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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Nord Lead and Nord Wave synths
Are we in need of a NordLead Editor/Librarian/Manager?
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:07 pm    Post subject:  Are we in need of a NordLead Editor/Librarian/Manager?
Subject description: To start a discussion
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Are we in need of a Editor/Librarian/Manager to the NordLead?

Although in concept a classic, more then 15 years on the market, the NordLeads are still in production. Believe it or not: newly build Leads still arrive at the distributors. There aren’t many synths which can be labeled this way…
But still it’s an old concept! There are some drawbacks in the design.

The first one, to the NordLead and NordLead2 that is, concerns the memory locations. The NordLead2X solved the PCMCIA cards troubles, or did it? Surely in normal use 396 user Programs and 100 user Performances is much more the NordLead2 has to offer, but the PCMCIA cards, when used two of them, offers 594+40 user define able memory locations. When doing gigs with more then one band I prefer using single cards rather then searching the internal memory. There is a work around, for sure, which will be discussed later.
Anyway, the indication of the memory locations by the small LCD screen only gives where you are in the memory. The screen doesn’t show the name of that file, which mostly refers to its musical use…

Second, during sound designing, one of the most important things using the NordLead, the values of the parameters aren’t visual by the knobs. The only way finding out such a value is to change it, which has an immediate response towards the actual position of the knob. Only by listening - although not a bad habit when sound designing - it has to be set back when changed by accident. I use the Save button a lot to correct this situation.

A computer based Editor is the interface between the synthesizer and the computer hard disk, the archive. An Editor is capable to make changes in the values of the parameters in a non destructive way. After saving in the synth or on the computer hard disk the changes would be permanent.

The movement of the knobs should be in real time on the screen, which could be realised by Midi, which connection is important using the editor anyway.

About the functionalities of the Editor.
When a file is drag & dropped from a folder into the Editor, a Program will open in a graphical representation of the Panel, showing the knobs and buttons in its correct position and values. The file can be loaded automatically into the synth, so the sound can be heard. Every tweak of a parameter will be send to the synth, as every changing of a knob on the Panel will be shown in the Editor. Features like Unison, Portamento, Playing Mode and more will be shown in a special screen. A Performance will be opened using four times the Panel representation and there will be more information visual of all the saved parameters concerning a performance, like Out Mode, etc. By drag & dropping Performances can be made out of allready existing Programs from the hard disk. The same goes for extracting a part of the Performance.

Files can be saved using a special name (describing the sound or referring to a song), only this name is never available in the synthesizer's memory! One has to realise what is uploaded into the Editor, a situation which needs a good description of the Banks in the synth, which will also be discussed later.

An extra tool could be Palle Dahlstedts Mutator and Adjuster as an implementation. In a controlled way it allows Programs to be changed to obtain different and mostly better sounds. At the moment I use the Nord Modular G2 connected via its Midi CC Out modules to the NordLead.

An other extra tool could be a Morph creator. Because the Morph only works on the 25 parameters (knobs), the sounds in one Program can be different, special when Mutator is used to create these. By drag & dropping in a special tool of two Programs using the same routing (= button configuration) the Morph could be automatically be created. I assume it can be generated by comparing the parameters and setting the Morph parameters by adding or substracting the differences...
In fact when no gradual Morph is needed in a song, it makes it possible to save two different sounds in one Program. Using a Performance of 4 Slots playing a Program each it means 8 different sounds, without Morph or Velocity functions except Filter Velocity, are available to the musician and therefor 800 in the memory...

Working this way the Editor should have a good memory organizing tool, a Manager. This tool must be capable of composing Banks (Programs and Performances) by simple a drag & drop command and using the archive on the hard disk. Such a Bank can also be saved to the hard disk. The NordModular Classic used Folders in which Patches were saved together with a PatchList. Anyway, the musician can create Banks very easily for the next gig.
At the other hand the synth doesn't show Programs and performances names, just location letters and numbers. When creating a Bank described above, the Manager should create a text file which shows the Bank locations, the names and notes added by the user. These text files could be printed and used during the show. Any correction should be possible in the computer by simple drag & drop commands. Locations and names should stay coupled and should be corrected in the right order after a 're-arrange' command. These kind of actions could be very important when a play list is changed just before the show. Using a laptop computer this would take just a couple of minutes, although the text file would stay on the computer screen rather then being printed.

Percussion mode can be intergrated too by a drag & drop interface. I'm sure it will be used more Smile These files can be saved to the hard disk.

A Tool like this makes it much easier to restore lost factory presets and could keep the NordLead an interesting synthesizer for many more years.

Any thoughts?

Wout
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ilmolto



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree with you all the way Wout. I'll definitely be willing to pay for something like this. Would love to see my Nord Lead 2X in a more digital way. Also knowing values of the Velocity/Morph settings for each pot would be a huge advantage as well.

Regards,

Daniel Smile
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ilmolto wrote:
... Would love to see my Nord Lead 2X in a more digital way. Also knowing values of the Velocity/Morph settings for each pot would be a huge advantage as well.
You can do that already using NordGenerator, see the sound creation thicky thread. The Morph button in this tool shows how much is added to or distracted (?) from the original value.

Wout
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mrk



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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dunno what your take on this would be: reKon Audio VST Lead 2 Editor. I haven't used it personally as it's only supported by a handful of DAWs - details on support are available here.
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's very beautiful, sure, but it's a VST. And it's only an Editor, not a manager tool. Maybe on this forum we can something develop ourselves?

Wout
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mrk



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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wout Blommers wrote:
It's very beautiful, sure, but it's a VST. And it's only an Editor, not a manager tool. Maybe on this forum we can something develop ourselves?


Could be run on a standalone VST host. It does state: "Now available is the ability to save and load your patches to and from the editor in the native, standard sysex format. Load up all your old libraries and recraft them with visible control!"

Sounds like librarian functionality to some extent.

Does anyone have access to the NordGen code?
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Is it that complicated?

Wout
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mrk



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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wout Blommers wrote:
Is it that complicated?


I don't know - that's why I'm asking if anyone has access to the code. Smile I've never programmed to MIDI interfaces before, and SysEx is still a mystery to me, so I'd be interested to see what existing code looks like. Plus, I've always got an eye out for re-use. I'd even be happy just to get NordGen ported to the Mac as I no longer have a Windows machine to run it on.
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ilmolto



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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Damn. I got excited for a sec until I saw that NordGenerator is only for PC and reKon Audio VST Lead 2 Editor is only for Cubase SX 3. I'm on Mac and Cubase 4 Sad

Is there anything at all that will show me the values of each parameter for each patch for Mac? I know that you can send an All Controllers Request to the Nord and then record this information on a MIDI track, but it's not user friendly at all unless you know what each CC messages controls. I think we need to come up with something...
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doctor tropico



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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ilmolto wrote:

Is there anything at all that will show me the values of each parameter for each patch for Mac? I know that you can send an All Controllers Request to the Nord and then record this information on a MIDI track, but it's not user friendly at all unless you know what each CC messages controls. I think we need to come up with something...

I second that...

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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm not a programmer, but I can help, I think.
I'll try to get a hold of the SysEx of the NordLead2; about which is what. Some is allready in the manual Smile

We have to make a kind of map which shows the direction to work to.

Wout
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi,

Last evening/night I made a little investigation about the SysEx file of the NordLead2. As I wrote in the text I'm sure there are some mistakes.

I put it all, together with Lars Borndahls tool NordGenerator in a zip file. The text is in *.htm, so most of us can read it. At the other hand *.htm(l) screws up the lay-out, from which some notes are made.

There are data locations not in use in the SysEx file, although I can't find any setting of the Special Filter (HiPass+Notch), so I wonder... Should it be possible to try something out, I mean, just fill some data and find out if something will happen? An explosion, perhaps Very Happy

The text is in three parts: first what I've done, then the results of the SysEx changing only one parameter or setting and an interpretation of these results showing how this data occured in the lines of the file. An Editor to be has to know what to look for...

Wout


SysEx_data_locations_List01_Programs.zip
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wout Blommers wrote:
... I mean, just fill some data and find out if something will happen? An explosion, perhaps Very Happy ...
Well, I tried!
Almost the whole neigborhood is wiped away, a national disaster, but the NordLead2 is sound and saved: in the middle of everything it is playing the Swedish national anthem...

Well, in fact, just strange things, like clicking sounds and hissing (Which must be the Swedish national anthem then Wink The same what you get when you use those random things on the internet site, where a complete bank with sounds is offered: totally useless without a lot of tweaking!

Wout
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Conclusion: Now I know why I didn’t became a computer software programmer… J


Confused Laughing

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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 9:35 am    Post subject:  
Subject description: Does the NordLead has a secret side...?
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Alright, Jan Very Happy

About our conversation on the phone, last evening, in which you explained those numbers in a SysEx file. I played a little with those files and sending them to the synth, as I wrote in a post before.

We talked about the 'words' in the file and about their representation. [00 00] means just a value of 0. The last part in the (bite or byte?) shows how many time 16 are used already and the first part is added to that. So [0F 07] means 16 + 7x 16, which is 128, the max value.
Of course I tried [00 08], which was completely nothing, I thought. I was using the Arpeggiator Rate, in my case most likely, but after a while I found out it was a very slow Rate! Other bytes were created and after loading these SysEx files into the synth and making it visual in NordGenerator, it appeared these values are negative! Some sound different, I think Very Happy There is something to explore the next months.

Anyway, if this is an interesting story, maybe it would be nice if there would be an Editor constructed and if these values could be typed in...

First I have to find out if all these settings can be saved, in the synth and in the computer.

Until now...

Wout
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 9:54 am    Post subject:
Subject description: Does the NordLead has a secret side...?
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(a 0x prefix means the number is hexadecimal and the word to use for a byte is byte, not bite, although the latter would be sort of funny).

Wout Blommers wrote:
So [0F 07] means 16 + 7x 16, which is 128, the max value.


Odd encoding, but OK ... still more likely it would be : 7 (0x07) * 16 (0x10) + 15 (0x0F) = 127 , remember we start counting at 0.

The thing is to encode a value of 127 (0x7f) in the MIDI SYSEX data it would not be necessary to use two bytes (as it is the maximum value that fits in one MIDI data byte), so it seems sort of odd then that two bytes were used .. but then again odd things happen Wink

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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject:
Subject description: Does the NordLead has a secret side...?
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Blue Hell wrote:
... but then again odd things happen Wink
Sure! Me working on things like this, as an example Very Happy

I solved the mystery about the negative values: Morphing! A positive value will be added to the set parameter and a negative one too Laughing, only it means a Morph anti-clockwise... There is no system in these values and I wonder if the not Morphed parameter behave the same.

Anyway, a negative value abstracted from 128 (127???) will give a sound in the positive range as the the negative value itself. No hidden things yet...

Wout
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 10:47 am    Post subject:
Subject description: Does the NordLead has a secret side...?
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Blue Hell wrote:
...
Wout Blommers wrote:
So [0F 07] means 16 + 7x 16, which is 128, the max value.
Odd encoding, but OK ...
Well, 126 reads out as [0E 07] The LCD shows [0F 07] as 127, which seems right... The formula is indeed 15 + 7 x 16 reads 127 Very Happy

Wout
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

After the deception of the negative values, I tried two other manipulations of the SysEx file.

First of all I changed the bytes which I labeled 'none' in the survey, which makes some differences, like changing the pitch of Osc2 controlled by Velocity, so I think these parts in the file are also dedicated to Morph. There is no particular musical use to fiddle about in the file.

The second thing I did is corrupting the file, like using changing or deleting bytes, like [0x FF]. I think the Lead is skipping these values, I'm not sure, but sometimes strange sounds appear, some very nice... When the changes are too drastic or to many of them, the archiving tool (NordGenerator) will crash. I wouldn't try to save in the synth, because maybe I could damage the memory...

I'll stop the search for hidden things... Confused

Wout
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey guys,

I'm trying to come to terms with this. I understand how to create a SysEx message to do an All Controllers Request to my Nord. This is what I've been doing to get the values of the parameters. But what I just read in the SysEx Data Locations List was just way too complicated.

I've also gone through the Lead 2X manual and it has a list of all parameters in their SysEx format (page 111). Firstly, what is the Offset? Is this the byte position in the SysEx message. If so, when I do a single program dump and look into the SysEx message, it doesn't make any sense at all. Do shed some light as I'm very confused but also very interested Smile
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ilmolto wrote:
... Firstly, what is the Offset? Is this the byte position in the SysEx message.
I thought it was... Something like 'where it starts'; 'We set off to our holidays...'
Quote:
If so, when I do a single program dump and look into the SysEx message, it doesn't make any sense at all.
I don't have the manual here, but did you look at the text I made in that zip above?
Quote:
Do shed some light as I'm very confused but also very interested Smile
I have to get some batteries for my torch.. Wink

Wout
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ilmolto



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I did have a look at the zip file above. Seems very complicated.

Here is the manual Smile


nord lead 2X ver1.0 (eng).pdf
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, maybe it is the moment were we have to create something like a 'SysEx Reader', not an Editor, but a simple tool which translates the SysEx into nomal figures, like [0F 07] will be represented by [127] connected to the name of the parameter. Only the Knobs (27) have to be done, because the buttons are indicated on the Panel already. This tool has to be computer platform free, so at least Windows, Mac and Linux... (Are there more Shocked?)

Seems like the best way to start an Editor/Librarian/Manager project...

Wout
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ilmolto



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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

And don't forget the Velocity/Morph values.
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No need for batteries Wout as I have shed the light without your torch Wink

Maybe you know this already, but I think I've worked out how to determine the values of the parameters on the Nord Lead 2X by reading SysEx information.

I did a little experiment. I put the Osc 2 Semitones knob (I chose this knob because it's the first in the SysEx message and so easier to spot) to the minimum setting (0 in MIDI land), dumped the patch to Cubase and opened the SysEx message. As I assumed, it was 00 00. I then put Osc 2 Semitones to the next minimum setting (1 in MIDI). It was 01 00. Then the next was 02 00, then 03 00, then 04 00... Eventually it would get to 0F 00 and then 00 01, 01 01, 02 01, 03 01... 0F 01, 00 02, 01 02 and so on.

I assume this would be the same for Velocity/Morph values but starting at -128 instead of 0.

What do you think ?
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