Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Controlling the A-100 via MIDI

In the beginning it was not difficult to pick a Doepfer MIDI-CV interface for your A-100 system.
The A-190 MIDI-CV/SYNC Interface was the only one available and there were not many other options.  (the A-191 MIDI-to-CV Interface / Shepard Generator was way more complex, i will discuss it in a future blogpost).
The A-190 is a powerful module that not only provides a few CV and Gate outputs, but also Portamento, Scale-settings, Pitch-bend, Glide, Clock and Reset signals, has a built-in (software) LFO and very flexible programmability.
Without a proper display it is quite awkward to program, but you'll quickly learn how to read the combinations of burning and flashing LEDs.
I do miss some further (software) development for this module. The arpeggio function, mentioned on the front-plate isn't even implemented (!)

A cheaper option that you can buy nowadays is the  A-190-2 Midi CV/Gate interface, which is based on the Doepfer MCV4Only some minor changes were made for a better adaption to the A-100 system, e.g. five 3.5 mm sockets and zero-symmetrical CV for pitch bend, to be able to adjust the pitch bend range e.g. in combination with the precision CV adder A-185-2 and the glide function.
The module has no MIDI Thru and MIDI clock and reset functions though.

The new A-190-3 USB/MIDI-to-CV/Gate Interface that is in production stage has almost the same possibilities, but will be a modular version of Doepfer's upcoming Dark Link Module. This one will support USB and the release date for it is set for early 2011.
Another advantage of these two cheaper modules is that they don't need the additional +5V adapter. 

If you are looking for a polyphonic MIDI-CV contoller you will probably have to wait a while. Doepfer is busy working on the A-190-5, but it will be completely redesigned this year. A final version will  probably contain an LC display (similar to the A-187-1), some control buttons, a USB interface and higher resolution DACs with higher voltage range (probably 12 bit and 0...+10V). It will be a four voice polyphonic Midi to CV/Gate interface with 12 CV and 4 Gate outputs and different modes (e.g. unisono, four-fold monophonic, different four voice polyphonic modes.)

Tip: The monophonic MIDI-CV converters can write and read to the A-100 Busboard, more info on this HERE