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Sequencer For Plonk

#1

Got Plonk a few days ago, and I’ve got it making noise and that’s about it.

Trying to use Beat Step Pro as a sequencer and I’m having a hell of a time figuring out how to sequence it. Using a kick or snare by itself is fine, it sequences logically like that. But getting a kit or melody sequenced is not going so well.

I finally got it to alternate kick and snare, but can’t get a real beat going. It’s likely some setting in the best Step Pro that I can’t figure out. (I’m using regular sequencer, not drum sequencer, which I’ve seen recommended).

So two questions,

  1. any tips for working with plonk and beatstep?

  2. i would love to get a few recommendations for sequencers to buy specifically for plonk.

Thanks!

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#2

Can you shed some light on how you have it wired up?

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#3

Sure! I started out just as the manual says:

-Utilizing Sequencer 1 on the Beat Step Pro
Beat Step -> Plonk
-Gate Out -> Trigger In
-Pitch Out -> Pitch In
-Velocity Out -> Velocity In

*That produced sound, but basically just a sixteenth note click sound.
*I then plugged Beat Step Pro Drum Sequencer Trigger 1 out into Plonk Trigger In. It made an actual sound. Preset 1, It made a kick sound. It followed the pattern I programmed, for the most part. Every now and again, it inserted a random kick or two that wasn’t programmed.This was running both sequencer 1 and drum sequencer at the same time.

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#4

It could be that the BSP Pitch output might be driving the Plonk into an inaudible range, disconnect the PITCH and VEL Jacks from the Plonk and see if the BSP pad keyboard will make the plonk fire without them, it will be mono-tone, regardless of the note. If you hear something, then plug pitch back in, and try cranking the pitch knob up or down on the Plonk, while pressing the BSP keys, see if you can find a range that makes noise, You can also try changing the octave of the pad keyboard on the BSP.

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#5

@slowwild has a good point. When I had a BSP I found I had to step it down by at least two octaves before I could get a usable range with my modular stuff.

Also, down the road once you get Plonk working more melodically it’s worth connecting your velocity out to different inputs on Plonk and experimenting with that. For example if you connect velocity to the decay input, hitting a note harder will make it ring out longer.

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#6

Cool, thank you. That worked.

So, now that I’ve crossed that roadblock,I see the manual says in kit mode the trigger will alternate between kick, snare, and hat. I assume that’s what pitch controls. I’m trying to wrap my head around how I program a kick-Snare-hat pattern.

I assume for a melodic pattern, I turn a step on, then use the rotary encoder to select the corresponding note. I’m unclear as to how to control the drum kit pattern.

And finally, I’m definitely purchasing a sequencer module in addition, and would love to hear what fellow Plonk users prefer, and possibly, why you prefer it.

Thanks so much for the help.

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#7

Kit Mode isn’t really the best way to think of it. What’s happening is you’re assigning preset selection to the MOD input. So if you select preset selection as your MOD target, you can define a range of presets then choose presets via CV. You can make sounds alternate, but you can also make things more complex.

With most of the “drum kits” these are groups of 4 presets: kick, snare, hihat, percussion. These presets have MOD already set up with the preset ranges defined. Since the Kick is always the first preset, 0V will select the kick, and that will be your default sound if you don’t have anything going in. Then you can use either your pitch or velocity output to the MOD input to select the different presets for each step.

You will have to scroll using the knobs to find what ranges correspond to each preset sound. The range of presets that you select will determine how wide a range will trigger each preset. If you only have 4 presets selected like in the drum kits, each sound will have a pretty wide range, but if you select 50 presets or more, each will have a pretty narrow voltage range. Make sure the input attenuator is turned up while you are figuring out what voltages trigger what sounds, otherwise the MOD input wont receive the voltages.

Plonk will work well with any sequencer, really. So it depends more on what type of sequencer you like the behaviour and interface of.

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#8

Very helpful. Thank you. I’m getting closer to using it correctly. My mutable instruments grids came in, and I’m working a combo of that and the beatstep. Not quite there yet, but getting closer

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#9

I’m thinking perhaps I calibrated improperly, and that may be the genesis of my continued trouble getting a beat out of it.

I made sure the attenuators was not attenuating, with no trigger output, plonk reads 50. This is my issue, but I couldn’t figure out what note would give it 1v and 5v. The BSP was seemingly all over the place, registering between 6000 and I believe 64000. My assumption is the display is a power of 1000.

Once calibrated, I should be in better shape.

-When assigning the mod control to preset, I only see two numbers to assign. Judging by the previous posts, I should be able to assign any number of presets.

-From there, I seem to be missing how to assign a specific voltage or voltage range to the preset.

-and still having conceptual or contractual issues thinking about how to design a sequence. Finding it hard Thinking/visualizing a sequence in any other way than how I’ve done it my entire life, on a typical grid step sequencer.

I watched the plonk videos on the site over again, and from the perspective of interaction, I like how the demonstrator is using mutamix to control the sequence, although conceptually I don’t understand what’s going on. I need to watch it again. It appears the trigger is every 1/16th note and mutamix fader is attenuating voltage to mod input. Which seems to be somewhat in line with my narrow traditional approach to sequencing.

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#10

I’ve never felt this inept with an instrument or music machine. Feeling like I am almost there.

I’m hoping to make a sequencer decision tonight. I’ve looked at so many sequencers that I’ve caused more uncertainty in myself.

I could use a suggestion for a sequencer that is a hybrid of the typical step sequencer I’m used to, and capable of operating in other ways too.

Price doesn’t matter, I’d prefer to have something with more features than necessary, I hate limitations, and I’d rather buy ola sequencer with all the functional bells and whistles than to end up buying several over the course of the year because I’ve run into a limitation.

Elsewhere I was told I could use something like Umidi or even the BSP to program
The sequence in aLive in the typical method I am used to. I know BSP does midi to cv, but again, can’t conceptualize how designing the sequence looks and feels.

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#11

When you use PRESET STEP mode, the first number is the first preset, and the second number is the last preset in your range of selected presets. 0v will select the first preset and sending higher voltages will select other presets within the range.

Did you try to recalibrate your Plonk pitch input? If so you should send it 0v and 1v, definitely not 1v and 5v.

The Mutamix has 5v normalled to each fader. So if nothing’s connected to an input, as you raise the level of a fader it goes from 0 - 5V. The Mutamix videos explains this in more detail, but unless you’re planning to buy one it’s probably not necessary.

I would recommend making it work with the BSP first before you buy another sequencer and potentially add another layer of confusion.

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#12

This is my first thought to get 3 drum channels on the BSP to 3 sounds on a Plonk kit.

TRIG

  • Send 3 trigger gates direct from the back of the BSP to an OR module.
  • Send the OR to TRIG the Plonk.

MOD

  • Send the same 3 trigger gates direct from the back BSP to 3 separate VCAs which will each let 0v, .5v, and 1v through 3 AHR envelopes (with 0 attack, 0 release).
  • Send those envelopes to a MIN or MAX like the Dopfer A-172, which will determine which Plonk sound choke the other sounds in the event that any of your drum triggers overlap.
  • Send that to Plonk’s MOD.
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#13

I’m not too familiar with the Doepfer A-172, but would that pass the individual voltage values from the VCA?

If you have a mixing VCA like the Quad VCA you could just take the third or fourth output to get the sum of all preceding channels, but you wouldn’t get the choking.

I think it would be easier to just send one trigger output to Plonk, then use the velocity out to select which preset you want to trigger on each step. Of course with this method you can’t perform with 3 drum pads.

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#14

The Doepfer is just a MIN/MAX CV logic module. You could mix the attenuated signals, but then the sum voltage of them could be neither of the sounds you intended to trigger. At least with a MIN/MAX the defaults two triggers happen simultaneously would be based on the voltage orders high to low.

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#15

OK this was overly complex. I found a WAY simpler solution.

Looks like the BeatStep Pro has 10V drum gates when in " V-trigger" mode. So you could just MULT those into two sets; TRIGS and MODS, combine the TRIGS with an OR logic, send that to Plonk’s TRIG. Run each of the MODS gates through attennuation to fit into the 0-5V range Plonk uses for the Preset Step mode, then combine those various voltages with another OR, and send that to Plonk’s MOD. The OR would send the MAX voltage when more than 1 trig hit at the same time. Theoretically one OR module and a Triatt could route a whole kick/hat/snare setup.

Speaking of the Triatt, looks like it was discontinued today.

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#16

Yeah that sounds like a good way to set it up and avoid the summing triggering a fourth preset.

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#17

Nice post! Thanks for that! I’ll give that a go.

And now I have some clarity on presets and the links; and I think plenty of information to get me up and running.

I’ll have some time this evening to work it out. I’ll report back.

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#18

Hey Drooh,

Let me know if that worked. I don’t have all the utility modules to try it at the moment.

Thanks!

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#19

Well I made a little headway, not all the way there yet. I’m about to give it another go today/tomorrow.

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