Pitchfactor : Fun with Harpeggiator

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    • #108739
      Kiwi
      Member

      Hi there, 

      This is my first post.  I'm a bass player and co-own this forum http://www.basschat.co.uk.

      I bought the pitch factor specifically for the Harpeggiator function so I could emulate classic techno and disco bass lines.  Stuff like this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0h8Pjf4vNM&ob=av3n

      I Feel Love – Donna Summer

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqsIOF91qD4&feature=related

      Blue Monday – New Order

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO7–KBgpAQ&feature=related

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      Equinoxe V – Jean Michel Jarre (bass synth god)

      I believe this pedal has STUNNING potential given what I hear in some of the other patches and the way it tracks so well not only from my basses directly but also after they've been processed by my Deep Impact pedal. 

      However, none of the presets emulate bass patches in the music above so I will need to do some programming. 

      I know how to access editing mode but the user manual doesn't provide enough detail.

      How do I access and edit the preset pitch sequences in the Harpeggiator?  

      I've had a look on the forum but there are no direct matches for the above that I can find easily.  Can anyone advise where the information I'm looking for is or whether what I would like to do is possible?

      cheers

      Steve 

      PS:  I don't understand why there is a USB socket on the Pitchfactor but patches are not editable via USB on a laptop.

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    • #123430
      brock
      Participant
      Quote:
      How do I access and edit the preset pitch sequences in the Harpeggiator?

      You don't.  There are the 26 preset patterns, plus the random pattern sequencing.  That's not to say that you can't 'edit' the patterns using the 'groove' and 'effects' sections, but those kind of tactics only selectively allow the preset pitches of a given pitch sequence through.

      There has been a few posts here calling for a 'user-defined' pattern, or non-specific 'more patterns'.  It's difficult to say how that could be implemented.  Maybe a single, user-definable pattern, and external editing with a more sophisticated patch librarian.  Or a direct upload to the device via a Standard MIDI File.

      Quote:
      Can anyone advise where the information I'm looking for is or whether what I would like to do is possible?

      Do you use MIDI in your bass rig?  I've been using DAW and hardware sequencers (as well as LFOs and other MIDI controller sources, with upper + lower limits) to emulate HarPeggiator patterns.  They target pitch-shifting algorithms other than the HarPeggiator, because the 'patterns' are all generated externally.

      If you're interested (and you utilize the MIDI jacks in your system), I can go into more detail about the process.

    • #123431
      Kiwi
      Member

      brock:

      You don't.  There are the 26 preset patterns, plus the random pattern sequencing.  That's not to say that you can't 'edit' the patterns using the 'groove' and 'effects' sections, but those kind of tactics only selectively allow the preset pitches of a given pitch sequence through.

      So the question of I can actually use the pedal in a real function band situation depends on whether I can find the sounds in the existing presets?  Hmmm.

      brock:

      There has been a few posts here calling for a 'user-defined' pattern, or non-specific 'more patterns'.  It's difficult to say how that could be implemented.  Maybe a single, user-definable pattern, and external editing with a more sophisticated patch librarian.  Or a direct upload to the device via a Standard MIDI File.

      If it can be done externally, seems reasonable to me if a user interface is available. 

      brock:

      Do you use MIDI in your bass rig?  I've been using DAW and hardware sequencers (as well as LFOs and other MIDI controller sources, with upper + lower limits) to emulate HarPeggiator patterns.  They target pitch-shifting algorithms other than the HarPeggiator, because the 'patterns' are all generated externally.

      I have a Lexicon MPXG2 as my main controller and use some aspects of MIDI in patches, eg. using LFOs to control sweep filters.  I use the tap tempo function in some patches too, but I would probably end up connecting the pitchfactor to the MPXG2 and using the tap from one to control the other.

      I also have an Axon AX100 pitch to MIDI convertor that plugs into a Roland JV1080X but I only got that because I couldn't find a replacement for my Akai Deep Impact pedal.  I don't use the MIDI rig live at the moment.  

      brock:

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      If you're interested (and you utilize the MIDI jacks in your system), I can go into more detail about the process.

      Cheers, I'd appreciate that.

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    • #123432
      Kiwi
      Member

      BTW

      <GUSH MODE: on>

      This pedal has SO much potential for bassists.  It seems such a waste that there isn't more potential for customisation so players can have more satisfying experiences using the pedal in a wider range of settings. 

      Please Eventide,make a bass synth pedal for bassists with the following features from the Pitchfactor: 

      1) Arpeggiator – this feature is a complete revelation.  It removes the final barrier between bass guitar and bass synth in that a bassist can sound like a keyboard bass with complete confidence. The pedal just needs more programmability so it can be used in a variety of musical settings.

      2) Synthonizer – the tracking is superb, better than the mighty Deep Impact…plus sine wave is available too!   So many other manufacturers have tried but failed to match the Deep Impact since it was discontinued. The pitchfactor is potentially better!  

      3) Have Synthoniser and Harpeggiator available independently (for example make them single channel rather than two channel then allow routing options between them). Then provide the ability to add octaver and chorus to the harpeggiator/synthoniser output.  This is all that would be needed for a credible bass synth pedal.

      4) USB user interface for programming.  The Chunk Systems Octavius Squeezer is a fine bass synth pedal that would challenge the Deep Impact were it not for the user interface consisting of  2 knobs.  Lots of knobs are great for twiddling on the fly but for accessing and experimenting with deeper programming functions, its difficult to beat laptop editing software via USB.

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      I hope Eventide understand how much of a potential winner they would have in these features if they were just targeted a little.

      <GUSH MODE: off>

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    • #134530
      brock
      Participant
      Quote:
      … in a real function band situation depends on whether I can find the sounds in the existing presets?  Hmmm.

      Yeah.  You're limited to the patterns that the programmers found useful, or most generic for combining patterns.  It's fairly straightforward to combine a pair of pitch patterns, 'slice out'  certain steps with the grooves (amplitude sequencers), and come out with a result that's convincing.  Especially so if you mix back down to mono (making  it sound like a single pattern, but not an option in my normal stereo rig).  Calling it a 26-pattern limit is misleading, because combinations of the features can yield hundreds of variations.

      Quote:
      I have a Lexicon MPXG2 as my main controller and use some aspects of MIDI in patches

      Very fortunate turn of events here.  I use an MPX-1 as my main MIDI generator.  So you're already familiar with Lexicon's concept of patches, CTL Send and the other global options, the LFOs, A/B glide, etc.  Your MPXG2 has more & better audio effects, and almost as extensive MIDI controller options as the MPX-1.  We have the best-kept secrets for MIDI control at our fingertips; more powerful than nearly any MIDI keyboard or digital audio workstation.

      So, here's how this relates to the PitchFactor: 

      – It will accept any MIDI CC #0-99, or pitch bend, over any MIDI channel, and sync'ed to MIDI Clock.

      – A small range of the MIDI CC values [a slice of the 0-127 total] will correspond to a discrete parameter value on any PitchFactor knob, in any of the ten algorithms.

      – A given incoming MIDI CC value may (or may not) trigger the exact same PF result, depending on the algorithm.  [A finer pitch shift resolution may react to all 127 values.  A coarser resolution may divide the 127 values into 30 small ranges of CC values.]

      Here was my attempt to clarify just one option of one of the PitchFactor algorithms, as it relates to MIDI CC values: PitchFactor H910/949 Remote – MIDI CC Values (thread) (diagram)

      I'm trying to keep this brief, but the concepts are wide-open.  If you send both Pulse LFOs to the PF, that could translate to – for example – a fifth, and an octave above, in a defined sequence.  The simultaneous waveforms available in the LFOs allow you to create glissandos and such between the core PF pitches.  The MPX-1 has Sample & Hold, which allows control over varying the "pitch pattern' sequences even more.

      Upper and lower limits on the 'pitch pattern notes' can be set on either the Lexicon end, or the Eventide end.  Something like the A/B Glide will give you chromatic bends or up/down patterns, and the 'pattern notes' depend on the PF algorithm.  That is, a Diatonic or Quadravox selection will limit the 'notes' to the selected scale, while a HarModulator or H910/949 will react chromatically, or even microtonal sweeps.  Want to get crazy?  Set the upper and lower limits in the Random Generator to produce synchronized 'note sequences' between, say, unison and an octave below.  Many more combinations in the Lexicon; I've just sketched out the raw basics.

      The real control comes with using programmable sequences of MIDI CC values.  If a different MIDI CC value is produced every 16th note (for example), and each one of those MIDI CC values produces a 'note' in one of the PF's pitch shifters, then it's possible to program any musical phrase into an external 'pitch pattern' for the PitchFactor.  And it's not limited to any step size, two-bar length, rhythm, or time signature.

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      Finding a simple MIDI sequencer to transmit MIDI CC sequences is the Holy Grail.  They're either total overkill [Akai MPC or over-priced Yamaha relics], MIDI note values only, or computer-based [limiting, unreliable, or tricky at best in a live situation].  I use software sequencer programs at home [Cakewalk or Abelton is sufficient here], and I'll be totally screwed live when my Roland MC-50 finally gives up the ghost.  Should that happen, I may finally have to give in to the Doepfer MAQ16/3 [a hardware sequencer that rivals / outperforms many onboard keyboard workstations].

      I've been threatening to breadboard a 16-step MIDI CC sequencer in a stompbox format.  It may still come to that, or another custom solution.  It's a natural:  Nearly every new stompbox pedal nowadays can be controlled by MIDI CCs.  The Molten MIDI 2 is the right idea, even though it's meant to control a Digitech Whammy4.  With the Pitchfactor, you'd have to use this box as the MIDI master, and stick to a single CC11 (expression) only.  That's too limiting for something like the Pitchfactor [control over one function].  It's a boutique shop; I haven't checked into customizing it as a 'one-off' for the PitchFactor.

      At any rate, I can still expand on the finer details here.  In an attempt to cover a lot of ground, I made this whole process sound more complicated than it really is.

      Bottom line: 

      MIDI CC Value In = Pitchfactor Pitch Interval Out.

      Sequence of MIDI CC Values In = Sequence of Pitchfactor Pitch Intervals Out.

      Two sequences of MIDI CC Values In = Two pitch shifters = Two sequences of Pitchfactor Pitch Intervals Out in Stereo.

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    • #134532
      Kiwi
      Member

      OK that's quite a lot to take in and visualise and it's really useful detail so thanks for that.

      However I fix broken parts of cities for a living and have a personality type works from the bigger picture down to the detail.  That means I struggle to join the dots unless I know what the dots are supposed to show.

      Could you give me an example that I could work from? For example, how to get the I Feel Love patch (basically a IV/I/mIII sequence)?  I know theoretically how to set the MPXG2 up to transmit cc messages but  haven't needed to do it yet.  I'm not sure how to set the PF up to receive as I've only had mine for 4 weeks.  But I'm guessing that if I access the MIDI menu , I can get set the receive channel.  After that, I have no clue.

      If we took the I Feel Love line for example, I'd like to understand what cc messages I need to programme in order to get the expected outcome. I (and perhaps others) may be able to take the same process and extrapolate it to other situations.

    • #134533
      brock
      Participant
      Quote:
      If we took the I Feel Love line for example, I'd like to understand what cc messages I need to programme in order to get the expected outcome.

      Not a problem.  I'll need a little free time to formulate the step-by-step process on both the MPX and PitchFactor ends.  Generally, you have to set up a MIDI controller message for every outgoing 'note' that you don't want to play.  The 'I Feel The Love' bassline is right on the border of where I might switch from the MPX to a looping sequencer.

      If you were playing the root – fifth – octave of each key modulation on the bass, I'd just use a fast tremolo (maybe with a ramp shape) to process the audio with sharp attacks.  Playing just the root of each phrase …. I might still 'shape' the attacks, and generate the fifths and octaves over MIDI.

      With relatively simple phrases like this, there may be a formula for using the HarPeggiator mode plus MIDI to achieve it.  Let me play around with the combinations, and write down all of the parameter setups that are 'automatic' to me (things that I've worked out in the past).

    • #134534
      Kiwi
      Member

      Thanks again for your help.  

      For what it's worth I do have a patch already set up for I Feel Love on the MPX2.  It uses a square wave driven envelope filter to chop up the signal into 16th notes, much like the PF, and is tap tempo controlled.  I'm guessing this is how Georgio Moroder might have done it originally but my notes don't have as much attack and decay to them.

    • #134539
      brock
      Participant
      Quote:
      a square wave driven envelope filter to chop up the signal into 16th notes … don't have as much attack and decay to them.

      A few quick thoughts on that:  The PW control on the LFOs will skew the peak value of the waveform to the 'left or right'.  It's available on any LFO waveform, and will reshape it.  The default is 50%.  A setting of 0 on a triangle LFO produces a sawtooth shape (fastest attack; slowest decay), while 100% will ramp it (slow attack; fast decay).

      Try a PW of 0 on your square LFO, or on triangle, sine, cosine for different decay characteristics.  You might want to control a spare Volume module with the same LFO as the filter.  That should give you a snappier attack.  Occasionally, I'll control a little bit of noise or a complex waveform in the same way (much shorter pulse), to simulate a pick attack.

      The "I Feel The Love" breakdown is still in progress …

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  • #135166
    BarneyBrown
    Participant

    Hey Brock,

    Electro-Harmonix have just announced a new pedal called the 8-step program. More details here.

    I'm thinking this could be plugged into the expression input on the Factor pedals and used to automatically control the knobs. I'm assuming the pedals would be programmed in the same way we would currently use the expression pedals. What do you think? There's no manual available yet. I'm not quite sure how you'd map this to create arpeggio's at specific intervals though for example using h9101 on Pitchfactor.

  • #135167
    brock
    Participant

    VERY interesting find.  You've got to hand it to E-H for their innovative and forward thinking devices.  Even the build quality is miles ahead of where they started,  Since my last post on this thread, I've actually breadboarded a rough prototype, and cobbled together a MIDI note sequencer with an event processor as an alternative.  But this 8 Step Program has real possibilities at a reasonable price point,  Plus it's transferrable to anything with a CV / expression pedal input.

    It might be tricky to lock in the exact values for arpeggios.  The Eventide inputs work on a 0-3VDC range, and I'm not sure what the Electro-Harmonix outputs.  0-5V or 0-10V would be more common, I would think.  I already have about 75% of the PitchFactor algorithms mapped out for MIDI CC values.  But that's 0-127, with some of the pitch parameters mapped on a log curve.

    The expression pedal input would be 0-100 (on a good day).  Wink

    Thank you for the food for thought, BarneyBrown.  It seems like some kind of formula could be worked out to nail down the pitch values via expression pedal input (once all of the tools are in place).  Trial-and-error is always an option.  I tried that at first with MIDI CCs and the PitchFactor, but found it more useful to have a complete chart in place.  All of the grunt work is done, and then it's just plugging in the correct values for the musical phrase that you have in mind.

  • #135170
    coirbidh_99
    Participant

    I've been thinking about this today as well.  My thought is that what you'd want to do for arpeggiation is define a patch where the expression pedal controls the pitch, and the heel and toe positions are set to the lowest and highest pitches you intend to use in your sequence – an octave below and an octave above, say.  You'd then use the sliders to set the pitch for each step in the sequence individually.  That's probably a somewhat laborious process; the good news is that once you've got it figured out, you can save the sequence as a preset on the 8-Step.

    LOTS of interesting potential with that box attached to an Eventide stomp.  I'm personally interested in using it as a way to get square-wave modulation of loop times, producing loops that jump in pitch at intervals unrelated to the loop content.  I've seen David Torn do that with a PCM 42, and as far as I can tell that's the only device capable of that particular sound.

  • #135179
    BarneyBrown
    Participant

    I'm very tempted by this EHM pedal. With several factor pedals hooked together with midi it should be possible to control multiple pedals simultaneously as well. It might be interesting to combine pitch and filter effects for example. To be honest, I can't really find an equivalent pedal. Molten Voltage told me the Molten Midi pedals send midi data that isn't compatible with the Pitchfactor. The only other option is one of the large midi sequencers – which look very fun indeed and have many other functions to play with.

  • #135303
    faganwilcox
    Member

    A simple way to implement custom sequences would be to input the notes via learn mode. 

    Press footswitch, play note (pitch factor learns) .. next note.. next note.. until sequence is complete. Then just adjust the groove as per usual.

  • #135304
    brock
    Participant
    Quote:
    Press footswitch, play note (pitch factor learns) .. next note.. next note.. until sequence is complete.

    Killer idea.  Brilliant in its simplicity.  I'd like to add an 'exit custom' gesture to your scheme.  That way, a sequence of less than the 16-step maximum could be entered.  I don't think you'd need a 'rest' gesture (no input -> Learn).  Substitute the 'Unison' reference.

    My thought of MIDI Note input (with Note Off triggering the 'learn') seems overcomplicated by comparison.  I think you'd still need a way to enter & determine what the 'reference base note' would be.  All of the Harpeggiator steps are intervals, with mathematical relationships to the current pitch-detected 'base note'.

    In other words, if an open high E was input as your first sequence step, you'd still need a reference note to determine whether it was intended to be a fifth, octave, etc.  Two pitch shifters, so I'd hope for an A27: CUSTOM and B27: CUSTOM capability.

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