming language. sooo cool to see this concept in modular synth world now! are you going to be offering kits for sale?

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Post by xonetacular » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:25 pm

woah very cool.

definitely sounds a bit like bitwiz and that's funny since when I first messed with bitwiz for ipad the first thing I did was plug the headphone out into my modular and start applying envelopes and messing with the sequences.

great looking panel too. what are the inputs and outputs on it?

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Post by clone45 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:28 pm

No, sorry, I'm not going to have kits for sale at first. I'll consider it down the line, but just getting this module out the door is taking up all my time. I hope to have more audio examples in a few weeks. The code is really flexible and Geatan and I are busy making both virtual modules and virtual synths for it. It'll be interesting to hear what comes out of it!

Cheers,
- Bret

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Kent
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Post by Kent » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:38 pm

How soon until we can:

get a ballpark price?
see a clear front panel shot?
get a demonstration video as to what the controls and CV inputs achieve?

Looks cool at first glance, but I can't really tell what it offers based upon the current description.

:tu:

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Post by poppinger » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:38 pm

Whoa awesome. Bitwiz is one of my favorite things to fiddle around with on the ipad, and I've even gone to the trouble to rig up modular/midi cc interaction with it once or twice which is massive amounts of fun.

Just trying to figure out what all the front panel controls and I/O are.

1, 2, and 3 = inputs to expressions in the equation?
SR = sample rate I'd imagine?
Eq = select which equation to evaluate?
Not too sure what Mod might do.

Am I close on any of these?

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Post by clone45 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:39 pm

@xonetacular

Here's a list of inputs and outputs:

Inputs:
======

EQU (which is going to be renamed "PRG" for "program" on the final panel) - This switched between internal "programs". Imagine it being a bit like switching between patches on a Nord Modular or Waldorf Pulse. (Not to say this compares to either of those beautiful machines.)

SR - Sample Rate (or Pitch, or Frequency)

MOD - "Modifier" - This is sort of a generic term. On the equation playback programs, this selects the equation. On other programs, this might affect different things. It's not set in stone.

Parameters [1],[2],[3] - For the equation playback programs, these are mapped to variables in the equation. For example:

w = (t>>p1|t|t>>6)*p3+4*(t&t>>p2|t>>6);

Here, p1, p2, and p3 are controlled by CV inputs [1], [2], and [3]. In the EquationLooper program, the inputs 1,2, and 3 control various aspects of the loop position and loop length. Again, the inputs sometimes change depending on the program.

reset - Also used for clock or gate, resets the playback of an equation.


Outputs
=====
Out - the audio output


Cheers,
- Bret

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Post by ignatius » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:39 pm

harsh! but classy.

also, so nice to see another panel w/long oval mounting holes. makes like so much easier some times!

i look forward to more demos.

congrats on the prototype. :tu:

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Post by xonetacular » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:44 pm

the panel is total perfection. very well done and classy.

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Post by clone45 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:47 pm

@Kent

Price - I don't even know what it's going to cost to manufacture yet. Once I do, I'll figure out the price. We're working on the final prototype right now.

Demonstration video - as soon as I can! :-)

Front panel - Here's the front panel design. However, the input EQU is going to be renamed to PRG:



Image[/img]

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Post by clone45 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:49 pm

Big thanks to Hannes Pasqualini for his work on the panel. In fact, I really didn't contribute much to this module except for the code. Kudos to everyone involved.

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Post by clone45 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:57 pm

@ignatius,

Thanks! I know those samples are harsh, and I contemplated waiting a month until I had a larger range of samples, but I wanted to stake my claim before Mutable Instruments released every type of module on the planet. Ha ha ha. I'll work on getting some more subtle sounds out of it.

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Post by Kent » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:05 pm

Thank you, sir.
clone45 wrote:@Kent

Price - I don't even know what it's going to cost to manufacture yet. Once I do, I'll figure out the price. We're working on the final prototype right now.

Demonstration video - as soon as I can! :-)

Front panel - Here's the front panel design.

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Post by oscillateur » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:13 pm

Yes, yes and yes, especially if it can be reprogrammed.

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Post by oscillateur » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:14 pm

Also, I suppose it would be possible to use the inputs for other purposes by writing some custom code, right ? What IDE do you use for that ?

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Post by narwhal » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:22 pm

a bit of crossover with the Snazzy FX Ardcore?

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Post by clone45 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:03 pm

Yes, it can definitely be reprogrammed. You would use the Arduino IDE and use the USB port on the front. In its ability to be programmed, it is similar to the Snazzy FX Ardcore. The Due is quite an upgrade from the original Arduino, and I've honestly just scratched the surface at its capabilities.

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Post by poppinger » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:17 pm

I understand there are probably limitations because this is Arduino, but what kind of sampling rate do you get on the inputs? One of the aspects I like about Bitwiz is the ability to pipe audio into the equation.

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Post by Richard Devine » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:26 pm

wow, this sounds great! been using Bitwiz on my iPad for a while, and was surprised to see this pop up here. Could be great for glitchy percussion sounds and SFX. Very cool to hear that Sunshine Audio did some sounds as well. I worked with them recently on another sound design project get stuff.

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Post by clone45 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:30 pm

As for input sampling rate.. I'm really not sure! Do you have an equation from BitWiz that responds to audio input well? If so, I'll load it up into the module and compare the difference.

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Post by Raytracer » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:14 am

clone45 wrote:As for input sampling rate.. I'm really not sure! Do you have an equation from BitWiz that responds to audio input well? If so, I'll load it up into the module and compare the difference.
Shouldn't you know the input sampling rate being one of the module designers?

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Post by ignatius » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:28 am

clone45 wrote:@ignatius,

Thanks! I know those samples are harsh, and I contemplated waiting a month until I had a larger range of samples, but I wanted to stake my claim before Mutable Instruments released every type of module on the planet. Ha ha ha. I'll work on getting some more subtle sounds out of it.
i meant harsh in a useful way :tu:

i'm sure it'll have a wide range of things going on under the hood.

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Post by kurodama » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:00 am

Thanks everybody! I'm really glad you like the panel (and the module in general) it's certainly the most minimal thing I've done yet.
It sure excells at harsh sounds, but nothing would stop you using it to create some soft evolving ambient textures, just add some filtering and reverb and some modulation and you can get something that will evolve for hours.

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Post by onurkalaycioglu » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:17 am

coool

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Post by hpsounds » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:26 am

Richard Devine wrote:wow, this sounds great! been using Bitwiz on my iPad for a while, and was surprised to see this pop up here. Could be great for glitchy percussion sounds and SFX. Very cool to hear that Sunshine Audio did some sounds as well. I worked with them recently on another sound design project get stuff.
When I listened to the soundcloud samples, my first thought was " Damned ! This is the perfect module for Richard Devine !". :hihi:

Hédi K.

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