Orca - alternative firmware for white whale

yep, you’re right, should be enough with 1.5A on +5V, i don’t have much else consuming +5V there, just tend to play on the safe side when it comes to power.

seems to work on my 1st gen arc
thanks scanner!!

edit; let’s try to understand what’s happening now…


thanks for posting, really excited to see it in the wild, looking forward to hearing what you do with it!

i’m traveling this weekend but will do proper tutorial video / doc next week, and happy to answer any questions.

What are the scales?
And how many are there?

good question - the scales are shared with white whale, so same scales in the same order, but it skips the first one (which is ZERO) and only includes 16 following scales, so log-ish / exp-ish and all equal scales except for 10V are excluded.

so basically this:

ionian [2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1]
dorian [2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2]
phrygian [1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2]
lydian [2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1]
mixolydian [2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2]
aeolian [2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2]
locrian [1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2]
equal 10v

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So far I had only seen James Holden using an arc and a modular, most likely via a Max/M4L patch, I suppose.
However, having the arc talking directly to white whale may be a good incentive to get it back into manufacturing :kissing_smiling_eyes:

added a proper manual (will do a tutorial video later this week): https://github.com/scanner-darkly/monome-mods/wiki/Orca

also a new version is ready which now supports arc2 - it’s fully functional, but with a few differences, details are in the manual, but i’ll mention it uses slightly unorthodox way of controlling parameters - it controls one parameter if you turn it CW and another if you turn it CCW. not sure if i entirely like it and will be curious to hear what people think of it. also if somebody can try it with arc2 and let me know how it works overall that’d be great - i only have arc4 so can’t test it properly (i did test it by “emulating” arc2 so hopefully should work!).

here is the link to the latest firmware (also updated in the first post): https://github.com/scanner-darkly/monome-mods/releases/tag/v1.01-alpha

edit: updated links now that a separate repo is set up


oh wow… you’re awesome. thanks!

will report… but not before end of week sadly.

updated video in the OP, hopefully it shows a bit better what is going on. sorry about the somewhat crappy quality - having lots of issues with making videos lately, need to figure out a better set up for it…

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WOW! That sounds really beautiful. It’s the type of thing I’d gladly leave playing all day at work (I work at a health food store)
So glad I came across this.

I had a quick play yesterday with orca and my arc 2… everything seemed to have worked as described. Got some very cool results. (ugh, how come I missed the scale part with the param knob :scream:)

Thank you so much for doing and sharing this. And the arc 2 adaption! Very inspiring stuff!!

Indeed makes me think about buying a second ww…

good to hear it works as expected on arc2! i’ll pick one up at some point but this confirms i can develop for one without having one.

how did you find working with the encoders controlling one parameter when turned clockwise and another when turned CCW?

well I can’t say I love it, but I think it’s elegant. don’t have much options. a selector encoder would be another one. but I think you did a great job incorporating all of the parameters of your original program.

thanks for feedback! yeah, still not sure if it would become more intuitive in the long run. i don’t like that it breaks the convention of “CW is increasing the value, CCW is decreasing”.

selector encoder is an interesting idea, thanks! something to consider. another option wold be to use the front panel button to also switch between the parameters controlled, but it seems it would be even more confusing, especially for something like Orca where you probably don’t care about the actual values as much, it’s more about tweaking until you find something interesting, so anything that would get in the way of that wouldn’t work as well.

new version. what’s changed:

– any parameter changes other than scale will take effect on the next clock to make for smoother transitions
– scales changed (see wiki for details) - basically removed chromatic and such as they are probably not as interesting in an automatic generator, and added a bunch of other scales
– mixing options changed to make for more interesting CV A and B combinations
– chance now affects both CVs (was only CV A before)
– eye candy when displaying parameter values
– minor bug fixed for arc2

also a couple of videos, a proper tutorial video:

and a demo syncing Orca to volca beats:


Really outstanding work!


Is there a mechanical difference between the trigger and CV outputs on the WW module?

In other words: can the 4 trigger outputs be designed to send continous CV rather than triggers or gates?

i doubt it’s possible. the CV outputs are DAC outputs so can provide continuous CV, the trigger outs are just on/off. but maybe using PWM it could still be done?

coincidentally, i was just wondering recently if whitewhale could be pushed into producing audio…

there’s actually an audio DAC on the avr32 chip-- it’s not broken out however.

“audio” of course depends on what sample rate you’re aiming for. the trigger outs can definitely flip at audio rate. updating the CV at super-speed rates would start to bottleneck the system.

the architecture of the aleph is very conscious of these technical issues.

thanks @tehn!

i was thinking something pretty lo-fi, specifically bytebeat.
would it still tax the system too much? this is the area where my knowledge is pretty much zero, so i might be talking nonsense, is it the SPI that would be the bottleneck? which I understand is also used to read the inputs, would that interfere in any way?

or maybe trigger outs with PWM is the way to go…