Update – Create Your Own Minilogue Preset Bank

A lot has happened since my last post about how to make your own preset banks for the Minilogue editor. For one thing, unbeknownst to me, Korg in fact has uploaded the MIDI implementation for the Minilogue. http://www.korg.com/us/support/download/manual/0/544/2890/ I’m not sure how I missed that! In any case, I owe Korg an apology as they obviously did listen to their customers on this issue, and for that I commend them.

The second thing that’s happened is there is now an actual synth editor being actively developed for both Mac and PC, and although I’ve only begun to play with it, it seems to be everything we’ve all been hoping for–a way to create synth patches using a computer, including the ability to edit the motion sequence data. You can find out more about this project here: http://audio.julieneres.com/product/minilogueEdit

The third thing that’s happened is that, since creating my first post on creating a minilogue preset, I’ve realized that not everyone has the time or inclination to create banks like this by hand. So I created a little command-line utility in Python so others can create presets more easily. Note; you do need to know how to run a Python script from the terminal, and unfortunately, I cannot offer any help with this (otherwise I’d never have time to do anything else), but for those who are interested, you can find it here: https://github.com/tunabee/minilogue-lib2preset It’s designed to run in either Python 2.x or 3.x and doesn’t require any external dependencies. I haven’t had a ton of time to work on it so it’s pretty rough around the edges, but it does work!

Create Your Own Minilogue Preset Bank

First off I’d like to say: Korg, I love you, but you could have been better to all the nice folks who shelled out $500 for your Minilogue 4-voice analog synthesizer. Not only have you not created an easy way for users to create their own shareable preset banks–ones that look professional and will show up in the Preset Data window of your Minilogue librarian, you also have yet to make available to us the SysEx dump format so independent developers could create a fully featured Editor which would allow users to edit sequence data, etc., from the comfort a of a computer screen.

I’ve attempted to contact Korg to get the SysEx format every way I can think of, including Twitter and email. I even sent a tweet to Tatsuya Takahashi in the hope of maybe getting some traction, but with no luck. I don’t blame Tats at all–he’s a busy guy doing amazing work, and he may not be authorized to make the Minilogue’s SysEx implementation available even if he wanted to.

The more immediate disappointment was that the minilogue Sound Librarian doesn’t give users any way to create their own professional-style sets such as the UK Producer Set available from Korg’s website. But I figured out how to do this. It’s not terribly difficult.

  1. Save your presets using File > Save. This will create a bank with the format bank.mnlglib.

  2. It turns out that bank.mnlglib is just a zip file with a couple of files for each preset and some metadata in XML format. Unzip bank.mnlglib.

  3. Use your favorite text editor to create a file called PresetInformation.xml and populate it with the information for your bank. Here’s the PresetInformation.xml file that is in the UK Producer Set file (replace their information with your own):

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
      <DataID>UK Producer Set</DataID>
      <Name>UK Producer Set</Name>
      <Author>KORG UK</Author>
      <Copyright>KORG Inc.</Copyright>
  4. Your Minilogue bank folder has a file we don’t really need called FavoriteData.fav_data. I haven’t tested to see if this file does anything detrimental, but better safe than sorry.

  5. Create a new .zip file, which has all the original files plus the PresetInformation.xml file you created. Rename the .zip part of the file to .mnlgpreset and import it into the librarian just as you would any of the other banks on Korg’s website (all two of them at the moment).

Have fun!

Drum Synthesis with the Korg MS20

Lately I’ve been getting pretty deep into analog synthesizers. The current setup includes a Korg MS20 Mini, which I’ve quickly fallen in love with. It’s very quirky and fun, although some would probably replace the word quirky with incompatible with standard CV pitch signals and the word fun with frustrating.

The more time I spend with the MS20, the more I realize that this really is a musical instrument. The way it sounds depends completely on who is patching and playing it. For such a simple instrument, it’s incredibly deep. So in order to really master the MS20, I’m working on a series of videos to share some of the patches I’ve come up with. The idea is that in five to ten seconds, you can look at what I’ve done, hear the results, and then create the same sound on your own MS20 (or something in the ballpark–I know these machines have a lot of variation). Here’s the first one.

In this video, the MS20 is sequenced by the Korg SQ-1 analog step-sequencer. I’ve routed the CV signal to the TOTAL input, which is being used along with envelope generator 2 to control the lowpass filter. This allows me to get a sort of kick/snare depending on the CV at the time the gate signal is sent. But for the most part, I think the video speaks for itself.

New Renoise “tool”: Empty KeyBindings.xml

Picture of Renoise's preferences window.

For a long time, I’ve been meaning to update my Renoise keybindings to work better with my MacBook Pro’s keyboard. Eventually, I want to add some Vim-like functionality to Renoise, but that will involve getting my hands dirty with Lua (a language so small that you have to create your own functions just to show the contents of a table, the primary data structure of the language). But for now, I offer you a blank slate for customizing Renoise’s keybindings completely. I really do mean completely: This even clears out key commands for Quit, Preferences, and other commonly accessed menu items. You should really back up your key commands before you load this. You have been warned!


Fun with APIs

I’ve been getting back into the groove lately with my college studies. I literally blazed through the JavaScript modules in two intense, daylong sessions last weekend. I shaved about a month off of the time it will take to complete my studies, and I’m fairly sure I can knock out PHP/MySQL by next week (or the week after that).

I finally feel excited about web development, and a big reason for that is discovering some of the cool API’s out there covering subjects I’m actually interested in. Programming isn’t really an isolated domain; programming is something you do to solve a particular problem in some other domain (music, medicine, astronomy, nutrition, finance, hog farming, etc). The advice I’d give anyone who wants to learn about web development would be, “Find some cool, free API’s, and start playing around with them.” Sure, you still have to learn the boring stuff first, but a spoonful of sugar helps the boring stuff go down, and there is nothing sweeter than working with data in a domain that you actually care about (or, a domain that is relevant to your job).