Orca’s Heart

i used the user mode when i did game of life, will do the same for this, so you’ll be able to switch between normal operation and orca’s heart at any moment. not sure about splits! )

yeah i’ll add a switch for this.

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I often like to play improvised melodies over sequenced backing. Having the ability to quickly manipulate the sequenced parts mid-improv is super helpful, but the challenge if it’s all on the linnstrument and all using the same channels, is directing each part to different sets of voices. But a split isn’t necessarily the only solution. If there’s a way to constrain the channels in user mode, then I can do the same in default mode, and just switch between the two.

yeah i think i would just limit it to a selected MIDI channel or something like that.

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Will this find it’s way over to the VCV module at some point? A polyphonic ‘Scale Input’ jack could work nicely

putting CV control over scale buttons is one of the planned expanders. is there a way to map MIDI notes to switches? i know you could map CCs so you could in theory use a grid controller like launchpad for this, but not sure if the existing MIDI modules allow you to map notes this way.

edit: just tried it, and yeah looks like MIDI-MAP doesn’t allow you to map notes, just CCs. for notes you could use MIDI-GATE but that requires having CV control over the scale buttons. so, not possible at the moment (although there might be some other existing modules that will allow this!) but will be possible in the future. and since MIDI modules support QWERTY keyboard as well it could be possible to also control it this way (and then would make sense to add similar support to the multipass version).

edit2: it is indeed possible! use MIDI-GATE to map MIDI notes to gate outputs, and then use stoermelder CV-MAP to map them to the scale buttons:

edit3: you can also achieve this by using stoermelder’s MIDI CAT - this way you don’t need to use MIDI-MAP module at all.

I have one more spot left in my rack to add another monome module. I currently have a teletype, Ansible, txo, and Txi. Which one do you think would work best for the upcoming multipass version of orcas heart?

hard to answer this question at this point as things can still change, but my thinking at the moment for the multipass version is:

  • all parameters except speed will be controlled from grid. was thinking of using TXi but using grid will make smaller setups like ansible+just friends+txb possible. only speed will be controlled by the module knob, except ansible which doesn’t have knobs, instead you’ll control speed with the buttons. extra knobs available (like on earthsea) won’t be used.

  • there will be the ability to configure orca’s heart to control telexo/er-301/just friends directly over i2c, this way the physical outputs can be freed for other duties and you can get 6 or even 8 voices.

  • physical outputs will be switchable between Notes and Mods CV/gate groups (so you could configure it to control just friends over i2c, for instance, and then switch outputs to Mod CV/gates and use them to control JF parameters / filter cutoff etc etc). another option will be to switch gate outputs to output clock and reset.

  • if you don’t use i2c then you could just switch outputs to Notes CV/gates. in this case you will be limited by what actual physical outputs are available - you’ll get 2 CVs and 4 gates on white whale, 4 CVs and 1 gate on earthsea etc etc. teletype and ansible will be able to provide a full set of 4 CVs and 4 gates.

  • all modules will support a clock input except earthsea which doesn’t have one. teletype and ansible will additionally support a reset input.

for your specific case you could use either teletype or ansible. the difference will be minimal (knob vs buttons for speed, easier to see values on teletype but i will also add the ability to see them on grid). one thing to remember - if you’re planning to use i2c you can only have 1 leader on the i2c bus. so if you run orca’s heart on ansible, you will have to make sure you don’t use i2c on both ansible and teletype at the same time.


So, made a track using Orca’s Heart. Titiled it such. Hah. All melodic sounds are generated through Orca’s Heart. Only addition is rhytmic work done using Maschine through VCV Host. This sequencer is my JAM!

Wow! The bass comes through way too strong on this recording! I guess I’ll leave this up for now, but will most likely rework it some.


added a little section on tips & tricks: https://github.com/scanner-darkly/vcv-collection-one/wiki/Orca’s-Heart#tips--tricks

will continue expanding it with some patch examples as well.


one way to make longer sequences is by using another sequencer clocked at a lower rate (reset output is a good candidate for this) and then summing its output with orca’s heart’s outputs using something like Unity mixer:

you could also use transpose input on OH itself, but it’s not scaled 1V/Oct (it maps -2…+2 oct range to 0…10V), so it would be more difficult to dial in exact pitch.

still working on the multipass eurorack version, and while playing with transpose i realized it would be handy to have a simple built in sequencer for transpose so you could easily do the above without having to use extra modules:

here is an example of a longer recording created using the transpose sequencer. the only changes are from manually tweaking various parameters on just friends (the only sound source), roland filter and roland delay. no changes to the sequence itself other than turning mod matrixes on and off.


Again into the the heart of Orca. Nice and mellow afternoon vibe.


these tracks sound fantastic @scanner_darkly :star:


thank you! i should do a proper release thread for it.
hoping to post the multipass version of orca’s heart soon, and norns version hopefully soon after.

edit: created a dedicated thread for the release with some technical notes.


multipass version is now available for download: Orca's Heart Multipass


I just wanted to chime in and say that this is currently my favorite sequencer in VCV Rack, and I’m actually a bit embarrassed that hadn’t tried it sooner. Kudos for that.

I was curious though: There doesn’t seem to be a lot of sequencers in VCV Rack which can independently generate polyphonic output, and I was considering as to whether such a thing could be accomplished in Orca’s Heart. It seems like while polyphonic input might be difficult, or at least non-transparent without significant changes in UI, something like a polyphonic spread might be accomplished using a third algorithm parameter (a Z, imagining this could have some feasible mathematical basis), along with some way to fine-tune distribution of voices or something along those lines.

Anyway, this was something that occurred to me while playing around with muxing the four outputs into polyphony.

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it should already do what you describe to a certain extent - all of the notes are generated by the same algorithm but different voices have different rules applied, and algo y parameter controls how it’s done.

there definitely could be more ways to spread voices though, whether timing wise or in volume or timbre - the latter two can be handled outside of OH, but i think i’ll add the ability to spread voices in time - experimenting with this in the multipass version showed really promising results!


I’m not at home right now, but maybe I missed it: OH already allows me to select polyphonic output, which will produce up to 16 voices per output? If you are referring to the inherent four voice output (I accidentally said input in the previous post), that’s how I’ve been using it to construct polyphonic sequencing, but I’m referring particularly to Rack’s polyphony feature.

i see what you mean - yeah, polyphonic output is in the plans!



Doing a bit more poly-muxing with Orca’s Heart and company, this time using a bunch of Geodesics modules (particularly their Energy ringmod oscillator as my voice), apart from a number of the usual culprits. I started out with this little sketch, here:

and developed it into the following track by adding in a drum voice and patching in some MIDI control for improvisation: