So, I ordered the Blackbox. After twisting my head around it and reading all the posts here I guess it will work pretty well with what I have in mind. I will keep you updated…
Looking forward to it.
I found a pretty cool way to sequence it from the Digitone - using the Digitone’s four midi tracks, I can run them all from the same channel and use the note trigger to launch one shots and loops directly from the Black Box. It all runs perfectly in sync, from single kicks drums to 32 bar loops, IF you -
Let the Black Box sync the Digitone AND launch the Tone’s sequencer from the Black Box.
Use chords to trigger multiple trigs on one step - and if you want to tweak individual values on a step, such as velocity for example but still keep both on the same step, you can use microtiming to separate them as two on the Digitone’s grid, for editing. I couldn’t find a way to edit individual note values in a chord, so that’s a work-around. But it works.
With the Digitone update using individual time signatures, the basic structure is now the same as in the Black Box. So I can use the Digitone’s midi sequencer to trigger anything from the box and run the Digitone’s synth at the same time, all in perfect sync.
It sounds messy, but it really isn’t.
EDIT - to elaborate on why I’m even bothering to try this, is that I really like the idea behind the Black Box section view. But it’s just too messy to edit, even if you’re just recording stuff into it live. There are many ways to use it, you can view them as complete and separate parts of a song, or pieces of a puzzle that make up the entire song itself which you turn on and off. Both are fully appropriate methods as far as the interface goes, but using an external sequencer that has the same basic structure but is a lot easier to work with, and allows for more than sixteen sections, and a way to structure these sections as the song grows, is just too appealing.
I realised that if I pushed the Digitone sequencer and found a few simple workarounds to get this to work, I’d essentially have a pretty damn complete environment right there. Digitone’s great for everything - drums, synths, bass, lead, whatnot. The Black Box is a great sampler and recorder. Source it into the box, sequence from the Digitone and build the song while you’re also recording loops and ideas right into the box.
I fully agree!
Also - clever workaround. I think I get what you’re describing (not having used a black box). It sure seems like an amazing unit for how small it is.
have you had sync issues with the Blackbox? How did they manifest?
Sometimes, time stretched loops won’t play in sync when they’re launched from an external sequencer. They tend to drift. Not always, though.
I’ve found workarounds for it, but it was frustrating before I figured it out.
New firmware update now available:
Version 1.1 includes the following:
- Destructive editing. You can now trim a sample using the start and length controls in sample mode
- WAV file saving. You can embed loops, root note, beat count, and slice markers into WAV files for future use
- Control of the root note of a sample for matching the internal keyboard and MIDI
- Control of the beat count of a clip for those recordings with odd beat counts and far tempo jumps
- MIDI thru. You can now play external MIDI from the touch screen. Inbound MIDI will also route to the active SEQ and its MIDI channel.
- Clips will now hold until you press the Play button. This allows you to stage several at once and unleash them in time.
- Improved capture of SEQ changes when recording song sections.
Version 1.1 includes the following bug fixes:
- There was digital bleed through from the Out 3 signal to the headphones and vice versa.
Bet you’ve done it already, but I hope you’ve reported this to 1010, rock solid sync is a must
Yep, I did to be fair, I was pushing it. Launched a bunch of loops at once, from a Pyramid also powered from the same battery.
I had similar issues when sequenced from the Dtone, but the workaround was easy.
You can get sync rock solid with this thing. You just need to figure out what goes where and in what order, for this particular setup.
I get that, but what are the actual numbers for the parameters themselves? And this new update looks tight as fuck
Oh i see… that’s default MIDI spec labeling. See here https://www.midi.org/forms/midi_chart-v2.pdf
I’d love to get granular box firmware for blackbox/bitbox too and open source would be awesome with Pd and/or csound support
I’m drawn back to the Black Box sequencer, despite having access to substantially more powerful and flexible solutions.
I think it’s because, as I believe @blipson said, the overall grid view offers a way to view your track that’s quite unique. I can essentially see what’s going on in all sixteen tracks at the same time, and with some pinching and zooming rework the sequence as it goes.
Looking at external sequencers that offer a view similar to this, I’m finding the Deluge (which I’ve previously owned) and the Polyend Seq (a monster!). If the monome grid could interface with hardware like this, that would also be an option, but it can’t (as far as I know).
I’ve had the Deluge before and won’t go back to it. I know I’ll get lost in all its combinations and views to get any proper flow in the pipeline. The Polyend Seq is pretty damn expensive for what it does and not within my budget, but it would be tempting to try it, if I could find it somewhere.
Anyone has any experience with this, or suggestions on other sequencers that apply a view similar to this?
I’m liking my Deluge a lot, and I figure that a lot of like becomes a lot of time spent with it so that more and more of the interface gets memorized. I mean, it took years to remember all that I need to with Microsoft Word, so it’s an inevitability when you like or need something, I’ve considered the other large physical sequencers you mentioned, but as much as I’d like to try the Seq, it’s lack of portability makes me not want to plunk down that much cash. On the horizon, there’s the Composer Pro, which will have 12 rows so that you get a full chromatic octave. My biggest beef with the Deluge is that the 8 rows give an unnatural feel when working with a 12-note octave. I mean, some of us do like 9th chords. The Composer Pro’s extra size and weight, though, puts it over the portability threshold for me, while the Deluge is just this side of portability, and they’re so far behind Synthstrom’s development curve that it’s hard to imagine any advantage besides the wider look into your song. We’ll see how it turns out. In the meantime, I’d really like to see the discussed zoom buttons on the BB’s piano roll because the pinch zoom is a speed bump in the playflow.
Yeah, I had the Deluge for about a year and I got into it, but I never just enjoyed it. What I can appreciate with the Seq, is that it’s focused. It’s just a sequencer. But you’re right, it’s pricey and it’s not portable. So in the end, I’m not sure what I’d do with it, since I don’t see myself bringing it on stage.
Man, the monome just stand alone, that would be something. Just a controller / sequencer that size.
I’ve checked out the Monome before, but it seems to always be out of stock. With the Deluge, I found enough low hanging fruit to keep me satisfied, so I’m beyond the possibility of losing patience with it. For example, press that keyboard button, and it’s a MIDI keyboard laid out like guitar strings that are all in fourths. That personally works very well for me, not just because of guitar background, but because, as a bass player, I tune my guitars in all fourths, like a bass. Also, I’ve spent a lot of time playing tap guitars, so playing the Deluge’s “upside down” fourths (because your hand can’t wrap around it like a guitar neck) is quite natural for me. What’s more, as a rhythm player, the Deluge’s small button size (compared to a piano key or a guitar fret) hardly matters because I mostly comp chords, exploiting the Deluge’s geometry to get varied and interesting chord voicings. That lucky combination of synergies made the Deluge particularly good for me right out of the box. I’d get a second one if they could be daisy chained.
Yep. No doubt, Synthstrom has created something quite special with the Deluge.
Oh sweet thanks
The Seq is fun, easy, and very visual. If you want a Monome Grid, you could add a Norns to it. Norns has a variety of sequencer programs you can use with it.
Interesting. Sounds expensive tho
Found a Polyend Seq at bargain price and full return funds if I don’t like it. Gonna give it a spin, see what it adds to the stack.