so that wacky tenori-on...

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Yoozer
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Post by Yoozer » Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:53 am

I think the Tenori-On would benefit from two extra slim rows of LEDs (not buttons) with various colors; at least, showing which "zone" you're working in would be easier.
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Post by StepLogik » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:46 pm

I'm going to agree with the "cool but overpriced" crowd. I don't see any reason to bash the thing on its merit alone, but its just too costly for what it is imo.

I had fully planned on picking one up until I saw the price.

My other concern is that they might have sucked some of the inspirational aspects out of it due to the convoluted interface. If the unit is tedious or frustrating to operate, then that pretty much defeats the purpose of its original goal.

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Post by crystalmsc » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:56 pm

they should make more innovative stuff like this. that's what 21st century all about :)
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Post by meatballfulton » Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:48 pm

cartesia wrote:an electribe is cheaper, and more intuitive...
Cheaper yes, more intuitive, no.

I think your opinion is colored by your understanding of what an Electribe is. What do the various knobs and buttons mean to someone who knows nothing about synthesizers, sequencers or what the notes are on a piano keyboard? If left with no manual, I bet they could get a lot farther with a Tenori-on than with an Electribe.

BTW did you guys actually see the vids and listen to the demos? Some of those modes go way beyond anything that I've ever seen before...like the draw mode and the rotation in random mode. I don't know of any current sequencers that can duplicate that sort of stuff.
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Post by CloudOnAFly » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:52 am

i had a love affair with the octopus sequencer, then i saw this thing..
and it seemed equally intriguing to me..

i just really want to know how well the midi output is...
for sequencing...
...simply put..


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Post by ronmcdonald » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:48 am

Tenori-on are really weird. At my friend's shop, he has one of the first display units in England, where I've watched so many people spend 5 bemused minutes pressing away at the buttons before walking off. I don't like how it sounds, very plinky hippy sounds. I guess you can edit them, but it ain't exactly obvious how to do it. There are very cool features, and then there are very annoying button combinations and menus to get to them. I've yet to hear anyone make any sensible music on one.

What can you expect from the man that designed Electroplankton?


It is waaay overpriced.

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Post by cartesia » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:51 am

If left with no manual, I bet they could get a lot farther with a Tenori-on than with an Electribe.
How's that?

with no labels on the tenori ons buttons id say it would be next to impossible to figure out, what with the different modes and such.

electribe, you turn the knobs and the sound changes. you press play (you know. . the button with the triangle on it? i didnt see one of them on tenori on!)

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Post by PLP » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:35 pm

cartesia wrote:
If left with no manual, I bet they could get a lot farther with a Tenori-on than with an Electribe.
How's that?

with no labels on the tenori ons buttons id say it would be next to impossible to figure out, what with the different modes and such.

electribe, you turn the knobs and the sound changes. you press play (you know. . the button with the triangle on it? i didnt see one of them on tenori on!)
It's really easy to figure out. I have one, made some videos with it. I'm more impressed with the Monome. Anyone have one of those?
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Post by nathanscribe » Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:29 pm

Thought I'd bump this creaky old thread with a little update.

Got my hands on a Tenori-On for an hour or so this afternoon after popping along to Bert Smorenburg's Yamaha demo at Sound Control. Well, there weren't many folk about, so I had a damn good run at it, and it took a while to explain but once I'd got my mits on the thing, it began to make a bit of sense.

Right. Basically, you can check the specs on the web, but in terms of functionality, it all works on pushing the ten buttons along the frame, followed by inelegantly mashing the illuminated matrix until something sound good. The screen is almost an added extra: it serves to remind the user what layer they're on, what patch you're using etc. But it's only basic, and quite squinty. There's not a standard MIDI socket, it's a mini-DIN with combined in & out on one plug. The unit is some magnesium alloy, so it's lightish (hardback book weight) and sturdy.

So. Anybody familiar with step-sequencing a la Roland TR-x0x or Cubase Drum Grids should get their heads around this pretty easily. The main matrix is 16x16. Push a button and it lights up. Push it again and it switches off. The action is firm, the switches are tactile and the only thing that bothered me about them was also a good thing: short pushes produce a sound without switching that position on, and a slightly longer push must be used to change the position's state. Useful, but I found myself trying to form a sequence too fast for the switches to keep track. Something to get used to.

Patterns are arranged as blocks of 16 notes, and can be copy-&-pasted. Pattern generation is done in layers. A layer corresponds to a MIDI channel and a 'track' of the sequencer. A sound is assinged to a layer. The sounds are selected via the matrix - 253 presets with no editing features, (AWM2 samples all) and 3 user patches. You can put in your own samples via the SD slot on top, but there are limits: maximum sample time is 1s, and you can have 16 samples per patch. What you can do very easily, therefore, is build percussion kits. Each hit would have its own sample, and these are then sequenced by using the matrix in the x0x-style pattern mode. Vertical position represents sample, horizontal represents timimg on the grid. Fair enough. What you can't do is pitch those samples: so if you want to sample (say) a bass, you must prepare 16 notes of that sound at different pitches, then allocate those samples to the 16 sample positions of that Tenori-On patch. Make sense? So you could have, for example, eight drum sounds and 8 notes of a scale in one user patch. The TO's presets are a mixture of pitched instruments and kits. if you use the presets, they can be pitch-shifted and octave-switched up and down, but kits and user patches cannot.

The main feature of the TO is its non-standard modes of pattern generation. These modes are tied to layers - so you get 7 standard layers (channels/tracks, whatever) that work as x0x grids, and beyond that are 5 non-standard modes.

Layers 8-11 are Random. You push a button (vertical position is pitch), and it repeats that note at 16ths. Pushing another button, the original note will sound, and the light will walk across screen until it reaches the new note, when that one will sound. Then, it walks back. As you add notes, the light walks across between them in the order you pushed them, at a fixed speed. So, time between notes is dependent on the distance between the button pushes. Pitch is purely vertically-determined.

Layers 12 & 14 are Draw mode. Waggle your finger over the buttons, and that's your pattern. Again, pitch is vertical.

Layer 14 is Bounce. The guy described it as like dropping balls down the screen, andd each ball is a note. Pitch is horizontal axis. Push a button, and watch the light drop down the screen - it hits the bottom, plays, and bounces back up again to where you pushed it. And falls. Etc. Have up to 16 notes bouncing up and down at their own rates. Kind of an overgrown arpeggiator.

Layer 15 is Push. This is a real-time performance mode, where you just push a button and it holds. A way to generate pads etc, as the notes in a standard layer sequence have a limited gate time of 10ms to 1s and no longer. But Push mode allows longer noted to be played. Pitch is horizontal.

Layer 16 is Solo mode. Like Push, but the note is repeated. The time between repeats is vertical axis (I think...)

All those layers/modes are simultaneously available in each 16-step pattern. The volume of each layer is set using the matrix (one button sets it up as a kind of mixer).

The jog wheel is used to alter settings too - rather than swipe your finger across a row to set a level, say, you can push a button and roll the wheel.


Overall, its a lot of fun, and I feel it's basically a souped-up step sequencer for noodling on. Getting a groove together was a piece of cake, and generating random, crazy sequences was easy too - but it took a lot more work to get anything melodic out of it. The limitations that struck me as serious were a) the limit on gate time (no sequenced evolving pads here, just short notes), b) the lack of ability to pitch user samples, c) the lack of editing on the presets (none! not a sausage, even filtering), and therefore presumably d) the lack of ability to sequence controller data, e) the lack of patterns available (16 IIRC), and f) you pretty much have to guess which patch you're selecting as there's no indication on the matrix what the sounds are - push it and see.

What else? Erm, well, I don't think you can replace the onboard sounds, there's only space for 3 user patches, and it's a half-arsed bonus you can use this thing to sequence external MIDI gear. But what this unit does excel at is real-time twiddling (prodding?) to generate patterns in innovative ways. The lack of a really useful display means you have to feel your way around it rather than just glance at the thing, though that's the kind of thing that becomes intuitive as you use it, no doubt - and there's a lot of potential for oddity when using the random layers, or the draw layer, or bounce. Push and Solo are less wonderful, as they just provide a way to play notes with extended gate times almost normally (though you are limited to the spread you can play at one time as it effectively becomes a 16-note keyboard).

Think of it as a posh arpeggiator with a beatbox attached, and I think you wouldn't be far wrong, and although it is not as toy-like as some have said, its price tag of £599 makes it rather steep for what it does. If they drop the price, lose the rear-panel lightshow, and find a material for the frame that is both strong, light and cheap, then I could see it selling for maybe £350. As it is, it's too near to an executive time-waster on the one hand, and a useful, interesting, quirky and fun way of approaching rhythmic pattern generation on the other. It's certainly hypnotic and intriguing, and makes you work in a different way to usual, but there are some marked feature-flaws that might put serious users off.

Anyway. Sorry for the long post. I just thought you might like to hear something about it.

:-D

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Post by JSRockit » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:21 am

Thanks for the info... I'd love to own one...and find it interesting, but the price is just too steep for me. (I think)
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Post by otto » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:36 am

I'm a bit surprised no one has made a simple, cheap midi controller like the monome. If mass-produced I think the monome could be much cheaper and imagine if there were a mass produced plastic version, it could/should be dirt cheap. I worry for the makers of monome that this will happen before too long but I suppose they could be the ones to run with the idea before a bigger company does.
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Post by JSRockit » Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:00 am

otto wrote:I'm a bit surprised no one has made a simple, cheap midi controller like the monome. If mass-produced I think the monome could be much cheaper and imagine if there were a mass produced plastic version, it could/should be dirt cheap. I worry for the makers of monome that this will happen before too long but I suppose they could be the ones to run with the idea before a bigger company does.
They are probably afraid to make it open source... I'm sure we'll see some copycats soon...but it'll come with Live templates...and will be missing some of the things that makes the monome appealing.
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Post by otto » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:00 am

JSRockit wrote:
otto wrote:I'm a bit surprised no one has made a simple, cheap midi controller like the monome. If mass-produced I think the monome could be much cheaper and imagine if there were a mass produced plastic version, it could/should be dirt cheap. I worry for the makers of monome that this will happen before too long but I suppose they could be the ones to run with the idea before a bigger company does.
They are probably afraid to make it open source... I'm sure we'll see some copycats soon...but it'll come with Live templates...and will be missing some of the things that makes the monome appealing.
Yeah, we will see. I think the monome looks like a fun toy/interesting interface for making music. It's also got a very attractive, clean, modernist look to it. I just can’t justify the price they are asking.
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Post by pricklyrobot » Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:49 am

As a piece of interactive art the price isn't so bad (or at least not totally out of line with art prices in general), as a piece of commercial musical equipment the price is rather high. It seems like these people are on the fence as to what it is they're actually making, hence a price that seems unjustifiably steep to us musician types but might be fine for, umm...art collectors, I guess (though I don't know if there really are enough of them out there to keep the Monome or the Tenori-on going).
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Post by JSRockit » Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:40 am

pricklyrobot wrote:As a piece of interactive art the price isn't so bad (or at least not totally out of line with art prices in general), as a piece of commercial musical equipment the price is rather high. It seems like these people are on the fence as to what it is they're actually making, hence a price that seems unjustifiably steep to us musician types but might be fine for, umm...art collectors, I guess (though I don't know if there really are enough of them out there to keep the Monome or the Tenori-on going).
I don't know. It is hand built by a few people. It has tons of free apps. You can make it do anything you want it to do...as long as it conforms to the button grid and you have the know how. I think people think it is too much because it doesn't come with a synth engine or sampler built in... but if you think of all the possibilities and the apps available now (as well as the ones in the future) for the seemingly high introductory price, the price isn't too bad.
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