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Orba hacking knowledge base

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

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Thanks for trying! Unfortunately that is outputting the Hex value of the same numbers and not the memory addresses. :( I'm currently hunting through 0x20010000.bin with no luck. I could try to replace all instances of those numbers (casting the net very wide) to see if anything happens but there are many instances of those numbers and I don't feel confident we'd find it. 120 = 0x78, 240 = 0xF0 and 480 = 0x01E0. You can hunt for those in a Hex Editor but they appear in many places. 01E0 appeared 6 times in 0x80000000.bin and I only replaced 1 of them. Maybe I should have changed them all to see if the 480 changed.

>"Remembering from my C days, its possible that changing %u to %p might output the memory address"



I wonder if the quantize mode icons will eventually be clickable buttons that take you into the settings. (They're not at the moment.)

Can you also see the code for the "Clear" graphic...? I was wondering how the clickable areas are implemented. Is the event handling tied to the graphic code in some way...?

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On this node:

<Mode name="Drums" quantizationMode="0" volume="200">

 volume also has no impact (yet). Setting volume to 0 changes nothing. The only way to change the volume is by editing the channel volume via hardware with A+[Drum|Bass|Chord|Lead Button] + Vol+/-

Sharing a Daft Punk loop that sounds pretty good with quantize on.


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I get the sense that Orba 1 hardware quantize modes run the show and that the software quantize values do nothing at this point (other than change the UI)

@BJG145 Remembering from my C days, its possible that changing:

quantStartSnapTicks: %u


quantStartSnapTicks: %p

Might output the memory address of quantStartSnapTicks.. Worth a try..

I setup a song with these nodes edited like this:

<Mode name="Drums" quantizationMode="0" volume="200">
<Mode name="Bass" quantizationMode="1" volume="200">
<Mode name="Chords" quantizationMode="2" volume="200">
<Mode name="Lead" quantizationMode="3" volume="200">

 The icons from above appeared in the Orba App:




Now I need to test the relationship between the hardware setting and the software settings.. Its hard with a small quantize adjustment like 1/16th note. I think using a slow tempo its easier to be "off"

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Well spotted. I'd been looking for those.

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I just remembered I ripped some graphics out of the App a little ways back... I just reviewed and hadn't noticed this:


So its in there somewhere.. I'm guessing Artiphon has suppressed these until a later date.. Orba 2

Cool. I think I could use Chrome's Serial API to send a "q" to the Orba. However, I'm not sure this makes it any easier for anyone as I think they would still need to install driver(s) for this to work. The Orba App must use a different communication method (USB?). I've downloaded a trial version of Hopper and disassembled the Orba App. There are lots of references to "quantizationMode" and "Serial". Slow and Steady.. There are also references to QuantizeIcon.. 

I just searched the app code for "groove", and you can find references to "orbagroove".

A while back I was messing around with firmware updates on another MIDI gadget called a Misa Tri-Bass from Windows, and came across "Teraterm macros". The update worked via a batch file with the command:

ttpmacro.exe misa_tri_bass.ttl

I've attached the .ttl file. You'll see that it's a set of commands that connect to the device via USB and update various files on it. I think both this and the Orba use some kind of serial/USB connection. The Teraterm software was included along with the update files. 

The Tri-Bass was based on Linux. The Orba is very different, of course, but it gave me the idea that it should be possible to write a script or macro that runs a set of commands to establish a connection, issues a "q" command, disconnects etc., basically working in the same way as the flash-from-file utility. We might not need to find the "q" command anywhere else; we could just use the one we've got, but wrap it up in a friendler "Quantise on/off" program, possibly as a feature of Chord Fiddler.

It occurred to me that flash-from-file does a complete reset including things like key change, Maj/Min, quantisation; stuff we don't currently know how to access - and it's basically just a list of files that get flashed in various ways. Now that I've got from the logs working, I think I can do the whole process manually a step at a time, so it's just a case of going through it and working out where the reset happens. I think it might be in that 4MB flash using 

With espytool it looks fairly straightforward to read and write arbitrary blocks of memory; I've already grabbed the whole 4MB block; so if it does turn out to be that one it may be possible to gradually narrow down where in memory some of this stuff is.


A few more thoughts. I suspect Artiphon will update the Orba App in conjunction with the release of the Orba 2. Maybe they will expose some of this since they advertise the Orba 2's features to include:

  • Automatic, per-part quantization with Orba Groove option
I'm thinking that you will be able to have more quantize options. I know from other DAWs that you can set Grooves to loosen or Swing a beat and they are planning to add similar. I believe that thinner and thickener modes might have a bearing on Groove but might also be used to thin the amount of CC data or interpolate additional values if required.

I'm going to try to track down the q command because that is likely just a pointer that toggles a specific memory address and we might be able to have it toggle a different address.

modifierData might be another way in because I suspect that it just copies the bytes directly into the device and thus could be exploited by overflowing the buffer.

I really like the idea of programming a song.. Maybe a MIDI to song converter in the future.. I think we could start with some arpeggios or something like that. 

...thanks for looking...I didn't see a change there unfortunately. I think 0x8 stays static, and it's 0x2 that changes unpredictably. However, I'm not sure if even 0x2 has a quantise on/off setting, because I tried it the other way round; saving an 0x2, flipping quantize, then sending the saved 0x2 back to the Orba, but that didn't change it back.

It would be interesting to find them, but maybe we don't really need them. A couple of things I'd like to try would be to see if there's a more accessible way for people to turn it on/off without needing the console, and maybe creating a cool demo song which is partly 'constructed' rather than recorded. I'll need to spend a bit more time to try and understand how to string a pattern of notes together from scratch using eventData. I might try messing around with those 'pattern' tags as well...:-)

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