Saturday, June 11, 2011

How To Hide an Arpeggiator

An arpeggiator is a feature available on some synthesizers that automatically steps through a sequence of notes based on an input chord, thus creating an arpeggio.

One of my biggest personal complaints about the 'original' A-190 MIDI-CV Interface was the fact that the front-plate had the text 'arpeg.' on it while an arpeggiator function wasn't even implemented (and still not) in this module.

Doepfer recently stated that "...there were plans to add an arpeggiator when the module was designed about 15 years ago. But we found that the processor power is not sufficient to add this feature..."
He also stated that the new A-190-3 USB/Midi-to-CV module does have an arpeggiator available. ( the A-190-3 is the modular version of the Dark Link and Dark Energy USB/Midi interface, watch an 8-minute video about the Dark Energy's arpeggiator functions below ).

The same functions should work on the A-190-3 ( and Dark Link ) too, but i haven't had any hands-on time with this module to check and haven't seen much info on the web.
It does look like a very basic arpeggiator that will be hard to program, only with external MIDI-controller-messages ( like the R2M if i am correct ), but it is a good start.
I would rather see a more dedicated arpeggiator module from Doepfer, with easy accessible buttons and switches for the different settings and run-modes. Something like the Toppobrillo Quantimator (PDF) or the forthcoming Flame Chord Machine would be nice...

The weird thing though is that the whole arpeggio function is not mentioned anywhere on the module's web-page while this is such a useful function.
In fact; it's the first A-100 module that has a (basic) arpeggiator (!)

Because an A-190-3 manual isn't available yet, you can find a bit more info on how the arpeggiator works in the Dark Link manual ( PDF /page 13)*

*thanks to Paul Rogalinski for the tip

Video: Using Doepfer Dark Energy Arpeggiator


Detailed reference video by Dmitry Shtatnov with Doepfer Dark Energy internal arpeggiator + live song performed using Dark Energy and A-100 modular system.