Chaining multiple Ambikas

I am interested in eventually having two Ambikas work together as one 12-voice synth (or maybe one 8-voice synth and one 4-voice), but I understand that this is currently not possible. Is anyone else interested?

You could setup this to work with a midipal running dispatcher. But it would be a bit cumbersome since you would have to make all different parts running the same patch.
Why do you need 12 voice programs?

I am used to playing an Andromeda, which is 16 voices, and have played various 8-voice synths in the past (including a PolyEvolver Keyboard/Rackmount combo). If you are playing a synth polyphonically, it is nice to have more voices so that things don’t get cut off. Another example: Prophet 12. Personally, I don’t think of running all the voices as the same patch cumbersome, but rather I think of it as essential to my purpose. The Oberheim Matrix 1000 has a facility where you can combine several units to make it act as one larger unit, I would like to do the same with a pair of Ambikas.

I you don’t find it cumbersome you could set this up with the midipal. But you’ll lose easy editing your patch since you’ll only be editing one part at the time. You could of course just edit one part and then save it and load it in on all the other parts. Once you have set this up with a patch you like you can save it to a multi so you can easily recall the whole setup.

Just a note: doubling the size of the per-part poly allocator to 12 would fill the RAM. Which means a hunt for optimizations before I can even start writing the first line of code.

Are you sequencing it with a DAW? Honestly that’s the only time I’ve run into serious cutoff issues. I get greedy!

Also, as for the P12: I look at it as a synth that begs to be played and modded live- where you’d have to headbutt the board while holding down a 10 note chord-cauphony to have cutoff problems The Arp is perfect and its so much fun to make subtle modulations while latching. Never spent more time with an arp. It’s so simple but almost intuitively deterministic. Feels close to a sequencer if you pay attention to the actual notes you play when you play ;). I tend to have an Octatrack sequencing the Ambika and playing some samples while “playing” the P12 (i.e. congratulating myself for playing an latched chord in time when I meant to do it and not playing the wrong one!). Would it be mind blowingly incredible if the P12 had an internal sequencer where I could play a 1 bar bass line that I could keep clearing and playing in to keep up with the Arp in the other part? Sure. But I can do that with the OT.

Like the PE it can get a bit wild if you don’t tame your LFOs- and can basically become 12 voices of pure static if you write checks with your modulation that your ass can’t cash and you let the filters/FX parameters drift away from what you set out to accomplish. But I haven’t had any problems sequencing one part and playing another at all. Just have to keep some limitations in mind. I bet the rack version of the P12 will introduce more complexity to the parts and MIDI (in a blatant attempt to entice the kind of people who own and use a P12 into considering a 24 voice version…)

Not sequencing with a DAW yet (I am awaiting delivery of my first Ambika by my esteemed trusted builder). I am just more comfortable with at least 8 voices based on my playing style. I have a Bowen Solaris which currently allocates 10 voices (an expected OS upgrade will get it to 15), and it works for me. As for the P12, I made the mistake of selling off my PEK/PER combo to get the Prophet 08, but sold it off pretty quickly because I just didn’t like the character of the Curtis filters in that instrument. I demoed the Prophet 12 at NAMM this past January, it is a beautifully designed synth but still had the same overall sound of the Prophet '08. I was pretty thrilled to discover the Ambika, because it is the Tetra4 replacement I was looking for.

So I would love run at least two of them together, but I see that it is not a trivial problem to implement this feature. I am hoping to get more support here from people to try to convince Olivier that it would be worthwhile to pursue.

OK, now that I own an Ambika, I would really like to be able to chain two of them together! Even if it just a simple MIDI overflow as opposed to any kind of fancy polychaining like DSI.

pichnettes, could you set it up the way it works for the Shruthis ? Would that work at all ?

PS: building my second Ambika as well …

The feature is - in theory - super easy to implement.

The problem is that Ambika’s RAM is nearly full and that more RAM would be needed to implement this feature. So the actual implementation cost of this is a long and painful hunt for freeing up space in RAM, that could possibly take many days. This is not something I have the time to do at the moment.

I’m wondering why you need more RAM if you do it the Shruthi way, as you simply forward a note to the second Ambika if you don’t play it on the first.

What extra info do you need to keep in RAM for doing this ? Just trying to understand !

You will need to keep track of which note you forwarded in case you want to stop this note sometime…

> if you do it the Shruthi way, as you simply forward a note to the second Ambika if you don’t play it on the first.

This is a very naive approach that doesn’t work. Actually, this is not at all what I’m doing on the Shruthi.

To get the “right” behaviour - a behaviour that would feel like a 12 voices poly, you need to simulate what the other unit(s) down the chain are doing exactly to decide whether it’s better to sacrifice a voice locally or dispatch it to the rest of the chain.

… and the next minute someone shows up who want to polychain 3 Ambikas… :slight_smile:

Would this not be better solved by a polyphonic dispatcher app for the midipal?

edit: on second thought, no, you’d loose the possibility to edit stuff from machine #1 that way… :frowning:

Pardon if this is an ignorant question, but why not use a 1284 is more ram is needed?

DIP40 1284 is buggy at 20 MHz.

is the smd one better? I could lay out an adapter like was done for the x0xb0x

I haven’t tried the SMD one. This is going to be a big effort for something that interests only 4 or 5 guys.

OK, understood … thanks for the explanation, pichenettes.

Well, I still think being able to chain Ambikas will result in more sales in the long run. We’ll keep working on you, Olivier!