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Intro to Creating and Loading Custom Wavetables into Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer

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EVEN MORE UNIQUE SONIC POSSIBILITIES THROUGH USER WAVETABLES

In preparing for the (no)poem Experimental Ambient mini-tour to Lincoln and Des Moines this weekend with Darwin Grosse, I wanted "up my game" on the Waldorf Blofeld side. This meant not only using original presets from INIT, but also custom wavetables as sources from some of my custom presets. You can upload your own wavetables in both the keyboard and the desktop edition WITHOUT having to use License SL on desktop edition.

38 USER WAVETABLES FOR OSC1 & OSC2

The blofeld has 38 slots for user wavetables. You select them as oscillator shape sources for Oscillators 1 & 2 by dialing in shapes 80-118. Note, the blofeld has 64 waves per wavetable. 

 WALDORF BLOFELD WAVETABLE CREATOR APP

A popular and free app for drawing each wave within a wavetable is Kotró László Lehel's Waldorf Blofeld Wavetable Creator. He also makes the free and popular Waldorf Blofeld editor. These apps run on windows but members on the Blofeld Facebook forum indicate the apps run fine under Wine (https://www.winehq.org). 

This app has some other great features like morphing between waves. For example, you could draw the first and last wave in the table, then let the app morph all the waves in between. It has basic basic import of .wav for resynthesis as well.

The app lets you then save in a format that you can upload to your blofeld. More on this later in the post.

AUDIOTERM APP

I just started using a pretty great freeware general purpose editor app called Audioterm by Mathias Gurk. It has a super groovy retro interface and green waveform display reminiscent of the Fairlight. It's not Blofeld specific, but does a great job of resynthesizing audio from various formats and has the option to save into the format Blofeld is looking for. Audioterm is on Facebook here, and you can download the app from a dropbox. Here is a KVR Thread on the app.

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It's a little tricky getting around inside the retro interface, but once you learn it, it's a snap. This video will help, although note you can skip the step at the 1:00 mark as the app now supports saving natively to Blofeld format.

 Tip: To save in Blofeld format

  1. Select "F_TYPE" 5 which is Blofeld.
  2. Select the file
  3. Enter a name and press "RET" (return key)
  4. Enter Blofled Device ID (0 is the default)
  5. Enter the user slot you want to load the wavetable into betweeen 80-118.
  6. Press "RET"

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I'm just scratching the surface, but man this app is packed with cool features.

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OTHER APPS

There are other apps out there but these should get you going. 

LOADING CUSTOM WAVETABLES INTO THE BLOFELD

Waldorf implemented a SYSEX format for loadingn wavetables. You'll note that in both the apps I mentioned above you have to specify the slot when you save the file in .SYX format. In other words, the slot number is embedded into the file. You can transmit the file to the Blofeld with your MIDI Sysex app. On Windows I use MIDI OX.

SWEEPING THROUGH THE TABLE

A last tip for those who haven't experimented with wavetable synthesis on Blfoeld. Like with factory wavetables, user wavetables can be used as sources for OSC 1 & 2.  Parameter "Pulswidth" to set the starting point or manually sweep the table. 0 = first wave in the wavetable. 64 = middle, 127=last wave. You can automate this by specifying PWM source then adjust the amount of modulation with PWM amount. You can also set this up in the modulation matrix. An example would be to use an LFO or perhaps the Modulation Wheel to sweep through the table.

MORE ON THE INTERWEBS...

Fequent FB contributor Øystein Olsen reminded me of  Wolfgang Hieb's awesome site http://synth.stromeko.net/Downloads.html which also has some .zip files containing  wavetables that you can load into the user slots. If you know of others, please leave a comment :^)


(no)poem creative limitations: Modular/Looper/Max/Beatstep Meets Octatrack/Blofeld/Lemur

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CREATIVE LIMITATIONS

In my last post, I mentioned the formation of a collaboration with Darwin Grosse called  (no)poem. When we where putting this project together a few months back we started by defining a set of creative limitations which would inform the art for our first mini-tour through Lincoln and to Des Moines.  

We created this set of limitations:

  1. Desktop only
  2. No keys
  3. No laptops
  4. No synced clocks
  5. No sampling of each other's output

RIGS

For Darwin, this meant a modular-centered rig:

For me this meant an Octatrack-centered rig:

  • Electron Octatrack
  • Waldorf Blofeld Desktop with custom presets from init, custom wavetables, and custom samples as oscillator sources via License SL
  • Instrumentality for Blofeld are via a custom Lemur patch on iPad (USB Midi with Camera Kit) and Octatrack (MIDI)

DIFFERENT WORKLOW = DIFFERENT CREATIVE RESULTS

Different rigs and different workflows yield different results of course. A hardware focus means our eyes are free to focus on graphical scores (more on this in a future post) and paying attention to each other's body language. No keyboards means we have to use knobs, buttons sliders, cables, visual feedback from hardware, and in my case, physics and multi-touch through the Lemur interfaces. Again, this changes the creative result - especially when playing tonal passages without being restricted by a 12-tone keyboard interface.

TRANSCENDING TECH TO SERVE THE ART

If you've been following along here on Modulate This! you know I've gone deep with both the Octatack and the Blofeld for many years now so this upcoming tour is the culmination of a lot of work to create expressive workflows around these instruments. 

UPCOMING POSTS

Stay tuned for more detailed posts on how I'm using Octatrack (see dedicated category), Blofeld (see dedicated category), and Lemur. I'll also do some posts on working with grphical scores and free-running clocks.

Lastly, tune into to Darwin's new blog All Things Modular to learn more about his rig and artistic process.


Introducing (no)poem - A New Collaboration with Darwin Grosse + Heartland 2015 Tour

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Things have been a little quite over here at Modulate This! HQ because I've been super busy working with my my good friend Darwin Grosse to form a new duo called (no)poemStay tuned for some upcoming behind-the-scenes posts where I'll share some insights into how we put the duo together as well as some notes on the tech and artistic elements of the our upcoming tour. For now here is a little background on the project.

For those who don't know Darwin, he is director of education and customer services for Cycling ’74 (Max). He is the  creator and host of the art+music+technologypodcast. Darwin also launched a brand new blog called All Things Modular.

We're striking out from Boulder on a mini-tour of the Heartland.


Sonic Encounters Episode 004 Features Brand New Piece - "A Day In The Life Of A Krell Technician"

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This next soundscape in Episode 004 is a 20 minute long soundscape. One thing I love about the podcast format is I can present these longer form works that you can listen to as you go about your day. If you need to pause the show, you can pick up where you left off.

So thanks to all of you who subscribed to the podcast in iTunes. If you haven't subscribed click here to Subscribe now on iTunes so you never miss an episode. Please leave a rating or review if you are enjoying the podcast. If you use a different podcatcher, paste this RSS link.

On to Episode 004...

Episode 004 A Day In The Life Of A Krell Technician

A Brand New 20 Minute Original Soundscape


To learn more about this episode visit the Soundscape Journal Page here.

Episode-004-show-notes

 

Subscribe-itunes



Thanks for listening,

Mark Mosher
www.SonicEncounters.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com


Must Read for Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer Owners: New 1.23 Firmware for Blofeld + New Spectre App + Secret Sauce for Getting Spectre Sample Transfer to Work After Upgrading

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Update: This is a long article and I've rendered it as pdf and Open XML paper so you can read this offline and print it.

Blofeld users rejoice! Waldorf has released a free firmware update for the Waldorf Blofeld synthesizer. It's kind of a life changing update in that it allows you to transfer only new samples from a new Program in a Program List rather than transferring all samples in a program list - hooray!

Most seasoned Blofeld users seem to be having trouble getting the new features working - boooo!

I'm a long time Blofeld/Spectre user but I not things to work first try. I did figure it out after about 3 hours of research and trial and error and wanted to pass along my findings to save you time. Yaaay!

Details and secret sauce of how to get new features working is below.

Mark Mosher
Synthesist, Boulder CO

www.MarkMosherMusic.com

 

WHAT'S NEW?

There are no release notes, but Waldorf posted the following on Facebook:

Dear Blofeld Friends,

There is a new Blofeld Firmware Update, V 1.23.

Continue reading "Must Read for Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer Owners: New 1.23 Firmware for Blofeld + New Spectre App + Secret Sauce for Getting Spectre Sample Transfer to Work After Upgrading" »


Waldorf Releases 1.22 Firmware for Blofeld Syntheiszer & Keyboard Firmware Update. Now Is the Time for Your Feedback + What's New + How to Install

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Waldorf has just released Blofeld Firmare V 1.22 – and for owners of the keyboard edition – Blofeld Keyboard Controller Firmware 1.4. The update is free from http://www.waldorf-music.info/downloads-blofeld-kb/blofeld-firmware-en.

Please Test Now!

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First off, three cheers for Waldorf for putting energy into a synth released way back in 2007! There is no change log in the firmware zip files and instead, Waldorf’s Kay Dee is communicating and taking input for this update via Waldorf Blofeld group on Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/groups/8492783249/

It’s been a while since Waldorf worked on Blofeld and it may be a while before they circle back, so now is your chance to test and give feedback!

What’s New

One major reason to update is they are using software to correct for the issue of encoder twitchiness some users have reported. Kay Dee from Waldorf mentioned out on Facebook that if this update didn’t address your issues, you most likely have a hardware issue and should have your unit serviced. There is no change log in the firmware zip file, but I’ve gleaned the following from Kay’s Facebook posts:

  • Between the last official version and this version, there were sum interim betas. 1.2 introduced some bugs with gui (sine waveform went missing), phasing problem and jumping value when you turn volume knob. They are fixed.Other value optimization for knobs.
  • Sync lfo/arp fix. This was a major complaint with the last official version. I’ve not tested it, but early reports on Facebook indicate sync is much improved.
  • Fx fix
  • Encoder fix and some system fixes.
  • 1.18-> 1.2 fix now you can use two wavetables/samples at osc1+2 at the same time.
  • Firmware update/downgrade now possible
  • General system Optimization

Blofeld Keyboard Edition Update

  • Now you can play a single "Part" with the keys. Changing the Global MIDI channel will change the Part. Omni will play all parts at the same time, so you can use this for layer sounds.
  • Mod and pitch wheel will not send random value
  • Data transfer from keys to DSP optimized.

How to Install

Grab the firmware from http://www.waldorf-music.info/downloads-blofeld-kb/blofeld-firmware-en. Unzip the file and save the .mid files.  If you haven’t done so, download the Spectre app (Win/Mac) from http://www.waldorf-music.info/downloads-blofeld-kb/spectre-downloads-en.

Run the Spectre app and plug in your Blofeld via USB.

  1. Make sure you set the Audio/MIDI options to select Blofeld
  2. Click the “Upgrade…” button and select each of the firmware .mid files to send the files to the Blofeld. Follow instructions on Blofeld.

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So Far, So Good

I upgraded a few days ago. So far, so good.

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Thanks Waldorf

Thanks to the Waldorf team for circling back and giving the Blofeld some love!

 


Using Elektron Analog Four to Add Tap Tempo and Tempo Nudge to My Blofeld

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I just picked up an Electron Analog Four to add 4 analog synths + seq + effects to create an additional compterless workflow. I’ll also use it as source audio for Live and Absynth patches.  One of my other goals was to pair it with my Blofeld for live jams and performances.

While I love the character and user interface of the Blofeld, one thing that drives me batty is there is no tap temp or tempo nudge for the arp. Analog Four to the Rescue!

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Setup is pretty straight forward.

  1. Go into global settings on Analog Four and configure to transmit clock. See p. 44 of Analog Four manual.
  2. Hook up MIDI out from Analog Four to Blofeld in.
  3. In Blofeld global settings make sure you set clock to “Auto”. See p. o3 f the Blofeld Manual for info on global settings.

Now once you start a pattern on the Analog Four it' starts transmitting clock and any changes to tempo via direct tempo setting, nudge, or Tap Tempo are transmitted to Blofeld. See p. 28 of the for details of Analog Four manual on tempo manipulation.

I’m getting best sync results on the Blofeld so far by setting the arp to “on” not “hold” so I can time the down key to start on the beat with the Electron 4 – and then retrigger with next note on.

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Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician | Composer | Performer
Boulder, CO