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Orba hacking knowledge base

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

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Here's a daft example of what this dorian tweak sounds like, to explain the workflow. It's a loop recorded from the headphone output.

If you try and transpose one of these altered tunings once it's loaded, it reverts to one of the standard scale/pentatonic types. So what I did was:

1) Load a song or presets to get the sounds

2) Select a key for the chords

3) Load the dorian tuning preset into lead and bass

4) Noodle aimlessly

You can load these altered tunings from the Chord bank too, to mess around with those, though I think the harmony sequence is fixed to the standard musical progression maj min min maj maj etc.

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I've been comparing the 7th chord preset to the regular ones to see where the difference is, and it seems to be the "modifierData" value for the first "ModifierEntry". You can create a minimal XML file with just this first entry 






...and that's enough to change chords to 7ths when you load it. The rest of it makes no difference.

Specifically, it seems to be the different section of characters in the middle, starting with "CxA" and ending "Bwo". If you mess with this string, strange things happen to chords.

From tinkering around with it, I suspect that string contains note data for the chords in order, so the first thing would be to try finding where it divides. It seems that the pads are controlled by a sequence of five characters starting with the CxA.

Pad 1: CxATA

Pad 2: AoPEw

Pad 3: AKDxM

Pad 4: ABAsT

Pad 5: APsEC

Pad 6: gADCh

Pad 7: MABgg

Pad 8: PAAQJ

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There might be some mileage in trying to disentangle this. The corresponding part of the data in the standard (non-7th) chord presets begins: "BwwQA". I've discovered that if you swap this out with "CxATA", the first chord (and only the first) becomes the 7th version. If you swap it out with "BwwVA" it becomes the 6th. So, increment the fourth character of the sequence for a chord to change a standard chord into a 6th? Maybe. It'll take a bit of tinkering to find out what the system is. Disclaimer: I take no responsibility if you brick your Orba trying. ;-)

But in any case, the "minimal XML" idea is a useful one. You can turn any preset into a 7th preset this way. This is what the pared-down version looks like; not to copy the data, just to indicate the general structure.


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Oh, I dunno, I think this is too difficult. 

The above is the data for the 7th chords. The data for the standard chords is:

Pad 1: BwwQA

Pad 2: AcMDw

Pad 3: AHDA8

Pad 4: ABAcQ

Pad 5: AAQHD

Pad 6: AADBw

Pad 7: wAAwz

Pad 8: 8AAQM

(You'll find this concatenated as a string in the aforementioned field in all the standard chord presets.) 

...and you can discover new chords by accident by changing characters. But there are no clear patterns. Eg incrementing the first character of the string once or twice on one pad might give you a 4th, or a 6th, but incrementing the first character of a different pad gives you something else. You can find breadcrumbs, but we'll have to wait for Artiphon to give us the recipie.

It should be possible to map an alternative set of chords by choosing the right tuning values as described above, though it'll be a fiddly process, where you'd have to take account of the natural shifts from major to minor (to other?) as you go through the pads, then find the right tuning value to put the chord you want onto one of those slots.

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@BJG145 these are extremely interesting findings! Especially on the part of how sending an 'incomplete' xml file will still allow the Orba to implement just those changes to whatever sound is currently loaded, basically only overwriting certain aspects in the synth engine, instead of the whole sound every single time. This could massively clean up my Presets, as I don't have to havw two of every e.g. Lead sound (penta- and diatonic), but just the base sounds in pentatonic, with one preset to switch any of them to diatonic.

On behalf of deciphering the structure of the chords, have you tried to interpret the string values using a Hex Editor? It might be that the String representation is misleading and the inherent info lies in the way that string is stored. Just food for thought.

@Artiphon, @Evan, if you're listening, p l e a s e give us documentation to modify sounds/chzords/tunings! The Orba would immediately be seen as a much more capable device, people would make more videos about it, there's nothing that could go wrong for you. As it stands, this device is barely using half of its potential

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