I was recently asked how to go about playing arpeggios with an EWI - based combi. I thought I would explore this topic in a little more detail. We all know that you can use an RPG-8 with a keyboard to create arpeggios, but we face a unique set of challenges when playing with a wind controller. The RPG-8 (and Matrix for that matter) works by 'playing' the synth you hook it up to.
When playing a keyboard, you find your device, right click on it, select RPG-8 from the menu and the RPG-8 is created with everything auto routed. The thing to remember is that you are not playing the first device any more. The RPG-8 is playing the device and you are playing the RPG-8.
As you can see in this screen shot, the RPG-8 is taking over playing the Subtractor device via the Gate and Note CV inputs. And this works great, no problem. But what happens when we hook up the RPG-8 to an EWI combi (say, from Analog Dreams
As you can see the Gate and Note CV are wired up and the Mod Wheel and Pitch Wheel are routed. To play this we need to select the RPG-8 in the Sequencer, not the Combinator.
RPG-8 is selected
At this point we have two issues:
- Even though we are routing Note and Gate information to combi, we are not routing breath data - so depending on what we are using breath for, we may not get a sound at all. We need to route breath to the combi.
- Remember the RPG-8 is monophonic and so is the wind controller. That means we can only send one note to it, so we are restricted to octave arpeggios. In a later post we'll use the Step Sequencer on Thor which will let us achieve multiple note arpeggios.
Routing Breath Control
There are many ways to route breath control to the combinator and which one you use depends on how the combinator is wired up for breath.
If the combi programmer is being used to send breath info to parameters:
1. Flip the rack around and route 'Breath' from the RPG-8 to CV input 1 of the combi.
2. Change 'Breath' in the Combi programmer to CV in 1. That's it.
If you are using the front panel controls on a device, you need to use the CV inputs instead.
...becomes this. Notice how we are using a Spider CV Merger Splitter to split the breath from the RPG-8 and route it to Filter Frequency and Amplitude.
If you are using a more intricate combinator setup, such as from 'Analog Dreams', you need to find a place to intercept the normal breath data in the combinator and insert the breath data from the RPG-8.
In this case the breath data starts at the Thor device and is routed to CV out 2, so all we need to do is take move the connection from CV out 2 on the Thor to the Breath out on the RPG-8:
Before - CVout1 routed to the Pulverizer
After - RPG-8 Breath Out Routed to Pulverizer
So there you have it. This setup will let you play repeated notes in octaves with your wind controller. With a little bit of snooping around and rerouting, you can play your breath controlled sounds with the RPG-8. Just remember - the trick is to 'play' the RPG-8, and let that play the breath controlled device.
In a later post we will explore the step sequencer on Thor and use that to create true arpeggiated patterns that will play our other breath controlled devices.
Until then, have fun and be musical.