Wheels were never as big as grids. Well – in this context, anyway. The arc was the spiritual successor to the monome from designer Brian Crabtree – ultra-high resolution encoders for turning, with lights, as continuous as the monome grid was binary. But despite some poetic, meditative videos the monome project produced, the arc was always mostly quiet on the scene. And then it disappeared, supplanted by other projects (like an entry into Eurorack).
Now it’s back, on preorder.
And as before, this is for someone who really appreciates turning dials – like, you better be serious about it. This is US$800 for four encoders. On the other hand, if you are serious about your dialing, it sounds like you’re going to have a luxe encoder experience as your reward. Smooth like butter.
this is a complete redesign– circuits, mechanics, firmware– everything. the encoder mechanism is custom– our own shaft, bearing, reflector, knob… the whole thing. specialized grease is applied for perfect smooth action. these knobs are a bit “slower” than the past editions and feel excellent. the mechanics and optical detection together make for predictable and accurate tiny movements.
the aluminum enclosure provides a perfect weight to counterbalance working with these large knobs– rubber feet (identical to the grid) prevent slipping.
It’s still compatible with the original arc software and patches.
Now, that’s pretty niche stuff, I’ll admit. But just about everyone in the monome community will likely be excited about this announcement: there’s a new Eurorack module called ansible. It works with arc and monome, and opens up loads of connectivity, plus app switching – all under three hundred bucks. The specs:
no 5v required
4 x TR output
4 x CV output
2 x key input
2 x TR input (clock/reset/etc)
USB host for arc, grid, midi
ii (i2c) connectivity
this module is hugely modal. plug in an arc and it does arc things. plug in a grid and play grids. and midi.
details and video and documentation coming, but in summary via ambiguous feature-phrases:
arc – level setting with range setting and note quantization, polyrhythmic clock pulse outputs, patterns and sequencing, friction and momentum physics.
grid – multiple applications to toggle between.
midi – basic interfacing and arps and more.
furthermore, with no USB device attached the module will continue running the last-used application, but is toggle-able into Teletype expander mode. Up to four Ansibles can be attached via a backside ii ribbon– giving TT the ability to manage 20 CV outs and 20 TR outs in addition to TR and key inputs.
all firmware will be open-source.
expected retail is $280. mid-august. no pre-order.
This continues the evolution of the monome line as something you use with computers to something you might use with just hardware.
Brian and Kelli are off touring Europe, but promise they’re back to this when they return.