We already saw some new reasons this week to check out Reaktor 6 and Blocks, the software modular environment. Here’s just one Blocks module that might get you hooked – and it’s free.
“Music thinking Machines,” out of Berlin, have built a software rendition of Music Thing’s awesome Turing Machine Eurorack module (created by Tom Whitwell). As that hardware is open source, and because what you can do in wiring you can also do in software, it was possible to build software creations from the Eurorack schematics.
The beauty of this is, you get the Turing Machine module in a form that lets you instantly control other Reaktor creations – as well as the ability to instantiate as many modules as you want without the aid of a screwdriver or waiting for a DHL delivery to arrive. (Hey, software has some advantages.) I don’t so much see it reducing the appeal of the hardware, either, as it makes me covet the hardware version every time I open up the Reaktor ensemble.
And the module is terrific. In addition to the Turing Machine Mk 2, you get the two Mk 2 expanders, Volts and Pulses.
The Turing Machine Mk 2 is a random looping sequencer – an idea generator that uses shift registers to make melodies and rhythms you can use with other modules. It’s also a fun build. But now, you can use that with the convenience of Reaktor.
Pulses and Voltages expanders add still more unpredictability. Pulses is a random looping clock divider, and Voltages is a random looping step sequencer. I also like the unique front panels made just for the Reaktor version … I wonder if someone will translate that into actual hardware.
The idea is to connect them together: take the 8 P outputs from the Turing Machine and connect them to the 8 P inputs on Pulses (for pulses), and then do the same with the voltage inputs and outputs on Volts. You can also make use, as the example ensemble does, of a Clock and Clock Divider module included by default in Reaktor 6’s Blocks collection.
With controls for probability and sequence length, you can put it all together and have great fun with rhythms and tunes.
Download the Reaktor ensemble:
Turing Machine Mk2 plus Pulses and Volts Expanders [Reaktor User Library]
Here’s what the original modules look like in action:
Find out more:
Also worth a read (especially now with this latest example of what open source hardware can mean – call it free advertising in software form, not to mention a cool project):
Why open source hardware works for Music Thing Modular
Oh, and if you want to go the opposite direction, Tom also recently wrote a tutorial on writing firmware for the Mutable Clouds module. The old software/hardware line is more blurred than ever, as make software versions of hardware that then interfaces with hardware and back to hardware again and hardware also runs software. (Whew.)
Turing Machine Controls
Prob: Determines the probability of a bit being swapped from 0 to 1 (or viceversa).
All right locks the sequence of bits, all left locks the sequence in a “mobius loop” mode.
Length: Sets the length of the sequence Scale: Scales the range of the pitch output +/-: Writes a 1 or a 0 bit in the shift register AB: Modulation inputs
Pulses Expander Controls
Output: Selects 1 of the 11 gated outputs
Volts Expander Controls
1 till 5: Controls the voltage of active bit
For more detailed information of how the turing machine works please visit the Music Thing
Music Thinking Machines