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  1. CassieDennis
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. MONTAGE
  4. Thursday, 07 February 2019
The Dr. is in the house! Join Dr. Manny Fernandez as he brings you another dose of FM synthesis learnin'!
Responses (8)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I enjoyed the video, learned a few things from it.

It looks like a fun device. But I want more than a single knob. to morph the sound with.

The problem with a single knob, is that you have to plan ahead what it's going to control. Not alway an easy task, when you're in the middle of a performance.

The DT7 controller, while way better then using menus, and having lots of knobs, doesn't get us all the way there. I get the impression that it leaves you working blind, not knowing what the starting values are for what it's controlling.

What's needed is a way to pull up a preset, easily see what the current parameter values are, then seamlessly morph things from there. So every preset feels "live". Hard to describe that feeling exactly, but you know it when you use it.

I wanted to have that kind of "preset & performance" ability on my DX7, so I built this control surface.

Since touch controls for music performance have to be responsive, with no perceptible lag, and touch-sensors typically have poor response times due to having to deal with externally-induced electrical noise, I devised a way to largely cancel out electrical noise, even noise at or near the sensor's operating frequency, with less than microsecond latency.
synth self.jpg
Attachments (1)
References
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIE3WfrEEX0
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Interesting. When I saw the guts I thought it was a lot of real-estate for the hysteresis, registers, and MIDI I/O. Now prototyped can probably squeeze that down into a CPLD (or a few depending on how many I/Os you need). Lower cost to fab and easier to maintain. Cool to see this for sure.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
This controller looks great. Unfortunately it is not visible what is being switched on the left hand side. But anyway this is IMHO way too much effort to get the result. Nowadays we're able to build our own control surfaces just using an iPad. This example page contains just a limited set of parameters that I wanted to have on this page but of course you can have as many pages and parameters as are accessible ;)
Attachments (1)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I had the same observation - looked like there was an external computer/device that had to be fiddled with that would send a MIDI command to change the "page" for another set of controls. Should have some button(s)/touch sensor(s) on the interface itself so one can do the "page" switching.

I do see this as a very advanced proof-of-concept. Closer to looking like a true "product" than most proof of concepts (which deserves much credit - compliments to the chef). But, as a proof-of-concept, not quite finished/polished in terms of the little details. Which is to be expected.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Yep, it's just a "proof of concept" prototype, to see how well the concept would work or not work. I use a laptop computer for the actual "brains", the box contains A/D and such for the sensors, controllers for the LEDs, midi I/O, and computer interface. Each section has typical buffers to simplifiy the computer interfacing. It plugs into the laptop through the parallel port. The software handles simple preset memory functions (patch loading & saving), paging different sets of parameters in, and such. I'm gettnig ready to modify the software to let it work with other synths, I've got some Roland & Ensoniq stuff that I'm looking forward to having fun with.

A version actually built for use would have "buttons", as well as more sensors. Likely have a LCD, low-res monochrome would work fine. And have everything stuck on a few chips, the hardware is simple enough that I used old-style LSTTL chips for most of this one. The actual computing overhead is so light, just about any processor could do it easily. Perhaps some day I'll get the opportunity to put together a version that really puts forth the potential.

One aspect I was originally concerned about was the "feel" of it, would it be tedious to handle, as there is no physical control to give tactile sensation. However, it seems that the fast response time, combined with shallow troughs for a sort of tactile guide, made it feel natural. It didn't take any period of adjustment at all to get used to it. If the response had noticable lag, or if I had to pay undue attention to keeping my fingers centered over the sensing strip, it would be a different story.

I picked the DX7 for htis project due to it's reputation of being hard to understand & program. This made it an easy one to work with. I've been getting sounds out of that beast that I never would have imagined it could do, and it's easy, so I've become quite partial to it.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
That's just awesome.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
George,

Awesome work there !

The cool thing about Montage is that there are 8 realtime knobs that can be set up to control (nearly) every aspect of the FM-X engine -- the "One Knob to control them All" SuperKnob is a convenient way to make a sort of Macro control.

You can also use the Ribbon, Mod Wheel, Aftertouch, two Foot Controllers, even the Pitch Bend, for realtime control. Each FM-X Part can have 16 assignments to 30 possible FM-X destinations. So in many ways the Montage is akin to a FM modular synth

Manny
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
George,

Awesome work there !

The cool thing about Montage is that there are 8 realtime knobs that can be set up to control (nearly) every aspect of the FM-X engine -- the "One Knob to control them All" SuperKnob is a convenient way to make a sort of Macro control.

You can also use the Ribbon, Mod Wheel, Aftertouch, two Foot Controllers, even the Pitch Bend, for realtime control. Each FM-X Part can have 16 assignments to 30 possible FM-X destinations. So in many ways the Montage is akin to a FM modular synth

Manny
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE
  3. # 8
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