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Orba 2 Hacking Knowledge Base


This forum is intended to share Orba 2 hacking tips amongst the Orba 2 community. NOTE: Please post facts that are well understood & useful. If you have theories to discuss, please start another forum and link to it here.

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Curious! Just noticed one UK retailer is offering the Chorda for pre-order for delivery roughly when the Kickstarter campaign should deliver. And another is offering a B-stock Orba 2 for a higher price than the brand new ones they also offer.

It's a strange world!

I have noticed something strange with an experiment I was trying.

I made a preset which used two different sample sets - changing between them using velocity thresholds. (A crazy idea, I know, but it could be done so I thought I would try it.)

My first attempt showed that velocity threshold change registered in different areas of the keys - some near the edge (on the Y axis), others in the center. It was almost like the sensors were physically misaligned in the body of the Orba. So I tried removing  seekers not needed and got the change happening only at the rim of the Orba - not quite what I expected, but at least it was consistent.

I don't know what to make of it, but I thought I would share, in case. The samples I used were Artiphon ones so no samples had to be loaded. If anyone wants the preset file to try it just ask, and I will post it.

I've just discovered a technique for sample based presets that may be of use to some.

I had noticed that hidden away on the orba 2 are very small samples of sine, saw and triangle(? I think). The ones I looked at are just 512 samples long. They don't seem to be used in any of the presets though. It occurred to me that, if the Orba can handle them, it would be possible to create very small sized sample sets using looping. 

 Making such small samples that loop well is much easier than it is with bigger samples - but you pay for it by losing some of the character of the sounds, eg: the tonguing of wind instrument notes and the vibrato typical of cello and violin sounds. The samples only need to be as long as the loop. The start value needs to be 1 (not 0), and the end, the total number of sample points in the sample. I used mostly lengths of about 1,700, but you can get away with less, or more. The size difference is substantial.

I would also mention that Audacity has some problems with such short samples. You have to get the pitch from a longer area of your source recording -  Audacity gets it's wildly wrong  otherwise.

I would guess it won't work well with some instruments, like plucked strings for example. But it might offer interesting sounds if anyone did try it.

I didn't expect it to work, but I couldn't resist trying, and it did work. 

I have been trying to get a two octave range with chromatics as well without using the A/Oct switch. My previous best was by using the harmonics in the preset - but it wasn't convincing. Suddenly I had an idea that I thought might work. Changing octave (or a semitone) is easy using pitch bend (I prefer doing that on the key pads rather by tilt, but both will work ), but I had to find a better way of adding the other half of the puzzle - the solution came by adding duplicate entries of sample files but with different frequencies declared, fooling the Orba  to play them at the frequency I wanted rather than the Orba thought it was doing.

I can now play chromatics effected by the velocity thresholds on the keys, and changing octave for each note depending on the position on the key.

Frankly, it's not ideal in terms of usability - but it does work. More of a proof of concept than good viable plan -  it might be better if I'd used tilt for the octave changes but I have found with that you need to be very nifty indeed to avoid unwanted pitches playing when changing over.

I just thought I would note it here in case anyone is interested!

@subskybox - I took the liberty of making a version of your PanDrum (v9) with adjusted pitches and velocity thresholds which will play better  in tune with other presets I think. It seems to sound a bit different and perhaps less character, but has some nice qualities. I won't share it unless you are OK with that -  it's still much more your work than mine.

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It's frustrating! Having found a source of layouts in various scales for PanDrums that could be adjusted for the Orbas, the new Connect app would have been ideal for emulating them using the  drum kit creation capability. (You can assign notes to whichever pad you like.) However, the pads work the opposite way as you would want - the note cuts off when the finger is lifted and to let the sound ring you have to keep it down.

I know I have said previously that I'm not particularly interested in them but I spent some timethis weekend trying to get something working as we would need - but failed! If anyone can work out how to fix that, please tell! (The drum parameters are quite different to those of the tonal presets, in case you weren't aware.)

Ah, I found the answer to the above problem. Came to me in a Zen moment. (That's a clue!)

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If anyone is still interested in this sort of stuff, I have finally managed to create a lead preset that will play chromatically over two octaves (without resorting to A + octave pad). And this actually works pretty well.

The chromatic part is done by using the snap method that @subskybox used with tilt, and the octaves are achieved using velocity thresholds and a lot of lying to the orba about sample pitches! Previously, I had thought that lying about the pitches wouldn't work over a whole semi-tone let alone a whole octave.

It only works well on good, clean,  samples (the pitch changing process seems to bring out any slight background noise in the samples). It is slightly odd to use if you want the chromatics to be the root note and a semi-tone lower on the pad (which I prefer to root and a semi-tone higher). So my version needs the Orba to be tilted for the true note and horizontal for the accidental. 

(I used the Concert Guitar sample set - which doesn't sound like a guitar to my ears, but is rather nice.)

I have attempted to use the pad Y axis for the octave shift  - it works, but it's a bit crazy to try and play with and unreliable, on pad 1 especially. (I will have another go and see if I can make it better but that's for another day.)

Here are the two versions of the methods I described above. The samples and images are already on your Orbas so I have only included the artipreset files that should go into your Lead folder. (You will need pitch bend set to 100% for the pads version - possibly for the other as well, I haven't checked that out yet, because I've had pitch bend set to 100% for a long while so take it for granted!.)

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I  will post anything I have to add on the Orba 2 preset here:

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