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Old 12-03-2013, 09:22 PM
jim jim is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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This request does come up now and then. A few weeks back there was an email requesting individual sequence length controls for each track on the DrumSeq. The general answer I have to give for now is indeed to use separate modules, you can definitely get what you want in that case. That's why Numerology is modular to begin with -- so that *you* get to pick how the different sequencing bits are put together.

Now when that answer is not well received, as a product manager I have to think carefully about why. I think there are few things at work:

1: Time to construct: It would be nice to have an easy way to have such setups and be able to easily call them up. The Stack Library (and the Browser in N4) obviously help quite a bit in this case, but there are still areas where it could be better.

2: Screen space : Each module, and especially sequencing modules consume a decent amount of screen space. Once you have 3-4 of them, it gets to be an issue. My new favorite setup for the modular synth has 2 MonoNotes, 3 or 4 Mod Seqs, a DualLfo and other stuff. That's just for one voice, and I can't see it all at once -- a bit frustrating. My solution in this case is that I mostly control it via the Launchpad for the MonoNotes, plus a custom TouchOSC template for everything else.

3: Parameter Linking : You want to keep the sequencers linked in some ways (clock rate, direction, etc), but not in others (start/end/length). That is totally doable. I've wanted to have globally-linked params (scale quantization anyone?) for a while. Also allowing a few params to be linked just within a stack makes a lot of sense as well.

One thing I don't want to do is subvert the module system itself -- that would quickly become counter-productive. What if you want different lengths, but also different directions? Or different rates? As soon as I start making decisions about what does and doesn't happen within a module, well, some things get left out.

...However, the advantages of having some pre-built multi-track sequencing goodness that can quickly be grabbed and put into use is indeed pretty obvious -- thus the MonoNote and other note sequencers. Some folks will remember that version 1 didn't have them at all. They do indeed impose some limitations, but the benefits are pretty good -- you get lots of functionality readily available for very little UI effort.

So what I've been doing is mulling these things over in my head -- along with some related items..., identifying what I can do to get to where you want it, without breaking the existing model. And I think the best approach for now is for me to keep pushing on those 3 items above -- easier to instantiate 'sets of things', better use of screen space, and more creative ways to link modules together.

Eventually I think that could lead to what some really want -- the ability to build fully custom modules. That is a totally worthwhile goal, but also surprisingly tricky and time consuming do right (and a whole 'nother discussion). So in the meanwhile, I work in that direction by looking for ways to improve the user experience, but keep the flexibility that drew you here in the first place.

Cheers,
Jim
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