Just wondering with the release of Parasite 2.0 for Clouds, what do people think of it, I haven’t had much chance to do a lot with it yet as I’ve been busy, my first impressions are it’s pretty good and am going to have an intense Clouds session this weekend!
I heard it’s so lame and buggy and sloppy coding that it’s actually awesome and already a classic
How was your session?
Personnally I feel the parasites (and other alternative mutable firmwares) overcrowd the already crowded mutable modules. For the stockfirmware I already have to go back to the manual regularly for looking up the settings for that one function. In the alternative firmwares I really get lost. I would like it more to have an alternative firmware that gives the module just one totally different function in stead of many addons. Like sheep for tides.
@shiftr, I fully agree with you actually The parasites were intended to provide just that: separate modules-in-a-module that have nothing to do with the original function of the hardware, using it as an empty shell. That way I’ve been able play “module designer” without the hassle of building the hardware (and playing with the limitation of the existing hardware). But then it was so easy to keep the original function and have a mode-switching interface instead of switching between firmware that I just did this. And then I couldn’t help it but to change and improve a couple of things in the original functions too… but yes, I feel just like you: a single module shouldn’t have that many functions!
@shiftr please don’t discourage these generous developers. Clouds Parasite isn’t that difficult to use, even if just by trial and error. If you want one mode at a time just use one mode at a time. Compare to Peaks DMC, which is a real challenge!
Just read the guide set it up and use it as required .Stop winning about great extra features.Seriously you guys don’t know how good you’ve got it these days.Its about some hard yards ,muscle memory and fun just like music production has always been.
I actually agree about all the additional modes in the various flavours of alternative firmware being quite confusing and sometimes difficult to use. I find DMC particularly difficult (true!).
However, the way forward is, IMHO, not to have single-purpose modules, but for modules to have displays so they can explicitly indicate what mode they are in, and to show how the inputs and outputs are mapped to aspects of that mode, and what the additional configuration settings are.
Imagine, say, a Peaks running DMC but with a display that shows you what mode it’s in and how the 4 knobs are mapped to parameters in that mode, and an encoder to swap between modes, with the name of each mode clearly shown as you scan through the choices, instead of just two buttons and 5 LEDs that blink in arcane patterns. It would be a vastly different proposition. Imagine the same with Clouds, Warps, Elements, and even Braids, instead of its 4 character display. It’s now 3 years on from when Peaks was designed, and having such a display and encoder is now perfectly affordable and feasible. None of this was as feasible three, or even two years ago, but cheap, reliable, small OLED and TFT LCD displays have changed all that. It’s the way forward, I think.
What like a Twin Peaks?
@Shiftr: I totally agree with the “getting lost” thing. Happens to me all the time as well, and I’ve been staring at on some of the panels for quite some time time, moving controls around, and all that. So I should have them kind of burned into memory, and still I have to look up things once in a while for the “stock” firmware. Having more confuses me a lot of course, but then the way I do it is this: I check out these alternate firmwares, test each additional mode a bit and see if there’s something that really works for me. In the end there’s usually just one additional mode that I really find useful for me (not that they’re not all super cool, but often I already have a module that does a similar thing or it’s something I wouldn’t know how to use in my music).
So in the end I usually just end up using the main “stock” mode and that one additional one… and I make myself some cheat sheets for those.
The problem is when playing live. Where it’s hard to refer to cheat sheets and you don’t have the time to look up stuff. In those cases you need to rely on muscle memory, and know exactly what you’re doing. So there I usually only use the stock mode or have a more “set and forget” approach.
So in reply to BennelongBicyclist, I find the idea of modules that can change function in a very fluid way, but have an UI that can communicate this in an efficient way very interesting. For sure displays would make a lot of things easier. There’s still the problem that often you don’t look at the module at all, so “fixed architecture” modules still make sense to me, since they make it easier for live performance.
Note that there is difference between modules which are able to do more than one thing, and modules that are able to do more than one thing at once. I agree that the latter may be difficult to use in a live performance situation without constantly referring to the display. But a multi-functional module which is set to one particular function or configuration for the duration of a performance shouldn’t necessarily be any more difficult to use than a single-function module, if it is well designed. Of course, no such modules yet exist, because good design patterns for multi-function modules are still evolving. But they will soon, I think.
Of course, modular users who perform live are also a minority of the total modular user base, although I suspect that they have a disproportionate influence on module designers because they have a public profile and tend to be “thought leaders” in the modular community.
Yes you’re most certainly right about the performing artists getting a lot more attention that the larger majority of people who just use the modular at home or in a studio, and for the latter, modules that can “shape shift” certainly make sense, especially if the UI helps in overcoming the inherent drawbacks of multiple functions.
@BennelongBicyclist I concur that the perfect generic module doesn’t exist yet. I’m not sure it can, really- there’s always going to be the perfect interface for a particular application, so any generic solution is going to have certain compromises.
So to answer Ross’s question - I’ve yet to install but I was very impressed with the previous Parasite - It’ll be installed with week and I’ll happily provide feedback
@cliffemu… I don’t want to discourage anyone! It’s just my personal experience and I like a good discussion. Maybe i want to encourage the developers to split out their multifunction firmwares in several monofunction ones . And ideally sell them together with an opripriate new frontplate and beautifully small printed manual.
This may be a crazy idea, as I know nothing about engineering or programming, but how about designing a generic, portable display unit that communicates with multi-mode modules to show what mode the module is in, and possibly other useful information, like the function of each knob in the current mode? Perhaps the display unit could communicate over Bluetooth or some kind of radio frequency with compatible modules, and not interfere with audio in a studio setting?
If this were possible, you wouldn’t need to put screens on modules and could save that valuable real estate for additional inputs, outputs, or controls. It would not be something that could retroactively fix the lack of visual information on units already in the wild, but could be a useful tool for modular design going forward.
@scrunday: what you describe is almost like the solution Roland has to program/patch internally their Aira Modular digital eurorack modules using iOS devices for screens.
It would be cool if an MI compatible app had a similar approach also using the phone port (now known as horrendous donge in iphone7).
You could carry all firmwares (official or alternate) and install whichever.
@Varhdader: Incidentally, I own the those Aira modules–I see their iOS/Android solution as more of a programming/patching interface, and less as a visual feedback interface. Ultimately, they’re in the same boat as any other multi-mode module without a screen or LED-mode-indicator system–they lack immediate visual feedback when not connected to a computer via USB as an audio device (connecting the module to a phone with the app, or only an iPad in the case of iOS, will not automatically show you how the module has been patched virtually, but a USB connection to a computer will).
My suggestion is more along the lines of having an inexpensive, portable device that is solely dedicated to providing immediate visual feedback of the mode, and possibly knob/jack assignments, that compatible multi-mode modules are in.
Maybe I am in the minority, but for frequent interactions with instruments/gear/etc., more than say the occasional firmware update, I would rather have a dedicated device for auxiliary uses with equipment over having to use my phone. I prefer to keep my phone out of sight and mind when wiggling to mitigate potential distractions and interruptions.
OLED displays have got small and cheap enough for it to almost be practical to have a load of them as dynamic labels for generic hardware pots/encoders/switches.
I say “almost”, because Euro panels aren’t quite big enough to make it work, I suspect.
Also, why not go one step further, and design a generic module with a multi-touch screen, and a row (or two) of i/o sockets below? You could then design your own touch-based UI to fit perfectly with the application itself (albeit with no tactile feedback).