We’re seeing all sorts of musical sequencer creations with grids, from software to hardware like the Monome and Yamaha Tenori-On. But, of course, the whole beauty of a grid is that you could map to it whatever you like. Maybe you want your sequencer to work differently than someone else’s sequencer.

CellDS, from the creator of the popular, glitchy sample-playing homebrew DS apps glitchDS and repeaterDS, is a new DS sequencer. Out of the box, it’s already very usable. Six sequence lines play back either one of the 175 included sounds or sounds you convert for use on the DS. You can customize the scale to whatever pitch and tuning you like. A 1.2 update announced yesterday added some bug fixes and volune sliders for each of the six “engines.” WiFi MIDI support isn’t available yet, but it’s coming.

If you’re willing to write a few lines of script, each one of those sequencers can be modified to your own purposes. If “scripting” sends you running for the hills, don’t fear. Lua is a dead-simple language, so writing a few lines of script can actually be far easier than deciphering a UI. (Hey, there’s a reason we all communicate using, you know, language.)

Here’s a really simple example from the developer documentation (for would-be Lua scripters):

Line #1: function stylus_newpress()
Line #2: set_pan(X)
Line #3: play_note(17-Y,16)
Line #4: end

In other words, if you press the stylus, you get a sound, setting pan with X on your stylus and pitch with Y. Pretty easy, right?

I’m quite eager to give this some quality time. If it could sync up via MIDI, of course, it’d become far more useful as part of a bigger setup. The Tenori-On is wonderful, but customization (as also found on Monome) is often better, especially as you can think of sequencers as a kind of score.


cellDS 1.2 update

  • This, quite frankly, is amazing. I can't wait to get home from work and try this thing out.

    I've seen Lua support for homebrew DS game engines, and heard that is was a great balance between an easy and powerful language. I had been wondering about the possibility of using it with music software, and BAM- here it is.

    Can't wait to dive in.

  • UndeathStatement

    I had the chance to give it a go last week-end.
    It's plain excellent, as glitchDS and repeaterDS, but in a totally different way.
    A new set of samples is certainly a good way to start hacking, but LUA looks very good too.
    The DS is now my second studio. Only a lot smaller !!!

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  • BirdFLU

    The developer got glitchDS to sync to MIDI wirelessly, so he'll probably have cellDS doing the same soon.

  • lilith

    this article just sold me a DS. probably need an R4 card too. I also want to take up Lua programming.

    so much good musical stuff for the littel ds.

  • morgo

    would love to see DS to DS wireless sync without having to use DSmidi (great bit of code though!)
    as in DS10