Changes between Version 13 and Version 14 of Manual


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Timestamp:
05/28/2018 01:56:45 PM (15 months ago)
Author:
thomas
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  • Manual

    v13 v14  
    11== Overview ==
    2 The Buchla 700 was a synthesizer released in 1987. It was conceived and built by Donald Buchla together with Lynx Crowe, who wrote the firmware for the 700. Some years ago Lynx kindly allowed Aaron Lanterman to release the source code on his website: http://lanterman.ece.gatech.edu/buchla700/. While our modifications are in the public domain, Lynx's request still
    3 applies to the underlying original code. Please respect that.
    42
    5 The Buchla 700 was a 12-Voice polyphonic synthesizer using frequency modulation, wave shaping and wave shape interpolation to create its sounds. In contrast to many instruments of its time it did not use a traditional keyboard as input, but an array of touch sensitive membrane keys.
     3The Buchla 700 is a synthesizer released in 1987. It was conceived and built by Donald Buchla together with Lynx Crowe, who wrote the firmware for the 700. Some years ago Lynx kindly allowed Aaron Lanterman to release the firmware source code on his website:
    64
    7 In addition to the inbuilt LCD display, an external monitor could be connected for editing of sounds.
     5http://lanterman.ece.gatech.edu/buchla700/
    86
    9 This is a walkthrough some simple functions which might be of interest without sound.
     7While our modifications to the original firmware are in the public domain, Lynx's terms still apply to the underlying original firmware code.
    108
    11 === Starting the Emulator and MIDAS ===
     9The Buchla 700 is a 12-voice polyphonic synthesizer using frequency modulation, wave shaping, and wave shape interpolation to create its sounds. In contrast to many instruments of its time, it did not use a traditional keyboard as input, but an array of touch sensitive membrane keys.
    1210
    13 By switching to the directory and running ./buchla in the terminal or simply by clicking on the icon, you can start the emulator. Three windows will appear: One emulates the main graphic display (which will still be blank), one the smaller LCD display (showing "Buchla 700 -- BIOS/FIRMWARE by D.N. Lynx Crowe") and one the debug terminal (showing an orange cursor). Make sure the debug console is in focus and then press "r". "Buchla 700 BIOS / Debug PROM" should appear and there should be a prompt: "ROMP:".
     11In addition to the built-in LCD display, an external monitor can be connected for editing of sounds.
    1412
    15 Type "go $10000" to load the MIDAS operating system. The graphic display should now show a menu and the LCD display should show faders.
     13This is a walk-through of some simple functions which might be of interest without sound.
    1614
     15=== Starting MIDAS ===
    1716
    18 === Overview of key shortcuts ===
    19 The emulator is usable via a combination of mouse and keyboard. It was possible to connect an actual mouse to the 700’s serial port, so even if it might be somewhat unusual by modern standards we have kept it. Approached from a modern perspective the interface of the 700 needs some adjustment. Certain keys have different values in different situations and sometimes even function differently depending on which area the mouse is hovering over.
     17On emulator startup, three windows will appear that emulate three different components:
    2018
    21 The keyboard Layout is as follows:
     19  - The external monitor, which will still be blank.
     20  - The built-in LCD display, showing `Buchla 700 -- BIOS/FIRMWARE by D.N. Lynx Crowe`.
     21  - The serial debug console, showing an orange cursor.
    2222
    23 || Emulator || 700 ||
    24 || Keys 0 - 9 || Data entry keys 0 - 9 ||
    25 || Keys 'a' - 'n' || Move fader 1 - 14 up ||
    26 || Shift + keys 'a' - 'n' || Mover fader 1 - 14 down ||
     23Make sure that the debug console window is in focus and then press `r`. Then `Buchla 700 BIOS / Debug PROM` should appear and there should be a `ROMP:` prompt. You are now talking to the 700's built-in debug monitor via one of the 700's serial ports.
    2724
    28 The mouse functions as follows:
     25Now, in the debug monitor, type `midas` and press `Enter`. This will load the MIDAS operating system from the floppy disk image, `buchla.disk`, which came in the ZIP archive with the emulator. This will take a while - floppy drives were slow! Once MIDAS has been loaded, you'll get another `ROMP:` prompt. Now type `go $10000` actually run MIDAS. The external monitor should now show a menu and the LCD display should show faders.
    2926
    30 || Emulator || 700 ||
    31 || Left mouse button || Select ||
    32 || Right mouse button || Escape to main menu ||
     27You can exit the emulator at any time by pushing the `Esc` key.
    3328
    34 The 700 hundred had 10 data entry keys counting from 0 - 9. These are used whenever numerical data needs to entered. Keys 8 and 9 have the additional function of being able to increment/decrement numbers and at other times toggle functions. We have emulated these using the numbers on your computer keyboard, 0 - 9 being mapped to the corresponding data keys, with 8 and 9 being used for incrementing and decrementing.
     29=== User Interface ===
    3530
    36 The membrane faders on the top half of the keyboard were used for direct manipulation of parameters. Each fader has a corresponding segment in the LCD display containing the name of the assigned parameter and a vertical bar representing the amount applied.
     31The emulator is usable via a combination of mouse and keyboard. It is possible to connect an actual mouse to the 700’s serial port, so even if it might be somewhat unusual by modern standards we have kept it. Approached from a modern perspective the interface of the 700 needs some adjustment. Certain keys have different values in different situations and sometimes even function differently depending on which area the mouse is hovering over.
    3732
    38 In future releases, a midi mapping to the faders will be possible, but at present they are emulated by keyboard alone. Keys ‘a’ to ’n’ are assigned to the faders, where a normal keypress emulates the fader being pushed upwards and a keypress with shift emulates it being pressed down
     33==== Using the Mouse ====
    3934
    40 The layout of the membrane keys is as following:
     35Usually, moving your mouse moves the mouse pointer of your operating system. In order to virtually connect your mouse to the emulator:
    4136
    42 [Image of membrane key layout]
     37  - Make sure that the external monitor window is in focus.
     38  - Then push the `Cursor Down` key of your keyboard.
    4339
    44 === Midi Configuration ===
     40Now your mouse should move the 700's mouse pointer.
    4541
    46 It is possible to control the Emulator with a midi keyboard. Currently, it must be started from the command line with the extra argument ‘-m’ and desired midi channel. An example command for using it with MIDI channel 1 is:
     42In order to disconnect your mouse from the emulator again:
    4743
    48 ./buchla -m 1
     44  - Make sure that the external monitor window is in focus.
     45  - Then push the "Cursor Up" key of your keyboard.
    4946
    50 == Librarian ==
     47In general, the left mouse button selects something, whereas the right mouse button always takes you back to the main menu.
    5148
    52 For the Librarian to work we need to start the emulator slightly differently. After running "./buchla" but before typing "go $10000", type "midas" in the debug console. This loads MIDAS into the memory (which is already done automatically by the emulator), however it crucially also initialises the disk drive, which we need to store settings. Then start MIDAS with "go $10000".
     49==== Using the Keyboard ====
    5350
    54 To save a setting, open the librarian. Enter a filename by clicking in the orange box to the right of "FILENAME" and selecting the letters of the desired name of your file in the input menu. When you are done, select the "*" symbol to close the input menu. Then click "Store" and then the type of setting you would like to save ("Waves", "Assgn", "Score", etc.).
     51The keyboard mapping depends on which emulator window is currently active. Let's take a look at what things are like with the LCD display active. After starting MIDAS, the LCD display looks like this:
    5552
    56 == Score Editor ==
     53The display is subdivided into 14 columns. When looking at a real 700, each of these 14 columns has a corresponding button and a corresponding fader right below it. Note the text at the top of each column: `Quiet`, `ROMP`, `Lamp`, ... This text says what each of the 14 buttons is currently configured to do. These 14 buttons are mapped to `Ctrl + a` - `Ctrl + n`.
    5754
    58 The Score Editor allows you to record and arrange performances. It is possible to record a MIDI Sequence in the emulator. To do this, hover the cursor over the green star of the groups in the GROUP/INSTRUM row. Pressing + (9) once will change it to yellow and a second time will change it to red (Track is armed). On the bottom of the screen select Recrd. Then, to start recording select Clock at the top of the screen. Now the played MIDI notes will be shown in the score.
     55You've already met ROMP, the 700's debug monitor. Let's try something. The text at the top of the second column says `ROMP`. Now push `Ctrl + b`, i.e., the button associated with this column. Note how this breaks into ROMP in the serial debug console window. Activate that window and enter `go` (this time without `$10000`) to leave ROMP again.
    5956
    60 If you do not have a MIDI controller, it is still possible to draw notes. At the top of the screen click on "Src Local". In the appearing menu, select "Step". Arm one of the groups by hovering over the green star and pressing + (9) twice. Select "Recrd" at the bottom of the screen. Then in the top right corner click on "Note Edit" and select "Begin Nat" from the menu. Now you can draw MIDI note on events by clicking (only once!) on the staff (right of the line in the center) at the desired pitch. The Score Editor will start scrolling and reappear with the drawn note. "Begin Nat" will have changed to "End Note", allowing you to set the end of the MIDI note by clicking on the desired spot.
     57There is also text at the bottom of each column: `Locn`, `Level`, `Ind 1` ... This text says which parameter each of the 14 faders is currently assigned to. The lines in the middle of each column indicate the current position of each fader. The faders are moved up with `a` - `n` and moved down with `Shift + a` - `Shift + n`.
    6158
    62 == Instrument Designer ==
     59For example, now push `b` a few times to move the fader of the second column (`Level`) up. Then push `Shift + b` a few times to move it down again.
    6360
    64 The Instrument Designer lets you edit the "Functions"/"Envelopes" for different parameters. The functions (displayed on the graph) are made up of individual points, so called breakpoints, which are interpolated linearly. Clicking on the preview at the top of the screen ("Frq 1", "Frq 2", etc.) allows you to select the function of the parameter you would like to edit.
     61And that's it for the LCD display. All in all, here's how you interact with this window via the keyboard:
    6562
    66 To edit the last breakpoint: Click on the function graph (or press 'e') and the last breakpoint will become red and not be connected to the last anymore. Now click to the desired position you would like to change it to and the function will be redrawn.
     63|| Keys || Function ||
     64|| `Ctrl + a` - `Ctrl + n` || Push button 1 - 14 ||
     65|| `a` - `n` || Move fader 1 - 14 up ||
     66|| `Shift + a` - `Shift + n` || Mover fader 1 - 14 down ||
    6767
    68 To add a breakpoint: Press + (9) and the last breakpoint will become red, but will still be connected. Now click on the desired position you want the new breakpoint to have.
     68Let's now take a look at which keys we can use when the external monitor window is active.
    6969
    70 To remove the breakpoints: Hover your mouse over the number in the "Pt " box underneath the graph. Use the number keys to enter the breakpoint you would like to delete from, e.g. "05". The 5th and all following breakpoints will be deleted.
     70Notes can be triggered via a MIDI keyboard or via 24 built-in keys. These keys are mapped to `Shift + a` - `Shift + x`.
    7171
    72 == Waveshape Editor ==
     72The 700 hundred also has 10 data entry keys, 0 - 9. These are used whenever numerical data needs to entered. In some contexts, keys 8 and 9 also increment and decrement numbers, respectively, or toggle functions. These 10 data entry keys are mapped to the number keys `0` - `9`. Just like on a real 700, `8` and `9` also provide the extended functionality of incrementing, decrementing, and toggling.
    7373
    74 The Waveshape Editor allows you to edit the transform function for the oscillator. What looks like a waveform is in fact an array of 254 values which are scanned by the wave generated by the frequency modulation setting. To understand this better, imagine a sine wave oscillating between 0 and 253, it will count from 0 until 253, back down again and repeat. Instead of playing the actual waveform directly a value is used to lookup the value stored in the waveshape table. In our example the sine wave would look up all values from 0 until 253 and then from 253 until 0 and repeat. This way, if you draw a diagonal line from bottom left until top right, the scanning waveform will be played unaltered.
     74Then there are the E, M, and X keys:
    7575
    76 The Waveshape Editor shows you the current wave shape being used. Click on a point in the wave or hover over a point and press ‘e’, this will toggle the edit mode. If you move the mouse up or down and wait a second or two for the screen to refresh you will see you have changed the value of single point. To exit the edit mode click or press ‘e’  a second time.
     76  - The E key (edit?) generally works like a left mouse click, i.e., it selects something to be edited.
    7777
    78 Most of the time you will of course want to manipulate more than a single point. For this, move the mouse cursor over the wave shape and press + (9) or - (8). This will change the “Width” setting in the control part of the screen. You can select "Width 0" until "Width 7" and another option "Interp". The "Width" options allow you to “bend” multiple points, 0 being only one point and 7 being the entire wave shape. "Interp" lets you draw the wave shape free hand.
     78  - The M key (menu?) generally works like a right mouse click, i.e., it always takes you back to the main menu.
    7979
    80 == Tuning Tables, Patch Editor, Assignment Tables, Sequence Editor ==
     80  - The X key (cross-out?) is generally used to delete or remove something.
    8181
    82 These screens might be fun to explore, but have limited effect in this version without the sound engine.
     82These three keys of the 700 are mapped to `e`, `m`, and `x`.
     83
     84And that's it for the external monitor. All in all, here's how you interact with this window via the keyboard:
     85
     86|| Keys || Function ||
     87|| `0` - `9` || Data entry ||
     88|| `8` || In some contexts: increment or toggle ||
     89|| `9` || In some contexts: increment or toggle ||
     90|| `e` || E key (left mouse click) ||
     91|| `m` || M key (right mouse click) ||
     92|| `x` || X key ||
     93
     94=== MIDI Configuration ===
     95
     96It is possible to control the emulator with a MIDI keyboard. Currently, the emulator must be started from the command line with the extra argument `-m` followed by the desired MIDI port. An example command for doing so on OS X with MIDI port 1:
     97
     98  `./buchla-os-x -m 1`
     99
     100In order to list the available MIDI ports use `list` instead of a MIDI port:
     101
     102  `./buchla-os-x -m list`
     103
     104== A Little Exploration ==
     105
     106Let's try a few things to get a little more familiar with some user interface concepts of the 700.
     107
     108=== Librarian ===
     109
     110To save a setting, select ''Librarian'' from the main menu.. Enter a filename by clicking in the orange box to the right of ''FILENAME'' and selecting the letters of the desired name of your file from the character selection menu. When you are done, select the ''*'' symbol to close the character selection menu. Then click ''Store'' and then the type of setting you would like to save (''Waves'', ''Assgn'', ''Score'', etc.).
     111
     112Your data will be stored on the virtual floppy disk image, `buchla.disk`. The image is a FAT-formatted 720-KiB 1.44" floppy disk, by the way. You can access it with any tools that support FAT file systems.
     113
     114=== Score Editor ===
     115
     116The ''Score editor'' menu item allows you to record and arrange performances. It is possible to record a MIDI Sequence in the emulator. To do this, hover the cursor over the green star of the groups in the ''GROUP/INSTRUM'' row. Pressing `9` once will change it to yellow and a second time will change it to red: track is armed. On the bottom of the screen select ''Recrd''. Then, to start recording, select ''Clock'' at the top of the screen. Now the played MIDI notes will be shown in the score.
     117
     118If you do not have a MIDI controller, it is still possible to draw notes. At the top of the screen click on ''Src Local''. In the appearing menu, select ''Step''. Arm one of the groups by hovering over the green star and pressing `9` twice. Select ''Recrd'' at the bottom of the screen. Then, in the top right corner, click on ''Note Edit'' and select ''Begin Nat'' from the menu. Now you can draw MIDI notes on events by clicking (only once!) on the staff (right of the line in the center) at the desired pitch. The score editor will start scrolling and reappear with the drawn note. ''Begin Nat'' will have changed to ''End Note'', allowing you to set the end of the MIDI note by clicking on the desired spot.
     119
     120=== Instrument Designer ===
     121
     122The ''Instrument designer'' menu item lets you edit the "functions" (Buchla's term for envelopes) for different parameters. The functions (displayed on the graph) are made up of individual points, so called breakpoints, which are interpolated linearly. Clicking on the preview at the top of the screen (''Frq 1'', ''Frq 2'', etc.) allows you to select the function of the parameter you would like to edit.
     123
     124To edit the last breakpoint: Click on the function graph (or press `e`) and the last breakpoint will become red and disconnected from the preceding breakpoint. Now click at the position that you would like to move the breakpoint to, and the function will be redrawn.
     125
     126To add a breakpoint: Press `9` (increment) and the last breakpoint will become red, but will still be connected. Now click on the desired position you want the new breakpoint to have.
     127
     128To remove the breakpoints: Hover your mouse over the number in the ''Pt'' box below the graph. Use the number keys to enter the breakpoint you would like to delete from, e.g. ''05''. Then the 5th and all following breakpoints will be deleted.
     129
     130=== Waveshape Editor ===
     131
     132The ''Waveshape editor'' menu item allows you to edit the transform function for the oscillator. What looks like a waveform is in fact an array of 254 values which are scanned by the wave generated by the frequency modulation setting. To understand this better, imagine a sine wave oscillating between 0 and 253, it will count from 0 until 253, back down again and repeat. Instead of playing the actual waveform directly, a value is used to look up the value stored in the waveshape table. In our example the sine wave would look up all values from 0 to 253 and then, conversely, from 253 to 0 and repeat. This way, if you draw a diagonal line from bottom left to top right, the scanning waveform will be played unaltered.
     133
     134The waveshape editor shows you the current wave shape being used. Click on a point in the wave or hover over a point and press `e`, this will toggle edit mode. If you move the mouse up or down and wait a second or two for the screen to refresh you will see you have changed the value of single point. To exit edit mode, click or press `e`  a second time.
     135
     136Most of the time you will of course want to manipulate more than a single point. For this, move the mouse cursor over the wave shape and press `9` (increment) or `8` (decrement). This will change the ''Width'' setting in the control part of the screen. You can select ''Width 0'' through ''Width 7'' and another option, ''Interp''. The ''Width'' options allow you to "bend" multiple points, 0 being only one point and 7 being the entire wave shape. ''Interp'' lets you draw the wave shape free hand.
     137
     138=== Tuning Tables, Patch Editor, Assignment Tables, Sequence Editor ===
     139
     140These screens might be fun to explore, but have limited effect in this version without actual sound generation.