Highly midi-controllable hardware

Hello. I’ve recently borrowed an Eventide H3000s from a friend and I spent half a day trying to figure how to send it midi cc messages from Supercollider. Turns out it uses NRPNs, so after some manual reading and rewriting a found piece of code, it works, and it is a pure blast to make it go nuts with overloading it with midi messages. In some patches (maybe most?) all parameters are midi-controllable, which is quite fantastic. Though it’s impossible to change anything on the hardware interface itself while it is receiving data, as it shows what parameter is being changed, which can get quite overwhelming to look at. Anyways, I’m just scratching the surface on what is possible in terms of midi controlling this thing, but some patches will just glitch out very quickly, which is basically what I’m interested in. Sure, the flangers, verbs and choruses are nice, but I don’t really care much about the prestine effects. Overloading it with midi will sometimes make it hang and I have to reboot it.

This is some Supercollider sampling going through one of the harmonizer patches that glitched out. And then run through another verb patch that also glitched out.

Tthis makes me wonder. What other hardware gear is highly midi controllable like this? I’ve wondered if cheaper sampler/effects units will allow this. Some Akai SXXX(X) samplers perhaps? I’ve had tons of fun with the H3000 sampling and then glitching it out via midi, and I won’t be able to get my hands on any Eventide hardware like the H3000 after I bring it back to my friend, so would like to see what else is out there. Is it only Eventide-level hardware that will allow this level of control?

All the best.

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Although not at the cheaper end of the scale Gotharman devices, being richly featured, can assign incoming MIDI CCs to almost every modulatable parameter (and there are many). In turn they can themselves output stepped or smooth sequences as CCs! The cheapest of these is the Tiny LD, which is the larger LD3 squeezed into a smaller box with fewer direct controls.

Edit: clip sounds great btw!

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fun!

i’ve many times got stuck in midi feedback loops using a midi patchbay (i use akai me30p, creating all sorts of weird and unpredictable behaviour with the emu proteus 2000 rompler. it has a built in sort of modular arpeggiator, preview phrases, a lot of deep parameters that are all cc controllable, and sending them back into itself on perhaps a different midi channel and so on… sometimes it feels like there’s a ghost in the machine playing : )

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The Kurzweil K2xxx series also has acces to very many parameters as midi CC. It takes a bit to set up, but you can modulate very many parameters at the same time, and scale and apply functions to the midi when they go in. I haven’t tried overloading my K2600’s with midi, but the effects are very good at going crazy in runaway feedback and infinite reverb tails

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I think I’ve seen Bjørn Svin use a rack version of some Kurzweil K-model, and it sounded pretty wild.

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Yes Bjørn uses a k2600rs and sometimes also a ksp-8.
Both are from kurzweil golden age they are pretty wild machines.
The synth engine is really cool, but for me the real power is in the sampling/live processing. They can be hard to come by these days with the sampling option, especially in rack format.

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Cheers.

Any clue if the Ensoniq ASR-X offers anything close to the control of the 10? As far as I can gather, it’s quite stripped down.

Edit: had a somewhat quick glance at the manual. Seems like a lot is controllable via nrpns

The https://moderndevice.com/product/fluxamasynth-32/ might be worth looking into. It uses the SAM2695 chip which is also used in the Expert Sleepers General CV It can do 16 channels of general MIDI sound along with a bunch of effects and the NRPN commands are fully documented in the data sheet. I have the Expert Sleepers General CV and it’s a lot of fun to mess around with the midi while the module is modifying multiple channels of midi itself.

Less powerful than the H3000 but the H9 is very MIDI controllable.

I just learned I can use the Synthstrom Deluge’s midi output to midi control itself by sending it its own midi messages. I can then make any number of synth instances and control them using the same midi sequence. I can also map a midi cc message to any number of sound engine parameters on any of the synth instances to create macro knobs. It can record automation of midi cc values as well. Deluge can’t send something like an LFO via midi, but can do per step automation.

Electra One might be relevant here as well, highly programmable midi controller.

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I send midi sequences from a Faderfox SC4 into my H9s and have a 16n connected to one and a Timefactor with borked sample memory on the other. Enjoy thinking about them as instruments rather than just effects

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I absolutely love this question! So much can be done with this approach.

I highly recommend the Shruthi-1. A monosynth designed by Mutable as a kit before they went modular, all parameters are CC accessible. The architecture pairs digital sound generators with an analog filter board (also CC controllable with an external audio input). And the internal voices can be silenced so it acts as a dedicated outboard filter.

There are several alternative filter boards (resonant lpf that can self oscillate, dual filter, filter + lofi delay, dsp, polivoks, multi-mode), so a lot of fun can be had. And it’s entirely open source, so community firmware is available to explore, too (YAM is a good one). Fun MIDI sequencer built in, too.

New units are still built and sold by folks on Reverb, etc, and IMO it is beyond affordable for what it offers.

Manual: Mutable Instruments | Shruthi - User Manual
Sound on Sound review: Mutable Instruments Shruthi 1

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I’ve always been impressed with Elektron gear in this regard. They come with amazing sequencers but almost all parameters are CC controllable as well.

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This is just to say, while the main question is a great topic…
…this 2 minute sample just left me pleading for more! Wow! I just loved it and hope to hear much more from you.

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@juhbuba - That does sound interesting. Just spent some time browsing youtube videos, and as with 90% of all gear demos on there, it’s not what I would use it for. It sure sounds like a blast for sharp electro stuff, which I love, but never really make. It does make me wonder how it would sound when you spit some violent algo midi patterns into. I need to listen and read some more about it, I’ve found some fairly well-priced ones on Reverb. Do you own a Shruthi-1 at the moment? Have you tried really pushing it?

@mzero - cheers. When time will allow it, I’ll go nuts with recording with the h3000. So there will most likely be more than enough of that stuff. EDIT: I would say “hey, my next album has got loads of similar sounding stuff on it”, but while it’s done, it probably won’t be about before… sometime in the middle of next year. Unfortunately.

@ansgaria: Yes, I have a Shruthi-1 with the default SMR4 Mk2 board (24db resonant lpf w self oscillation possibilities, described as “Rolandish”).

I can say with full confidence that those demos don’t do the unit justice, especially for the more experimental techniques you are interested in using.

The synth is like a spiritual heir to the old Ensoniq SQ80 digital/analog hybrid. Tons of sound design possibilities when you get under the hood and start thinking beyond the wavetable rompler front end (I am still finding new sound design possibilities in the SQ80 and have had it over a decade).

When you open the Shruthi’s VCA up to drone, you can get all sorts of quasi granular effects, and bitwise weirdness by transposing the wavetables well outside their intended ranges and using the mix operators. I haven’t seen another synth that has anything like the operators, which will do things like XOR, bitcrush, distort, etc, the oscillators as an alternative to straight mixing. This becomes very powerful when aiming purely for texture, then sculpting the whole shebang with an external VCA.

Add to this the morphing parameters available to each oscillator voice (this gets into phase distortion, and faux polyphony tweaks), combined with a great mod matrix–try phasing w LFO’s–and there’s enough depth to keep someone busy for years.

Not to mention the operator modulators which can modify mod matrix sources themselves with a variety of weird transformations, and the built in sequencer’s use as both source in the mod matrix and internal/external MIDI note sequencer with velocity. And I forgot to mention the arpeggiator. And all this is entirely CC controllable. And can be run off an external battery.

Really, there’s a ton of bang for the buck here. It has a couple hundred presets built in and most of the demo’s I see are either using those or slight variations, or doing filter board comparisons. I bought it based on the feature set and personally feel like the only limits here are my imagination.

And, they hold their value fairly well, so it’s always possible to toss it back in the pond without much of a financial hit.

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Okay, I’m very interested now. Especially at that price. It’s the weird, artifact-heavy unpredictability I like in these things generally, so this sounds right up my alley. I’m basically sold.

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@ansgaria, here’s a list of CC addressable parameters in the Shruthi: Mutable Instruments Shruthi MIDI CCs and NRPNs

Fun starting points might be fast realtime modulation of oscillator mix mode, sub oscillator transient click shape, LFO waveforms, sequencer mode (arp vs note seq), sequencer clock division, groove templates/amounts, and arpeggiator modes.

(Oh, and you can also chain multiple units for polyphony, if you’re into that, regardless of which filter board each has. Contrasting filters on alternating notes of an overlapping polyphonic sequence could get you some pretty weird places…)

@juhbuba Already messaged a seller on Reverb about one. The ad doesn’t say if/which filter board it has. But god damn, this sounds exciting. Thanks for the tip.

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My pleasure!

Unless explicitly advertised an an unfinished build, the unit should have a filter board included (usually the SMR4-Mk2). Swapping boards later is straightforward, but the less common ones are harder to find these days. Of course if you’re into building, the plans are all open source…

I do, however, see ones with the Polivoks filter come up fairly regularly, and the unruly/distorted quality of that board may be worth holding out for. The boards that include lofi DSP effects are probably also up your alley, but those seem to be few and far between.

Anyway, good luck on the hunt and please keep me posted on how it goes! Always up for talking about patch and technique ideas, so feel free to stay in touch about ideas for getting the most out of it.

Polivoks filter board: Mutable Instruments | Shruthi - Polivoks filter board
Digital DSP FX filter board: Mutable Instruments | Shruthi - Digital/FX filter board
MS-20 lpf w lofi delay filter board: Mutable Instruments | Shruthi - LP2+delay board

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