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Wish New Controller Type: Random Number Generator

creativespiral

Inspired
This is spawning off of the Mimiq thread... But upon thinking about it further, I think this might be useful in various scenarios - an interesting new controller type to create unique effects.

This is a wish for a new Controller Type for generating random values that can then be linked to any number of effects/blocks, just like the LFOs, ADSRs, SEQ, etc. This would be a Static Random Number that is held until an event (threshold) is activated to change it to a new random value.

INPUT CONTROLS:
The default input could be very similar to a Gate circuit, with:
1. THRESHOLD (dB/int) that acts as a trigger to generate a new random number.
2. RETURN (dB/int) (aka: hysteresis) would define how far down the dB/value would need to go before a new threshold crossing would trigger a new random number.... this would allow fine tuning / elimination of crosstalk or unwanted rapid regeneration of new random numbers.

OUTPUT CONTROLS:
3. MIN NUMBER (int) (the low threshold for the Random Number Generator)
4. MAX NUMBER (int) (the high threshold for the Random Number Generator)
5. GLIDE TIME (ms) - adjustable from 0ms to a few hundred ms. At 0, the random number changes would be abrupt/immediate. At higher values, the number would glide from its previous number to the new number at this speed.

6. SAMPLE DELAY (the amount of time in ms after the threshold is crossed until the new random number is output. At 0ms, it would generate the random number immediately upon threshold crossing... at 10ms, it would wait 10ms after the threshold is crossed to adjust the random number output)
7. SAMPLE OVERAGE ADJUSTMENT (if the above number is set to 0ms, this would have no effect, but if its say 10ms, then the circuit would watch the input dB/value for 10ms from the threshold crossing, and take a measurement of whatever the peak db/value is during that extra 10ms. If its a particularly hard strike/high value, maybe the overage is 15dB beyond the threshold. Now this SAMPLE OVERAGE ADJUSTMENT is added to the random number (or subtrated from the random number, if a negative value is selected. This would be a knob with 0 centerpoint, going to maybe -100 all the way to +100. It would allow for the randomness to have some order to it based on the overage of the threshold. Very hard strikes could be adjusted to have higher or lower output values, where strikes that just cross the threshold would be more random.

ADDITIONAL FEEDBACK:
7. A METER / COUNTER / DISPLAY that shows what the current random number output value is... and maybe what some of the previous numbers were... perhaps a XY time/value graph, that would show the past few seconds of values output.


For additional flexibility, if the input could be linked to other controllers, like sequencer, adsr, or lfo, that would add additional flexibility and control, for syncopated generation of new random number output. Maybe by default its hooked up to the envelope follower/gate type of input, but you could right click on the input and select the sequencer or lfo or an external pedal/switch, or whatever other input you want.


For the Mimiq type of effect, this would allow the HAAS delay to be adjusted at new note strikes/chords that cross the threshold. That delay value would be held until the next time the threshold is crossed.

For other effects, randomness can be an interesting tool for creating unique sounds... this would be different than the LFO random, in that it would hold static random values, with fine tune controls to determine when new random numbers are output.
 

iaresee

Moderator
Moderator
A trigger for the next advance on the step sequencer controller could cover most of this. You could assign the trigger to a foot switch or any other controller like the envelope filter is ADSR.

This has definitely been requested and discussed a few times over the years. It’d be a nice addition.

I’d prefer to control the values a bit. And, over 32 steps, that’s a long enough set of steps to feel randomish. Truly random would be bad. You’d end up with lots of random, but musically unhelpful, sequences. Most of the time I want variance but with parameters. Like, I want a new value but it has to be at least N steps lower or higher than the current value or it won’t have a noticeable impact on the control. The step sequencer lets me achieve this.
 

creativespiral

Inspired
A trigger for the next advance on the step sequencer controller could cover most of this. You could assign the trigger to a foot switch or any other controller like the envelope filter is ADSR.

This has definitely been requested and discussed a few times over the years. It’d be a nice addition.

I’d prefer to control the values a bit. And, over 32 steps, that’s a long enough set of steps to feel randomish. Truly random would be bad. You’d end up with lots of random, but musically unhelpful, sequences. Most of the time I want variance but with parameters. Like, I want a new value but it has to be at least N steps lower or higher than the current value or it won’t have a noticeable impact on the control. The step sequencer lets me achieve this.
Hah... I almost mentioned the step controller key step mode... I think that would be a great addition too!.. and useful for many other scenarios. I use key stepping sequences on synths all the time for cool effects.

There's definitely a value in having true random number generation as well, as its non-repeating, but you're right that with 32 steps, you could fake randomness pretty well.

If the Random Number Generator was implemented like I outlined, with Threshold/Return, and SampleDelay/Overage adjustments, it would go beyond what could be accomplished by a step seq though. If we had a RNG like this, you could also use it in conjuction with the sequencer... mapping the sequencer to the RNG input, and then you could accomplish some really interesting randomness combined with order... ie: having every 4th beat have a higher seq value that would push the overage and introduce more order in to every 4th beat, but leave the others more random.
 
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iaresee

Moderator
Moderator
There's definitely a value in having true random number generation as well, as its non-repeating, but you're right that with 32 steps, you could fake randomness pretty well.
True random number generation can absolutely repeat. Pseudo-random number generators can be tuned to be non-repeating.

There's very little that's musically-useful in true randomness though.
 

creativespiral

Inspired
There's very little that's musically-useful in true randomness though.
I agree that randomness applied directly to sound generation / core frequency is generally not musically useful, but downstream from the core sound generation, randomness can definitely produce interesting / musical results when applied to certain effects parameters. I'm actually currently designing a synthesizer that I have been playing with random sequence/freq generation. You can actually do some really cool things if you introduce a quantization layer between the random number generation and output. (I built a RNG quantization scheme in my synth with standard math divisions, as well as musical interval tables... that's sort of a separate topic... though adding a quantization option to a controller like this wouldn't be a bad idea)

LFO random (S+H) is commonly used with synths to create sound textures / variants. This request would just be for a variation upon random generation that has more specific controls for the triggering, hold and output. With the controls I outlined, it would include both RNG output, as well as have some adjustable "order" that could be applied based on exceeding the threshold. The best results with randomness often include some foundation of order.

Definitely not something that would be useful in every patch, but I could see it being a useful option, and something that could be sprinkled on top of other values to alter textures / effects.
 
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Joe Bfstplk

Fractal Fanatic
Hah... I almost mentioned the step controller key step mode... I think that would be a great addition too!.. and useful for many other scenarios. I use key stepping sequences on synths all the time for cool effects.

There's definitely a value in having true random number generation as well, as its non-repeating, but you're right that with 32 steps, you could fake randomness pretty well.

If the Random Number Generator was implemented like I outlined, with Threshold/Return, and SampleDelay/Overage adjustments, it would go beyond what could be accomplished by a step seq though. If we had a RNG like this, you could also use it in conjuction with the sequencer... mapping the sequencer to the RNG input, and then you could accomplish some really interesting randomness combined with order... ie: having every 4th beat have a higher seq value that would push the overage and introduce more order in to every 4th beat, but leave the others more random.
Why not both? And allow the random to control how many steps through the sequence it jumps, with wraparound, of course.
 

creativespiral

Inspired
Why not both? And allow the random to control how many steps through the sequence it jumps, with wraparound, of course.
I can't read "Why not both?" now without seeing that little girl meme in my head. Apparently, "branding" really works. :grimacing:

Yes! Both would be optimal, and the combination of the two would allow for many new effects variants.

I spend half my allotted music time in synthesizer-land, where key-stepped sequencing and partially random modulations are used often in patch designs.
 

Joe Bfstplk

Fractal Fanatic
I can't read "Why not both?" now without seeing that little girl meme in my head. Apparently, "branding" really works. :grimacing:

Yes! Both would be optimal, and the combination of the two would allow for many new effects variants.

I spend half my allotted music time in synthesizer-land, where key-stepped sequencing and partially random modulations are used often in patch designs.
I almost posted the meme, but got lazy googling a copy of it....

EDIT: Here ya go. Unsee this.... :D
 
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Joe Bfstplk

Fractal Fanatic
I can't read "Why not both?" now without seeing that little girl meme in my head. Apparently, "branding" really works. :grimacing:

Yes! Both would be optimal, and the combination of the two would allow for many new effects variants.

I spend half my allotted music time in synthesizer-land, where key-stepped sequencing and partially random modulations are used often in patch designs.
SRSLY, though, the combination of the two would give you a bit of random in with some degree of control over the range of possible values. I'd really love to see Output B Phase, Astable Beta, and Quantize get set up for modifier tweakage. Output B Phase, in combination with Duty Cycle, would make setting up a "3-way switch" two-switches-that-both-control-the-same-thing arrangement using the trick in this post:
https://forum.fractalaudio.com/thre...and-hold-switch-functions.152004/post-1808837
 

creativespiral

Inspired
I almost posted the meme, but got lazy googling a copy of it....

EDIT: Here ya go. Unsee this.... :D
haha... that's pretty good. Out of curiosity I just looked into this .. never knew what the source material was - apparently a taco commercial from 2011.

SRSLY, though, the combination of the two would give you a bit of random in with some degree of control over the range of possible values. I'd really love to see Output B Phase, Astable Beta, and Quantize get set up for modifier tweakage. Output B Phase, in combination with Duty Cycle, would make setting up a "3-way switch" two-switches-that-both-control-the-same-thing arrangement using the trick in this post:
https://forum.fractalaudio.com/thre...and-hold-switch-functions.152004/post-1808837

I'm all about them modifiers! I do commercial patch bank design on synthesizers -- and having a large mod matrix with extensive sources and destinations is really a sound designer's dream. My latest synth focus has been the Sequential Pro 3 -- a gigantic 32 slot mod matrix, 4 lfos, 4 envelopes, plus a 16 track x 16 step x 4 phrase sequencer.... mmm, drooooool. :p
 

Joe Bfstplk

Fractal Fanatic
haha... that's pretty good. Out of curiosity I just looked into this .. never knew what the source material was - apparently a taco commercial from 2011.
LOL. Makes sense now. That smart little girl is now universally recognized for the phrase in the meme (and being smarter/more creative than her parents), I think....

I'm all about them modifiers! I do commercial patch bank design on synthesizers -- and having a large mod matrix with extensive sources and destinations is really a sound designer's dream. My latest synth focus has been the Sequential Pro 3 -- a gigantic 32 slot mod matrix, 4 lfos, 4 envelopes, plus a 16 track x 16 step x 4 phrase sequencer.... mmm, drooooool. :p
I feel ya. I came up on MIDI controlled stuff in the '90s with the Quadraverb GT and later Quadraverb 2, and using the various tools available at the time to control it all. Controllers made for a way to not have to switch presets nearly as often, often successfully going a whole song on one preset. I even had MIDI controlled relays for signal and channel switching of amps at some point. I carry that mindset forward with me to the current era. Controller pedals and control switches are king. Only one preset for a song avoids preset switching glitching and guitar player bitching.... :)
 
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