Dead Man's Catch modified firmware for Peaks


@freelivela, OK, thanks. The format is pretty lo-fi, though: 8-bit unsigned, no header, 6kHz. The current file is 36,824 bytes. Don’t really want it much bigger than that. It looks like it is easy to use 16 bit sample instead, or to double or quadruple the sample rate, or both. No use for more than 16 bits. Sample rate needs to be a 6kHz, 12kHz, 24 kHz or 48kHz. 16 bits at 24kHz gives us just over 1 second of sample… 8 bits at 48kHz might be better, not sure. There needs to be a clear point (or points) in the sample file which divides one sample from another - they shouldn’t overlap.

Yeah, that’s a pretty limited scope…


@bannelong - gotcha - I’ve got the batch rendered out now in original format & 44.1/16. i’ll run back in and see what kind of downsampling/bitrate formula sounds best to my ears from the above formats relative to file size. i put together the kit largely in sets of pairs akin to the open closed/hat paradigm, figuring that would work best with a twin module, but there are a few solos in there too to fill out an 808esque workflow. so we have quite a few option to choose from - obviously all of the samples will not fit. to give you an idea of what i’ve prepared, here’s a snippet from the sampler i was using to time breath and tails…


That sampler sounds really good. It seems like some reasonble-sounding versions of the hihats might fit. But easy to create various versions, each with a different set of samples, for those with more than one Peaks.


thanks man - yeah i agree, re: subversions, peaks is wonderful in bunches and that could be a great way to stretch even more utility out of it. to whittle down the size i got out the razor and went to work on the tails before downsampling. an interesting process indeed… most of the hits are now 6-8kb, easily curated to a reasonable size (several have alts) especially considering potential version variants. i went with 8 bit @ 48k. pm’ing you a drop link now. pcm for ease of review as well as header-less raw… while this batch is all “drum kit-analogues”, all kitchen gizmos, noisemakers & foley madness (space prohibits a permanent kit setup here, so i figured why not embrace the avant-garde?) if you have an idea for anything else you’d like me to record (decent hat for example - drummers pass through often), don’t hesitate to let me know.


oh yeah - here’s a loop of the down sampled kit (new pattern, lost the other in my fiddlings)


OK, I have released v0.7beta of Dead Man’s Catch for Peaks. Despite intending to work on substituting the numbers station samples with some percussion samples kindly recorded by livefreela, I got side-tracked (pun intended) and ended up working on the additional LFO modes a bit more, as well as on a phase-locked loop mode, similar to that in Tides. The idea for that was provided byFlohr, who mentioned that the standard Tap LFO mode in Peaks would track the frequency of an audio signal. I found he was right - it does - but that Tap LFO mode was not quite right for this purpose. So, after a few hours of fiddling and experimentation, we now have PLO mode in Dead Man’s Catch, which can track the frequency of clean oscillator signals quite well, and output folded sine waves, wave shaped triangle waves, or pulse-width modulated square waves. There is an internal sine wave modulator in PLO mode that can be used to sweep the waveshaping/wavefolding of the various waveforms available. And the output frequency can be transposed down between one and four octaves, or transposed up one, two or three octaves - thus your Peaks can act as a wave folding sub-oscillator (or super-oscillator). Actually, one Peaks can act as two sub-oscillators, because Peaks has two channels and PLO mode is independent on each, so it can act as a sub-oscillator for two separate input oscillators, each playing a separate melody. You get the idea. I also added an overdriven sine wave to the wave shaping-modulated LFO mode (also available in PLO mode). The overdriven sine wave look-up table was in the Peaks firmware all along - might as well make use of it!

Here’s a quick-and-dirty demo of PLO mode (detailed patch notes available on the SoundCloud page for this track):

The other things promised (or hinted at) for v0.7beta will now appear in v0.8beta. Sorry, I got carried away with the PLO.


Hah, I just realised that the hysteresis inherent in the phase-locked loop in PLO mode would act as a kind of low-pass filter for the digital trash output by the byte beats mode. So here is a quick demo of a Peaks running Dead Man’s Catch v0.7beta, with byte beats from channel 1 self-patched using a single patch cord into the trigger input of channel 2 in PLO mode. Recorded directly into Apple Logic Pro X, where some reverb was added, but that’s all. No other processing, filter, and no other modules or devices - this is all just a single Peaks, with just a little knob twiddling, otherwise, it is entirely playing with and by itself.


Amazing demo.

I am having trouble downloading the zip. Anyone else managed it?

EDIT: I was trying the download in mobile Safari (which would not work whatever I did). Chrome for iOS, proved fine.


Approximate roadmap:

v0.8beta (mid-Nov): sampled open/closed hihats using the numbers station Easter egg machinery (thus the numbers station will have to go, alas, farewell my dear); attack-hold-release envelope with knob to set level; randomised FM drums, if I can get it to work.

v0.9beta (end of Nov): more bytebeats equations (another 16 in two sets); Euclidean sequencer gate mode; Euclidean sequencer drum modes (yes, feed your Peaks a square wave or regular clock, get back a Euclidean sequence of triggers/gate, or a Euclidean sequenced drum track - thus two Peaks = four channel Euclidean drum machine; (maybe) Golomb rulers (anti-Euclidean sequencers).

v1.0beta (mid-Dec): no new features, just code clean up and consolidation.

v1.0 production: released before Xmas 2015.

Somewhere in the next two months I need to find time to revise Bees-in-the-Trees to use the Braids v1.8 code base.


I think this is a great plan, BennelongBicyclist! Thanks for all your hard work.
Looking forward to those gate sequencer modes!

Going to try out the new LFO stuff in a bit.


Thanks for implementing my suggestion with the Tap LFO. I’m a bit of a PLL newb, so I’m not clear on how its supposed to work, but so far its very glitchy. Not the typical slew, but it can’t even seem to hold a static pitch. I’ve tried sending it various waveforms from different oscillators (all unprocessed) and I’m not having much luck.


Hmmm, I admit that I didn’t test it with a wide range of signal sources, but it seemed to work well with signals from Braids, Tides and Ripples (self-oscillating on a high resonance setting. However, only if the input waveform is fairly simple e.g. on Braids, it works fine with the CSAW model, but only with some settings of Timbre and Colour for the FOLD model. What sort of oscillators are you using? If you just patch , say, a square or triangle output from a VCO into one of the Peaks trigger inputs, then in PLO mode the Peaks output for that channel should track the input frequency fairly well, without audible glitches. Try just manually varying the oscillator frequency using its tune knob.

One thing I found is that this is at the limit of what the STM32F1 processor in Peaks can do - I had to throw out a lot of code and implement PLO as its own stand-alone class in order for the processor to keep up - otherwise, it was quite glitchy as you describe. But it seemed to work reliably, at least on all my Peaks.

Oh well, it was only an experimental mode…


I tried it with an STO and a uLFO. Tried sines, saws and square. What’s strange is that depending on Peaks waveform the glitching varied. With the square wave it was relatively stable, shaped triangle less so and then the sines were very unstable. I tried it with sequences of varying speeds and ranges and also just manually adjusting the source oscillator.

So that’s my report, but regardless, thanks again for all your work on this!


@Flohr, I just tested it again on four different Peaks (all DIY versions), and PLO mode worked fine on both channels of 3 of them, but not on the fourth. However, I found that if you enter PLO mode, and it is glitching, then try cycling through the other modes on that page in order to return to PLo mode - and then the glitchiness suddenly disappeared. Could you try that an let me know it it works? If so, then the problem may lie with faulty initialisation of variables for the PLO mode - I may have overlooked something. If not, then maybe PLO mode is just a stretch too far for the poor little processor in Peaks. Certainly glitchiness in the pitch following is a symptom of the processor not being able to keep up, and I had to get rid of a lot of redundant if statements etc to get rid of it - but I thought that problem had been conquered. Oh well…


a little aside but did anyone else win a a bid for Mutable Instruments Module in the KVR Call to Arms Charity auction,i believe i have just got myself another Peaks …ripe to run DMC it will be.Thanks to Olivier for donating to a worthy cause:-)


I was tempted to bid for the Edges… anyway, congratulations, and props to Olivier for his generous donation of the various Mutable auction items. For those who don’t know, it was a charity auction to raise funds for children displaced or injured by the ongoing war in Syria.

When it reaches v1.0, I’ll be suggesting that users of Dead Man’s Catch make a donation to MSF (Médecins Sans Frontiers).


One thing I forgot: the obvious extension of the PLO mode is to create a pitch-to-voltage convertor, since Peaks can output DC voltages. No, not an accurately quantised V/oct convertor, although it may be possible to get reasonably close.


So I went ahead and tried the mode cycling and it seems to temporarily fix the glitching but then it comes back. I’ve noticed there is an issue with the split button. When I tried to tap between my two channels in expert it causes major glitching. Trying it out using just one channel and so far so good. Makes a very interesting FM source for the oscillator its locked to. Would be interesting to have a way of modulating the octave, but manual wiggling is always an option.


@Flohr, OK, glad it is working, at least partially. I’ll try to reproduce the problem using the steps you describe, and see what can be done about it. Feeding it back as an FM modulator to the master external oscillator is a good idea - I must try that.

There are no other inputs on Peaks, so it will have to be just manual wiggling of knobs, I’m afraid, short of a hardware expander module (and I am not aware of any plans, by anyone, for such a module).



Yeah particularly interesting for FM due to the slew I think. I had never tried slew on my modulator with no slew on the carrier before. I suppose it’s kind of like messing with the tracking modes on a complex oscillator. I wasn’t talking about external modulation, I meant like the internal waveshaping in the current mode. So like the non tap lfo where you have one mode with modulation of frequency and one mode with modulation of waveshape. But I don’t know if you think its worth investing more time in the PLO. Maybe depending on how other betatesters respond to it. Also whether people think it should be a sinewave or a random modulation. I kind of think that random octave jumps would be more interesting than just an up and down modulation.