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Software: Using the Eigenharp live during gigs

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written by: TheTechnobear

yes all this is possible, I've responded on your google plus post:

written by: geert

Mon, 8 Mar 2010 06:52:04 +0000 GMT

I thought I'd start this thread to get a discussion going around using the Eigenharp to play gigs live.

I'm trying to think how to handle different setups with different songs. It seems to me that the Eigenharp isn't ready yet to actually handle setup switches graciously. There are several reasons for this:
* setups randomly take a very long time to load (with the Pico this is somewhat reasonable, but I hear that the Alpha setups can take ages to load)
* setups can't be switched remotely (you have to go to the computer)

I thought I might use one setup with some AU instruments pre-configured that would respond to program changes on a MIDI pedal, however that's very limiting in the Eigenharp world since you'd ideally also program drum loops, rhythms, scales, tonics, scheduler parts, ... differently for each song. So it really seems to me that Eigenlabs should optimize the setup loading.

I'm wondering if there isn't a different approach that could be taken. Currently, each setup contains everything that is needed for an instrument to function, all the talkes, scalers, etc, ... However, the user configuration is only a part of this. It seems to me that this should be possible to not reload the Belcanto features that make the Eigenharp function, but only to change the user-configurable parts. This gets of course increasingly complex as people start to use Belcanto to modify existing setups, but there could be something in the language that allows 'base functionality' to be marked as such and to only replace what's not part of that. Another possibility that I can imagine is that each setup has a 'switch' functionality that would actually look at another setup, parse it, and only apply the parts that are considered switchable. The latter could then also include custom Belcanto logic that is executed on switching.

What do you think?


written by: john

Mon, 8 Mar 2010 08:38:35 +0000 GMT

Hi Geert

There are two things worth knowing about setups for this discussion. Firstly they can be recalled from Belcanto, so Talkers can easily be setup up for them. These talkers can be on either keys or Midi notes, so we could easily add setup recalls to the Midi driven Talker that Sam recently built. This would give you the option of recalling setups via a midi pedalboard or from the instrument itself.

The second thing is that setup recall is a differential process, that is; it is supposed to only do the work needed to change between one setup and another. This should mean that changing between closely matched setups will be quick. At the moment our setup loading is very slow for the larger setups (and in my opinion still too slow for the smaller ones), and we will be working on this load time in the next unstable branch, after this one enters testing. We have been avoiding it as the important bits are in the core of EigenD and changes are more likely to introduce bugs - stability has been the name of the game for us for a while, even in our current unstable release. Load time is very much on our radar though.

But the load time should not be an issue if the setups don't differ by much. This incremental loading has not had much use yet, so there may be some odd behaviours in there, if you're up for experimenting with it and sending us feedback, that would be great..


written by: john

Mon, 8 Mar 2010 11:54:53 +0000 GMT

We've just done some incremental load testing (which is what happens when you change setups) with setups that have normal, song type differences between them (recordings and scales changed, for example) and these loads generally seem to take a few seconds at most, so this should fit the bill for you well. This does not mean that you will be able to change AU plugins as quickly though - we have no control over how quickly these unload or start up and some of them are really slow. If you have two setups where you have different plugins this may well take a while, there is little we can do about that unfortunately.

Sam is going to add some Midi driven setup load talker phrases to the midi talker for you.

Please experiment with this and let us know how it goes...


written by: geert

Mon, 8 Mar 2010 12:12:43 +0000 GMT

Thanks a lot, I will definitely start experimenting with this.

I had another idea, similar to how I use Bidule for my MIDI Guitar. I actually load several instances of plugins in the same Bidule document and have all virtual instruments for the entire gig loaded at once. However, I dynamically enabled/disable them as I switch through songs. Maybe something similar could be done in EigenD. Instead of only allowing the AU and sampler instruments for which slots exist, allow people to pre-load many more ... and merely activate the ones that are appropriate in the instrument slots. This would greatly reduce the overall loading times, certainly with samplers like Kontakt.

written by: john

Mon, 8 Mar 2010 12:28:48 +0000 GMT

Yes - I guess what you'd like is the ability to preload an AU host with several AU's then dynamically switch between them. This would eat memory and resources (not a problem if you have plenty of RAM), but be quick to switch. Just been talking to Jim about this and apparently Dave has been asking for something like this too. We'll have a look into putting some kind of plugin banking into our AU/VST host Agent and let you know the prognosis.


written by: geert

Mon, 8 Mar 2010 12:30:55 +0000 GMT

I indeed prefer to fully load up RAM on my machines and preload like this, I think that it has a lot of advantages. With 4GB of RAM I've not yet hit a memory problem when doing this in Bidule.

written by: geert

Fri, 12 Mar 2010 06:52:36 +0000 GMT

I did some testing yesterday and it is indeed a lot faster when switching between setups when EigenD is already running and that were created or upgraded to the same version of EigenD. And indeed, as expected, loading the audio units takes to most of the time there.

written by: sam

Fri, 12 Mar 2010 10:40:21 +0000 GMT

Hi all,

I am currently adding the ability to the Factory Setups to allow user setup loading via MIDI note input (as is currently possible for changing scale and tonic in the current unstable release), and I was wondering about the general opinion regarding a useful range of MIDI notes for this purpose? Our thoughts were that a group of notes significantly higher than the current range of MIDI notes would be prudent in order to avoid accidental triggering, but I am interested to hear your thoughts.

For information, the current range of MIDI notes used for changing scale, tonic and for metronome toggling is from MIDI note 59 (B3) to 79 (G5).

Many thanks,

Eigenlabs Software Department

written by: geert

Fri, 12 Mar 2010 10:52:02 +0000 GMT

Hi Sam,

Actually, I'd say it would be intuitive for this to be in the lowest octave since that's where key switches for instruments are usually located. It feels kind of logical to situate setup switches there also.

Anyway, I don't think it's particularly important where they are located exactly.

Take care,


written by: djogon

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:08:13 +0100 BST

Just discovered this ability to switch scale/key via MIDI notes. It is a GREAT feature, but I can't figure out how to change the octave using MIDI keys? Is that available at all?

Having entire setups changed via MIDI notes would be great.

This is an old thread - it may be implemented, but I am not aware of it. If it is - please let us know how to use that feature.


written by: TheTechnobear

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:50:10 +0100 BST

yes all this is possible, I've responded on your google plus post:

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