NanoKontrol2Seq: 8 channel CV sequencing on Magus!

So I’ve got this MIDI controller by Korg called the nanoKontrol2. It’s cheap, the buttons feel nice and it’s got eight MIDI sliders. I figured this would pair well with Magus, and I’ve made a patch that uses the nanoKontrol2 as a frontend for an 8-channel, 8-note sequencer:

This video doesn’t show most of the sequencer’s features, but I’m using it here to sequence two notes at once on the Strega (usually a difficult device to sequence because one of the oscillators is not 1V/OCT…). In other tests I’ve used it to sequence a bunch of the Strega’s parameters at once with good results.

The patch is here (with documentation in the github repo here), and some of its features are:

  • 8 notes, each with 8 CV value “lanes”
  • Set values with the sliders and fine tune with the knobs
  • Tap the “R” buttons to switch the currently playing note, step forward or backward with >>/<< or hit :arrow_forward: to play
  • Buttons light up when pressed and "R"s light up to denote currently playing notes :sparkles:
  • “Cycle” button acts like a SHIFT key to access additional features (set loop length, set BPM)
  • “Lockdown” and “performance” modes so you don’t accidentally change CV values during playback or can do temporary “fills” without changing the loop
  • “Click track” (currently two of these in the audio L/R channels) can drive an external device at any multiplier of the BPM from 1/32 to 32/1

Features I’d like to add in the future:

  • Currently this is designed to work only on the Magus; I’d be curious how it could be adapted for some of the other OpenWare devices. On devices with fewer than 8 outputs, the additional unused sliders could be reassigned to things like the BPM control.
  • On the Magus, there’s 8 entire CV outs currently unused; I’m going to use the other 8 either as triggers toggled on/off per note by the “M” buttons, or envelopes triggered by the “M” buttons in the same way, or maybe just another 8 CV outs (SHIFT plus sliders isn’t assigned yet…)
  • I want to use the “SET/</>” buttons on the nanoKontrol2 to drive a UI on the Magus (and Genius?) screen… this would be a good place for semicomplex settings, like controlling what the L and R audio channels contain.
  • Eventually I’m hoping to make it so some of the lanes can be running at a multiplier relative to the others (IE slow drones driven by lanes 1+2 and a fast note pattern in lane 3). There’s an early version of this in the “click track” controls.
  • The point of the “click track” was to sync a Pocket Operator drum machine, but in my testing I can’t get the pocket operator to recognize it yet… I think maybe the click track click has to be very long.

Features that don’t work/could work, but might require changes, support or fixes in a future OpenWare version:

  • I have code written for saving and reloading 8 loops (the idea is you’d save your work with the REC button and switch between the loops with the TRACK</> buttons) but at the moment patches cannot save Resources, only load them
  • Currently the Magus CV patch points are very noisy, which limits a lot of the uses you otherwise might use this for. Partial solutions include using a VCO with lots of echo or glide (like the Strega…), possibly at some point using the audio outs for at least two of the lanes, or maybe just running the patch on some other OpenWare device (which hopefully doesn’t have the CV noise problem…?)
  • Currently at least on Magus the CV patch points are not “tuned”, only the audio patch points, so you have to eartune and quantization is out of the question (if patch-saved resources are added, tuning calibration for the parameter CVs could maybe be a feature handled inside the patch UI)
  • Currently you have to save a very particular configuration to the nanoKontrol2 device (see patch instructions) before running the patch because the default CC values conflict with hardcoded MIDI CC values the Magus uses
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Nice! This is what you get when you don’t want to get a 0-CTRL for your Strega :wink:

For the time being, every available OWL device but Magus has 0-2 CV outputs, since STM32 MCUs have 1-2 DAC channels. Obviously Magus has an external chip (MAX11300).

I’m not sure if it’s about length, but it may expect a bipolar signal. I suggest configuring PO as a master and looking at its sync output to understand what it uses for sync.

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The 0-ctrl is pretty expensive!! ^_^;

:thinking: maybe @Befaco and rebel make a programmable control surface thingie

Well you can always connect VCMC to anything with USB host or serial MIDI input and it’s programmable as the firmware is open. Of course having an OWL instead of Teensy in that module would make things way more interesting, but I don’t think they anything like that planned at the moment.

i was also thinking a bit more beefy controls for live gigs - like buttons, pads, touchpoints, knobs and sliders of course