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Orba hacking knowledge base

This thread is intended to gather the feedback of Orba tinkerers.

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Hi Steve, 

If you load a song (with chosen presets) in the Windows app you should be able tot save it in the Android app and reload it whenever you want.

Sadly there is few activity. 

Kind regards,

Gert Jan

I think the real question is why hasnt the app been changed to allow the addition of sounds by now. This could be a great controller. Currently its just a nice addon. 

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I would say: This could be a wonderful standalone musical instrument. Now it is little more than a somewhat clumsy midi controller. But we can agree that Artiphon constantly falls short when it comes to making a good app.

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Thanks so much for all of your feedback. It's so cool to see this community you guys have created around making and sharing Orba presets. 

If it seems like we’ve been quiet here recently, it’s because we’ve been working behind the scenes on a couple of bigger things. One of these things is Orbasynth, our new gesture-mappable synth that allows for extensive customization of Orba sounds. You can check it out in this new thread

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I saw the diatonic Tuning entry code and I'm grateful for that information. I'm wondering if anyone has figured out what note each numerical value represents in relation to the root key? I'd love to make a preset outside of pentatonic maj/m or diatonic maj/m

...not sure what you mean...? The extent of hacking knowledge so far is specific notes; these can be anything you like, but can't be changed by the built-in "Transpose" function which only understands maj/min and pentatonics IIRC.

(In other words, it's absolute, not relative.)

Lets see if I can ask this question in a different way. I understand that there are 8 hexadecimal values (P1, M2, M3, P4, P5, M6, M7, P8) and 8 numerical values (60, 62, 64, 65, 67, 69, 71, 72) for diatonic— & then there are 8 slightly different hexadecimal values (P1, M2, M3, P5, M6, P8, M9, M10) with 8 slightly different numerical vales (60, 62, 64, 67, 69, 72, 74, 76) for pentatonic. Is there a graph or a grid to show which note each combination of hexadecimal & numerical value represents—including any and all notes already not shown in the diatonic & pentatonic orba code? Also what I was referring to in my previous question regarding where I said "in relation to the root key": If I tune Orba to C maj the "P1" & "60" values represent the note C when the lowest note is pressed on the Orba. While if I tune my orba to G maj then "P1" & "60" values represent the note "G" when I press the lowest note. The note the P1 & 60 values triggers is dependent on the key you tune your Orba to.

1 person likes this, backtracking a sec, if we consider this code fragment...


IIRC the numbers in the "tuning" section govern the notes, I didn't think anyone had figured out what the entries in the "intervals" section do. The trick of changing notes only worked for the "percussion" type, and I don't even know if the "intervals" entries are meaningful for that type. All I'm aware of is that with the percussion type, you can fix the notes, but it reverts to one of the standard scales if you transpose. 

(In other words, you can make presets containing whatever scales you want, but only in a fixed key. If you can get beyond that you're ahead of the curve.)

(...just to clarify...this list 80, 82, 83, 85, 87, 89, 90, 92 defines a series of steps, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, from a fixed root note corresponding to "80", making a Dorian sequence; root, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone, tone. The "intervals" sequence, P1, M2, A4, etc, does nothing here; you could mix them up and you'd still get the same notes...)

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Sooo I'm guessing that they still have not loaded a file load system to put in my own sounds?

And that's not going to happen, I think (requires too much memory). It's already a lot that you can manipulate instruments now.

It would be nice if the export as wav or midi finally came back (that function was, albeit a bit clumsy, in the original app). That has been at the top of the todo list since 1860.

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I wanted to give a shout-out to @AndreaMannoci, @QuadPlex and especially @BJG145!

I've had my Orba for about a month and immediately wanted to edit chords, which lead me to this forum. @BJG145 has made some major discoveries. Without these, I would never have built or figured out what I'm sharing with everyone. To summarize chord findings, @BJG145 made a series of important discoveries. First that a series of characters in the modifierData string affected notes in the chords in various unpredictable ways. Also noted was that each 5 characters in the string of 40 seemed to control pads 1-8 in sequence. And finally, another important finding that the next 40 characters seem to have an effect on the chords as well.

@BJG145 was right — mostly. I realized that to get to the bottom of what these values actually do, it was going to take tools. The process of changing the values and hearing that something had changed was not enough. On top of that the process of trial & error was very slow which involved lots of cutting & pasting, renaming files and switching between applications. So, I built some tools which I am sharing below. I had a Copernican moment after using these tools and discovered that the character ranges that @BJG145 outlined were mostly correct but actually offset by one. The sequence of characters actually starts one character earlier. I also came to realize that the second set of characters does indeed have an effect but not a combined effect as imagined. What I discovered is that the first set of characters define the Major chords and the next set of characters define the Minor chords.

I have built 3 tools:

  1. A MIDI GUI keyboard that works bidirectionally with Orba! I was surprised that Google Chrome has a native MIDI interface so I was able to not only play the Orba patches from the webpage I made, but also visualize the notes being played on the Orba. This was instrumental (pun intended) in figuring what was coming out of the Orba.
  2. A ModifierData string Fiddler. This allows you to modify the characters in the string and quickly deploy them to the Orba App. I have included known behaviors for each character. I'm sure my discoveries are not yet complete.
  3. A script for updating the Thumbnail images in the .orbapreset files




All of these tools are in my repository located here:

You can scroll down to see a demo of the tools and download the repository by clicking the green 'Code' button and then choosing 'Download Zip'


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@Subskybox: Thank you for sharing :-)

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