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Messages - ToyKeeper

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Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: May 06, 2020, 09:15:50 AM »
I haven't been around much lately...  was procrastinating about music because I was frustrated with my process.  Doing all the sequencing with hardware is a nice idea, but in practice I've found it really limits what I can do.  So I finally broke down and tried a DAW seriously for the first time.  I'm basically just using it to record and arrange clips from hardware... no VSTs or effects or anything.

This is my first song in Reaper.  It uses my "Atmegabrute" thing for the bass and guitar parts, which are literally all the melodic parts except for some backing chords.  And I had the Atmegatron turned up relatively high (to put it mildly), so it's contributing most of the sound in this particular mix.

It's not a pure Atmegetron sound, since I put it through a resonant filter and four different stages of overdrive... once on the Microbrute's input level, once with the "brute" knob, and at two gain stages on my cheap analog mixer.  But still.  Most of this song is technically coming from a Soulsby synth.  The 'brute doesn't sound anywhere near as nice without the Atmegatron screaming into it.  :)

"Four Chords Explored"

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: February 13, 2020, 06:03:56 AM »
Quote from: Antron4.2.0
Here's a silly little sequence i did with the oscitron and an arturia microbrute. also featuring Boss DR-202 and my Korg prologue  ;D

That's a really relaxing tune to listen to on repeat.  It's simple, but has a good ebb and flow which makes it nice in the background without making the ears tired.

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: November 20, 2018, 02:41:55 AM »
I made another thing.  Just a quick sketch, really, but it's a NES-styled 8-bit tune so it's kind of relevant.

I mostly made it to get the idea written down, so I can go back and finish it later.  But then the Smash Ultimate trailer came out, so I tried their thing with my thing...  and it fits!

Nothing fancy, no effects -- just square waves, some vibrato, and drums.  I find I really like prototyping songs that way.  It keeps the emphasis on melodic composition instead of patch design, and a square wave has a rich set of harmonics so I can really hear which notes fit together and which don't.

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: July 13, 2018, 04:56:17 AM »
Much of the reason for the delay earlier is because I wanted to finish the song.  So earlier this week I decided to give it another try, using the Digitakt to do drums and MIDI sequencing.  This time things went much better.  The Atmegatron still helped make a nice dirty growling bassline, but I ended up using other instruments for the other parts because I only have one Atmegatron and it's all played realtime.

So here is "Easy Does It", finally finished:

I would love to hear what people think of this.  It's my first attempt at making an actual song on a hardware sequencer, driving other synths in real time.

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: July 13, 2018, 04:51:04 AM »
hey ToyKeeper,

after I could hear the songs in peace at home :D - here are some thoughts about it:

easy does it draft 1:
  these are really nice lead sounds and melodies that you created there. The recording sounds a bit overdriven, but maybe it was your intention. Personally, I think it would sound better, if not so distorted - especially in the bass area, there is a lot lost by that. You can certainly rasp at one point or another, otherwise thats quite passable... I would cut it a bit more. The combination of the bass melody with the lead sounds is really cool ...

digitest 1: is the arpeggio sound by atmegatron? it sounds nice melodic ... although the part is quite strong. the other sounds in the background are not bad either;) not misunderstand me - I really like both tunes;)

Thanks for listening!  It really does mean a lot.  Also, sorry for the delay...

Let's see...  the main instrument in both songs is the "atmegabrute", which is two synths going through a delay effect.  The Atmegatron provides a chiptune sound, which is routed into a Microbrute as an external oscillator.  The Microbrute mixes this with a folded triangle wave, a PWM'd square wave, and an octave-lower sub-oscillator.  The mix goes through a variable resonant filter, then to a beat-matched delay effect.

To shape the sound, I only modified three parameters while recording:
* Atmegatron volume (from zero to massively overdriven)
* Sub-oscillator volume (from zero to massively overdriven)
* Filter base frequency (on mod wheel)

This provided three dimensions worth of expressive space to explore.  Most of it relied heavily on overdriven waveforms with the edge taken off by a filter...  because overdriven distorted basslines are what the Microbrute really excels at.  That's why all its knobs go up to 200%, and why it has a "brute factor" knob to feed the signal into itself.  I have the line in adjusted similarly, so the Atmegatron hits full volume a bit less than halfway up, and then gets distorted as I turn it up further.

As long as I'm using an intentionally-dirty analog subtractive synth, I'm making its spectrum very messy and cutting or emphasizing the relevant frequencies pretty heavily.

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: June 20, 2018, 03:41:31 AM »
Well, as it turns out, dragging my feet was an understatement.  I still haven't gotten back to it, months later.

So, um, here's that first draft I made, complete with badly improvised melodies I played with no particular plan in mind.  And sort of a club remix at the end:

I've spent most of my music time lately looking for a better way to do midi sequencing, so I can capture ideas while exploring and then clean them up for a more organized render later.  And I just got a Digitakt to help with this, and to serve as a drum machine.  Hopefully it'll help me stop dragging my feet and actually get some songs done.

So far though, all I've done is hook it up, debug a few things, and record a quick sound test.  Here's that sound test, a simple repeating pattern while I mess with the knobs on my Atmegabrute to make something like a sonic rainbow:

I really like the combination of Atmegatron and Microbrute, retro digital plus retro analog in a single dirty sound.

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: February 10, 2018, 03:00:16 AM »
here is my first tune, where the odytron sets the rhythm and Atmegatron plays the melody - regardless of any other instruments I used for that song (SID, 303, virus, p2k).

That's pretty good!  Very classic chip sound plus more.  I'm not entirely sure whether the lead in a middle section was a processed Atmega or something else though.  It's, um ...  Let's see.  The song structure seems like the patterns are laid out as "AAbBBCCDDEEFFFfDDDd".  The lead in part C is what I'm not sure about.  Overall though, I think it went together well except a couple spots which stood out to me.  I found the transition from "A" to "b" a bit odd, and also what seemed like missing notes in the melody of part D, but mostly I thought it was very good.  And though the notes seemed at first to be missing, it worked as a nice effect when D came back later.

I've been dragging my feet on a song lately.  I have most of it ready but still need to record the melody tracks more carefully.  Aside from drums, the entire thing is made using what I call the "Atmegabrute"...  a.k.a. an Atmegatron routed into a Microbrute, then through a KP3 for delay.  Same midi signal sent to Atmegatron and Microbrute, so it effectively uses the Atmegatron as an oscillator on the Microbrute, running through all the same envelopes and filters and such.  It gives me a nice 8-bit tone but with extra bite and an easier interface for shaping the sound.  Hopefully I'll finish the song soon so I can put it online.

Oh, um, the song structure thing comes to mind largely because it's a thing I'm bad at and my current in-progress song is largely to try to get better at it.  I laid out a structure with the bass line and then tried to put other stuff on top.  The bass goes "intro ABAC bridge ABAC end", and I'm still working out the melodies.

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: December 12, 2017, 08:30:41 AM »
The main difficulty I ran into with this setup is that the KP3's effects don't have key tracking.  ... I may see if I can patch the Atmegatron through a Microbrute instead.

... you can control some parameter of your kaos pad (x-,y-axes) by definable CCs from your arturia keystep or even OP-1

I went the Microbrute route, and it works very nicely with the Atmegatron.  I can basically treat the Atmegatron as another oscillator, using all the same processing that its built-in oscillators go through.  If I send identical midi to both devices, they stay completely in sync and I can even use key tracking.

It sounds pretty good by itself, but if I want to add extra depth to the sound I can turn on the built-in oscillators at the same time.  This adds a whole nother dimension to the Atmegatron, combining 8-bit digital sounds with retro analog waveforms to expand the sound and make it growl.  And, of course, it still goes through the KP3 for a variety of other effects.

Now I just need to get a DAW set up so I can finish the last few songs I started...

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: October 20, 2017, 05:14:56 AM »
Wow! ToyKeeper ... good chippy sounding - only the beat sounds to me boring (the slip) - it has not much variety. But the lead & arp are simple great. Are the lead sound & arp from Atmegatron and how did you made it multitimbral? - did you record single tracks one after the other?

To make it multitimbral, I recorded several tracks one at a time and layered them.  Everything in the songs came from the Atmegatron, except for the drums and the vocal sample.  Mostly, I use the OP1 as a 4-track tape recorder and drum machine, recording and arranging performances from other instruments.

Drums in The Slip were indeed pretty boring...  I didn't really even try to do anything with that.  It's somewhat more interesting in the second song though.

The main difficulty I ran into with this setup is that the KP3's effects don't have key tracking.  If I do a resonant lowpass delay, for example, the lowpass frequency doesn't change per-note...  so the resonance stays at one pitch and causes ear fatigue.  I may see if I can patch the Atmegatron through a Microbrute instead, with identical midi sent to both devices, in order to get key tracking on the filters and perhaps add an extra envelope and LFO.

Everything else / Re: Soulsby Station
« on: October 14, 2017, 10:12:58 PM »
Thought i'd post my first live performance with my Atmegatron. Let me know what you think.

Cool, that's a nice relaxing tune with a good mix of soft and crunchy sounds.

I'm not entirely clear on your setup.  Some of the cables are hidden, and it seems there's a sequencer running somewhere.  How is your audio chain set up, and what's driving the Atmegatron, and which parts come from which devices?  It looks like pads from the Blofeld, drums obviously from the MachineDrum, and the analog bit at the end from the BassStation, with some crunchy leads from the Atmegatron, but that still leaves at least one instrument unaccounted for and I'm not sure how you've set up timbre control on the Atmegatron.

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: June 17, 2017, 06:56:00 AM »
I made another song today with the same setup, Atmegatron to KP3 to OP-1.  I call it "Perspective", as explained below:

"The longer we go on, the more we can see when we look back. Hidden meanings emerge; deeper layers become more clear in retrospect. We get the jokes which were too subtle or dark to catch the first time, and we laugh... even if it's bittersweet, even if maybe the first time through we cried in pain and confusion. It's all a matter of perspective."

It's a slow burn, but I like it.  I hope you will too.

Everything else / Re: Post your songs!
« on: April 22, 2017, 01:04:54 PM »
Today I made my first Atmegatron song.  I call it "The Slip":
Atmegatron: All synths and sound effects.
OP-1: Drums, voice.
KP3: Beat-matched echo effect.
The vocal was a random clip from the radio.

Everything else / Post your songs!
« on: April 22, 2017, 12:55:13 PM »
If you've made music with a Soulsby synth, post it here so others can hear it!

Okay, I recognize this isn't the most active forum, but with any luck maybe I won't be the only one participating?  :)

Software technical support / Re: Flashing from Linux
« on: April 20, 2017, 05:27:38 AM »
After a little experimenting, I found the right options to use.  I had thought it needed a USB-specific device, since "arduino" is configured as a legacy serial device while "arduino-ft232r" seemed more appropriate for this TTL-232R cable, but here is what actually worked:

Code: [Select]
avrdude -c arduino -P /dev/ttyUSB0 -p m328p -Uflash:w:atmegatron_2.4/AtmegatronV2-4.hex:i
I also had to experiment a little to discover that the atmegatron actually needs to be connected to its normal power supply in order to flash.  On my other devices, the only power at flash time comes from the flashing cable itself.

No special drivers or anything are needed.  Just avrdude.  This was in debian/testing with "apt install avrdude".  I may also have other relevant stuff installed since I use other little Atmel chips regularly, but I don't think any of the other packages are relevant for merely swapping firmware on the atmegatron.

To install factory presets, avrdude has other options to read/write eeprom.  I'll figure that out later.  :)

Software technical support / Flashing from Linux
« on: April 19, 2017, 04:37:34 AM »
Hi, just wondering if anyone has flashed an Atmegatron from Linux?

I figure I can do it with avrdude if I find the right options to specify the programmer and port, shouldn't be much different than when I flash attiny chips.  I haven't used a FTDI cable like this before though, so it might take me a bit to get it to communicate.

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