Nord Modular Wishlist Nord Modular Wishlist

Posted by smokris on 2002.08.06 @ 17:01

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This list was compiled from various mailinglist postings.

From Wout Blommers:

During the start of the V4 developments Clavia asked some NM’ers to write a user report and a wishlist. This was done [in late 2001].

Possible (?) With Current Hardware


  • Moog ladder filter - Grant Middleton
  • Linear slew module - Grant Middleton
  • Bus line from CVA back to PVA - Grant Middleton
  • 16x8 event sequencer - Steve Mokris
  • Sequencer input to control position with CV - Steve Mokris

Editor software

  • Use Windows Clipboard to cut and paste modules - Steve Mokris
  • The ability to type in values from the computer keyboard once a parameter is in focus. Seems easier to get an exact value quicker this way than “mousing around” - Les Mizzell
  • The ability to “freeze” the vocoder and save those settings as a stand-alone filter (transferred to the Filter Bank perhaps?). Better yet, the ability to save a number of “captured” settings (slices?), and then smoothly morph between them with adjustable time settings in-between.
    Consider the power of this. Trying to model the perfect cello? Capture the settings from the vocoder module at 0, .5, 1, 1.5 and 2 seconds and then be able to use those settings to either synthesize a cello, or apply those filter settings to another sound entirely. - Les Mizzell

New Hardware (The Fabled “NM2”)


  • some sort of digital out [expansion option] - perhaps via a USB interface (which could double as the Editor connection rather than a 2nd midi port) [or an ADAT expansion board]. This would also be a good way to transfer in waveforms and samples, assuming they build that sort of functionality into the NM2. - trey at
    • If people are going to dream about how cool all this data flying back and forth would be, then I strongly suggest that someone put a large flea in Clavia’s collective ear about skipping over USB entirely and shipping the next generation Nord Modular with FireWire ports. USB will handle tons of MIDI (once the various bugs are sorted out), but if people also want to be able to feed multiple audio signals to and from the Nord this way, then USB is knocked out of the running quickly and only FireWire is fast enough to do it all cleanly. Maybe Clavia should talk to Yamaha about getting on the mLAN train when it finally pulls out of the station. - Mike Metlay
  • more physical outputs/timbrality - or at least an expansion option. The polyphony expansion isnt nearly as useful to me as a timbrality/ output expansion would be. - trey at
  • Make an “NM2” more “modular” for purchase – you can start out with less (though sufficient for, say, 6-8 voice polyphony, 4-channel timbrality) but build up to whopping Kyma-like expansions of DSP and RAM power. Although keep this within enough limits to keep the “NM2” coherent enough to function just fine as an entirely independent instrument; don’t get caught in the trap of forcing it to become a PC parasite, or a big, cumbersome, buggy piece of frustration. - Steven Wartofsky
  • multiple small LCD windows above all knobs that change dynamically to show knob-assignment at-a-glance, either that or a larger central LCD with a menu option to provide at-a-glance knob assignment clarification. Some way so you don’t have to think about which knob did what a month after you created a patch. - Steven Wartofsky
  • Move the keyboard over four inches, put in a Nord Lead style mod wheel and pitch stick (both routable to anything, of course), and put an aftertouch sensor under the keys (ditto). I’d buy one in a heartbeat. - Mike Metlay
Nord Modular Tempo Format Nord Modular Tempo Format

Posted by smokris on 2002.08.06 @ 17:01

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When the Nord Modular Editor writes patch files, the sequencer tempo is stored in an odd format, which packs the entire tempo range into a 7bit value. In beats per minute, the tempo ranges from 24 to 214. For values toward the ends of the spectrum, it skips by two.

  • 24bpm to 88bpm = by 2
  • 89bpm to 151bpm = by 1
  • 152bpm to 214bpm = by 2

The following C snippet should translate from BPM to nord-patch-file format and reverse.

unsigned char bpmToNordTempo(int b)
        return 0;
    else if(b<88)
        return (b-24)/2;
    else if(b<152)
        return b-88+32;
    else if(b<214)
        return (b-152)/2+96;
        return 127;
int nordTempoToBpm(unsigned char t)
        return t*2+24;
    else if(t<96)
        return t-32+88;
    else if(t<128)
        return (t-96)*2+152;
        return 214;
The Mighty DeskNote The Mighty DeskNote

Posted by smokris on 2002.05.24 @ 18:31

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There doesn’t seem to be much info around regarding these things… i’ll do what i can to help resolve this situation.

My machine is the DeskNote A-928, also (apparently) known as the i-buddie 4. Official docs:

Currently I’ve installed Linux Slackware and Windows 2000 as dualboot, and have logged my experiences with each below.

See also Gustavo Sverzut Barbieri’s Desknote A928/Linux Page.

Good Stuff

  • Excellent price/performance ratio for a laptop
  • Windows 2000’s “hibernate” (write all memory to harddrive and turn off) feature works nicely so far. Takes less than 30 seconds to write 512mb of ram to harddrive. Boots in somewhere around 45 seconds.

Bad Stuff

  • In Windows 2000, it doesn’t recover properly from suspend (but I’ve never seen a computer that has). I’ve suspended 3 times. one of those times it would never come out of suspend, so I had to pull the plug. The other two times, it came out, but sound, network, and usb all were disabled. I could figure out how to restart the network in win2k, but didn’t get the others working, and had to reboot.
  • Haven’t yet figured out how to suspend in linux. It’s ok because when linux isn’t in use, it doesn’t throttle the processor, so heat (and thus the temperature-controlled cpu fan) goes down.
  • Haven’t yet figured out how to get sound to work in linux.
  • Odd placement of the insert key, just left of the spacebar. I’ll live.
  • Harddrive is just under where one would typically rest one’s left hand, and thus it gets rather hot. Not uncomfortably so, just slightly annoying.
  • Odd placement of the cover-open latch: in the center. The previous laptop I used had two latches, positioned where one could open it with both one’s thumbs.
  • The CD drive easily pops out (you can’t easily rest the laptop on your lap), and often ejects a few times when trying to insert a cd.
  • I haven’t yet been able to get the s-video output to work (seems to output no signal, and i don’t see any configuration options for it).


  • Network port
  • Sound
    • SiS 7012
    • - sis’s linux drivers
    • It’s not a soundblaster pro as they advertise, and this is a good thing (sbp was only 8bit).
    • Doesn’t yet work in linux: drivers load (using alsa’s snd-intel8x0), and i don’t see any errors. i turn up the mixer all the way, and, if i put headphones on, and play some highly compressed and normalized music, i can just slightly hear something. so i imagine there are some flags that need to be adjusted for this revision. i’ll check this out sometime
    • Hmm… Actually, sound input in linux seems to work, but is rather noisy. In windows, the sound is plagued with loud, roughly sinusoidial noise at about 5hz, plus typical computer noise (rapid clicking when moving the mouse, high noise floor, etc). Therefore it’s effectively useless except for the most undemanding recordings.
  • IR
    • Winbond FIR - haven’t tried it
  • Video
    • works nicely with the vesafb module and fbdev for x. i’ve currently set it to 1024x768x64k. also works with other vesa modes: add 0x200 to the mode number, convert the mode number to decimal, and stick in as a kernel parameter, as per the vesafb documentation.
  • USB
    • Works nicely in linux. easy to get working, and usb support/reliability now exceeds win2k ! (at least for a usb mouse). yay devfs.
    • todo: post xf86config for how to use both usb and internal mouse at the same time