numerology

Numerology is a ray of hope, proof that there’s more than one way to build software for making music live and in the studio. Instead of locking you into yet another multitrack recorder, it’s an open canvas for combining sequencers into note-making machines.

But maybe the idea of using some idiosyncratic modular step-sequencing environment just hadn’t quite won you over. Quietly working away in New Mexico, developer Jim Coker has been working away on a new Numerology to change your mind.

What’s different about this fourth revision? Well, a whole lot of details, but here are the important new developments:

1. It controls hardware.
2. It modulates hardware.
3. It uses your Ableton Push, and its grids let you get away from the computer screen.
4. It has increasingly-powerful sampling and real-time automation.
5. It turns your computer into a ready-to-play library of useful stuff – save stacks of modules (or use pre-built tools), then browse them easily.

In other words, Numerology returns us to some of the things we wanted out of a computer in the first place.

Numerology 4 — sequence + modulate from Five12 on Vimeo.

I’ve just started working with it, but this is for me starting to reach critical mass to devote some time – and, hey, look, it’s wintertime. Ideal. In more detail:

Grid mapping expands from Novation’s Launchpad to Ableton Push, Livid OHM RGB.

Multiple grids run at the same time, which means one might transform rates and key while the other controls notes. You can add per-step probability and accidentals to those grids, too, or play melodies.

Real-time automation lets you record and play looped transformations of your patterns, too, up to 64-beats – via MIDI or OSC.

The multi-panel browser manages module presets, stacks of modules, audio and MIDI files. Drag and drop to make your own stacks, and preview audio right in the browser.

Each stack also gets its own MIDI loop recorder, and you can drag and drop to export, making this a great way to make patterns for Ableton Live, Maschine, and the like.

There’s a smarter sampler: zoom waveforms, use multi-part patches.

32-, 64-bit support in standalone, ReWire, and plug-in (VST, AU, AU MIDI) modes, including Logic Pro X AU MIDI support.

In Pro, you get unlimited undo/redo, plug-in delay compensation and even latency with external instruments, expanded OSC (with Bonjour for zero-configure, automatic networking), and more.

Pro is US$199, Standard (if you don’t need fancy plug-in or OSC support and just want to use MIDI) US$129. Upgrades from Numerology 3 are $39 until December 27th, $49 thereafter.

For the demo and more info:
www.five12.com

numerology2

  • MEGUSTA

    why u no windows ?!

    • It runs comfortably on a cheap older Mac. You might pick up one for next to nothing used. And why? Because this is really the labor of love of one person, and supporting multiple platforms is a huge and often fruitless endeavor.

      • mike

        should have gone with a better os if not windows then linux, why mac ? 😛

        • James Yasha Cunningham

          He’s a long time Mac user. He performs live using Numerology, so he’s not going to write software for a platform he doesn’t use himself. And I believe he’s one of those developers who really, really enjoy using Apple’s Cocoa framework. I’m glad he’s prioritizing his own satisfaction over market share — it’s reflected in the quality of his software and especially in the quality of his customer service. He’s one of the most friendly and responsive developers out there.

      • A White Canvas

        Numerology has been the only reason why I ‘ve been thinking about buying a mac, I mean just for it and nothing else. Which cheap older Mac should be able to handle it, in your opinion?

    • Todd

      If you can wait, Loomer’s “not Epoch” should be out in early 2015 (I hope). See this thread for more info: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=141&t=341953

  • MEGUSTA

    why u no windows ?!

    • It runs comfortably on a cheap older Mac. You might pick up one for next to nothing used. And why? Because this is really the labor of love of one person, and supporting multiple platforms is a huge and often fruitless endeavor.

      • mike

        should have gone with a better os if not windows then linux, why mac ? 😛

        • James Yasha Cunningham

          He’s a long time Mac user. He performs live using Numerology, so he’s not going to write software for a platform he doesn’t use himself. And I believe he’s one of those developers who really, really enjoy using Apple’s Cocoa framework. I’m glad he’s prioritizing his own satisfaction over market share — it’s reflected in the quality of his software and especially in the quality of his customer service. He’s one of the most friendly and responsive developers out there.

      • A White Canvas

        Numerology has been the only reason why I ‘ve been thinking about buying a mac, I mean just for it and nothing else. Which cheap older Mac should be able to handle it, in your opinion?

    • Todd

      If you can wait, Loomer’s “not Epoch” should be out in early 2015 (I hope). See this thread for more info: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=141&t=341953

  • Virtual Flannel

    Looks cool. Been waiting for a new DAW with a creative workflow. Reason, was a good start, but I’d love to see more creative DAWS with interesting workflows designed for music creation and less about recording.

  • Virtual Flannel

    Looks cool. Been waiting for a new DAW with a creative workflow. Reason, was a good start, but I’d love to see more creative DAWS with interesting workflows designed for music creation and less about recording.

  • WetBoy

    For Windows check out RnT2 and the other excellent midi plugins while youre there.

    RnT2 (RaxnTrax) is a modular sequencing VST host in a similar vein to Numerology, though not as deep. Also runs as a VST plugin for use in your favourite host

    http://www.raxntrax.com/index.htm

    • WetBoy

      And its only Eur 50

      Great for loading any VST and attaching a bunch of modulations or creatiing a stack of sequencers all with different loop points, step lengths, grooves, then throw in some Skippers, Muters and, Retriggers and you have some pretty easy sequenced awesomeness.

      If youre on Windows, dont over look this little known gem but requires some initial time investment to properly get to grips with it

  • WetBoy

    For Windows check out RnT2 and the other excellent midi plugins while youre there.

    RnT2 (RaxnTrax) is a modular sequencing VST host in a similar vein to Numerology, though not as deep. Also runs as a VST plugin for use in your favourite host

    http://www.raxntrax.com/index.htm

    • WetBoy

      And its only Eur 50

      Great for loading any VST and attaching a bunch of modulations or creatiing a stack of sequencers all with different loop points, step lengths, grooves, then throw in some Skippers, Muters and, Retriggers and you have some pretty easy sequenced awesomeness.

      If youre on Windows, dont over look this little known gem but requires some initial time investment to properly get to grips with it

  • Bwax

    Damn. This looks like a big barrel of wintertime fun! C’mon snow days!

    Also hope it works well with Push. Might actually get me to use my Push more than Ableton Live does.

    Really glad that someone is thinking about different design and environments rather than just another “me too” type DAW.

  • Bwax

    Damn. This looks like a big barrel of wintertime fun! C’mon snow days!

    Also hope it works well with Push. Might actually get me to use my Push more than Ableton Live does.

    Really glad that someone is thinking about different design and environments rather than just another “me too” type DAW.

  • David Biedny

    Numerology is indeed a compelling reason to own a Mac, there really is nothing else out there with the raw potential to be found by digging deeply into this beast. Something often overlooked is that you can attach modulation envelopes to just about ANY parameter of third-party Audio Units synths and effects (as if the nested control loops within the built-in sequencing and processing tools weren’t deep enough), and from the looks of Peter’s coverage, this latest update really pushes the program so deeply into a unique place, it’s breathtaking. So many applications are little more than rehashes, interpretations on a theme and blatantly uninspired clones of clones, that when something as absolutely unique as Numerology exists, it inspires the creative spirit like little else in codified form. Like Eric Wenger’s MetaSynth and ArtMatic Pro, and John Dalton’s Studio Artist, Jim Coker’s Numerology is a one-of-a-kind software masterpiece, as deep and mysterious as the Mariana Trench, a program that will keep you glued to your machine into the wee hours of the morning. ANYONE doing digital music and in possession of a Mac really needs AND wants it.

  • David Biedny

    Numerology is indeed a compelling reason to own a Mac, there really is nothing else out there with the raw potential to be found by digging deeply into this beast. Something often overlooked is that you can attach modulation envelopes to just about ANY parameter of third-party Audio Units synths and effects (as if the nested control loops within the built-in sequencing and processing tools weren’t deep enough), and from the looks of Peter’s coverage, this latest update really pushes the program so deeply into a unique place, it’s breathtaking. So many applications are little more than rehashes, interpretations on a theme and blatantly uninspired clones of clones, that when something as absolutely unique as Numerology exists, it inspires the creative spirit like little else in codified form. Like Eric Wenger’s MetaSynth and ArtMatic Pro, and John Dalton’s Studio Artist, Jim Coker’s Numerology is a one-of-a-kind software masterpiece, as deep and mysterious as the Mariana Trench, a program that will keep you glued to your machine into the wee hours of the morning. ANYONE doing digital music and in possession of a Mac really needs AND wants it. If you appreciate the music and technical genius of Raymond Scott, know this: Numerology is the closest any of us will ever get to having access to his Manhattan Research lab, with the added benefit of the whole thing fitting in a MacBook Air. I live in some seriously cool times.

  • Gw

    In so many ways Numerology delivers the nuts / bolts, innovative iterations that sequencing and synthesizer people can appreciate, and doesn’t complicate with a stupid interface. There are options for those who would like to dig deep and those who are just getting started should appreciate the UI realizing the challenges inherent making this software so deep and simultaneously usable.

  • Gw

    In so many ways Numerology delivers the nuts / bolts, innovative iterations that sequencing and synthesizer people can appreciate, and doesn’t complicate with a stupid interface. There are options for those who would like to dig deep and those who are just getting started should appreciate the UI realizing the challenges inherent making this software so deep and simultaneously usable.

  • Patrick Ijsselstein

    numerology and a completely rewritten script for the launchpad, deadly combination….
    I use it next to ableton live, as a very flexible, hands-on sequencer. Numerology spits out notes, which enter ableton live and plays my megamultikit.

    • Dylan

      Do you use the vst or rewire??? I’m using it along side ableton.so much fun

      • Patrick Ijsselstein

        i use rewire most of the time, not for a particular reason. I really love the completely re-scripting for the launchpad to work with numerology. It gives me the flexibility to focus on musical creation and to really experience some quality “flow” moments without getting stuck in technical issues to much. This is by far one of the most underrated pieces of software on the market. (No, five12 didn’t pay me to make me say this!!)

  • Patrick Ijsselstein

    numerology and a completely rewritten script for the launchpad, deadly combination….
    I use it next to ableton live, as a very flexible, hands-on sequencer. Numerology spits out notes, which enter ableton live and plays my megamultikit.

    • Dylan

      Do you use the vst or rewire??? I’m using it along side ableton.so much fun

      • Patrick Ijsselstein

        i use rewire most of the time, not for a particular reason. I really love the completely re-scripting for the launchpad to work with numerology. It gives me the flexibility to focus on musical creation and to really experience some quality “flow” moments without getting stuck in technical issues to much. This is by far one of the most underrated pieces of software on the market. (No, five12 didn’t pay me to make me say this!!)

  • alfonso

    this looks interesting, but from the article i don’t quite understand what makes it so radically different from something like logic or any other daw where you have extensive midi editing and sequencing possibilities and you can integrate hardware and of course AUs and do sampling and so on.

    • Jim Aikin

      What Peter’s writeup didn’t focus on is Numerology’s extensive algorithmic step sequencing features. I don’t know Logic and I haven’t looked at Numerology in a couple of years, but I’m sure Numerology does a bunch of stuff that Logic doesn’t.

      • UncleGroOve

        @Jim Aikin: you definitely can do with Logic – but it entails creating ad hoc environments, connecting the plumbing, etc. In my experience by the time I’m done with that I find that I’ve lost my initial creative idea. Just too much clicking, fumbling, etc. In contrast within N4 the good stuff seems to “happen” much earlier / faster.

    • Barry Dnthyme

      it’s a modular sequencing environment. check out the demo. its v4. been out for years and just gets better. also works as a vst/au 😉

    • UncleGroOve

      @alfonso – you will (maybe) need a DAW *after* you’ve composed and tweaked, etc. But where the creative stuff happens, well, that is WITHIN N4. Yes I know I do sound like a fanboi, but ever since I’ve begun to use Numerology my DAW has not seen one minute of use. I’m just getting so much joy and inspiration in playing with the random generation and with the modulation of sequences and AU synth parameters that I don’t feel I need anything else. Definitely my desert island piece of kit.

  • alfonso

    this looks interesting, but from the article i don’t quite understand what makes it so radically different from something like logic or any other daw where you have extensive midi editing and sequencing possibilities and you can integrate hardware and of course AUs and do sampling and so on.

    • Jim Aikin

      What Peter’s writeup didn’t focus on is Numerology’s extensive algorithmic step sequencing features. I don’t know Logic and I haven’t looked at Numerology in a couple of years, but I’m sure Numerology does a bunch of stuff that Logic doesn’t.

      • UncleGroOve

        @Jim Aikin: you definitely can do with Logic – but it entails creating ad hoc environments, connecting the plumbing, etc. In my experience by the time I’m done with that I find that I’ve lost my initial creative idea. Just too much clicking, fumbling, etc. In contrast within N4 the good stuff seems to “happen” much earlier / faster.

    • Barry Dnthyme

      it’s a modular sequencing environment. check out the demo. its v4. been out for years and just gets better. also works as a vst/au 😉

    • UncleGroOve

      @alfonso – you will (maybe) need a DAW *after* you’ve composed and tweaked, etc. But where the creative stuff happens, well, that is WITHIN N4. Yes I know I do sound like a fanboi, but ever since I’ve begun to use Numerology my DAW has not seen one minute of use. I’m just getting so much joy and inspiration in playing with the random generation and with the modulation of sequences and AU synth parameters that I don’t feel I need anything else. Definitely my desert island piece of kit.

  • ducked

    another pointless new DAW.. nothing i cant do that i already could have done with ableton or logic

    • Barry Dnthyme

      its in V4. been out for years not new. just new version. you cant duplicate its features in ableton w/o max4live and even then still not really the same. also works as vst inside ableton. very creative application.

    • James Yasha Cunningham

      Let’s see… In Numerology, you can set up multiple independent clock signals operating at the same time, each with its own tempo that can be modulated in real time. And for each clock, you can adjust the timing of where each sixteenth note of each beat falls within a measure, and then modulate those in real time. Which is crazy powerful control over tempo within a song. Which is flexibility you might never use, but it’s the kind of flexibility that exists throughout Numerology.

  • ducked

    another pointless new DAW.. nothing i cant do that i already could have done with ableton or logic

    • Barry Dnthyme

      its in V4. been out for years not new. just new version. you cant duplicate its features in ableton w/o max4live and even then still not really the same. also works as vst inside ableton. very creative application.

    • James Yasha Cunningham

      Let’s see… In Numerology, you can set up multiple independent clock signals operating at the same time, each with its own tempo that can be modulated in real time. And for each clock, you can adjust the timing of where each sixteenth note of each beat falls within a measure, and then modulate those in real time. Which is crazy powerful control over tempo within a song. Which is flexibility you might never use, but it’s the kind of flexibility that exists throughout Numerology.

  • Ish Bugs

    good blog..

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  • Raffa van der Koont

    Nice… when is the windoze version coming out?

  • Raffa van der Koont

    Nice… when is the windoze version coming out?

  • Chris R Gibson

    Well said David Biedny 😉

    For my own experimental work, Numerology is ‘desert island’.

    It’s ‘Modular Sequencer’ environment allows so many exciting areas of exploration…

    -‘Wave shaped Master Clock’ (to self and other apps!)
    -Deriving timing and note extraction from LFO waveforms
    -Easily controlled (and variable) CC generator sets (moving, phased sine waves in Fibonacci number ratios for example using the Dual LFO module (provides a ‘mixed’ version of two LFO’s))
    -‘Ratio’ and ‘Percentage of’ methods to relate sequencers to each other and master clock
    -Continuously variable sequencer parameters like ‘Start’ and ‘End’ of sequence, clock division, etc.

    …for just a few areas of infinite fun. Just think of a sequencer with modular CV patching for all (most) it’s parameters, patchable to all manner of modulators! 😉

    I often replace Reaktor ‘random’ and ‘jitter’ mechanisms with Numerology controls as it allows a more ‘composed’, systematic approach to multiple parameter automations over time without having to actually write a bunch of automation tracks in your DAW.

  • Chris R Gibson

    Well said David Biedny 😉

    For my own experimental work, Numerology is ‘desert island’.

    It’s ‘Modular Sequencer’ environment allows so many exciting areas of exploration…

    -‘Wave shaped Master Clock’ (to self and other apps!)
    -Deriving timing and note extraction from LFO waveforms
    -Easily controlled (and variable) CC generator sets (moving, phased sine waves in Fibonacci number ratios for example using the Dual LFO module (provides a ‘mixed’ version of two LFO’s))
    -‘Ratio’ and ‘Percentage of’ methods to relate sequencers to each other and master clock
    -Continuously variable sequencer parameters like ‘Start’ and ‘End’ of sequence, clock division, etc.

    …for just a few areas of infinite fun. Just think of a sequencer with modular CV patching for all (most) it’s parameters, patchable to all manner of modulators! 😉

    I often replace Reaktor ‘random’ and ‘jitter’ mechanisms with Numerology controls as it allows a more ‘composed’, systematic approach to multiple parameter automations over time without having to actually write a bunch of automation tracks in your DAW.

  • Mark Harris

    I’ve been using N4 for some time now, and it really is something very special and different.
    for those saying ‘another daw’, download it and try it, its not a daw, its not even similar to a daw… including Live. its a very very set of deep sequencer(s) and modulators/controllers, that can be wired however you see fit.
    very hard to explain, but very easy to use and lots of fun.

  • Mark Harris

    I’ve been using N4 for some time now, and it really is something very special and different.
    for those saying ‘another daw’, download it and try it, its not a daw, its not even similar to a daw… including Live. its a very very set of deep sequencer(s) and modulators/controllers, that can be wired however you see fit.
    very hard to explain, but very easy to use and lots of fun.

  • dylan

    one thing I find great is the ability to add modulation to almost everything just by control clicking. Wonder how hard it would be to add this feature in Ableton. Though Im sure Bitwig will probably get there first.

  • dylan

    one thing I find great is the ability to add modulation to almost everything just by control clicking. Wonder how hard it would be to add this feature in Ableton. Though Im sure Bitwig will probably get there first.

  • Tony Rastafara

    numerologist also called the number the direction of your life http://goo.gl/ZV8d0P