Rings and Elements with frequency locking (alt firmwares)

Hi again - I’m here to share three new alt firmwares that give Rings and Elements the ability to do frequency locking, very similar to my previous alt firmwares for Plaits (see Plaits with frequency locking and aux crossfade (alt firmware)).

Procedure

The same UI interactions you use to enter calibration in the stock firmware are how you lock or unlock frequency in the alt firmware.

Rings: long-press (2+ seconds) both buttons at once
Elements: turn all attenuverters fully counter clockwise (7 o’clock) and then long-press (3+ seconds) the button

Variants

Rings

There are two variants of the Rings alt firmware:

  1. Rings with frequency locking and octave switching. When frequency is locked, the frequency knob becomes an octave switch with 7 steps (-3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3).

  2. Rings with frequency locking and even/odd crossfade. When frequency is locked, the frequency knob controls crossfading between the Even and Odd components of the signal. If using this variant make sure to read the IMPORTANT NOTE below!

    • When both outputs are in use, the Even and Odd outputs will each carry a mixed signal, but as the frequency knob is swept one crossfades from Odd->Even and the other from Even->Odd. This means that at the center both have the same signal, and as you sweep the range you control the stereo spread of the two outputs, with maximum spread at either full-CW or full-CCW, and Even/Odd can be completely swapped on a single output.
    • When just the Odd output is used, it contains the sum of the Even and Odd signals as usual
    • When just the Even output is used, it sweeps from Even->Odd, same as if both outputs were in use.

    IMPORTANT NOTE ON PHASING: Due to certain limitations (that I’m 95% sure can’t be avoided because they are in the hardware layer) it’s possible to get phasing issues when using this firmware if you aren’t careful. Fortunately there is an easy solution, which I’ll get to at the end of this paragraph. First though there are two specific scenarios to be aware of. (1) When using just the Odd output with frequency locked, the summed components can phase-cancel each other, leading to total silence with the Frequency knob at noon. (2) When using both outputs, the even/odd components can be phase-inverted copies of each other - depending how you use them downstream, you could get unwanted phase cancellation. Unfortunately there’s no way to solve for both (1) and (2) at the same time in the firmware, it’s always either one or the other. Solution: Long-pressing (2+ seconds) the polyphony button while frequency is locked will invert the Even output. So if you ever think you might be having phasing issues, you can just long-press the polyphony button and they will go away.

Elements

There is just one variant of the Elements alt firmware:

  1. Elements with frequency locking, octave switching, and semitone offsets. When frequency is locked, the coarse frequency knob becomes an octave switch with 7 steps (-3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3). The fine frequency knob becomes a semitone offset switch with 15 steps from -7 semitones to +7 semitones (down a fifth to up a fifth).

What’s new

Things that are the same with these alt firmwares as the Plaits ones:

  • once again, the same UI interactions you use to enter calibration in the stock firmware are how you lock or unlock frequency in the alt firmware
  • meaning, should you desire to recalibrate your module for any reason, you’ll need to revert to the stock firmware first
  • the FM and V/Oct inputs and FM attenuverters are unaffected
  • lock settings are preserved across power cycles

Things that are different with these alt firmwares:

  • when you unlock frequency, any alterations made to the sound with the alt functionality (e.g. even/odd crossfading) are not preserved

Downloads

  1. Rings with frequency locking and octave switching (wav)
  2. Rings with frequency locking and even/odd crossfade (wav)
  3. Elements with frequency locking, octave switching, and semitone offset (wav)

Please let me know if you run into any issues!

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These look interesting, do you have the HEX files for them?

YESS!! :raised_hands:

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Working great on my Elements. Thanks!

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I can’t seem to get either rings firmware update to load on the links provided.

Hmm, maybe your browser is blocking the download? Here is the folder where all the firmwares live if you want to go grab it yourself: https://github.com/lylepmills/eurorack/tree/master/alt_firmwares

@Phil-Tobin I don’t have them handy but I can build those and add them to the git repo, will try to get to that later today.

I couldn’t make it download on my iPhone but managed to download it on my desktop and it works great. This is a great addition, thanks!

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Just saw your Plaits firmware, searched the forums and now I find this too… I really need to spend more time here. Thanks! Downloading the Rings Freq Lock/Octave Switch variant.

If you ever get around to unifying these Rings firmwares like you did for Plaits here is a possible scheme that preserves the calibration mode and also incorporates an easier way to access the hidden Disastrous Peace mode:

Quick two button press
Lock/unlock frequency knob
LEDs flash red/green to show state

Long two button press
Polyphony first - enter menu
Mode first - calibration mode

Options Menu
Polyphony button - navigation
Mode button - change option

Polyphony LED:
Green - octave switcher
Red - crossfader
Yellow - crossfader with inverted Even

Mode LED:
Green - normal modes
Red - Disastrous Peace

Edit: just realized since there are only two menu options you don’t need to navigate, each button can directly change the associated menu option :roll_eyes:

Haha you read my mind, I was thinking of updating my Rings firmware next. The even/odd crossfading firmware isn’t very popular and having to remember the phasing thing makes it kind of a pain to use, so I was thinking of just retiring it. Then maybe I can figure out a good way to work in a suboscillator for syncing/tuning like I did with Plaits. Anyway the possibilities are a lot more limited with Rings compared with Plaits because there are only two LEDs and no CV inputs to spare, and because of the way the outputs are normalled in hardware, but I’ll see what I can do anyway. For accessing Disastrous Peace I was thinking I might just incorporate (steal) @th0mas’s approach from Rings Live. But yeah otherwise it’ll probably work pretty much as you described! Hopefully I should be able to get around to it pretty soon.

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I don’t remember anything about how this works but my code change is here, hope it can be of use:

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Hi, i’m aware of Mini-Elements fw, that seems like an awesome work, and maybe too complex for my needs and i prefer to keep the internal Sample Rate at 48khz.
I’d like to try just Frequency Lock/Octave Switch, but the link seems to be broken.
Any chance to get it? Thanks! :slight_smile:

Thanks to the magic of source control, the old version you’re looking for is still available here: eurorack/rings_freqlock_octave_shift.wav at 0727c17aeec45ab4b12af2056f252c2f1af7e3e5 · lylepmills/eurorack · GitHub

Note that using that version is at this point unsupported (the only “manual” is this thread), and it lacks the indicator lights when frequency is locked or unlocked that the newer firmware offers.

Enjoy!

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Hey @lylem I just wanted to thank you so much for creating these alt firmwares, having the frequency lock is really a godsend when performing live with these modules. A technical question regarding the “Mini-Elements” mode: the polyphony is not available in the original Elements, right? And the same goes for the different resonator models, right?

Glad you’re enjoying them!!

You’re correct that Elements doesn’t have polyphony (though this is something one could experiment with - eurorack/part.h at 84f4f67aaa25bf696093b224e2a51a5c18143e4f · pichenettes/eurorack · GitHub).

There is an official firmware for Elements that does in fact have some alternate resonator models, though they’re not quite the same set as Rings - see the description of “Ringified Elements” here Mutable Instruments | Elements. (My frequency-locking variant linked in the first message of this thread also includes those extra resonator models.)

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Thank you for the confirmation - this really gives the mini-Element superpowers! I’ve created PDF cheat sheets for both Plaits and Rings firmware versions that I keep on my phone as a reference, in case anybody else might find them useful I’m attaching them to this post
Plaits Alt Firmware.pdf (80.2 KB)
Rings Alt Firmware.pdf (83.0 KB)

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