we’re bringing the grid to the modular synth.
no computers to mediate. no complicated setup. plug into a front-mount usb jack and it’s ready to go. a new form of gesture, live performance, and deep data is now possible within this intuitive and expansive system.
we’re happy to announce white whale, the first in a series.
grid-enabled live probabilistic step sequencer
retail price: $280
requirements: monome grid controller (see note below *)
depth: 40mm (“skiff friendly”)
power: 12v: 18ma, -12v: 17ma, 5v: 42ma (grid unconnected), up to 600ma (grid connected, see note below **)
white whale is the culmination of methods and experiments based on a decade of step sequencer design for the grid.
a monome grid is plugged into the front panel of the module, serving as a complete interface. the sequencer continues running when the grid is disconnected, facilitating both live performance and precomposed playback of generative systems.
a sixteen step loop is the foundation. 4 triggers can be toggled per step, along with two separate cv values. 0-10v cv can be dialed via a parameter knob, copied from other steps, and tuned up and down via the grid. a cv map mode is provided for creating scales, and preset scales are recallable.
a probability index is provided independently for the triggers and each cv channel. these can serve as step mutes (at 0 or 100 percent) or chance possibility per step (for fills, emergent melody generation, etc). each cv step can be set to have a choice of several values.
sixteen patterns are quickly accessible. for longer sequences these patterns can be strung together in any determined order, including chance possibilities between pattern selection.
sets of patterns are storable to internal flash memory for instant recall on power-up.
timing can be internal (controlled via a panel pot) or externally triggered. loop lengths and positions can be set intuitively on the grid.
many subtle additional features make this instrument incredibly versatile yet approachable, introducing possibilities far beyond the standard step sequencer.
which grids are supported?
there have been many editions of monome grids over the years. white whale is optimally designed for late 128 (8×16) models that support variable brightness (2012 and on). smaller grids are supported, but pattern step lengths are adjusted. larger grids are supported, but presently the bottom half will not be used. mono-brightness grids are supported, but the data displayed will be less rich.
see https://vimeo.com/104940985 for a visual comparison.
can i use more than one module at the same time?
yes. with a single grid you can swap the usb cable between modules. operation on each module will continue with perfect timing. grid refresh is incredibly fast. patch usb like you would patch 1/8″ cables.
monome grids require a large amount of 5v power, which may not be typically available on all eurorack systems. be sure to check the ratings of the power supply to be used.
furthermore, eurorack power systems are not well designed for dynamic power loading. undesirable anomalies may be introduced in certain eurorack configurations when shared with a grid controller. we’ve designed a small breakout adapter (ext5v) to separately power the grid controller if needed. if this adapter is used, very little 5v will be used from the eurorack power supply. the adapter requires a separate 5v supply which delivers at least 1a on a 2.1mm center positive plug.
we’ve included a diy ext5v pcb in the first edition of white whales. assembled versions are available via retailers.
where can i see this in person?
we’ve chosen retailers who have a physical store where you can demo these devices. see the order page for locations.
is it reprogrammable?
yes. each module contains a bootloader which allows firmware updates without a programmer. see the documentation for more information.
is the firmware open source?