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A SunVox version for live (hardware) performances

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:30 pm
by borututuforte
I more or less just discovered SunVox, so please excuse if I whish for things that are already there. I would like to use it to make a hardware unit that's the center of a setup with several external synthesizers and a drummachine for live performances. At the moment I'm using an Akai MPC1000 for this, which is a decent sampler and MIDI sequencer, but very static compared to a tracker program.

SunVox comes really close to being a superior replacement for this - it can be run on a raspberry pi, is a versatile sound source, allows for complex sequencing with on-the-fly editing and has full polyphonic MIDI I/O. But it is in many ways geared towards usage on a PC controlled by keyboard and mouse (or touchscreen), so it's more like a DAW in which you make full songs rahter than being used for quick editing and live jamming.

I think by taking a few hints from the mode of operation of Little GP Tracker ( or Little Sound DJ ( the SunVox UI could be improved in that regard. A successful hardware implementation for Eurorack synthesizers is NerdSeq ( - if you could set up SunVox to be controlled by a similarly small amount of buttons (and/or poteniometers, encoders?), one could build something like NerdSeq for MIDI sequencing.

Here are some things I think would be important to change to get closer to what I'm imagining:
- All Keyboard control. Instead of dragging the size of the different windows, seperate them into different screens. Then add a screen selection overview like LSDJ/LGPT have, switch between screens with keyboard (maybe tab + direction).

- It would be faster if you could increase or decrease a selected value or note with the arrow keys while holding down another button instead of typing in the hex numbers. (At the moment you have to make a selection and then press shift + [+,-]. That's inconvenient.)

- Editing the currently selected value via GPIO or MIDI CC, so you could use knobs, faders or encoders to edit parameters faster.

- I find it annoying that the cursor jumps down one line (or actually the "edit step" number of lines) after you enter a note or number, so you have to move up again to finish a four number effect parameter for example. The edit step numbers are a cool feature (and there are already keyboard shortcuts for it!), but it would be better if it only jumped when an arrow key is pressed.

- Show more info on what you do: for example show the effects list as soon as the cursor hovers above the effect slot, so you don't have to memorize the numbers. Also show the available controller numbers when entering their values. When editing the effect or controller parameter still show what the parameter does (it's good that hex numbers are translated to decimals here!).

- Add MIDI Recording into the currently selected pattern and overdub (viewtopic.php?t=3635)

- Allow for choosing a quantisation resolution before or after recording notes (like on an Akai MPCs for example).

- Add MIDI clock sync, start & stop (viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2605)

- Add a live performance mode where patterns loop and can be muted/umuted (viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4555)

- just some cool things: euclidian rhythms as an effect for the sequencer and bitcrushing, samplerate reduction and tuned feedback for the sampler module like in LGPT.

I'm aware that all this would mean a lot of work. Maybe even the whole moular architecture would need to be changed, as it's difficult to control without a mouse, but I'm sure there are more people who would be interested in a version like this.

Re: A SunVox version for live (hardware) performances

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:08 pm
by queries
I'm not suggesting you do this, nor am I volunteering to do it myself, but it's worth noting that a lot of custom UI can be accomplished by integrating the SunVox DLL version with an entirely new UI.

I have my own notions about using SunVox in a live setting, but more in the live-coding / algorave style. The ideas have not fully formed into code, but I have successfully used SunVox DLL to create a "metamodule construction kit" which uses Python code and custom parameters to build and audition new instruments and patterns that can be directly copied and pasted into SunVox.

Re: A SunVox version for live (hardware) performances

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:48 pm
by borututuforte
Interesting, thanks for pointing at that. I'm going to take a look at it, but unfortunately my programing skills kinda peak in writing text adventures in BASIC...