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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Developers' Corner
The Song Sequencer
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Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:21 pm    Post subject: The Song Sequencer
Subject description: Is this a good idea?
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In a nearby thread, thundarr is working on a module to do fade-in / fade-out of a song at the beginning and end. This got me thinking again (here he goes again...), and I wonder if something that might be called a "Song Sequencer" exists. Tell me if there is something like this:

The sequencer has say eight steps, and no clock input. The dial or slider on each stage sets the *duration* of that stage in seconds. There are eight audio inputs and one audio output. When you hit reset, the first stage becomes active which lights an LED and routes the first input signal to the output jack, lasting for a duration that is set by the first stage's potentiometer. Then the second stage kicks in routes the second input signal to the output jack, lasting for the set duration. This repeats throughout the sequence, which then either stops or recycles as a switch-selectable option.

If you don't need all 8 steps, just set the unused steps for zero duration. The first and last steps have a fade-in and fade-out pot respectively for doing fades. The whole thing could be created with eight 555 timers and some analog switches.

The idea here, as you can see, is to sequence an entire song, with various modular circuits getting switched in and out as the steps proceed. It might even be good to have a few of these units in a modular, or to organize it differently.

For example, we could have four inputs and eight steps each with duration potentiometer, then a set of toggle switches in a 4x8 array that selects which of the four instruments appear on which of the eight steps. I'm sure there are other ways to do this.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Les

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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey - That's a cool idea! I want one in my hypothetical analogue modular Very Happy

It would be nice if each step has an adjustable fade in/out -time too, so you can get smooth transitions, but that might have been what you were thinking of. I can see it being run at higher speeds to create complex sequenced sounds, not just songs.

DJ
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Stream Operator


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

OK so duration, fade-in, and fade-out knobs on each stage? OK, we can do that somehow Are.

Les

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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

BTW, I was thinking fades that makes it possible to have overlaps between the steps. Could cause some complexity in the hardware, since you could potentially have several steps overlapping if the tempo is high and the fade times are long. Hmm, perhaps there should even be an adjustable pause between the steps, for the ultimate in control over the fading overlaps ... Could be a microcontroller would be best for the control part then (yeah, boring for the all-analogue aficionados, I know Laughing ) ?

DJ
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Boogdish



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is a neat idea. It might be cool to have a loop function (where 8 returns to 1 instead of fading out) and a manual step button to shift between parts on command. Perhaps an old guitar amp footswitch could be re purposed as a start/stop switch and shift switch.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, we could have the option of cycling the song or just ending it, either by a switch or by how you wire it up. A skip button would not be hard to do either.

Right now I'm thinking of a 555 timer setting the duration and current mirrors charging and discharging a cap for the fades, but I'm a bit fuzzy on it all. If at all possible I'd like to do this in a bit-slice manner, with a small circuit board for each stage. That's because of prototyping limitations and also that way a person could have as many stages as they wanted. It also allows for controls mounted on the PCB edge for a simpler build.

Les

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yusynth



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Have a look to Don Tillmans' interpolating scanner...http://www.till.com/articles/scanner/index.html, it is not far away from this concept exect that the sequence of events would be contrilled by a single rising voltage ramp or by the CV output of a plain analogue sequencer.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yusynth wrote:
Have a look to Don Tillmans' interpolating scanner...http://www.till.com/articles/scanner/index.html, it is not far away from this concept exect that the sequence of events would be contrilled by a single rising voltage ramp or by the CV output of a plain analogue sequencer.


Oh, good find Yves! It looks like something along these lines already exists, and it's a nicely done simple circuit too. Unless we can contribute some unique features, there is no need to proceed with another design. So far the unique featueres would be the fade-in, fade-out, and bit-slice design approach.

I rather like this bit-slice approach because one could either build a multi-step module from multiple boards, or just make individual narrow-width modules and populate them on the modular in time. It also permits wiring to configure the song so that one could have, for example, three slices on a VCO and then maybe four slices on a Klee-driven thingie, etc.

It was mentioned in the chatroom by either thundarr or DrJustice, I forget who, that to create a delay you just have a slice with no input. So in the above example we could have the VCO come in at the beginning and the end with a pause in-between and the Klee-driven thingie on the second and fourth intervals, all using up seven slices in a jumper-configured arrangement.

I hope you get what I mean, just tossing in the latest thoughts into the thread. Hmmm, do you think we have enough uniqueness to proceed? I could add it as my third board project (after Karplus-Strong and Boolean Sequencer).

Les

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wmonk



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmm, thought I already did, but I didn't.
Have a look at the CGS Event sequencer, as mentioned on the Bridechamber. http://bridechamber.com/bridechamber.com/C_Event_Seq.html
I think it does all the things you want...
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

very nice, wmonk, that module seems to do pretty much all that we are talking about. I'm still not sure but I might go ahead anyway because I'm planning to integrate these boards with an eChucK modular setup. See the BSG thread in the eChucK forum for details.

Les

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've been informed that calling the board "SS" is a VERY bad idea because of the obvious historical context. I can't think of another name for it at the moment, any suggestions?

Les

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Antimon



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've been thinking about doing a CV sequencer that's a bit like this, using a BCR2000 for controlling it. I was thinking about having 16 pairs of attack and release knobs, that would run in sequence - i.e. when one release finishes the following attack starts. I'm also going to add 16 buttons that can reset the sequence, so if button 4 is active, then the sequence will jump to attack 4 when that step is reached, no matter what attack/release stage is running.

This is a bit like working with envelopes, so I was thinking of a name like "Envelope Sequence". Maybe that can work for you as well?

It's a shame about the SS acronymn - I happen across terms that can be shortened to it all the time. Makes you use your creative grey cells to find better acronyms.

/Stefan

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yusynth



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Back to the Interpolating scanner, there is also the one developped by Marc Bareille some years ago (inspired by J. Haible's design):
http://m.bareille.free.fr/modular1/ips8/mb_ips8.htm
unfortunately he did not propose a PCB for that Crying or Very sad

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yusynth



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

By the way Jurguen Haible is providing a PCB for his interpolating scanner !
http://www.jhaible.de/interpolating_scanner_and_scanvib/jh_interpolating_scanner_and_scanvib.html
schematics : http://www.jhaible.de/interpolating_scanner_and_scanvib/interpolating_scanner_2008_sch.pdf

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, since it's out there as a synth module I see no need to repeat what's already been done. I am, however, working on a board sandwich that will provide one boolean sequenced karplus strong voice each. In this small form factor it would be cool to offer an additional board that times things. So I may go ahead anyway but for now it's low priority. We'll get this figured out eventually...

Les

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