Ornament & crime - fave mode?


I started selling my O&C because i found it somewhat impenetrable and without good documentation/tutorials, but realized it might be completely awesome if I could crack it. So, do you have this module? What’s your favorite mode on the firmware? Best use case you’ve found for it in your system? Any good resources for coming to grips with it? Cheers.


Did u already check http://ornament-and-cri.me/user-manual-v1_3/#overview ?

Mostly use the quad lfo mode or the quantiser.


I did take a look at the user manual. It looks like it may have been updated recently with better info, though, interesting.

The quad LFO was the only one I really ‘got’ and did useful stuff with in my time with the module. Part of the problem is it feels like I need to sit with a printout of the manual looking at the visual layout explanation of each of the modes to actually do anything. It’s certainly not skeumorphic or labeled at all (by design).


yeah it definitely takes some time to get into it. but for me it was worth it.
I think if one or two modes are fitting to the racks “needs” it´s totally fine.

I forgot about the other modes for a while and just spent some time with one mode


I’ve been using either Quantermain or Sequins pretty much exclusively ever since getting this module. For me, either of these are worth the price of admission alone. I can’t wait to spend some more time on some of the other modes. Ornament & Crime is ace…very much the gift that keeps on giving.

*edit to add that the Voltage Control Lab series of videos on this module are a fantastic resource to get more insight on the various capabilities that it has.


There are short video tutorials of every mode, and the pdf documentation looks pretty robust if a little cryptic. I’m a new owner but haven’t had a chance to play with it yet because my case is being reworked. My approach will be to study the manual enough to have a very general idea of what each mode does. That way, I won’t need to spend time learning the ins and outs until I’ve decided to use one of its modes in a patch. Then spend 5-10min with the manual open and explore. Or, decide to build a patch around a specific mode in order to learn it.


If there isn’t already a thread, we could start a studies thread for o_C …


That would be very nice!
Maybe this thread can serve that purpose?

This was the voltage control lab playlist that was mentioned before btw

One small thing that might help making Ornament & Crime a bit more accessible might be to use the so called “boring app names”, they are a lot easier to understand than the self described "incredibly witty, punning app names ". You would need to build the firmware yourself though to enable this:

CopierMaschine becomes ASR
Harrington 1200 becomes Triads
Automatonnetz becomes Vectors
Quantermain becomes 4x Quantizer
Meta-Q becomes 2x Quantizer
Quadraturia becomes Quadrature LFO
Low-rents becomes Lorenz
Piqued becomes 4x EG
Sequins becomes 2x Sequencer
Dialectic Ping-Pong becomes Balls
Viznutcracker, sweet! becomes Bytebeats
Acid Curds becomes Chords
References becomes Voltages


if I’m being honest, even just that list cleared up and simplified a few things in my head! if I end up working through the module on my own, I’ll have to think about making a “O&C Demystified” PDF or similar to share around.


(If there’s one thing modular synth people love to do, it’s complicate and obfuscate things that are actually incredibly simple. Why say “chord maker” when you can say “neo-Riemannian transformation algorithms” instead?)


well, because there are lots of ways to generate chordal sequences, and the two chordal applications in O_C are doing specific things, and somebody wanted to specify the aspect of music theory the application explores. what’s wrong with being specific?


was more my attempt at being funny but i think it sounded sour instead, forgive :slight_smile:


Does a more experienced user know if there’s a way to pass CV out for the reference tuning coming in to TR4? So, in References, if I patch a vco to TR4, can it pass its tuning out through one of the outputs to another vco, that way the second vco would track changes in the input’s vco?


Because unless you also say the normative name it confuses and puts off those who love music but don’t have a degree in theory. Being specific is important. Being accessible is too.


Because unless you also say the normative name it confuses and puts off those who love music but don’t have a degree in theory.

Wait, who has a degree in theory? Not me.

I disagree, but we’re probably never going to agree: for me, I’m fine with a degree of poetry in an instrument. The titles of modes are labels, not explicators, in the original O_C design; and that’s partly the intent of the creator. Instrument design isn’t objective - or at least, I increasingly don’t think it should be. It’s OK (and inevitable) to leave traces of yourself in the things you make). And - I like to be left to discover my own understanding of a control or output once I’ve got a a rough idea of what’s going on.

I also understand why some people dislike this or what it sets them on edge. I’m just pushing back a little, and I know that when I wrote this I was also pushing back at things that @naxuu absolutely wasn’t getting at but that rile me within parts of the wider synth community. So you know, lesson to be learned about responding grumpy.

I increasingly cleave away from the just tell me what it does school of panel labelling and description because they act as much as limiters as they do enablers. “Chord”, for instance, is a hugely loaded term - it implies simultaneous notes, it implies a kind of harmony, and yet you can use three linked outputs that move in a sequence in other ways, and if I don’t use the c-word to describe it you might explore ideas beyond chords faster. (I don’t think being totally obtuse is good either, but there are reasons to be vaguer rather than cryptic, I guess.).

“Accessibility” isn’t objective either - “neo-Riemannian transformation algorithms” may feel offputting, but for some musicians, so’s me saying ‘cycle of fifths’ or ‘minor 7th’, terms I feel are pretty well understood at even an intuitive level by many. As I get older I’m trying - and it’s hard - to encompass and empathise with approaches to music that aren’t my own, which are wider and more diverse than I could imagine. It’s definitely a terrain where one person’s “simple” is not the same as another’s; I’m always surprised to discover what people encompass easily and what they bounce off.

But like I said, I don’t think we’ll agree on this point. I just sometimes like asking “have you considered why a human who designed a thing might have chosen that?” when someone reacts strongly to a thing.

As it stands: I like the decision they made - don’t rename the modes by default (because that’s the creators’ intent), offer a user a config option to change it (because it’s a request that doesn’t exactly harm anybody), everybody’s happy-ish.


It can be really hard to strike a balance between a marketing and a functional description for a module like o_C that has many different programs. There are several ‘quanitzer’ programs, but calling them all by that name is not only misleading, but can also cause someone to wonder why they would need or want three different quantizers. Language is always going to be limiting; no matter what a manufacturer decides to call/label a module’s function, the best way to understand what something does is to muck around with it yourself. In my opinion, a nudge in the direction towards creativity with a passing hint of what the thing does is enough to inspire me to explore on my own.



For me, clear labelling and documentation is a time saver. It gets me past the WTF is this phase faster, so I can start actually exploring and using the thing. Fanciful and obscure labelling just slows down that process.

Of course, clear labelling means using words that have accepted meanings (and baggage), and will reveal something of what the maker intended. Which as you pointed out is OK and inevitable. It’s also OK (and exciting) to deliberately use something for what it wasn’t intended for. I don’t need the maker to give me permission to do that by naming it vaguely or describing it fancifully, nor do I find the existing labels get in the way of this. They served their purpose, and now I can ignore them. YMMV of course.

Not letting labels limit you is a general exercise in living, not an interface problem per se.