After missing the crowdfunding campaign, I was happy to finally be able to buy a copy of Tobie Miller’s excellent Bach solo hurdy gurdy CD at Chateau d’Ars last week. I couldn’t find any official album artwork on the web yet, so here is a quick scan of the cover, for anyone else who got a copy already.
It is possible, if somewhat awkward, to update the Mooer Ocean Machine firmware on a mac using Wine and a cheap USB MIDI cable.
WARNING: if the firmware update doesn’t complete successfully, it will not permanently brick your unit (as the update can always be attempted again) but the pedal will not work until a firmware is successfully installed! Attempt at your own risk, and definitely not 10 minutes before a gig.
First, download the update from the Mooer website. The update and update software comes in a .rar archive, so you’ll need something like The Unarchiver to unpack it.
You’ll need the latest version of Wine for Mac from winehq.org. I successfully installed the firmware update using 3.0.2. Using version 2.0 consistently failed.
Power on the Ocean Machine in firmware update mode and plug in your USB MIDI cable as specified by the update readme. Check in Audio MIDI Setup that it’s working and recognised. Then, launch the updater using Wine. Select the firmware update file, then click “Update”. You might get a popup window helpfully saying “MIDI Device Error!!”. Try pressing Update again, if you’re lucky it will work. If not, open Terminal and try the following solution.
The problem with (old versions of) Windows, Wine and this updater program is that they rely on the “MIDI device mapper” utility to decide which MIDI device to use. This would be fine, but under Wine for Mac there’s no easy way of seeing a list of devices or configuring which device to use.
It is possible to change the default MIDI device used by the MIDI mapper, by creating a text file with the following code:
REGEDIT4 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Multimedia\MIDIMap] "CurrentInstrument"="#1"
#0 is the default device, so start at #1.
I saved mine in MMap.ini. Then, run the following command:
wine regedit MMap.ini
and re-open the update app. If after two presses of Update you still get “MIDI Device Error!!”, then quit the updater, change #1 to #2, run
wine regedit MMap.ini and try again. Repeat until successful. Yes, the update process sucks.
@_aitor I mostly reached a similar place and it’s very relaxing. I occasionally have to remind myself that I’m helping purely because I chose to. The help might be ignored or even rejected, and that’s fine. Might have an impact on whether I chose to help that particular person in the future, though…
Recently scanned some album covers I couldn’t find on the web. Here they are, to save the work for any other fans of similarly obscure music:
Tanz', Duo Haertel Wascher
Eetu Klemetti - Kampi-Klemetin nuottikirja
Gregory Jolivet - Alt'o solo
Marylin Tucker & Paul Wilson - On The Tide
Marylin Tucker & Paul Wilson and friends - Dead Maid’s Land
The Cornwall Songwriters - The Cry of Tin
Today’s late-night puredata madness: creating a 7-limit just intonation abstraction which takes standard 12TET MIDI note numbers and spits the 7-limit just version, expressed as a decimal MIDI note number:
Each canvas has a receive ID of $0- plus the symbol for the relevant filter mode, making the message sending for changing the colours easy.
[biquad~] clicks and pops when changing coefficients, which is annoying when they’re coming from the [filterview] UI. The best way I found of smoothing them was to alternate between two biquad~ objects and crossfade between them over 3ms. This approach, while a little cludgy, is probably generalisable to a lot of similar Pd situations where smooth transitions are desirable.
Their website vectortours.de is one of the most confusing I’ve ever seen. A German domain with a weird mixture of Albanian and German text. Most of the phone numbers don’t work, and when I tried calling the German number and asked in German about their lines from Macedonia to Montenegro, they were dumbfounded and had no idea what I was talking about. Some of the ticket desks in Skopje firmly denied the existence of the company, until we eventually found one who gave us a ticket. Then, by chance, we ended up staying in a hostel in Prizren which was literally next door to the Vector Tours office, which was adorned with three completely different logos! I think some other weird stuff happened which I forgot, but in total this was enough to cement them as a semi-legendary entity and permanent in-joke.
Some tips for building a Mutable Instruments Ambika, based on my experiences:
Based on the part numbers in the BOM, suppliers will sometimes pick a CD4050 chip. These are not fast enough and will cause SD card access to fail, it’s necessary to use a 74HC4050.
If you’re using a 74HC4050 and SD card access is still failing, check whether communication with all of the voicecards works. I had a lot of issues where failing or badly connected voicecards would interfere with the serial lines and prevent SD card access from working.
The 3.3V regulator, DACs and all the MCUs can be obtained free from the Microchip samples service if you’re willing to do it over a few months in limited quantities of two part numbers at a time.
My Pololu USB AVR Programmer wasn’t able to provide enough power whilst programming, so I had to power the boards for programming. For the voicecards, having both 6 pin headers connected interfered with programming because of data being sent to the voicecards over the serial lines. I ended up powering up the motherboard, placing a stackable connector in the power/audio socket voicecard socket and plugging the voicecard into that for flashing, so that it’s powered but the serial lines are disconnected.
I programmed my Ambika with the YAM firmware to get those smooth sounding PolyBlep square and saw waves. I built the firmware myself, downloading CrossPack 2010-01-15 which provides avr-gcc 4.3.3, the correct version for compiling most old MI AVR firmwares.
I would recommend buying higher quality pots and encoder with metal shafts rather than the flimsy plastic ones in the BOMs. There are so few on the Ambika that the added expense is only a few euros in total. An Ambika is such a large time and financial investment that there’s really no reason to use flimsy, wobbly plastic pots.
I got my PCBs from the Pusherman group-buy, they‘re very cheap and work fine.
I built an Ambika to join my family of Walnut Mutables!
I messed up the LED holes in this one, but the laser engraved front panel graphics and text came out really well. The back panel is acrylic so I can admire my electronics handiwork and Olivier’s amazing design any time.
I took the opportunity to give my Shruthi a knob upgrade, too.