Aleph Grains

i had been neglecting this module, thanks for the great idea!

this afternoon i built the simple scene you made and will test later tonight
(anybody with a grid + aleph can try this gmx.scn )

reporting back just to say that the patch works (this module is so bonkers)

I need to spend time with it so that I understand what is happening but the control over routing fx is immediate and I’ve already harnessed some pretty crazy warps out of the patch matrix working blind

Yep - I got most of it now, but it took me quite some time :slight_smile:
Then I like that with such a small patch you can do so much already. I am planning to expand it a lot though (could make many patches there in fact), but am waiting for a go from rick_monster, as each new version will break scene compatibility… I will do some in all cases, but just as tests - already great though!

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what params do you usually map to the encoders?

I’m gonna be scheming things with this tonight and am open to suggestion . first priorities are sampling, karplus, and delay games (if I can figure them out)

ummm yeah my efforts to revamp bees got really frustrating hitting multiple brick walls. Made progress adding new operators that allow better programmability for grid-oriented patches. Anyone that wants to can compile bees from my grid-refactor branch to have a play around with some new ops for going deeper with grid. But not going to release a binary of that - it’s too tedious & error-prone trying to do complex grid experiments when you can only delete the top operator off the stack.

I decided to take a break from bees & try to look into running picolisp on the aleph - it’s an interactive programming language that should be very fast & minimal. Still have some remaining bugs/niggles with my aleph port of this programming language but had to take a break again after bank holiday push.

Intensely frustrating I can’t work on this full-time for a month or 2 in forseeable future - kind of hoping the unofficial second run of aleph dev boards will actually go ahead so I set up a pcb-only aleph with jtag debugger attached & the faster avr32 flash cycle - scared to damage my main aleph de-assembling & soldering on jtag header…


Back on grains as well… so no modification before some time, right? I’ll work on a scene then, that could help for future development. I have recorded great stuff today, really fine module you made here - although some of it is still a bit obscure, actually!

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well feel free to field any specific questions on the obscure parts of the module - I have a very clear picture how it works/what it does but I found it very hard to explain and/or draw a diagram of the internal structure.

In particular the way turning scrubbing on/off changes the functionality of several other params is a bit nuts! But helps to create quite a few sonic possibilities and I think this ‘feature’ is actually explained ok in the readme…

Don’t hold your breath for updates to this module. I am fascinated and frustrated by the control side of things and feel I need some progress there before coming back to module dev. Haven’t made much progress in recent weeks I think some work on @zebra’s pforth app might be the way forward.

I also recently have been screwing around with icestick fpga, which runs a forth softcore! Could be an interesting direction. Think my next step with aleph should be try to shove my picolisp thing into old aleph repo - the encoder events seem broken in new framework, which sucks. If insane bugs with picolisp persist I will try to get pforth app working.

It’s very possible I can’t make much more progress on bees or picolisp without a jtag debugger - hoping @mattbrockuk’s aleph boards will actually happen so I can have a second aleph for screwing around with more low-level experiments like wiping out bootloader and trying to run hempl lisp machine rather than avr32lib…

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Hello hello,

Just found out after recording a whole track with Grains that there was something strange in the high range. I recorded in 24 bit 96 kHz and analyzed the result, and here’s what I got:

First with spectrum analysis, you can see all the way through my recording (which is more than 20 minutes long) a peak around 16 kHz, with a symmetry there (meaning what is above and below 16 kHz looks exactly alike all the way).

And then on a sonagram, the symmetry is just even clearer and it happens precisely at 16 kHz, where there is a hole all the way: a perfect notch.

Can you reproduce this, and if so any idea about what this could come from? I mean, it could come from some of my equipment around the Aleph (mainly my OTO Biscuit, I’d say) but as I can’t try it now I thought I should check with you first. If it is not coming from Grains, then well I’ll apologize and remove the post!

Ha certainly haven’t been over the sound from my aleph with a fine-tooth comb. My unit is noticeably electrically noisy, especially with many lights on grid, noticeable both through cans and out the main outs. Kind of assumed that was a pcb layout issue not manufacturing defect in my particular device.

So ignoring that for a sec, there are some weird hacks used to squeeze the naiive processing for grains onto blackfin at single-sample latency - wouldn’t be at all surprised if my hack DSP introduces this kind of craziness -80dB down (0dB == full-scale i assume?). Did you check sonogram from any other sound generated by the aleph? Also quick enough for me to hook up aleph to jaaa audio analyser see if I also see that weird hollowed-out sideband artefact at 16k coming off my aleph…

Let’s see if you have anything as well. Then I’ll narrow it down by tomorrow, as I’ll be in my studio then. By the way I never noticed that with Waves before, for instance, and have widely ignored Lines because of some of its limitations, as I have an arsenal already with delay lines and such (mostly Kurzweil synths and effects). But yes, the Aleph is noisy as such and even with a 5V external supply it rings when the grid is widely lit… but this is something else.

ok, I tried with Lines and can confirm: it only happens in Grains, and it happens without any extra processing. For instance with a guitar plugged in input 4, I can simply use aux1_i3 and aux2_i3 with values of 0.0000 and record the result. All the rest is off, and I already have a very clear bump at 16 kHz, with a parallel rise both before and after 16 kHz, plus a perfect notch precisely at 16 kHz.

So it is not the Aleph, which is great: it means Grains can sound even better !

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ok I am checking a long Grains track I should have posted long ago. Should be ready by tomorrow, just wanted to say I would love to contribute to its development… Such a great module, it is hard to believe what one can do with it!

Are you still have problems with noise?

Oh how I would love to have enough time to dedicate to debugging grains! Noticed the CV on that module is also somewhat borked…

My priorities outside of full-time work for now:

  1. go hiking & canoeing (probably necessary atm for my sanity)
  2. build a working setup for making music (requires beaglebone/linux ‘serial-hub’ to glue together aleph, my looping sequencer & boomerang pedal - now underway once more)
  3. finish bees enhancements
  4. (ummm maybe get round to making music again in 3 years at this rate…)

Unfortunately enhancing grains just isn’t ever going to pop back to the top of my stack - already way too many possibilities with that module, waves & lines. I haven’t even scratched the surface of music-making possibilities due to the sheer unbridled horror of wasting all these precious alive moments holding down a pretty straight job.

Ah well think I narrowly missed some kind of nervous breakdown after all the late-night hackathons that gave birth to grains, picolisp on aleph & unfinished business with bees, partially hence the hiatus last few weeks spending all my spare time in nature, away from screens…


Ah well I can certainly understand that! @analogue01 the noise issue is still there, yes, but as you’ll hear once I post it it doesn’t matter that much in the end. Good luck with the canoeing, and let me know if I can help with the Bees enhancements!

the thing that would help with bees dev would be to get any bugs with arbitrary op deletion / insertion characterised, so I can pin down malfunctioning code in gdb/linux environment…

I suspect there are still some glitches with preset system under certain corner cases. If someone could come up with repeatable test case for any outstanding bugs on my branch on github (pretty sure that’s the right branch), might stand a fighting chance to get things all straightened out…

Btw other goodies in there, such as bfin module flash over serial, ping bees net from a computer over serial, repatch bees over serial, arbitrary op deletion/insertion, more flexible grid-oriented ops. Many potentially awesome things are cooking in there but I need to develop host software (aka beaglebone glue code) in tandem to realize the integration into a working setup…

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I’m intrigued… is this a way to connect a single grid to multiple devices or a multiple devices to an Aleph?

Well here it is, maybe I should post it somewhere else though?
The long-time promised track I made with Grains. Basically one guitar, one Aleph+grid, one distortion unit and one reverb/delay, all recorded live at my studio. This just to show how amazing this module is, and how much can be done with it, and to thank @rick_monster for his amazing contribution to the Aleph community!

Hope you like it.

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Ah well, the upload didn’t function so here it is, sorry!
Yann Coppier - Grain Rain


Amazing, I really enjoyed that.