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Using Orba Creatively as a MIDI Controller

Hi all, 

There has been much discussion regarding the ORBA app's lack of functionality without a save feature and other shortcomings for the app to be considered as a robust enough music creation platform to serve as more than a mere novelty. I have abandoned my original intent of using the device in this fashion and have begun using it with my DAW.  I use Reason 11 on a windows platform.  

I am not a keyboard player, but can get around it enough to compose but not perform.  I play an EWI5000 since I am a woodwind player.  I have found the orba to be stable inside of Reason and found the sensitivity of the device to be sufficient to create positive results.  Particularly with interfacing with the drum machines in reason.  I have a Nektar Panorama P4 controller keyboard with a 4 x 3 pad set up for drums.  I find the orba much more intuitive with creating drum loops than using the pads.  The orba doesn't give you any ability to map its midi output, but with reason and I sure other DAW's, that can be easily overcome.  

Melody, not so much.  Reason has many chord mapping plugins to easily map inputs to different chord structures.  However the ability to map the midi output of the MIDI lead, would be real helpful.  The chords and bass are basically useless with the DAW. 

I have not experimented with interfacing the orba with the multitude of iPad music apps, of which there are many cool ideas for music making that may benefit from an input device such as Orba.  

Thoughts on this?

I don't use Windows myself, but it looks as if Bome MIDI Translator might be helpful for MIDI mapping. On Mac and iOS I use MidiFire, which is excellent, and iOS also has MidiFlow for a code-free all-graphics solution, though I find it fiddly for MPE use. Two venerable MIDI-to-chord apps on iOS are ChordPolyPad and Navichord; I've used both a lot with Instrument 1, though not with Orba.

The main limitation of Reason with any Artiphon kit is its lack of MPE support, which limits a lot of the expressiveness of the Orba as a multidimensional controller. But if you have an iOS device, do try the Orba with ROLI Noise, which has some wonderfully responsive patches (Mellow Duduk is a classic, and I particularly like the Floatation pack IAP for Orba-friendly pad sounds.)

@Nick Lowe,  I'm horrible with anachronyms.  What is MPE?  

I've dabbled around with iOS and Navichord.  the iPad is not my music production platform.  Does the Orba interface with most of the MIDI routing routines in iOS?

MIDI (or in some versions Multidimensional) Polyphonic Expression; see e.g. ROLI's page or Roger Linn's for more (and also Roger's slightly outdated Recommended Sounds). It's one of the main reasons to own an Orba, which gives absolutely stunning gestural control of the new dimensions of expressiveness possible under the MPE standard. On desktop, the gold standard for MPE sound design is ROLI's Equator 2, though the FXpansion synths (which unlike Equator have demoes) are also very good, and SWAM does pricey but superb physical-modelled versions of natural instruments (also now starting to be available on iOS), though they're more useful to the Instrument 1 crowd than the Orbaphiles. Of the major DAWs on Windows, Ableton 11, Bitwig, and Tracktion Waveform are MPE-capable.

Awesome, thank you for a push in a different direction.

I think Orba sorely needs an editor at least as comprehensive as Instrument 1. Is there one in on the cards?

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Most DAWs currently claim to support MPE, including the ones I use, Roland Zenbeats and Presonus Studio One. Zenbeats is a particularly good companion for the Orba because you can run it on your Android or Apple phone. You can even direct audio output through the Orba's speaker.

I g-stumbled

across this review and thoughts. Thank you all, I think you have kicked me in a new direction. I am finally able to express music from my head. I still have kinks to work out, such as that Teaper, what had been my favorite mix/ master RAW. Won’t seem to work with Artiphon.

Thanks again

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