Patchblock arrives!

pretty box
pretty box

Here it is – a stylish box full of potential.  My Patchblocks programmable synthesiser has arrived!


You are not a peripheral

It’s a tiny wee thing – here it is dwarfed by my Logitech G9X mouse.

After about an hour charging via the USB it is good to go.  The software, downloaded for the website is use to build and audition patches which are then loaded onto the Patchblock as firmware.

My time with Max/MSP is paying off here!
My time with Max/MSP is paying off here!

The software utilises a modular patch system that of course i’m familiar with.  It’s more Max/MSP than Nord Modular though as some minor maths / problem solving is required as inputs need different inputs.  For example the basic waveforms are +/- .5 but the pulse width is 0 to 1 and phase is 1 to 128.  So in this patch i’ve got two oscillators that are toggled between pulse and triangle.  I’m multiplying the potentiometer input value (0 -> 1) by 500 to provide an audible frequency for the oscillators.  I’m also using a “Walk” which is like the drunken walk from CDP.  It produces random values between boundaries.  In this case i’m using it to modulate the pulse-width and provide “drift” to the triangle oscillator.

Small and smaller
Small and smaller

In the following example i’ve recorded a live improvisation with the aforementioned patch running through MasterFX on the iPad.  It’s a cool app for the Patchblocks as it processes the left and right outputs from individually, mixing them back into to a stereo signal.  This was then recorded to Logic and output for Soundcloud.

If you want the patch send me a message with your email.



2 thoughts on “Patchblock arrives!”

  1. Few questions for you:
    Are those buttons or LEDs above the knobs?
    How’s the programming environment? It looks rather.. Simple as compared to maxmsp? (could be nice)
    Considered getting one — wished they had a few more knobs – *just* short of a micro modular 🙂

    1. Hiya!
      They are LED buttons 😉
      The programming environment is pretty basic but it works well enough. It doesn’t compare that well to a MicroModular. Unlike the MM you build your patch then upload it. The editor emulates what it might sound like but i’ve found the end results to be a tad different – and it doesn’t tell you when you are overloading the CPU yet. There are a few different interesting modules but what is more interesting is people building new modules for it. There have already been some Nord Modular like logic modules created for it. Looks like MIDI upgrades might happen eventually which will make them even more useful for now though they are DC-coupled so that could make them useful to anyone with modular gear.

      It’s not a replacement for the MicroModular but I like it more than a Monotron. At the price range it is I reckon if you want to use it for more than a plaything – buy two. They connect together digitally and apparently this will open up lots more possibility.

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