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Workbench Tutorial 5

The EigenD system is configured and controlled by using the Belcanto language. Talker agents allow a Belcanto phrase to be assigned to a key on your keyboard, so that, when the key is pressed, the Belcanto phrase is 'spoken' by the talker, allowing control of all aspects of the system directly from your instrument. Talkers are used extensively in the factory setups. In this Tutorial we will add a simple talker to the setup created in the previous tutorials in this series.

To start load the setup saved at the end of Tutorial 4. Your setup should look something like this.

image:initial.jpg

Firstly, to make the setup easier to use, we are going to move the main mode key from its current position as one of the playing keys (column 1, row 9) to one of the small round keys (these keys are designated as column 3 on the pico and we are going to use the the key with column 3, row 3). To change the mode key position, select the Edit Tool and click on the title bar of the Keygroup 1 Agent. In the dialog window which is displayed, change the value for 'mode key column' to 3 and the value for 'mode key row' to 3. Click OK. The round key on the pico directly beneath the strip controller should now be the mode key. If you press it all the keys should light up in orange.

If we are going to have a Talker Agent in out setup, the system must be able to interpret any Belcanto phrases that we use and so we must add an Interpreter Agent to the setup. This agent is added in the usual way. Select the Create Tool and click on the canvas where you would like to place the agent. Select Interpreter from the list of agents and click OK. You can place the Interpreter at the top of the canvas with the Workbench, EigenD and Pico Manager agents as we won't be making any graphical connections to it.

The next step is to add the Talker Agent itself. Click on the canvas again with the Create Tool and select Talker from the list. Click OK. Since talker agents relate keys on the instrument to belcanto phrases, the Talker Agent must be connected in some way to the keyboard. We are going to connect it via an additional Keygroup Output on Keygroup 1 so that we will be able to switch the keygroup from playing mode to control mode using the mode key we have already set up.

To add another Keygroup Output to Keygroup 1, expand Keygroup 1 and find the port named Output which has a small button in the top right corner. Click on this button (or anywhere on the Output port with the create tool) and a small dialog is displayed

image:create_kg_output.jpg

click 'OK' and 'keygroup output 3' will be created below the existing two keygroup outputs. We need to choose the key which will switch the keygroup to use keygroup output 3 when it is pressed at the same time as the mode key. If you select the Edit Tool and click on the output port of Keygroup 1 you will see the following dialog.

image:select_key.jpg

You can see from the dialog that currently Keygroup Output 1 is using the key with column 1 and row 1 and Keygroup Output 2 is using the key with column 2 and row 1. So for Keygroup Output 3 we will use the key with column 1 and row 2. Select these values in the dialog and press OK. We could of course use any key we wished, but it makes sense to keep these output selector keys in a group. Now if you press and hold down the mode key you should see the three output selector keys light up in red or green.

Now we need to connect the newly created Keygroup Output 3 to Talker 1. Select the wiring tool and create a connection between them as shown below.

image:connect_talker.jpg

There are two more steps to do to get our first Talker Agent working. We need to specify the key we want to press to say some Belcanto, and we need to specify the particular Belcanto phrase itself. The process is explained in detail next. Once you are familiar with what is required, it is possible to speed it up substantially as we will see later. We will specify the key first. Expand the Talker Agent by clicking on the triangle next to the name. In the list of ports which appears, you will see a port named 'Key' which has a small button in the top right hand corner.

image:talker_ports.jpg

Click on this button (or click on the 'Key' port with the Create Tool). The 'Create New Key' dialog is displayed. Click OK (the No. Box simply refers to the name the key will be given and you can happily accept the default value). Now the 'Key' port can be expanded to reveal a port named 'Key 1'.

image:talker_ports_with_key.jpg

Click on this port with the Edit Tool and in the resulting dialog you will see that you can set the values for the key column and key row.

image:talker_specify_key.jpg

these values specify the position of the key which will 'speak' the Belcanto phase when you press it. Select 1 for 'Key Column and 1 for 'Key Row' and click 'OK'. Now that we have specified a key, we need to add the Belcanto phrase to it. To do that, go back to the expanded Talker Agent. You will see that the 'Key 1' port has two small buttons on the right hand side. The lower button is used to delete the 'Key 1' port if you don't want it any more. The upper button is used to create a new 'action' which is another port into which we can add a Belcanto phrase. Click on the upper button (or click on the 'Key 1' port with the Create Tool). The 'Create new Action' dialog is displayed. Click 'OK'

image:talker_ports_with_action.jpg

Now if you expand the 'Key 1' port you will see a port called 'Action 1'. This is the port into which we can load a Belcanto phrase Click on the 'Action 1' port with the Edit Tool. In the dialog that appears

image:edit_action.jpg

you will see an empty text box named 'Action 1' This is where the Belcanto phrase for the key is entered. For this example we are going to enter some Belcanto to change the value of the Octave Input port on the Scaler 1 agent, but we could enter any valid Belcanto phrase. The phrase we need is 'scaler 1 hey octave to 2 set'. Enter this phrase, click on the 'Set' button and close the dialog.

image:edit_action_set.jpg

At this point we can test the Talker Agent, before we add a few more keys and actions to it. We can check that the talker is working correctly by both listening to the audio output of the instrument that is using Scaler 1 and visually be looking at the properties of Scaler 1 as we press the talker key. Select the Edit Tool and click on the top level of the Scaler 1 agent. The properties dialog is displayed and in the list you will see 'octave input' which, by default, has a value of 3.

image:scaler_props.jpg

Next, select the keygroup output which is connected to Scaler 1 by holding down the mode key and pressing the top key in column 1(column=1, row=1). Release the mode key and you should be able to play and hear the audio unit which is connected to Scaler 1.

Now to activate the talker, hold the mode key down and press the second key in column 1 (column=1, row=2) to switch to keygroup output 3 which is connected to Talker 1. Release the mode key and you should see the top key in column 1 lit in orange. Press this key to make the talker 'speak' the Belcanto phrase 'scaler 1 hey octave to 2 set'. As you press the orange key, keep an eye on the Scaler 1 properties dialog and you should see the 'octave input' value change.

Set Keygroup 1 back to using Keygroup Output 1 by, once again, holding the mode key down and pressing the top key in column 1 (column=1, row=1). Release the mode key. Now you should be able to play and hear audio unit 1 again but now with a lower octave.

Once you are happy that your talker is working correctly you can improve it by adding some more keys and actions. Click on the top right button on the 'Key' port in Talker 1 to create 'Key 2' and then repeat the process to create 'Key 3'. On the newly created 'Key 2' port click on the top right hand button to create 'Action 1' and then repeat the process for 'Key 3'.

Now with the Edit Tool click on the title bar of Talker 1. In the dialog that is displayed you can set the key row and column and action for each new key.

image:specify _keys_and_actions.jpg

For 'Key 2' set 'Key Column' to 1, 'Key Row' to 2 and Action 1 to 'scaler 1 hey octave to 3 set'.
For 'Key 3' set 'Key Column' to 1, 'Key Row' to 3 and Action 1 to 'scaler 1 hey octave to 4 set'.

Close the dialog. You should now have a vertical column of 3 Talker keys when you select Keygroup Output 3, enabling you to set the octave on Scaler 1 to 2, 3, or 4. Try it out in the same way as above.

It is also worth noting that a Talker Key can have more than one action associated with it. For each of the keys under the 'Key' port in Talker 1 click on the top right hand button to create 'Action 2' for each key. Then with the Edit Tool click on the top level of Talker 1. You can now set the Belcanto phrases for 'Action 2' for each key.

image:specify_more_actions.jpg

If you copy the text from 'Action 1' to 'Action 2' for each key and append 'audio unit rig 1' at the start so that it reads 'audio unit rig 1 scaler 1 hey octave to 2 set' for example, then when the talker keys are pressed they will also change the octave of the scaler inside audio unit rig 1.

Save the setup with the short tag Workbench Tutorial 5.

Back To: Building_your_first_setup_from_scratch