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futureretro
operation manal
TABLE OF CONTENTS
&
Written and produced by Jered Flickinger
Copyright 2008
Future Retro Synthesizers
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Credits
Table of Contents
Introduction
Controls
Maintenance
Support
Analog Connections
MIDI Connections
Sequencer Overview
Playing Patterns
Selecting Patterns
Editing Patterns
Entering Notes
Note On, Sustain, Rest
Clearing Notes
Changing the Pitch
Accents, Glides
Loop Point
Swing, Time Signature
Transposing Patterns
Shifting Patterns
Remixing Patterns
Remixing Patterns
Blank Pattern Sheet
Working with Songs
Patterns, Transposing
Loop Point, Tempo
Advanced Song Editing
Blank Song Sheet
Blank Song Sheet
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Playing MIDI Modules
MIDI Example
Playing CV Synths
CV Example
Acting as Master Clock
Master Clock Example
Syncing to Ext Clock
Ext Clock Example
MIDI to CV
Conversion
MIDI to CV Example
MIDI Program Change
MIDI Program Change
MIDI SysEx
MIDI SysEx
SysEx Information
SysEx Packet Size
Default Pattern,
Syncing, Resetting a
Song
Playing Patterns
Backwards, Remixing
Patterns
Remixing Sliced Audio
Tips on playing the XS
Transposing the XS
using MIDI
Using Multiple Orbs
Calibration Procedure
Trimmer Location
Specifications
INTRODUCTION
Thank you for choosing the Orb. Please take time to read through
the entire manual for a compete understanding of the operations
and procedures needed to master this device.
OVERVIEW
The Orb is a single-track programmable digital step sequencer
designed to play analog and MIDI instruments.
The Orb is a perfect choice for sequencing our XS
semi-modular synthesizer, and various other MIDI and CV/Gate
type synthesizers.
This step-based sequencer provides 256 storable patterns that users
can create and edit in real-time while the unit plays. Patterns may
be selected and played in any order live, or prearranged into one of
the 16 song locations stored in memory. In addition, the Orb offers
our Remix feature that provides 256 variations for every pattern
and song, for more than 65,000 possible patterns right out of the
box.
The Orb can play external MIDI sound modules and CV/Gate type
synthesizers, sync playback with other MIDI sequencers, and also
act as a MIDI to CV/Gate converter.
PHILOSOPHY
The Orb is based on the same sequencer design used in our
Revolution synthesizer/sequencer. In fact, patterns created in the
Orb can also be used in the Revolution units and vice versa. The
Orb is designed to illustrate loop-based music in a much more
natural way than has been provided in the past with traditional
instruments. Think about it….
The basis of music is time. Time is nothing more than our
perception of the heavenly bodies spinning through their celestial
orbits.
From ancient sundials to modern analog clocks, time has been
represented as the circle, a cycle which never ends, illustrating the
infinite within a finite amount of space. So why not use this same
knowledge to represent music?
Enjoy the power of the Orb!
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MAINTENANCE
able to back up the internal memory. So a higher mAh rating
provides a longer battery life.
POWER
Use only the 12 volt AC/AC 1 Amp output power supply provided
with this unit. If you should ever lose this power supply, please
contact us for a replacement. Never use DC output power supplies,
as they will not provide enough current to power the unit properly.
FUSE
Should the fuse in the Orb need replacing, use the following
procedure to change the fuse:
CARE
Avoid exposing the unit to smoke or to damp, dusty, or extreme
hot and cold environments. To clean the unit, use a soft damp
cloth. Do not use abrasive cleaners, as these may harm the surface
and finish of the unit.
BACKUP BATTERY
The Orb contains an internal 3.6 volt lithium backup battery for the
sequencer’s RAM. This battery will last for approximately
10 years in this unit. However, at some point in the future, this
battery may need to be replaced.
As a general rule, always back up your patterns and songs
using the SysEx Dump feature to prevent the accidental loss of
your work. Definitely save your work before the battery is
replaced, since all information will be lost when the battery is
removed.
To replace the battery yourself, use the following procedure:
Loosen the Phillips screws holding the side panels on the unit.
Remove the 4 black and 4 silver Phillips screws on the bottom of
the unit. Pull the bottom chassis away from the top chassis. Locate
the battery and its holder on the jack board. Remove the old battery
from its holder and replace with a TL-5104/S type lithium battery
of +3.6 volts rated at 2,100 mAh. Make sure the battery is installed
with the correct polarity! Once the battery has been replaced,
reinstall the bottom chassis and the Phillips screws. Other lithium
batteries may be used as long as they are of the AA size, rated at
+3.6 volts, and have a current rating of 1,900 mAh or more. Note
that the mAh rating of the battery determines the life span of being
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Loosen the Phillips screws holding the side panels on the unit.
Remove the 4 black and 4 silver Phillips screws on the bottom of
the unit. Pull the bottom chassis away from the top chassis and
locate the fuse near the Power jack. Remove the old fuse and
replace only with a 1 amp fast-acting fuse. Once the fuse has been
replaced, reinstall the bottom chassis and the Phillips screws.
PRODUCT WARRANTY AND SUPPORT
The Orb comes with a 1 year limited warranty covering any
mechanical or electrical defects. This warranty does not cover
damage due to misuse or abuse of this product. To validate your
warranty, you must register your product online within 1 month of
the original purchase date at the following URL:
www.future-retro.com/register.html
Should you experience problems with your machine, we
recommend you first check the Support page of our website for
up-to-date help on common problems.
Support URL:
www.future-retro.com/support.html
If you find that you still have questions after reading the Support
page of our website, you may contact us by phone or email. You
must have an authorization to return a unit to us for repairs.
Our office is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Central Standard Time (CST).
Phone: (785) 827-9278
Email: [email protected]
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CONNECTIONS
12V AC
Connect the power supply provided with your unit in the Power
jack located on the bottom of the unit. Use only 12V AC output
power supplies rated at 1 Amp to power the unit.
DC output power supplies will not provide enough current to
power the unit properly.
POWER
This is the main power switch. Push this switch to turn the unit on
and off.
MIDI IN
Use a MIDI cable to connect this input to another device’s MIDI
Out, so that the Orb will sync its playback to the other MIDI
devices, or act as a MIDI to CV/Gate converter. You may also use
this connection when receiving a SysEx Dump of patterns and
songs from another device.
MIDI THRU
All information being received by the Orb’s MIDI IN will be sent
directly to the MIDI THRU output. Use a MIDI cable to connect
this output to the MIDI Input of another device for creating a daisy
chain between multiple units.
MIDI OUT
Use a MIDI cable to connect this output to the MIDI Input of
another device, so that the other device can be played by or sync its
playback to the Orb. You may also use this connection when
sending a SysEx Dump of patterns and songs to another device.
CV OUT
When notes are played in the Orb, a 1 volt per octave control
voltage is generated at this output. Typically, you will want to
connect this to the Pitch CV Input of an analog synthesizer,
although it could also be used to modulate other analog parameters
such as a filter’s cutoff frequency, and so forth.
GATE OUT
When notes are played in the Orb, a +12 volt (positive polarity)
gate signal is generated at this output. Typically, you will want to
connect this output to the Gate Input of an analog synthesizer to
trigger its envelopes.
ACCENT OUT
When the Orb plays a note written with an Accent on that step, a
+10 volt (positive polarity) gate signal is generated at this output
for controlling analog equipment. The duration of this Accented
gate signal will last for 100% of a pattern’s step. Typically, you
will connect this output to the Velocity Input of an analog
synthesizer.
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SEQUENCER OVERVIEW
USING THE SEQUENCER
The Orb is a single-track programmable digital step sequencer for
recording and playing back musical patterns and songs. All the
information for a pattern can be edited while the sequencer is either
playing or stopped. The sequencer automatically saves all changes
made to patterns and songs. This allows users to create and
manipulate patterns live and hear the changes as they are made.
With the Orb’s sequencer, you can play external MIDI sound
modules, as well as analog CV/Gate type synthesizers.
The Orb’s sequencer has two main modes that you will work with.
This is what we call Pattern mode and Song mode. When the Song
key indicator is on, the machine is in Song mode. When the Song
key indicator is off, the machine is in Pattern mode. To change
from one mode to the other, the sequencer must first be stopped;
then by pressing the Song key, you can change modes.
STRUCTURE
There are 256 user patterns arranged as 16 banks of 16 patterns.
Each pattern can be up to 1 measure in length, which is then
divided into 12 or 16 equal steps depending on the time signature.
Each pattern records the time signature, notes, pitches, accents,
glides, loop point, and swing amount. Patterns can also be copied
and pasted, shifted in time, transposed, and remixed, as well as be
played forward or in reverse.
Patterns can be selected and played live in any order while in
Pattern mode. Patterns can also be prearranged into one of the 16
song locations. Each song will record the order that patterns will
play, along with the transpose setting for each pattern, and the loop
point for the song. Each song can arrange up to 3,580 measures’
worth of music. Songs can also have their patterns remixed or be
played forward or in reverse for all sorts of interesting variations.
Patterns and songs created in the Orb are universally
compatible with those in our Revolution synthesizer. Using the
SysEx Dump feature in these products allows you to transfer
patterns and songs from one unit into the other.
In addition, you may also use the SysEx feature to transfer
patterns and songs created in the Orb to a computer for storage
purposes.
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In Song mode, you can do the following:
• Select a song
• Edit and arrange patterns to form a song
• Play a song
• Remix a song
• Change a song’s tempo
• Set up the global MIDI parameters
• Perform a SysEx MIDI dump
In Pattern mode, you can do the following:
• Select patterns
• Edit a pattern
• Play patterns
• Remix patterns
• Adjust the global tempo setting for all patterns
• Set the global transpose setting for all patterns
PLAYING PATTERNS
The Play key is used to start and stop the playback of patterns and
songs. To play a pattern or song forward, simply press the Play
key. The Play key indicator will blink at the tempo the sequencer is
playing at. To stop playback of the sequencer, press the Play key
again. The Play key indicator will be off, showing that the
sequencer is stopped.
Patterns can also be played in reverse. If the unit is stopped and
you wish to play a pattern backward, hold the Shift/Clear key and
then press the Play key. The pattern will now be playing backward.
To stop the sequencer, press the Play key.
While a pattern is playing, you can change its direction to play
forward or backward by using the same technique as above. Hold
the Shift/Clear key and then press the Play key. When the loop
point for the currently playing pattern is reached, the sequencer
will change the playback direction.
Note: If the Orb’s MIDI parameter has been set to EXTernal, when
the Play key is pressed, its indicator will light up and stay on,
showing that the unit is cued up and waiting for an external MIDI
sequencer to send a Start command.
SELECTING PATTERNS
Patterns are arranged as 16 banks of 16 patterns for a total of 256
patterns in all. Before selecting a pattern, you must first make sure
that you are in Pattern mode. This is shown by the Song key
indicator being off.
To enter Pattern Select mode, press the Pattern key so that its
indicator turns on. The numeric display (in the center of the unit)
will now show the bank number 1–16 that is currently selected.
One of the 16 selector key indicators (located around the outside of
the display) will be on to show which pattern is selected for the
bank you are currently in. If none of the selector key indicators are
on, the current pattern selected is in another bank. If this is the
case, use the Up/Down keys to go through the other banks and see
what pattern is currently selected. To select a different pattern, use
the Up/Down keys to select the bank and then press one of the 16
selector keys that represent the pattern within the bank.
Selecting a pattern can be done while the sequencer is playing.
If one pattern is currently playing and you select another, the new
pattern’s key indicator will be on at half the brightness than that of
the pattern currently playing. This shows that the pattern is cued
and waiting until the pattern currently playing has reached its loop
point. Once the loop point has been reached, the cued pattern will
begin its playback. You can change the pattern that is cued and
ready to play next at any time until the current pattern reaches its
loop point.
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Each pattern will play continuously until either a new pattern is
selected or the sequencer is stopped.
Patterns may also be selected remotely from another MIDI
device by setting up the Orb to respond to MIDI Program Change
messages. Please refer to the MIDI section about Program Change
messages on page 41 for more details on how to do this.
MULTIPLE PATTERN CUEING
It is possible to chain the playback of up to 16 patterns in a bank to
create longer looping arrangements. To do so, enter Pattern Select
mode as you normally do when selecting patterns. Press and hold
the first pattern you wish to play and then press the last pattern that
is to be included in the loop.
Notice that patterns will be played sequentially from the lowest
pattern number to the highest pattern number. The first pattern
selected to play in the arrangement must have a lower pattern
number than that of the last pattern selected to be included in the
loop.
Once multiple patterns have been cued and are playing, you
can select another group of patterns to play when the first group
reaches its last step. When cueing up a second group of patterns,
you can select patterns in any bank and even partially overlapping
the patterns currently playing.
EDITING PATTERNS
Pattern Edit mode is where one measure of music can be recorded
or edited for each pattern.
These patterns can later be arranged into a song. Each pattern
records the note durations and their pitches, accents, glides, loop
point, time signature, and swing amount. Every time a pattern is
edited, the changes are automatically saved by the sequencer.
You must make sure not to change a pattern that you wish to keep.
By doing so, you will overwrite the old pattern with new data. To
avoid this, use the Copy/Paste function described on page 21.
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To edit patterns, you must be in Pattern mode (the Song key
indicator will be off). First select the desired bank and pattern for
the pattern you wish to edit. Once the pattern is selected, press the
Pattern key to enter Pattern Edit mode (the Pattern key indicator
will turn off).
All pattern editing can be done while the sequencer is stopped
or playing, which allows you to hear the changes you make. In this
way you can select a pattern, edit it, and then select another pattern
to play or edit while the sequencer continues to play. Instant live
improv! Since the sequencer automatically saves all changes made,
there is no need to stop the music.
When multiple patterns have been cued and are playing, you
can enter Pattern Edit mode to edit individual patterns. To edit a
cued pattern, wait until the desired pattern is playing and then enter
Pattern Edit mode by pressing the Pattern key. The current pattern
will loop by itself so you can hear all the changes you are making.
Once the pattern has been edited as desired, you may exit Pattern
Edit mode. The cued patterns will continue playing sequentially as
before.
When the sequencer is playing and a pattern is being edited,
you will notice that the 16 Step key indicators will blink to show
the current step being played. You can use this as a quick way to
pinpoint steps that you wish to edit. It can also serve as a visual
indication of where the loop point is set for that pattern.
ENTERING NOTES
When in Pattern Edit mode, the 16 Step key indicators will be used
to display where notes are placed in that pattern. The brightness of
the indicators will determine where notes start, the length of their
sustain duration, and where rests occur.
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•
•
A Note On (where a note begins) will be shown by a Step
key indicator being on at full brightness.
The sustained portion for a note will be shown by the Step
key indicator being on, but only half as bright as a Note On.
A rest is shown by the Step key indicator being off.
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NOTE ON
To enter notes, you must be in Pattern Edit mode (Pattern key
indicator will be off). Placing 16th or 12th notes (depending on
which time signature is selected) is done using the same method.
By using the 16 Step keys, simply press the keys one at a time
where you wish notes to exist. The indicators for the notes you
enter will now be on at their brightest state.
SUSTAIN
To place sustained notes, press and hold the Step key where the
note is to start, and then press the Step key that represents the last
step that you want this note to sustain to. The first Step key
indicator of a sustained note will be on at full brightness, showing
that that is where the note starts. The sustained portion of the note
will cause those Step key indicators to be on at half brightness.
As an example, place and hold a 16th note and press the next
Step key in the clockwise direction. Doing this just wrote an 8th
note. Use this method to create notes of various durations.
Notice that the last step of a sustained note must be higher in value
than where the note starts. For instance, a note may start on Step 1
and sustain to Step 16. A note can’t start at Step 9 and sustain to
Step 5. If you need a note to sustain past Step 16, you will need to
use the glide function discussed later in this manual.
REST
Placing rests is done by simply leaving notes off, or clearing notes
that appear in the position you want to be a rest. Rests will be
shown as the Step key indicator being off. To write a rest to a step
where a note already exists, press and hold the Shift/Clear key and
then press the Step key where you want the rest to be placed.
There is a way to write new notes without having to clear
previous notes. For instance, if you place a new note in the
sustained portion of a note, the new note will now be in the
position you selected. This now shortens the previous sustained
note, which then will sustain until the step where the new note is
written.
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The Step key indicators for these positions will also change to
show how the previous sustained note was shortened.
By writing a sustained note over previous notes, the previous
notes will no longer be heard. You can use this method to change a
sustained note’s duration. Any new notes written over a sustained
note’s Note On will override the entire sustained note. The only
exception is that you cannot write a 16th note over a sustained
note’s Note On. To do this, you must first clear the sustained note
and then write the 16th note.
CHANGING A NOTE’S PITCH
Once notes exist in a pattern, you can change the pitch that each
one is to play. Select a pattern you would like to edit and then enter
Pattern Edit mode. When in Pattern Edit mode, one of the 16 Step
key indicators will be flashing to indicate that it is the current step
selected and ready to be edited. You can select a different note to
edit by pressing the Step key where that note starts.
CLEARING NOTES
There are two ways to clear previous note data that exists within a
pattern. You can either clear all the notes at once or clear
individual notes one at a time.
To clear all notes from a pattern, first make sure you are in
Pattern Select mode (the Pattern key indicator will be on). Select
and hold the Step key for the pattern you wish to clear all the notes
from, and then press the Shift/Clear key. You can press the Pattern
key and enter Pattern Edit mode to verify that all the Step key
indicators are now off.
To clear individual notes, enter Pattern Edit mode (the Pattern
key indicator will be off). Press and hold the Shift/Clear key and
press the Step key that represents the Note On for the note you
want to clear. You can clear as many notes as you want while
holding the Shift/Clear key. Once you are done clearing individual
notes, you may release the Shift/Clear key. All the notes you
cleared will be shown with their Step key indicator being off.
Once a note is selected, the display will show the pitch of that note,
ranging from C1 to D#6. Notice that the display will show an =
sign for sharp notes. Using the Up/Down keys, select the desired
pitch for the currently selected step. When the sequencer is playing
and you change a note’s pitch in this way, each time that the
pattern reaches this step the new note pitch will be played. If you
hold a note’s Step key while you change the note’s pitch, the new
pitch will not take effect until you release that note’s Step key. You
can use this method to ensure that only the desired pitches will be
heard while the sequencer is playing.
Notice that clearing notes only erases where notes are placed and
their durations. Other pattern information such as the step’s pitch,
accent, glide, loop point, time signature, and swing amount will
still retain their values. This is a safety in case you accidentally
erase notes or an entire pattern by mistake. You then only need to
re-enter where notes are located and their duration.
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Notice that pressing any Step keys other than where a note starts
will write a new note, as described in the previous section.
Notice that pitches programmed into the sequencer can actually
range from C1 to C9. However, the sequencer will only play back
pitches in the range of C1 to D#6. The extended range of E6
through C9 is provided only to retain the original pitches of a
pattern when it is transposed up to +36 half-steps.
There is also an offset to the pitch values transmitted and
received via MIDI, so that a pitch of C1 in the sequencer is equal
to MIDI note C2, and pitch D#6 in the sequencer is equal to MIDI
note D#7.
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RECORDING ACCENTS
Accents written into the sequencer are transmitted over MIDI as
low/high Velocity values, and they also generate a +10 volt
positive polarity gate for 100% duration of the accent step at the
Accent jack for controlling analog synthesizers.
To record or place accents for notes, first select the pattern you
want to edit and then enter Pattern Edit mode. One of the Step key
indicators will be flashing to show the current step selected to be
edited. Select any note by pressing the Step key where that note
starts. When a note is selected, the Accent key indicator will be on
if an accent is written for that step, or off if no accent has been
placed on the step. By pressing the Accent key, you can turn
accents on or off for that step. Placing accents can be done while
the sequencer is playing or stopped.
CLEARING ALL ACCENTS
To clear all of the accents in a pattern, press and hold the
Shift/Clear key and then press the Accent key.
RECORDING GLIDES
Glides written into the sequencer will allow the pitch of one note to
smoothly transition to the pitch of the following step when using
the CV analog output. The time it takes to transition from one pitch
to another is determined by the Glide Time control on the front
panel.
When controlling an external MIDI synthesizer, notes set to
glide in the Orb will be transmitted as two notes playing slightly
overlapped with one another. In most MIDI synthesizers, this
playing of two notes slightly overlapped can then be used to
initiate a glide within the external synthesizer. The glide time
would then be determined by parameter settings within that
external synthesizer.
To record or place glides for notes, first select the pattern you
want to edit and then enter Pattern Edit mode. One of the Step key
indicators will be flashing to show the current step selected to be
edited. Select any note by pressing the Step key where that note
starts.
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When a note is selected, the Glide key indicator will be on
when a note is set to glide, and off when no glide is written for that
step. By pressing the Glide key, you can turn glides on or off for
that step. Placing glides can be done while the sequencer is playing
or stopped.
Notice that sustained notes can’t extend beyond Step 16. If you
want a note to seamlessly carry over from Step 16 to Step 1, place
a glide on Step 16, and set Step 1’s pitch to the same value as
Step 16.
CLEARING ALL GLIDES
To clear all of the glides in a pattern, press and hold the Shift/Clear
key and then press the Glide key.
SETTING THE LOOP POINT
Each pattern has its own loop point that is used to set the number
of steps a pattern will play before it loops and begins playing from
the beginning again. A pattern using 3/4 as the time signature can
play as many as 12 steps. A pattern using 4/4 as the time signature
can play as many as 16 steps.
To set the loop point, select the pattern you wish to edit and
enter Pattern Edit mode. Select the Step key that represents the last
step you wish the pattern to play in its loop. You can then press the
Loop key to place the loop point at that step. The Loop key
indicator will be on, showing a loop point is set for this step. To
change the loop point, select another step of the pattern and press
the Loop key.
CLEARING THE LOOP POINT
The loop point can be cleared in one of two ways. The first method
is to select the step where the loop point exists and press the Loop
key, turning the Loop key indicator off.
You may find the second method easier to use, which is to
press and hold the Shift/Clear key and then press the Loop key.
This will remove the loop point from whatever step it was
previously written.
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SELECTING THE AMOUNT OF SWING
The Orb’s Swing function will delay the playback of all evennumbered steps. This can be used to add a more human feel to
patterns.
To change the swing amount, first select the pattern you want
to edit and then enter Pattern Edit mode. Press and hold the
Swing/Tempo key and the display will show a value ranging from
0–3. While holding the Swing/Tempo key, use the Up/Down keys
to select a new value of swing. A swing value of 0 means no swing
will occur. A swing value of 1 will have a small amount of effect
while a swing value of 3 will have the greatest effect.
SELECTING A TIME SIGNATURE
There are two time signatures to choose from when writing a
pattern: 3/4 and 4/4.
Each time signature simply divides the measure of a pattern
into 12 (3/4) or 16 (4/4) equal parts.
The artwork around the Step key numbers best illustrates the
divisions of the 4/4 time signature. You may also notice the small
outer ring of artwork surrounding the sequencer step keys will
illustrate the divisions of the 3/4 time signature.
To change the time signature for a pattern, select the pattern to
edit and then enter Pattern Edit mode. Press and hold the
Time/Copy key and the display will show the current time
signature as either 3/4 or 4/4. While holding the Time/Copy key,
you can use the Up/Down keys to select the appropriate time
signature. Once the time signature is set you can release the
Time/Copy key. You can change this time signature setting while
the unit is playing or stopped.
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TRANSPOSING PATTERNS
When playing patterns in Pattern mode, the Transpose function has
a global effect on all the patterns. The Transpose function allows
you to shift all of a pattern’s notes up or down 36 half-steps from
the pitches originally programmed into the pattern.
To change the transpose setting, first enter Pattern Edit mode.
Press and hold the Xpose/Paste key and the display will show the
current value (–36 to 36) of transposition. While holding the
Xpose/Paste key, you can use the Up/Down keys to change the
transpose setting.
The range of notes the Orb can play is C1 to D#6. If a pattern’s
notes are transposed beyond this range, the notes will be
interpreted as rests.
Once the Xpose/Paste key is released, the new transpose value will
take effect. This transpose setting will be saved even when the
unit’s power is turned off. If you want to reset the transpose setting
to 0 while in Pattern Edit mode, hold the Shift/Clear key and press
the Xpose/Paste key.
As an alternative method, you can also latch the transpose
function on or off by quickly pressing the Xpose/Paste key. When
this key is pressed quickly, its indicator will remain on, and again
the Up/Down keys are used to select the transpose value. Changes
made to this transpose setting will be updated once a pattern loops
and begins playing the first step again. When you are done
changing the transpose value, quickly press the Xpose/Paste key
again to exit Transpose mode.
You can permanently transpose all the notes for a pattern. First
select the correct transpose setting for a pattern, then while holding
the Xpose/Paste key, press the Time/Copy key. The pattern’s notes
will be rewritten to the new pitch values and the transpose setting
will be reset to 0.
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SHIFTING PATTERNS
It is possible to shift all the contents of a pattern forward or
backward in time from where they currently are. This is a useful
feature if you have already created a pattern, but need to offset the
notes’ timing so that they are aligned with the beat correctly.
To shift a pattern, first select the desired pattern to be edited
and then enter Pattern Edit mode. Press and hold the Shift/Clear
key and then use the Up/Down keys to shift the pattern Up
(clockwise) or Down (counter-clockwise). If pattern shifting is
done while the sequencer is stopped, you will shift the pattern one
step for every key press of Up/Down keys. If pattern shifting is
done while the sequencer is playing, the pattern will shift one step
every time a new step is played, as long as the Up/Down key is
held.
CHANGING THE TEMPO
When in Pattern mode, the tempo setting will determine the rate at
which all patterns will be played. To adjust the tempo, first make
sure you are in Pattern Select mode (Pattern key indicator will be
on). Press and hold the Swing/Tempo key and the display will
show the current tempo selected. While holding the Swing/Tempo
key, you can use the Up/Down keys to adjust the tempo from 20 to
250 beats per minute (bpm). When the tempo is changed and a
sequence is playing, the tempo change will have an immediate
effect on the rate at which a pattern plays. This tempo setting is
saved even when the unit’s power is turned off.
COPYING AND PASTING PATTERNS
Before editing a pattern you like, it would be wise to copy it to
another location to be edited. Copying patterns can also be useful
when creating several patterns with slight variations.
To copy a pattern from one location to another, stop the
sequencer and enter Pattern Select mode.
Select and hold the Step key for the pattern you wish to copy,
and then press the Time/Copy key. This places a copy of that
pattern in a temporary memory location where it will remain until
either a new pattern is copied, or the power is turned off.
21
Since a copy of the pattern is placed in temporary memory, you
can now select and play other patterns to find a location to paste
the pattern to. When you have found a location, stop the sequencer,
hold the Step key for the pattern you wish to paste to, and then
press the Xpose/Paste key. The pattern you had copied will now be
written in this location.
You can continue to place the copied pattern in as many
locations as you want by selecting each location individually and
pressing the Xpose/Paste key.
REMIXING PATTERNS
The Remix feature provides 256 variations for playing patterns.
This is not just some randomization of the original patterns
either. It is a mathematical process that creates new ways of
stepping through a pattern’s information to create variations of that
pattern.
When the Remix feature is used, you may want to consider the
information programmed into the steps of a pattern as possibilities.
Remix can use any of the 16 steps of a pattern to create new
patterns. In some cases, a remix will play the same step multiple
times within one measure of music.
There is one basic rule a remix will always follow: whatever
information is programmed into Step 1 will always play as the first
step of a remix.
The Remix function can be activated at any time, whether in
Pattern Edit mode, Pattern Select mode, or Song mode. In addition,
the remix can be turned on or off while the unit is stopped or
playing. If the unit is playing and Remix is activated or a new
remix is selected, the change will take effect as soon as the next
step plays.
To turn the Remix function on, press the Remix key in the
Remix 2 section. Its indicator will light, showing that Remix has
been activated.
22
23
16
15
14
13
12
6
5
24
Step
Note
Pitch
Accent
Glide
Loop
Comments:
A blank pattern sheet is provided on the following page. Photocopy
the pattern sheet and use it to write down the contents of a pattern,
as well as make notes.
1
2
3
4
Pattern #
Tempo:
7
8
9
10
11
Swing:
Time Signature:
Bank #
Pattern Name:
When the Remix function is on, the two rotary switches located
in the Remix 1 and Remix 2 sections will be used to select
different remix patterns. If you enter Pattern Edit mode, you can
see the new order in which the remix is selecting steps of the
pattern to play.
When Remix controls 1 and 2 are both set to their “O” position,
Remix will have no effect on the original pattern even if the Remix
key indicator is on. This is the default remix pattern that will play a
pattern sequentially from Step 1 through 16 as normal.
The best way to understand what happens when patterns are
remixed is to play around and experiment. The results of a remix
will be different for every pattern you have created. Try looping a
pattern and turning the Remix feature on for only the last couple
steps of a pattern to create a transitional fill. Or you might just
want to create variations of a melody line that you have already
programmed, which can be further transposed and used for other
parts of the same song.
For playing different remixes live, you might take the DJ
approach to selecting new remixes where you let one remix play
for a while so the listener becomes familiar with it. Select a new
remix every now and then to create a fill, or start introducing the
next remix that will eventually play all the way through.
WORKING WITH SONGS
SELECTING SONGS
Selecting a song is done in the same way that patterns are selected,
except that you must be in Song mode. To enter Song mode, first
stop the playback of the unit and press the Song key. Its indicator
will turn on, showing that Song mode is currently selected.
To select a song, press the Step key indicator (1–16) to select
one of the 16 song locations. If the sequencer is already playing a
song and another song is selected, the newly selected song’s Step
key indicator will be on at half brightness, showing that it is cued
up and will begin its playback as soon as the first song reaches its
loop point.
PLAYING SONGS
You must be in Song mode to play songs. Select a song to play by
pressing one of the 16 Step keys. Press the Play key to begin
playback of the song. The display will show the current step of the
song playing. If you press the Play key while the song is playing,
playback will stop but remain on the current step of the song.
Pressing the Play key again will resume playback from the current
step. If you want to start playback from the beginning of the song,
press the Shift/Clear key before starting playback.
EDITING SONGS
All song editing is done in Song mode. To enter Song mode, stop
the sequencer and then press the Song key so that its indicator turns
on. All song editing must be done while the sequencer is stopped.
Song editing is used to arrange your patterns into a song. There
are 16 song locations available and each is capable of arranging up
to 3,580 measures of patterns. Each song step records the pattern
that will play for that step, how much the pattern is to be
transposed from its original pitch, and whether or not it will be the
last pattern played in the song before it starts over again or loops.
Each song also records the tempo that it will play at.
25
SELECTING PATTERNS FOR A SONG STEP
When in Song mode, the display will show the current step being
edited or played. You can select the desired song step by using the
Up/Down keys. You can also reset the song to Step 1 at any time
by pressing the Shift/Clear key.
To edit a song, you simply select the patterns in the order they
are to play in the song, change the transpose setting if needed, and
set a loop point on the last step you wish to play in the song.
To change the pattern that a song step will play, select the song
step you wish to edit, and then press and hold the Pattern key. The
display will now show the bank, and Step keys 1–16 are used to
select the a pattern within that bank. While holding the Pattern key,
use the Up/Down keys to select the bank and then press the Step
key to select a pattern within that bank. Release the Pattern key
once you have made your selection. Select the pattern for each step
in this way until all the patterns are in their correct order.
To see how your song sounds so far, press the Shift/Clear key
to reset the song to Step 1 and then press the Play key to begin
playback. Press the Play key again to stop the song’s playback
when you are finished. If you need to make changes to the song,
use the Up/Down keys to select the step to edit and make the
necessary changes.
All changes made when editing the song are automatically saved
by the sequencer.
TRANSPOSING A SONG STEP
The pattern for each song step can be transposed up or down
36 half-steps in pitch from the notes originally programmed into
that pattern.
To transpose a song step, select the song step and then press the
Xpose/Paste key. While holding the Xpose/Paste key, the display
will show the current transpose setting for that step’s pattern.
Use the Up/Down keys to change the transpose setting for that
song step.
Release the Xpose/Paste key when you are done and the
sequencer will automatically save your changes.
26
To reset the transposition to a value of 0 for all the song steps,
press and hold the Shift/Clear key, and then press the Xpose/Paste
key. This will allow all of the patterns in the song to play at their
original programmed pitches.
SETTING THE LOOP POINT FOR A SONG
A loop point is recorded into a song step to indicate that this will
be the last step played before the sequencer goes back to the
beginning of the song and starts playing it again. If you want to
find what song step is set to loop, you can use the Up/Down keys
to step through the song and see which step is set to loop. This is
indicated by the Loop key indicator being on for that step of the
song.
To set a loop point for a step, use the Up/Down keys to first
select that step, and then press the Loop key. In the same way, if
you wish to remove a loop point from a song step, simply press the
Loop key to remove the loop point. You may also clear all of the
loop points from a song by pressing and holding the Shift/Clear
key, and then pressing the Loop key. This will be most useful
when creating new songs rather than finding the existing loop
points one at a time and clearing them out.
All changes made to the loop point settings are automatically
saved by the sequencer.
SETTING A SONG’S TEMPO
Each song records the tempo it will play back at. Select the song
you wish to change the tempo of, and then press the Swing/Tempo
key. As you hold the Swing/Tempo key, the display will show the
current tempo setting. Using the Up/Down keys, you can change
the song’s tempo from 20 to 250 bpm. Once the tempo is correct,
release the Swing/Tempo key and the sequencer will automatically
save your changes.
27
ADVANCED SONG EDITING
It is possible to jump from the currently selected song step to
Pattern Edit mode and edit the pattern used for that song step. If a
song is at any point other than the first step of the first pattern and
you exit Song mode, the pattern used for the current song step will
automatically be selected with all its song parameters, for editing
in Pattern mode.
To clarify, let’s say that you are on Step 3 of a song and that
song step uses pattern 16 in bank 16 with a transpose value of +12.
If you exit Song mode, pattern 16 of bank 16 will be automatically
be selected in Pattern mode.
If you hold down the Xpose/Paste key while in Pattern Edit
mode, you will notice it is set for +12, just as it was for the song
step. In addition, the tempo the pattern plays at in Pattern mode
will also be the same as the tempo that the song was set for. This
allows you to easily edit a pattern and hear exactly what it will
sound like for the song.
You can now make changes to the pattern or even select a
different pattern you would like to use for the current step of the
song. If you change the tempo while in Pattern mode, it will
change the entire song’s tempo as well.
Once you are through editing the pattern for the current song
step, return to Song mode and all the changes will be accepted and
saved by the sequencer automatically.
If you are in Song mode and wish to return to the Pattern mode
without the sequencer automatically selecting the current song
step’s pattern, press the Shift/Clear key before you exit Song mode.
Note: To access the MIDI and SysEx modes, you must enter Song
mode. Once changes are made in either of these modes, if the
current song selected is at any location other than Step 1, you will
activate the Advanced Song Editing function. In this case, it would
be a good habit to always hit the Shift/Clear key before you exit
Song mode, which will return you to where you previously were in
Pattern mode before making adjustments to the MIDI and SysEx
parameters.
28
Song Name:
Step
Tempo:
Bank
Pattern
29
Song Name:
Transpose
Step
Tempo:
Bank
Pattern
30
Transpose
MIDI MODES
PLAYING AN EXTERNAL MIDI SOUND MODULE
You can play external MIDI sound modules with the Orb’s
sequencer.
For this setup, connect the MIDI Out of the Orb to the MIDI In of
the external MIDI sound module.
When accents or glides are programmed in the sequencer, they
may have a totally different effect on the MIDI sound module’s
sound, depending on how the module is set up to respond to
Velocity changes or two keys being played at the same time.
When a note in the Orb is programmed with an accent, a
Velocity value 127 is sent for that note.
When a glide is programmed into the Orb, the sound module
will see this as the first note overlapping the second note for a short
period of time.
To set up the MIDI mode of the Orb, press the Song key (the Song
key indicator should be on) to enter Song mode.
Press the Accent/MIDI key to enter MIDI mode.
The display will show whether MIDI is set for “INT” or “EXT.”
Use the Up/Down keys to select “INT,” for INTernal operation.
Press the Accent/MIDI key again and the display will show the
MIDI channel that the Orb will send note information on.
Use the Up/Down keys to select the same channel as set for the
external MIDI sound module.
Press the Accent/MIDI key again and the display will show the
program change page. Use the Up/Down keys to change this
setting to “Pcof” if you don’t want patterns in the Orb to select
patches remotely in the external MIDI sound module. If you would
like patterns in the Orb to select different patches in the MIDI
sound module, you can turn this feature on, or “Pcon”. Press the
Accent/MIDI key once again to exit MIDI mode.
You will need to set up the MIDI sound module to play the
sound you want on the same MIDI channel that the Orb is sending
note information on. Once this is done, select the pattern or song in
the Orb and press the Play key. The MIDI sound module should
now play the notes programmed into the Orb’s sequencer. Notice
that if you have the MIDI program change message turned on, and
the sound module responds to these messages, selecting different
patterns will also select different sound patches in the sound
module.
31
32
PLAYING VOLTAGE CONTROLLED SYNTHESIZERS
The Orb provides a CV (control voltage) output, along with a Gate
output for playing pre-MIDI and modular analog synthesizers. The
CV that the Orb generates is the most widely used 1 volt per octave
standard. The Gate signal that the Orb generates is a positive
polarity-type gate ranging from 0 volts (Note Off) to +12 volts
(Note On). This standard was used on the early Roland, Arp, and
Sequential Circuits analog synthesizers, and is still used by today’s
analog synthesizer companies to control their devices.
As a general rule, always turn the power off for devices when
making connections.
For this setup, first connect the CV Out of the Orb to the CV input
of the external analog device using a 1/4" mono cable. You will
also need to connect the Gate Out of the Orb to the Gate input of
the external device using another 1/4" mono cable.
And finally, if the synthesizer you are controlling has a
Velocity input, connect the Accent out of the Orb to the Velocity
input of the external device using another 1/4" mono cable.
Most analog synthesizers will automatically use these external
signals to control their circuits once they are plugged into the unit.
If your device requires you to set up parameters in that module to
use these external control signals, do that now.
Start playback of the Orb’s sequencer and you should hear the
notes programmed into the sequencer playing the external module.
You are free to select and edit different patterns within the Orb as
you normally would.
Notes that are programmed to glide in the sequencer will cause
the CV output to slew at the rate set by the Orb’s Glide Time
control located on the front panel.
You can also sync the Orb’s playback to an external MIDI
Clock while playing the external analog module.
33
USING THE ORB AS A MASTER CLOCK
Using the Orb as a master clock allows other sequencers and drum
machines to synchronize their playback to the Orb. In this
configuration, the Orb acts as the master device that allows it to
control the start, stop, and tempo for all the sequencers connected.
For this setup, connect the MIDI Out of the Orb to the MIDI In of
the devices you wish to synchronize. To set up the MIDI
parameters in the Orb, press the Song key (the Song indicator
should turn on) to enter Song mode.
Now press the Accent/MIDI key. This key’s indicator will turn on
when you are in MIDI mode. At this point the display will show
“INT” or “EXT.” Use the Up/Down keys to select “INT.” This
indicates that the Orb will operate under its own INTernal MIDI
settings.
Press the Accent/MIDI key again. The display will now show
which MIDI channel (1–16) the Orb sends and receives
information on. You can change the MIDI channel setting using
the Up/Down keys.
It does not matter which channel is selected for this configuration,
as the start, stop, and tempo information of the Orb is sent as a
global message that is not specific to any one MIDI channel.
Press the Accent/MIDI key again, and the display will show the
MIDI Program Change page. For more information on using MIDI
Program Change messages, please read page 41.
Press the Accent/MIDI key once more to exit MIDI mode. The
Accent/MIDI key indicator will now be off.
You will need to refer to the owner’s manual of the device you wish
to sync or slave to the Orb. You will need to set the device’s MIDI
parameters to respond to an external MIDI clock. When this has
been done, starting and stopping playback of the Orb will start and
stop playback of the slaved device. The tempo of the slave device is
now controlled by the Orb’s tempo.
35
Notice how multiple Orbs can be connected together, syncing to
one another while playing external sound modules.
36
SYNCING THE ORB TO AN EXTERNAL CLOCK
The Orb can synchronize its playback to any other MIDI
sequencer. In this setup, the Orb acts as a slave where the start,
stop, and tempo are all controlled by another MIDI device.
For this setup, connect the MIDI Out of the master sequencer to the
MIDI In of the Orb.
To set up the Orb’s MIDI mode, first press the Song key (the Song
key indicator should be on) to enter Song mode.
Now press the Accent/MIDI key to enter MIDI mode. The
Accent/MIDI key indicator will now be on, showing that you are in
MIDI mode, and the display will show whether MIDI is set for
“INT” or “EXT.”
Make sure that the master sequencer is set to a mode that allows it
to act as a master and send the start, stop, and tempo information.
Once this has been done, starting/stopping and changing the tempo
of the master device will also control these same parameters in
the Orb.
Avoid having the master sequencer send MMC or MTC as the
clock. All the Orb needs to receive is simple MIDI Clock/Start/Stop
commands.
Note: If the Play key indicator is on, the Orb works as a slave
(syncing its playback). When the Play key indicator is off and MIDI
mode is set to EXTernal, the Orb will receive MIDI Note data on
the selected MIDI channel and convert this information into CV,
Gate and Velocity analog signals, as described on the next page.
Use the Up/Down keys to change MIDI mode to “EXT.” In this
mode, the Orb will respond to EXTernal MIDI messages.
Press the Accent/MIDI key again, and the display will show which
MIDI channel the Orb will send and receive its MIDI
information on.
For the Orb to synchronize to a master sequencer, it does not
matter what MIDI channel is selected, as MIDI Start/Stop and
Clock commands are a global message not specific to any one
MIDI channel.
Press the Accent/MIDI key again and the display will show the
MIDI Program Change page. For more information on using MIDI
Program Change messages, please read page 41.
Press the Accent/MIDI key once more to exit MIDI mode. The
Accent/MIDI key indicator will now be off.
Select the song or pattern you want the Orb to play, and press the
Play key. The Play key indicator will turn on, showing that the
sequencer is now cued and ready to begin playback.
37
38
USING THE ORB AS A MIDI TO CV CONVERTER
When the Orb’s MIDI mode is set to EXTernal, you can convert
external MIDI messages from a MIDI controller or another MIDI
sequencer into the appropriate CV/Gate signals needed to control
an analog synthesizer connected to the Orb. This is similar to what
a standalone MIDI to CV converter does.
The only difference between this mode and syncing the Orb to
an external MIDI clock is that instead of pressing the Play key to
cue up MIDI sync, you simply don’t cue the Play key.
In this mode, when a MIDI note in the range of C2 to D#7 is
received by the Orb, the Orb will generate a positive polarity gate
at the Gate output for the duration the note is held. In addition, the
Orb will generate a control voltage representing the note’s pitch at
the CV output. A gliding note can be created by having the Orb
receive two MIDI notes played slightly overlapped in time.
In order for the Orb to generate an accented gate at the Accent
output, the MIDI note received must have a Velocity value greater
than 63. Any notes received with a Velocity value equal to or
less than 63 will not generate an accented gate signal.
For best results, always filter out or avoid sending MIDI
information to the Orb that it does not respond to, such as MIDI
CC, Aftertouch, Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, and so forth.
39
40
MIDI PROGRAM CHANGE
The Orb supports MIDI Program Change messages. These
messages allow other MIDI sequencers to remotely select patterns
to play within the Orb, or the Orb can select patterns remotely in
other MIDI sequencers that support Program Change messages.
The Program Change messages sent by the Orb can also be used to
select different sound patches in an external MIDI sound module.
and respond to MIDI Program Change messages. Use the
Up/Down keys to select the appropriate setting.
Press the Accent/MIDI key once more to exit MIDI mode. The
Accent/MIDI key indicator will now be off.
Press the Song key to exit Song mode and begin sending or
responding to Program Change messages.
If you would like the Orb to send or respond to MIDI Program
Change messages, you must first set up the MIDI parameters in
Song mode.
Note: The Orb only sends or responds to MIDI Program Change
messages while in Pattern mode. Song mode does not support these
messages.
Stop the unit’s playback, and press the Song key (the Song key
indicator should turn on) to enter Song mode.
To send program change messages to an external device, connect
the MIDI Out of the Orb to the MIDI In of the external device.
You will also need to make sure this external device is set up to
respond to Program Change messages on the same MIDI channel
selected in the Orb. When playback is stopped, selecting different
patterns in the Orb will send the appropriate Program Change
message to the external device. When the Orb is playing patterns,
each time a new pattern begins playback, the appropriate Program
Change message will be sent to the external device.
Press the Accent/MIDI key and the display will show “INT” or
“EXT.” When set to INTernal, the Orb will send Program Change
messages to external MIDI sequencers or sound modules whenever
a new pattern is selected. When set to EXTernal, the Orb will sync
its playback to an external MIDI sequencer. Program change
messages sent by the external MIDI sequencer can then be used to
select different patterns to play in the Orb. Use the Up/Down keys
to select the appropriate mode.
Press the Accent/MIDI key again and the display will show the
MIDI channel (1–16) that the Orb sends and receives information
on. Use the Up/Down keys to select the MIDI channel you wish to
send or receive MIDI Program Change messages on. The MIDI
channel must be the same as the device sending or receiving MIDI
Program Change messages.
Press the Accent/MIDI key again and the display will show the
setting for Program Change messages.
At this point, there are two options: “Pcof” or “PCon.” When
“Pcof” is selected, Program Change messages will not be sent or
received by the Orb. When “Pcon” is selected, the Orb will send
41
To allow an external sequencer to remotely select patterns in
the Orb, connect the MIDI Out of the external sequencer to the
MIDI In of the Orb. Make sure the external sequencer is set up to
send Program Change messages on the same MIDI channel
selected in the Orb.
Press the Play key on the Orb to cue up its playback to the
external sequencer. Pressing play on the external sequencer will
now begin playback of the Orb (syncing its playback to the
external sequencer), and any Program Change Messages received
while the Orb is syncing can be used to select different patterns to
play. The Orb will respond instantly to any Program Change
message received. If a pattern is at Step 8 when a program change
message is received, a new pattern will be selected and will start
playing from Step 8. If you want the patterns to be selected at even
measures, you will need to send a Program Change message at the
beginning of the measure.
42
MIDI SYSTEM EXCLUSIVE
The Orb supports MIDI System Exclusive messages (SysEx), for
saving and loading your patterns and songs to other Orb units, our
Revolution units, or MIDI SysEx computer programs.
The pattern and song SysEx format used in the Orb is universally
compatible with our Revolution product. In this way, patterns and
songs may be transferred from one unit to the other.
To do a SysEx Dump, you will need to connect the MIDI Out of
the Orb to the MIDI In of the device you are transferring data to,
and the MIDI Out of that device connected to the MIDI In of
the Orb.
Note: Only one MIDI cable is needed to load or save information,
as the Orb does not require a hand shake with the other device. By
using two MIDI cables as mentioned, loading or saving operations
can be done from either machine.
Make sure the Orb’s playback is stopped, then enter Song mode
and press the Glide/SysEx key.
The SysEx key indicator will turn on to show that you are in
SysEx mode. The display will show either “save” or “load.” Using
the Up/Down keys, you can specify whether the Orb will save or
load SysEx data.
If you are loading data into the Orb, you simply need to select
Load and then cue the unit to receive a transfer by pressing the
Play key.
If you are saving data, press the Glide/SysEx key again. The
display will show either “bank” or “song.” Use the Up/Down keys
to select whether the type of transfer will be banks of patterns or
entire songs. Press the SysEx key again and the display will show
which pattern bank or song will be transferred. Use the Up/Down
keys to select 1–16 or “all.” When 1–16 is selected, that bank of
patterns or that song will be transferred. If “all” is selected, you can
transfer all the patterns or songs in one process.
You are now ready to load or save SysEx data with the other
machine.
43
If you are saving the SysEx data from the Orb to another
device, you will first need to set that other device to a ready-toreceive mode. Once this has been done, select “save” in the Orb’s
SysEx mode, and then press the Play key on the Orb to start the
SysEx Dump.
The Play key indicator will turn on and the display will show
the packet number being saved during the SysEx transfer. When
the transfer is complete, the Play key indicator will turn off.
Consecutive saves may be made without entering and exiting SysEx
mode by simply selecting the song or patterns and pressing the
Play key. The receiving device must always be set up and armed to
receive data before the transfer is started.
If you are loading SysEx data into the Orb, first select “load” in the
Orb’s SysEx mode, then press the Play key to initiate the ready-toreceive mode. The Orb will then be armed and waiting for the
SysEx information to be sent. You may now start sending SysEx
information from the other device. The Play key indicator will turn
off when the transfer is complete. If a checksum error is
encountered during the transfer, the Glide/SysEx key indicator will
blink. If an error does occur, repeat the transfer again or exit the
SysEx mode to clear the error.
When pattern banks or songs are loaded using SysEx, they are
placed in the location they were originally saved from. However,
you may change a pattern bank or song’s location by editing the
sixth byte of the general header, remembering that 0=1, 4=5,
15=16, and so on. The pattern bank or song can then be loaded to
the new location in the Orb.
To exit SysEx mode, press the Glide SysEx key until its
indicator turns off, returning you to Song mode. Always exit
SysEx mode before trying to edit or play patterns and songs.
44
SYSEX INFORMATION
MFG ID=07
CHANNEL#=01
MODEL#=77
RAW DATA TRANSFER/PACKET=512 BYTES
PACKET SIZE ENCODED=604 BYTES
GENERAL HEADER INFORMATION
PACKET SIZE INFORMATION
1 BANK
1 PACKET
604 BYTES
ALL BANKS
16 PACKETS
9,499 BYTES
1 SONG
14 PACKETS
ALL SONGS
224 PACKETS 132,843 BYTES
When transferring SysEx data to another device, make
sure the receiving device has the available buffer size
before attempting to download or save the files.
SIZE=11 BYTES
General header is sent once to identify packets to follow.
CONTENTS
F0=SYSEX START
07=MFG ID
01=CHANNEL#
77=MODEL ID
XX=BANK/SONG, 0=BANK, 1=SONG
XX=BANK/SONG#, 0–15, 16=ALL
XX=LSB
XX= not used
XX=MSB
F7=SYSEX STOP
PACKET INFORMATION
SIZE=604 BYTES
Packet is sent for every 512 bytes of raw data.
CONTENTS
F0=SYSEX START
07=MFG ID
01=RECEIVE ID
77=MODEL ID
XX=PACKET COUNT (00–7F)
XX=597 BYTES OF ENCODED DATA
XX=CHECKSUM
F7=SYSEX STOP
45
8,313 BYTES
46
ADDITIONAL NOTES
CREATING A DEFAULT PATTERN
As stated earlier in the sequencer operations section, clearing
patterns only removes Note On and duration information. You
might want to create your own default pattern and save it to a
special pattern location, such as bank 16, pattern 16. This pattern
could then be programmed however you wish, perhaps with all 16th
notes written at the pitch of C3. Or something that you would
consider a nice starting point for creating your other patterns. This
pattern could then be copied once, and pasted every time you wish
to create a new pattern with the default settings.
SYNCING THE ORB’S PLAYBACK
In the previous MIDI MODE section, we discuss how you can play
external MIDI sound modules and CV/Gate type synthesizers with
the Orb’s sequencer.
In the setups we describe, the Orb is playing these external
devices while using its own internal sequencer settings. You may
also sync the Orb’s sequencer playback to any external MIDI
sequencer while performing these same operations.
RESETTING A SONG TO STEP 1
When in Song mode, you can reset the song to Step 1 or the
beginning of the song by pressing the Shift/Clear key when
playback is stopped. When a song is playing, the Shift/Clear key
(used in conjunction with the Play key) is used to determine the
direction that patterns will play, either forward or backward. If you
are syncing to an external clock while in Song mode, when
playback stops, you may be at some song step location other than
Step 1. If the Orb receives a MIDI continue message, playback will
resume from the current location of the song. However, if you wish
to restart the song from the beginning, or Step 1, you will need to
un-cue the Orb’s playback by pressing the Play key (turning the
Play key indicator off), then press the Shift/Clear key to take you
back to the beginning of the song, and finally re-cue the Orb by
pressing the Play key once again (Play key indicator will be on).
47
THE LOGIC OF PLAYING PATTERNS BACKWARD
Most sequencers that allow you to play a pattern forward and
backward will start at Step 1 and play sequentially to Step 16, then
reverse their direction playing Step 16 again and followed by 15, 14,
13, all the way until Step 1 is played again. The problem with this
method is that it creates double hits at a measure’s boundaries, and
can throw off the timing of a pattern’s rhythm.
The Orb is unique in the way that patterns are played backward,
by always playing Step 1 as the first step even when counting
backward. This then allows all the down beats to remain on down
beats, and off beats to remain on off beats. You should find that this
produces a much more pleasing rhythmic experience.
Timing
!
Forward
1
2
3
*
4
5
!
6
7
*
8
9
!
10
11
*
12
13
!
14
15
*
16
Backward
1
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
The chart above shows the alignment of beats playing forward
compared to how they play backward. The “!” represent quarter
notes, while the “*” represents 8th notes. Notice how similar beats
are interchangeable.
REMIXING PATTERNS
When patterns are remixed, if the sustained portion of a note is
selected to play, nothing will be heard. This is because the Orb
stores all of a note’s information in the step that represents the Note
On or beginning of a sustained note. The sustained portion of a note
is there to simply represent the duration of that note. However, if a
sustained note is created by gliding one step’s pitch to another step
with the same pitch value, you can create the same sustaining effect.
When a pattern is remixed and one of these glided notes is selected
to play, it will play and even glide to the pitch of the note that
follows. Remember this when remixing patterns. Both methods will
produce different results, so experiment to find which works best for
your music.
48
REMIXING SLICED AUDIO BEATS
There are several software and hardware devices now available
that allow you to sample a measure’s worth of music and slice it up
into individual beats. If you have access to one of these devices,
you may benefit by using the Orb to remix these audio slices into
new arrangements.
For the best results, divide the original measure of sampled
beats into 16 equal parts. Map them to a keyboard so that playing
something like C2, C#2, D2, D#2, E2, F2, F#2, and so on, plays
them back in their original sequential order. Create a similar
pattern in the Orb to play these individual beat slices in their
original sequential order.
Be sure to connect the Orb’s MIDI Out to the MIDI In of the
device playing the sliced audio beats. Once you have your pattern
created to play these slices back in their original order, you can let
the fun begin. First try playing the pattern forward to make sure it
sounds similar to the original. Next try playing the pattern
backward. And finally, go nuts remixing these beat slices using the
Orb’s Remix feature. Remember that the Remix feature can be
activated at any time within a measure, so you might try playing a
pattern normally, and activating the Remix feature for only a
specific part of the music to create variations. The key is to
experiment. Have fun!
REMIXED PATTERNS DO NOT PLAY BACKWARD
Whenever the Remix function is activated and you try to play a
pattern backward, it will play backward but it will no longer be
remixed. The Pattern Reverse feature overrides the Remix feature,
so that patterns will only play backward sequentially. If the Remix
feature is activated and the pattern is playing backward, you can
change the playback to forward to resume having the pattern
remixed again. This can lead to some interesting results as well, so
experiment!
49
TIPS ON PLAYING THE XS WITH THE ORB
When playing the XS semi-modular synthesizer with the Orb, there
are a several things one can do that might not be obvious at first.
Since the XS can be played using both MIDI and CV/Gate signals,
it is often advantageous to use both methods simultaneously.
Connect the MIDI Out jack of the Orb to the MIDI In of the XS.
Connect the CV Out of the Orb to the CV In of the XS, the Gate
Out of the Orb to the Gate In of the XS, and the Accent Out of the
Orb to the Velocity In of the XS.
Begin playing a pattern within the Orb to play the XS. Now you
can adjust the CV Track control settings in the XS to determine if
an oscillator is to controlled via MIDI or the external CV signal.
Start by setting the CV Track control to the A B setting, and tuning
both oscillators so they play in true unison.
Now set the CV Track control to the AX B, or A BX settings. The
first thing you will notice is that the oscillators become slightly
detuned, which can be useful for creating an instant chorus-type
effect.
Another useful aspect of this setting is that one oscillator is being
controlled via MIDI and the other via the CV In jack. When notes
are set to glide within the Orb, you now have a separate glide time
control for each oscillator (using the Glide Time controls on the
Orb and the XS). Try playing a pattern in the Orb that contains
gliding notes, and set each Glide Time control to different settings
for all sorts of unusual sound possibilities.
You will also notice that by using the Accent Out of the Orb
connected to the Velocity In of the XS, you get a much wider range
of Velocity control within the XS. This is because the Accent Out
of the Orb ranges from 0 to +10 volts (a full range), compared to
the Velocity MIDI messages the Orb sends, which will be either 63
or 127 for non-accented/accented notes (or only half the full
range).
TRANSPOSING THE XS USING MIDI
It is possible to play the XS with the Orb, and to be able to
transpose the played pitches in the XS using a MIDI keyboard.
For this setup, you will need to connect the CV Out of the Orb to
the OSC MOD In of the XS, the Gate Out of the Orb to the Gate In
of the XS, and the Accent Out of the Orb to the Velocity In of the
XS. Connect the MIDI Out of any MIDI controller or keyboard to
the MIDI In of the XS.
In the XS, set the CV Track control to the A B setting. In the
Oscillator Modulation section, set the A Mod Select to EXT with
the A Amount control turned fully clockwise, and set the B Mod
Select control to EXT with the B Amount control turned fully
clockwise.
This then allows the Orb to control the pitch of both oscillators
in the XS using the modulation section, while MIDI notes received
by the MIDI controller or keyboard are used to transpose the
oscillators.
Start out by playing MIDI note C2 on your MIDI keyboard, and
begin playback of the Orb sequencer. You should hear the XS
playing notes just as they are programmed into the Orb. While the
sequence plays you can play notes on your MIDI keyboard in the
range of C2 to C7 to transpose the pitch the XS oscillators play.
Notice that the transpose takes effect as soon as a new pitch is
played on the MIDI keyboard.
As an alternative, if you have another analog sequencer or analog
keyboard with a CV output, you could substitute either of them in
place of the MIDI keyboard to transpose oscillators in the XS.
In this case, you would not need to connect a MIDI keyboard to
the XS MIDI in. Instead you would connect the CV Out of your
sequencer or analog keyboard to the CV In of the XS. Then set the
CV Track control of the XS to the ABX setting.
USING MULTIPLE ORBS
Consider the advantages of using multiple Orb units to play a
single analog synthesizer. By synchronizing the playback of
multiple Orb units, they can all be played back simultaneously in
perfect time with one another.
Now imagine having, for example, three Orb units controlling
an XS semi-modular synthesizer. Each Orb could be used to
control a different section of the XS. But the advantage is that each
Orb can be doing its own thing. So let’s say that you have one Orb
assigned to control the pitch of the oscillators in the XS. The
second Orb controls the filter cutoff, or velocity of notes in the XS.
The third Orb controls the triggering of the envelopes in the XS.
Now that each element has been reduced to its simplest form,
you can change the pattern controlling the note pitches without
changing the rhythm of the XS and vice versa. Change the filter
cutoff frequency or note velocity without the pitch or rhythm
changing.
But the fun really begins when you play with patterns of
various lengths within each Orb. The result is pure polyrhythm
heaven.
You could also use two Orbs, each controlling one of the
oscillators within the XS to generate duophonic synth lines.
ATTACHING THE ORB TO THE XS
AND RACK MOUNTING MULTIPLE ORB UNITS
The Orb is the same size as our XS unit and has been designed so it
is possible to attach the Orb to either or both ends of the XS. The
Orb has also been designed so that when three units are attached
side by side, and rack ears are added to the outer two units, the
group will fit into a standard 19" rack enclosure.
For information on how to do this, please see the additional
documentation provided on the Orb page of our website.
Be sure to check the Orb product page of our website for any
future tips and tricks or additions to the information provided in
this manual.
51
52
CALIBRATING THE ORB’S CV OUTPUT
The Orb provides a single access hole on its bottom chassis for
calibrating the CV output. This trimmer is set at the factory but
may need to be adjusted over time.
To make adjustments to the trimmer, we recommend using a small
flat-blade screwdriver.
Before making any adjustments, turn the unit’s power on and let
the unit warm up for at least 15 minutes.
You may find it easier to calibrate this trimmer by setting the Orb
on its side on a soft surface so you have access to the front panel
controls and the bottom trimmer access hole at the same time.
First create two different patterns, each containing only one note.
The first pattern should be programmed to play a pitch of C1, and
the second pattern should play a pitch of C6.
Make sure that the Orb’s Xpose setting is set to “0.”
If you have a voltmeter, plug a short 1/4" cable into the CV Out
jack and connect the leads of your voltmeter to the other end of the
1/4" cable. Play the pattern containing C1 and check the voltage
being generated. Play the pattern containing C6 and adjust the
trimmer until the voltage generated is 5 volts higher than that of
C1. You may need toggle back and forth a few times, checking the
voltage of C1 and then adjusting for C6 until the difference is
exactly 5 volts.
If you don’t have a voltmeter, connect the CV Out and Gate Out to
a 1V/Oct synthesizer that is properly calibrated. Play the two
patterns containing C1 and C6 while adjusting T1 until the external
synthesizer plays the correct scaling. A slight adjustment is usually
all that is needed.
Note: This method is not as accurate as using a voltmeter.
53
54
SPECIFICATIONS
SEQUENCER
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
NUMBER OF PATTERNS: 256 patterns (16 banks x 16 patterns)
RECORDED PATTERN CONTENT: note duration, pitch, accent,
glide, loop point, time signature, swing amount
NUMBER OF STEPS PER PATTERN: 3/4 time=12 steps max,
4/4 time=16 steps max
NOTE PITCH RANGE: C1 to D#6 (internal), C2 to D#7 (MIDI)
LOOP POINT: 1 to 16 notes per pattern to loop
PATTERN TRANSPOSE: from –36 to +36 notes
OTHER PATTERN FEATURES: pattern remixing, play patterns
forward or backward, copy and paste patterns, pattern shifting,
permanent pattern transposing, multiple pattern cueing, LED chase, realtime editing of pattern information while the sequencer is running or
stopped, sequencer automatically saves all editing
REMIX: 256 variations for each pattern and song
NUMBER OF SONGS: 16
NUMBER OF STEPS PER SONG: up to 3,580 measures
RECORDED SONG CONTENT: tempo, bank/pattern for each step,
pattern transpose for each step, song loop point
SONG PATTERN TRANSPOSE: from –36 to +36 notes steps for each
song step
TEMPO RANGE: from 20 to 250 bpm
MIDI FUNCTIONS: On/Off, channel selectable from 1 to 16, Program
Change messages for selecting patterns or sounds remotely
MIDI SYNC: internal or external clock
MIDI SYSEX: for dumping patterns and songs
MIDI DATA: note on/off, pitch, velocity, (transmitted and received)
MIDI TO CV/GATE CONVERTER
INTERFACING
MIDI: In, Thru, Out
1/4" JACKS: 1V/Oct CV out, +12V Gate out, +10V Accent out
POWER
12V AC input, current rating of 1 amp or 1,000 mA
DIMENSIONS
7" (L) x 6" (W) x 2.75" (H)
UNIT WEIGHT
1.75 lbs.
55
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