Ansible Earthsea


Hmmm. That definitely helps, but reduces expression… :thinking: It does seem like a workable compromise unless a better solution presents itself though! Thanks for considering this!


but then the question becomes - if we go for expression, then how would it know when you overlap notes intentionally vs accidentally? if we go for expression then it has to generate notes and gates exactly as played… which is why switching between triggers and gates has to be an explicit decision made by the user.

there is a request to make the playback progress bar dimmer, which would make it invisible on non varibright grids. before i consider the change i’d like to get feedback from non vb users - how critical is the progress bar for you?


my 2 cents: even if i also have this problem i’d leave the poly earthsea as is, because for a lot of situations it is very very good as is.
i’d add the 4xmono version, on a mono version you wont have this issue, as new notes will always retrigger (or am i missing something?)
i think the 4x mono will be a veeery very useful tool, both for melodies and rhythmic\percussive parts!!! hope it will see the light sooner or later!!


can you explain a bit more how a 4x mono mode would be different from the poly mode?


i mean the idea that already popped up in this thread:
4 different,independent, monopohonic earthseas,each one has its own gate\cv out couple.
you just switch pages (using a button in the first column to access a pages menu) and record gestures for 4 channels, independently.
think like 4 asynchronous loopers,only they aren’t loopers, they are earthseas :slight_smile:
i see myself using page 1 for kicks, page 2 for claps, page 3 for hihats, page 4 for bassline :wink:


ah right, i remember now. it wouldn’t solve the issue with overlapped notes though, as you’d have to switch pages for different voices (unless it provides a way to split the keyboard between voices).


yes, it doesn’t solve it for poly use. but sometimes i have this issue exactly when i want to use earthsea monophonically.
if instead we had a mono version the issue would not be there for mono use. you’d end up choosing the normal,poly earthsea when you need polyphony or the mono version when you want 1,2,3 or 4 mono lines.

imagine how great it might be to have 4 unrelated (when not clocked) or related but polyrhythmic (when clocked) gesture recorders\loopers!!! instinctive sequencing heaven!!!


Want a retrigger on note change? Just patch your pitch cv into a quantizer with trigger output on note change and subtract that trigger output from your gate signal.


sorry, still not following… are we still talking about resolving the issue of unintentionally overlapping notes when using 1 voice only? even if there was mono mode how would it solve it? so you have 4 separate pages, each corresponds to a cv/gate output pair. you can switch between the pages. so you’re on page 1, playing a mono line which goes to voice 1. you overlap notes, same issue here, no?


With regards to legato/note overlap, I too run into this, but personally I see this more a problem with my playing rather than with AEarthsea. It operates just as a monophonic keyboard would work. I wouldn’t suggest changing it. However, the option to have triggers instead of gates is a good compromise. I’m just forcing myself to practice (keeping my time consistent when recording phrases needs work too).

I too really like the idea of 4 separate mono sequences, that would fit a lot with how I like to work, but I realize it’s a lot of work to implement. Right now I’m forcing myself to just get better at poly mode and work with that as best I can.


I’m into adding a choice between gates and triggers


Would be nice addition:)


i thought with a mono version you’d always retrigger when a button is pressed and that this is not the case with the poly version because this “always retrig” behaviour is useless and creates problems on a poly (the software never knows if that note is intended as retrigger of the same voice or as a new voice)


Sorry. I was being a little loosey goosey with my verbiage there. By expression, I meant a trigger doesn’t allow for held notes which strips variable “time” from performance with the grid. Unless I’m not answering your question? In which case, my apology!

As far as discerning the difference in intention, my orginal thought was for a setting toggle that enabled such “monophonic” performance. If you decide to implement multiple sequencers, it could be a per output “solo” on the Voice Alocation page that restricts the channel to it’s one CV/TR output. This could tie into the multiple sequencer ideas noted above.

A midterm step in this direction might be having a single “solo” channel that allows a 3 note sequence to run using the other voices while allowing for the monophonic performance behavior on top of the existing sequencer. (So enabling on a voice would disable other voices from “solo”, and could be toggled off by pressening the enabled channel button.)

A simpler solution still might be: the toggle could be exclusive to voice 1 or 4 so you don’t have to manage which voice is the solo voice. Then it’s just an on/off dim button next to the existing voice channel buttons for the chosen channel. :thinking:

Food for thought! :blush:


Wwwwwow and many likes everywhere for this.

A quick few questions as I’m new to earthsea!

  • How does overdub work - and do you copy an empty pattern over the one you just did if you fumbled on a recording?
  • The top progress bar - how do I best understand it? I quickly added a reset to the input, but looking at this that doesn’t seem necessary for my basic learning earthsea needs?
  • It seems easier to record with no clock in, tempo is elastic to the clock?
  • Is there any quantization going on, to tempo or scale?
  • When using more sound sources, is it best to just let the bass note be the last one in the chord, provided the sound intended for bass is patched to one of the bottom outputs?
  • Do you have a patreon? How do we contribute to your efforts?

Thank you! Really happy for this.


When you record on a pattern, it is cleared. There’s no overdub that I am aware of, but you can play on top of it and between notes if a voice is free.

I’m not sure what you mean, but it’s just a progress bar. It shows how far along through the sequence - duration when unclocked, step when clocked. If you enable looping, it will loop. A manual restart is optional. Earthsea can be a looper, an appagiator, or both.

Both have their quirks. Earthsea doesn’t keep a clock. On a clock pulse it just plays back the notes in order on each pulse. Without a clock, the timing of the sequence is only as accurate as you are. The sequence ends when you end record or hit play, so that has to be part of your performance timing. This can be tricky when performing with looping against other things that are clocked. It depends on what you’re doing. The clock doesn’t have to be regular, again there is no internal clock, so there’s no lag for tempo sensing. It just spits out notes on triggers.

Earthsea is mapped to fourths and semitones. Read the manual for the original Earthsea. There’s an Ansible Earthsea manual image further up in this post. Keep in mind there are no shape runes, and there are no plans for adding shape runes, so you can ignore those parts of the original manual.

Someone else can answer here, I’m away from my modular at the moment. I’m not sure how notes are prioritzed per voice when multiple are played.

He should! :blush:


I’m trying to figure out why the progress often moves at a pace greater than one led per step

Apologies for everything evident from elsewhere! Being able to post about it is a great addition to the manual and cheat sheet. Thanks for all your answers.


The progress is the total time if your recorded phrase. So if you recorded a phrase that took one minute, it will take one minute for the progress bar to fill up. It’s really there to let you know roughly where you are in the phrase that was played back. Since there’s no time limit to the recording (just a maximum of 64 notes), sometimes the phrases are long and it helps to know if the phrase is halfway done, or almost about to loop, etc.

The above is super helpful if you’ve recorded a phrase on one voice, and are live playing along with it on the other voices.


The one cool thing with switching to triggers though is now you can instead modulate the envelope’s decay time and thus modulate the “hold time” that would have otherwise been statically recorded. Even though @scanner_darkly 's original purpose for this idea was to address the ‘overlap’ legato, I kinda like this idea in general. … @scanner_darkly - I haven’t played with “Fixed” mode enough yet, but would setting the gate time really short in Fixed mode essentially be the same thing?

@grey - I like where you’re going with those other ideas, because I think deep down I too would really like 4 separate mono channels each capable of recording a separate phrase. But it’s both a significant departure from the original Earthsea and probably a pretty significant implementation change to the code. But at the same time those ideas seem like compromises of what you ultimately really want.

FWIW, I’ve been getting pretty good at hoping back and forth from the voice allocation page and selecting one voice at a time. I still need more practice, but it’s getting better. Start with one voice, record a phrase, switch voice allocation, play the other voices… rinse, repeat. One thing I haven’t quite figured out is getting all the notes together (in unison) quickly.


@grey and @jamescigler answered already (thank you!), i’ll just add a couple of notes…

no overdub right now but i’ll consider adding it in the future (together with the ability to copy patterns and/or the ability to commit/cancel an edit)

the clock is not used while recording, only for playback. right now there is only very crude quantization where it basically ignores your timing completely and just steps through the notes you entered. i might add something more flexible in the future, but i see free timing as one of the strengths of earthsea as it frees you from the typical grid.

i’ve been considering it but haven’t made my mind yet…

re: mono/poly/voice allocation - will gather my thoughts and post in a bit!