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To add to Dpcoffin's excellent Eventide write up, while still not
addressing the subject of looping with Eventide (need to see that
handshake, folks):

You basically can't do much very complicated stuff from the front panel of
a DSP4000, and it's even harder with the Orville (which I'm beta testing,
and writing patches for). You really need their (free) PC editor to get
anywhere. All of the DSP4000 patches I did (none too many) were of the
fairly simple variety. Since I got the editor program, and a PC to run it
on, I've done several quite fancy presets that would have been pretty much
impossible from the front panel. Ok, maybe not impossible, but highly

The best analogy is to DSP lego. Let's say that you want to play with a
lego car. First you have to find some wheels, then you have to build a
chassis, then you have to build a body, and put in windows, etc. With the
DSP4000 and friends, if you want a simple delay line you have to place
simple input and output mixers, put down a delay line (or two for stereo),
slap in a feedback path (or two for stereo), and build a UI to control it.

For a delay line, this seems like a fair amount of work. But for a
complicated patch that has _just_ what you want in _just_ the right places,
you need this sort of flexibility. One of the patches I've recently done
has a multi-tap delay acting as a reverse verb-like thing, a delay line
that feeds a ring mod, the two of which get mixed into another multi-tap
that acts like a sproingy tail. It took me an hour or two to make it, and
another hour or three to play with it and fine tune it. If your goal is to
write patches, you have to be careful here, as the playing part can go on
for happy hours, lost in the sound.

This is not too dissimilar to the approach taken by the
IRCAM/Opcode/Cycling74 Max program. Building blocks at a fairly atomic
level that allow and compel the patch creator to dig in and make something.
This trade-off between ease of use and flexibility is a tough one. I'm glad
that there are some flexible tools there that allow me to do whatever I
want. I'm also glad that there are some fairly straight forward tools that
do what they do, well and simply.

I'm hooked on the Orville, and dread the day that they want it back.


Chris Muir   |   cbm@well.com   |   Got moloko?