hi modularv users. I just bought a moog theremini and wanted to connect it to modularv in order to gain access to this wonderful plug in and allow a widely varied palette of sounds to be controlled from my new theremin.
check moogmusic.com for info on theremini. basically it is a monophonic hardware synth controlled by moving your hands around its two antennae. the vertical one controls pitch, the horizontal loop controls volume. these instruments have been around since the 1930s and moog has produced and sold them in various forms since the 50s. the theremini is their latest offering and retails for around £260 on british market. for moog, this is one of their cheaper offers. also it has access to an onbooard sound synth, producing a much wider tonal range than a traditional theremin, which basically just whistles.
theremins are reputed to be hard to play, as they offer none of the tactile feedback that you get when playing keyboards or guitar. however in skilled hands they can be very expressive. theremini is easier as it provides a visual tuner with auto pitch correct, which can be scaled back as you develop you playing skills. so it is beginner friendly.
my new theremini has a usb midi interface, allowing it to be used as a midi controller. so I thought how hard can it be to connect to modularv?
the theremini manual tells you how to control the midi cc number, default for pitch being cc 20. this can be in 7 or 14 bit mode. but how does it send 14 bit ccs? I had to find out myself... so downloaded a free midi monitor program from internet. this lists all incoming midi signals to the computer. running this I could see 14 bit mode sending two separate ccs, cc 20 and cc 52. course and fine. ideal for the course and fine frequency dial on the modular vco oscillator module.
couldn't connect using midi learn mode, because theremini constantly churns out course and fine ccs, confusing midi learn. so, temporarily disconnected from theremini and set these ccs up manually. (right click the dial for fine, left click for course) (windows) you can select the course cc number from the theremini setup screens. but he fine cc is always 32 above this, so the default pair is 20 and 52. once set up, re connect the theremini. and......
...well the control on my system jitters all over the place, causing a warbling sound. took a while to sort this, but moog wisely provide a setting on the theremini called midi throttling. this thins out the midi messages being sent to the arturia plugin. my modular couldn't keep up with the volume of midi traffic being spat out by my theremini. the theremini midi settings allow the send rate to be reduced, from the default 50ms all the way up to half a second or longer. I tried setting this delay to 100ms. IT WORKS!!! connected it all up and found the frequency dial to be much smoother.
this may also be why I had jittering controls when connecting my computers joystick, using a gaming joystick-to-midi interface downloaded from the internet. any jittering controls are probably suffering from excess midi traffic, which causes the receiver to truncate some of the incoming values, causing random jumps, or jitter. if you can thin out the midi messages being sent, using a direct setting or maybe a midi filter of some sort, this could be a solution.
I will now be adapting some of my modularv patches to ignore the keyboard and take their cues from my theremini!
thanks for patiently reading all this, hope it helps someone.