Finally finished! Bees-in-the-Trees Version 4.1 modified firmware for Braids now available

(Please see the end of this thread for details of the latest version.)

Testing of version 3.0 of the Bees-in-the-Trees modified firmware for the Braids module is now complete. Compiled firmware update files in WAV format for it are available via URLs given on the Bees-in-the-Trees project page. If you want to try it out, please read the documentation on the project page carefully, and pay particular attention to all the warnings given in the installation section. Bees-in-the-Trees is experimental firmware, and comes with no warranty or guarantee of fitness-for-purpose, and must be used entirely at your own risk. If you are still brave enough to install it, please follow the installation instructions carefully. In particular, please update your Braids module to v1.7 of the official firmware first, before installing Bees-in-the-Trees. A link to the official v1.7 firmware update file is contained in the Bees-in-the-Trees documentation.

Many thanks to those people who helped test Bees-in-the-Trees - they are named on the project page. Some of the testers may wish to post their impressions of or experience with Bees-in-the-Trees in this thread.

Questions, feedback or suggestions are welcome, just post them here. Bug reports should be emailed to the address given in the documentation please.

I would say the first port of call once uploaded and calibrated it getting the hang of doing a reset on menu. This is a wonderfully deep firmware and during testing I found myself getting lost a good few times.

Anyone who puts this on will be simply astounded how much bennelongbicyclist has managed to wrangle out of this module. I can’t thank him enough for allowing me the honour of being a tester for this release.

My only regret is I lack both the money and the HP to have more braids in my rack now!

Hey all!
Just a quick little roundup of my experience with this Firmware.

I was lucky enough to be able to test it and found it by pure accident. By this time i already ordered a LFO to modulate the Braids, because i had the feeling that my abilities to modulate the braids are quite restricted.

I found the firmware, flashed it, and there it was, Envelopes and LFO’s inside the braids, fully configurable to taste. Not only that, you also could modulate other stuff easily and for instance create your own Envelopes.

The LFOs Waveforms are really easy and nice to configure and it brings alot of joy to just play around the Braids and find out new ways of modulating this nice Oscillator.

Flashing the Firmware is quite easy, like with the stock braids, just get a Cable from your Soundcard to the FM Input and play the WAV file while in Firmware flash mode on the braids (works perfectly).

So in the end i didnt have to buy that LFO, which is awesome because i built a portable eurorack case where the HP is really restricted and i am happy to save as much as i can.
So this firmware was the best that happened to me while creating my Eurorack Case and it gives the already awesome Oscillator an extra extra extra powerup!

Thanks again to BennelongBicyclist for making this happen, and also for the good support!

Best wishes

Disclosure - I was a beta tester for Bees-in-the-Trees. I’ve been very impressed by the added levels of functionality in this firmware. A second modulator, 2 envelope generators, and meta sequence mode are wonderful feature additions to Braids. I no longer need to use an external envelope generator and VCA to constrain the sound output. The LFOs seem to modulate into audio frequencies, allowing me to do FM without an external signal applied, and the LFOs and EGs can be reset with a trigger input. Meta-sequence mode is just awesome, and give me finer control over the sound models chosen in meta mode, as well as the choice of Zero (no sound) so I can easily get rhythmic variations with meta mode. The process of switching between the released v1.7 Braids firmware and Bees-in-the-Trees is easy, and without peril. Just the new circular topography of the menu is worth the price of admission. Yes, there is a bit more menu diving going on, but it is well thought out and worth the effort. I highly recommend giving this firmware a go. Kudos to BennelongBicyclist for a job very, very well done!

still further, take the time and thank you again for these new features, it rocks :wink:

Here’s a little preview of Bees-in-the-Trees version 3.1, which I’ll make available to testers this weekend. Version 3.1 adds an FMCV=HARM setting, which sends the voltage on the FM CV input to pitch, but quantises the pitch changes to the natural harmonic series. Many thanks to @dualmono (aka Jan) for requesting this feature - it’s a great idea! Instant Terry Riley!

In this demo, there are three Braids, each running Bees-in-the-Trees v3.1beta, with FMCV=HARM (natural harmonic series quantisation), each Braids’ FM input modulated by a channel of a Frames running in quadrature LFO mode. Each Braids has one internal LFO running, modulating timbre or colour. A Grids provides triggers to advance the meta-sequencer for two of the three Braids, swapping between 8 different oscillator models on each. The centre Braids remains on the FOLD model the whole time. No sequencer or notes track was used, none of the Braids have anything plugged into their V/oct input. Each Braids is filtered through a Ripples, with no envelope or filter modulation. Some reverb, no other effects or post-processing, all one take.

Amazing! Thanks for implementing this!
Also: that video was spot on.

Shri Camel is a minor masterpiece, IMHO.

Just wanted to add a bit about bees in the trees and what a positive experience it’s been testing it. First of all it’s really easy to install to try it out and then go back to the official firmware. I tried everything I could to brick it ( upgrading with itunes playing, starting the wav half way through, not setting the FM right - all of these done accidentally) but nothing broke.

It’s a great update, the extra lfos and envelopes are like getting a free Peaks but the control you have over them is much greater. In fact it will make noises that braids never could before whatever other modules you had controlling it.

The meta-sequencer is exactly what the meta mode needed, now you don’t need to set up a tricky control voltage or only use waves that are next to each other you just dial in the models you want.

There is loads of other stuff, the sample and hold is nice, you can assign voltage control to lots of different stuff, enhancements to the VCO drift settings etc etc. It’s a very deep update to an already deep module

All in all a fantastic job by Bennelong Bicyclist, well worth installing. Looking forward to 3.1 and further updates. The video above made me want to listen to Shri Camel, I couldn’t find it but found Persian Surgery Dervishes so I’m going to give that a spin now

Check Bennelongs link to Terry Riley.
…and I just realized I don’t know how to post a proper link here… it isn’t bbcode nor is it html code.

I’ve been think all day about how to shoe-horn an option for quantisation to one or more 12-tone just intonations into Bees-in-the-Trees. Does anyone have any suggestions for algorithms than minimise look-up table requirements?

My initial thought was:

a) find root of the octave the received pitch value is in, by the same (very efficient) bit mask method used for quarter-note and semitone quantisation in Braids
b) find offset for the pitch value from that root of octave by subtraction
c) search a constant 13-note array for the chosen just scale to find the nearest justly intoned note, and substitute that note for the pitch value.

c) could use a binary bisection search, but with just twelve intervals, a serial search might do. A delay of a few milliseconds in the quantisation process is probably acceptable, so the iterative search could be done one iteration at a time in each loop of the main Render() loop in if it takes too long otherwise.

Olivier may now proceed to point out how brain-dead that strategy is…

Terry Riley playing Shri Camel live, part 1:

and part 2:

Um, a flaw in step a) above is that the number of semitones in an octave is not a power of two, damn it! So how to efficiently hash a pitch value to the octave it is in?

This firmware adds many additional functions, which after a few hours of practice are becoming essential, thank you for allowing me to test this firmware, which has become essential for me.
And also and thank you for documentation and monitoring of all these versions.

Here is a short vidéo test, just notes and gate from yarns and a random lfo from peaks on FMCV-FLTH mode.
2 modulators and META sequencer, FS+H mode on. and some tweak on coarse knob.

Thanks, @Bmhot. Nice video, embedded below. Viewers should note that the rhythmic noise and glitching in the video is not Bees-in-the-Trees periodically misbehaving or suffering buffer underruns, it is deliberate. In Bees-in-the-Trees, bit-crushing, sample rate reduction and VCO jitter/noise can all be put under voltage control, and Bmhot is using that (via the FMCV=FLTH setting and an external LFO connected to the Braids FM input), to rhythmically introduce some filth.

Now, how many open-source alternative Eurorack module firmware projects have both theme chamber music…

…and a theme folk song?

OK, I’ve sent testers links to Bees-in-the-Trees version 3.1. If no bugs are reported in the next few days, I’ll make the firmware WAV files for it generally available. As always, the source code is already available on GitHub.

The changes in v3.1 are:

  • the CLKN (clocked noise) oscillator model has been removed, to make some space for new features. One more oscillator model will need to be removed for version 4.0, probably one of the noise models.
  • a new option for FMCV has been added, HARM, which allows the FM CV input to offset the current note as a quantised harmonic series. The harmonic series is the base frequency of the current note multiplied by 2, 3, 4 and so on. In Bees-in-the-Trees, approximately +5V on the FM input gives the 15th harmonic overtone (that is, the base frequency times 15) – that’s as far as it goes. It is bipolar, so negative voltages on the FM CV input divide the current note frequency by 2, 3, 4 and so on, down to 15. You can use the FM attenuvertor to change positive voltages into negative voltages, of course. It sounds really nice when fed with an external LFO or a complex slowly fluctuating voltage source. The harmonic series (also called harmonic overtones and undertones) doesn’t depend on a particular musical key, so you can still play a normal melody and “bend” the notes up or down in the harmonic series. Of course, it is better if you use just intonation (or Pythagorean tuning) to play those notes, and if you have more than one Braids, or use multi-tracking to record one Braids several times, you will get “perfect” chords. Yarns can do just intonation or Pythagorean scales for you.

Here is a little demo (see the notes in SoundCloud for details):

I’ve just wrapped up Bees-in-the-Trees version 3.2 and sent it out to testers. Here’s the change log with respect to version 3.1:

  • note (pitch) values, NOT1 to NOT8, have been added to the meta-sequencer, so that a melody can be programmed and stored. The notes are set as semitone positive offsets.
  • the CLKN oscillator model has been restored, but the TWNQ model has been removed.
  • the M1C2 setting has been removed.
  • a FTUN (oscillator fine-tune) setting has been added, immediately after OCTV. This was needed because if the FM CV input is re-purposed, as it is in many of the FMCV modes in Bees-in-the-Trees, then you lose all fine-tuning ability. That is a problem with the official Braids firmware as well, when META mode is enabled.

I’ll make the compiled WAV firmware update files for it publicly available in a few days if no bugs come to light.

I just wanted to share a quick jam session video with the forum to show how the internal modulations & sequencer extend the flexibility of Braids. Bennelong’s alternate firmware is especially useful in my system, where I have limited modulation sources. For those who are still on the fence about the menu diving, I’m hoping this jam session helps change your mind. Like most other users, the immediacy lies in the internal sequencer. I haven’t been doing much melodic work so I can’t comment on the newest update but the melodic sequencer and harmonic series look like great additions. I can’t wait to see what else Bennelong has planned.

@weliveincities, wow, nice contemplative soundscape! Olivier has provided some very helpful suggestions on ways to reduce the size and improve the efficiency of my very C+±naïve Bees-in-the-Trees code, and I will be busy this weekend implementing those, which I hope will yield enough additional space and CPU cycles to implement more ideas (hint: a popular aleatoric melodic module), and refine some of the existing Bees features.