Orca - alternative firmware for white whale


i’ve made a small change to Orca teletype integration - all index based commands are now 1 based, not 0, to follow the teletype’s own pattern (it was driving me a bit mad, not the teletype pattern but the inconsistency). also a couple of small bugfixes | improvements. the new release is here: https://github.com/scanner-darkly/monome-mods/releases/tag/v2.3 warning - it will unfortunately wipe out your current Orca presets.

this was a good excuse to finally do a video for the presets / randomize features, as well as a demo for the teletype integration and syncing Orca to external clock (you can really do some awesome things when you combine the two). as a sidenote, MachineDrum proved to be a great teletype companion! check out the doc for the full list of all the things you can do when using Orca with Teletype: https://github.com/scanner-darkly/monome-mods/wiki/Orca#teletype-integration


Late to the party on this, but finally got around to switching to the Orca firmware today. This is wonderful. Many thanks! (And thanks to Monome for the fact that this is possible).


I’m trying to like this again.

For the second video - everything up to the 2 minute mark is just WW running Orca?


yep, other than the drum track the first 2 minutes it’s all WW running Orca without the TT involved, synced to an external clock (MachineDrum).


I am enjoying jamming with Orca so much I went and grabbed another White Whale from Analogue Haven and made space for it in the “row of monome” in my system.

The question I have is about the Teletype integration; is it possible for Orca to coexist with WW on the same II bus? I haven’t looked at the source, but I’m assuming that since it is addressed differently in the above examples that it should work. If so, I think I need to hook it all up together on that cable and solder some headers onto my Orca module. :smile:

Thanks so much for all the hard work that was put into this. Fun!!!



thank you!

and yeah, the Teletype integration was done with this in mind, you should be able to run both Orca and White Whale from the same Teletype at the same time (they do use different ranges for their remote commands). i haven’t tried that yet but it should work.

you’ll need to update your TT firmware in order to get the Orca commands, you can either build from the latest official TT firmware or grab a prebuilt firmware file here: https://github.com/scanner-darkly/monome-mods/releases/tag/v2.2 - please be warned updating the TT firmware will unfortunately remove any scenes you had stored, including the official ones!


Thanks; I’ll update you on my progress once I’ve tried it (I need to get a cable with more connectors). Also - I finally got to the point in the manual that explained my question. (blush) Sorry!



i’ll pull the orca changes into the main branch for the v2 update, which will include scene import/export via usb flash drive (i really hope this part doesn’t hold up the release forever). so scenes can be preserved in the future.


great, thanks @tehn!

good to hear about the upcoming usb import/export, curious as to what the format will be - text or binary?


very exciting to hear about saving scenes via USB drive!


it’ll be text, so you can post on the forum!

the import function will go through a syntax validation.


ah, great, this will help so much! and would be very easy to set up an online editor (with shareable library?)


so cool!


Just flashed WW with Orca and had a play with the DPO.

Literally from the first few notes after reboot I was thrown back entirely by how amazing this thing is.

Think I can convince myself to cross sequencers off my list of stuff to get, not sure. No demos I’ve heard or seen of Metropolis, René or the Verbos Voltage Multistage quite compare to the experience here. I know that sounds radical, I’ve only watched a million videos of those and may up end up getting one down the line but damn, this is a five star effort.

I specifically found how it lends itself to hybrid playing/sequence programming whereas with White Whale I found myself dealing with individual hits and mutes in xox-programming which of course makes sense for what it does but doesn’t compare to running, like, a René on steroids. I should say i kind of left WW prematurely around looking into the scales portion of the module. I didn’t really gel with the basic CV step programming. Orca opens the grid up for what I feel is some great potential with a euro counterpart, starting in its first view. If it weren’t for having just gotten MI Grids I might have also still felt the need for running WW and Orca both.

Will spend more time on manual now but have a question –

The CV A and B leds weren’t emitting any light for the 30 minutes I spent with Orca. CV A out did what it should pitch-wise with the DPO though, didn’t have a lot of time. The four gate lights were flashing plenty.

Thank you!


thank you, glad you’re enjoying it! oh yeah, DPO should make for a great companion, since you can sequence both oscillators, and use 2 gates out for VCAs and another gate for the strike input. should be interesting, especially with added cross modulations…

re: CV A and B LEDs - i’m as puzzled by their behavior as you are tbh. i’ve noticed it too, sometimes they are brighter, sometimes not, doesn’t seem to affect the actual voltage at the output, just the LED brightness. noticed it on TT CV outputs as well, and from what i’ve seen it seems it depends on where you plug the outputs into. but yeah, doesn’t seem like a major concern since it doesn’t mess with the voltage.


i have definitely run into the brightness variance. very odd, only aesthetic but does kinda render them useless. i don’t remember that happening on ww firmware but i wasn’t paying much attention methinks. anyone?


does anyone use orca with older monomes without variable brightness? does it make much difference in use?


haven’t tried it with a non VB grid/arc myself but i know @michael_matos did, perhaps he could comment on how usable it is?

i assume they just display any non zero level as full on, which might make some pages more difficult to use, but most of the stuff should be okay [i think].


Yes. It’s quite usable. I believe after a certain level the lights are off so you lose some visual feedback. But in a way it makes it easier to use because you’re only presented with the most crucial info.


it would be fairly easy to tweak it to make it work better with non VB monomes. pretty sure it can autodetect too. the only problem - i won’t be able to test it myself but if somebody can help me with the testing and providing feedback it should be doable!