SamplerBox & The Dynacord Rhythm Stick?

Pete Jones posted Jan 19 '17, 15:28:

Hi, I’m the inventor of the ‘Dynacord’ Rhythm Stick from many years ago! I’m gonna start gigging with it again and have been searching possible sample triggering solutions… Ableton Live, Reason, Superior Drummer and also looking at dedicated hardware samplers - which i prefer for latency reasons.

I love the idea of SamplerBox, it ‘seems’ to be perfect for me but having read the FAQ etc i can't quite work out if it will work for my application and would really love some advice.

The Rhythm Stick puts out midi for (the equivalent of, bit not quite the same!) 8 piezo drum pads. I can set the midi note and chanel that each pad creates, i think it creates a note on, and then a note off about 500ms later (but not sure about that).

I want to be able to triggers samples ranging from simple one off drum sounds to synth pads and 2 bar loops. I need to be able to trigger different samples on the same pad midi note according to midi velocity, three sets of samples according to midi not velocity works well on each pad.

I need to be able to trigger lots of samples at once, say for example to build up a rich synth chord over a couple for 2 bar loops so i need at least 16 voice polyphony.

I need to be able to trigger the samples and let them play out but ideally, also be able to use a pad to cut dead a sample and trigger a new one (think stopping the vinyl on a record deck type thing).

I’ll make and prepare all the samples on a PC beforehand so i do not want SamplerBox to adjust the pitch of the samples according to midi note, i need them to play at exactly the same pitch ‘whatever’ midi note i assign them to.

Can anyone advise if this is possible with SamplerBox?

Thanks loads in advance for your help ) Pete

HansEhv posted Jan 19 '17, 22:23:

Hi Pete,
Well in fact, the basic box as it is now, is some kind of starting point. It is very well possible to add extra features exactly matching your own needs.
To address your specific questions:
It's polyphony is 64 by default.
You can have different samples per velocity level (which are independent wav-files).
You link a note to a sample by a note indication in the naming of the samples (can be the straight midi note or the musical notation of the corresponding music note). So it does not matter what note (or musical fragment) was used when creating the sample - you can let he soprano sing via the low keys of of a keyboard (so it is very ease to have a split keyboard).
Samplerbox will only adjust unassigned notes, so if you assign a notes to a higher or lower keys, the set transposes.
I've created build with options to control / switch of this auto-filling behaviour.
Actually I started this build for a kind of purpose you describe. I mainly use a layered 8-pad percussion pad as well as sometimes a 25-keys midi keypad with lots of control buttons.
The percussion pad behaves like yours, be it that you can define note-off time per pad. Usually I load a samper box patch with lots of samples and just switch patches on my percussion pad (with other notes defined to the pads) to use other sounds of the samplerbox patch without having to load another.
Anyway, I wanted to play full length samples with possibilities to stop them if needed (same note twice or other key). Also recognition of any loop-markers within the sample. In these modes the prefixed delay of note-off does not matter, as it is ignored (you the explciitely "tick them off"). The loop does not have to start at the beginning of the sample (giving an intro effect).
I also added possibility to generate chords (=playing multiple waves with distinct note distances) from 1 note. These distances are fixed in the script, but easy to adapt and/or extend - so not limited to 3 or 4 notes with the usual distances.
You can look at my build to see whether this fits what you need and / or use parts of it to create your own from the basic.
I appreciate your feedback (both for improvement as well as for inspiration for more..)

Pete Jones posted Jan 20 '17, 19:28:

Hans dude I love you!

When i first invented the Rhythm Stick some 34 years ago (!), midi was just being worked out, it was all analog piezo signals. I had a dream that one day the Rhythm Stick (renamed the Jamma) would contain ‘voices’ (read samples), I envisioned on board samples way back then but couldn't see a way to make that happen, but it was always my dream. I saw a way of jamming live with samples without loads of kit attached… a bit like your portable dreams it seems!

I spent an afternoon with Michael Jackson teaching him to play the Jamma for his HIStory album and he coined the phrase perfectly as “Sound Tapestry” - that was my dream but he had to use racks and racks of Emu samplers back then.

So as you might imagine, i’m extremely excited to discover SamplerBox and thank you deeply for your work in this area and your comprehensive reply :) I am going to embed one in a Jamma and can finally realise my dream!

So, in reply to your replies:

Polyphony = great!
Samples by velocity = great!
Sample playback not affected by midi note = great!
Ability to switch off ‘auto-fill’ (notes) = great!
Note off stuff = I think i just need ‘one shot’ sample trigger and am not quite understanding this point but I think it’s gonna work fine!
Chords = Interesting, i was thinking of the old school method of creating and then recording a sample of a chord to just re-trigger with the Jamma. But this is an exciting idea!

I checked out your build info and yeah deffo think this is going to work really well. I've not delved back into electronics for … … many years (!) but this is drawing me in.

I also am going to build a led syncopated light show into the Jamma (just for fun!), i also built a very crazy (analog) light controller many years ago that is triggered by adjustable different audio spectrums and am going to get it out of storage for this!

I love that this is open source, well done Hans, we need more openness and working together, in a world that seems to be going crazy...

:) Pete

HansEhv posted Jan 22 '17, 19:02:

Hi Pete,
Thanks for your kind words. I certainly agree with your last statement.
As for the note-off remark: this aimed at the fixed note length (time between note-on and note-off) in most percussion midi pads. In the "once" and "loop" modes the standard note-off is ignored, so this limit is bypassed.
Anyway, hope you can use/modify it to fit in your intended setup.
Would be interesting to get old but still good gear in use again via this solution. In fact I had my old percussion pad in stock because the built-in sounds were way out of date and I did not want to invest in an expensive sound kit - which in most cases do not have the "play full sample" option.

Pisti posted Jan 22 '17, 20:17:

Hi Hans!
Inlove your project and brain too! :)
Today i was built my pi3 with lcd and 3 buttons, and works perfect!
To test the unit I use a Roland master kb, and I find the common midi ch.
First I had a problem, my usb drive wont find the program It was 4 Gb Kingston, and fat16 formatted.
Later I was copied my folders with definition.txt and wavs to another usb stick - it is a 1 Gb kingston.
With it works fine, found the wavs and plays it.
My goal is similar to Pete's project, I want a similar instrument, like Roland SPD-S. Later I want to use it with a usb drumpad.
But with current config only one wav sound works per directory. Perhaps I was copied 6-8 effects per dir.
If I change with buttons or with keyboard pgchange, it switch the next dir, but only with one sampe on all keys. My def. files like this:
Bt125a a2.wav
scrt1 a#2.WAV
plan2 b.wav
rocket c3.wav
Bt100 c#3.wav
drscrtc d3.WAV
hiscrtct d#3.WAV
eldrm e3.wav
Bt125b g#3.wav
reveff1 f3.wav
reveff2 f#3.wav
reveff3 g3.wav
tyuu g#3.wav
What must to change in config, if I like to all keys other effects in a folder?
Thank you in advanced !

HansEhv posted Jan 22 '17, 23:53:

Hi Pisti,
I don't quite get it... this looks like the directory listing of your sound folders.
Looks like you need the "* %notename.wav" line in the config.txt.
"plan2 b.wav" will not play then as it misses the octave indication (b should be b2 or b3).

Pete Jones posted Jan 27 '17, 17:39:

Hi Hans,

Great, I'm so going to do this, is there a way to post images up here I'd liek to share progres if you're interested?

HansEhv posted Jan 27 '17, 18:08:

Hi Pete,
I don't really know, I'm a guest here as well.
I just build and shared an alternative for/on the basic box by Joseph Ernest.
His site (with blog, faq, contact etc) is at the root of this forum:
But anyway good luck & fun with building ofcourse :-)

Pete Jones posted Jan 27 '17, 19:36:

Hi Hans,

OK cool, thanks for the heads up, i was so excited to discover this i didnt really delve deeper into who's involved!

:) Pete

Pisti posted Jan 30 '17, 14:42:

Hi Hans! Thanks-thanks-thanks!!!
Yes it works!
All copied effects plays separated.
I tink the key was your idea :

  • %notename.wav

And some new line if it must...


The unit works perfect with Fame DD305 usb drum pad!!! I have a cheap sampler with cheap pad ;-)

Yet anothet question.
Coud I make a folder with some wavs so, that only one or two plays looped, and others only once?
Can I assign wav modes separated?
Or if a folder have mode=once, it can play all samples only once (not looped) ?

Pam Phillips posted Feb 21 '18, 05:34:

Hi Pete
Are you the Pete Jones that purchased one the first Excel Mobile Phones from our offices in London.
All the best.
Pam x

HansEhv posted Feb 22 '18, 00:11:

Hi Pete,
Missed your post somehow (...)
Anyway: my build is some releases further and you can now freely mix modes per sample if you like, which cover your question above I guess. There's more to come, stay tuned.

Pete Jones posted Apr 8 '18, 15:46:

Thnaks Hans i look forward to hearing :)

**** Errrrrrrr.... Pam! really! You!?!

No way!

That was over 25 years ago! I remember that well!...

What on earth are you doing here!!!

This is the universe saying we need to speak, how can we connect?


Pete Jones posted Jul 17 '18, 14:17:

Pam, You there?

:) Pete x

Peter posted Apr 14 '19, 03:21:

Pete! Trying to reach you to pick your brain! I'm an active Dynacord Rhythm Stick user and wanted to see if you could help in debugging why different pads in different programs are NOT storing their values? in face they seem random.

Is there specific RAM soldered on the board that needs to be replaced? Etc..?



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