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technoBox is an emulation of the classic 303, 808
and 909 boxes rolled into one application for the iPhone and iPod touch.
About this manual
In this manual we begin with the most
common usage situation. Further down the details of the controls are
described. When a control is referred to by name it will be in italics.
You may wish to read Part II first so that you are well aquainted with
the controls and then read Part I.
In this manual we refer to a few concepts that is
useful to define:
- Session - A session consists of the bank of
patterns (24 in total) and the song sequencing info
- Pattern - A pattern is made up of 16 steps
- Step - A step is the smallest unit the technoBox
The main GUI in technoBox is split into two parts:
The control section which is always in view and a machine editor section,
which differs depending on which machine is currently being edited.
Manipulating the controls
- Knobs - Tap at the center of a knob and drag up
or downwards to adjust its value. You can also drag right or left for
- Buttons - Tap to change state. Certain buttons
react to double tapping
- Digit readouts - Most digit readouts can be
changed by tapping and dragging left or right. Certain readouts may
react to double tapping.
Playing individual patterns
To play individual patterns, tap the Play button. You
can now select patterns on the fly both the synth and drum machine. When
you select a new pattern it will begin playing after the current
pattern is finished, which makes this mode great for live improvised
Playing back a song
To play the song double tap the Play button. The
play button will begin flashing and the Sequencer position display will
advance as the song progresses. It is still possible to scroll through the
song by swiping the Sequencer position digits or using the rewind/forward
Sequencing a song
Each sequencer position is exactly one bar long. To
sequence a song simply select the sequencer position and then select the
patterns for both the synth and drum machine you wish to play back for
that position. It is possible to record pattern switching in realtime when
in song mode playback, however some editing may be required afterwards.
A song can be a maximum of 1000 bars.
The controls from left to right are:
- Play pattern/song - To play patterns, tap the button once. To play a
song, double tap the button. When paying back a song it will begin from the
current sequencer position.
- Rewind - Moves the
sequencer back one position
- Forward - Moves the
sequencer forward one position
- Sequencer Position - The current
sequencer position is displayed with the digits. You can scroll through
the song by swiping the digits left or right. Double tap the digits to
reset the sequencer to position 0 (zero).
- Tempo - The tempo is given in beats per
minute (BPM). To change the tempo swipe the digits right or left.
- Flip machine - This button flips between the
synth and drum machine editor view.
- Info - The info panel gives you access to the
Session manager and the quickstart manual.
selectors are organized into two rows, one for the synth patterns and one
for the drum machine patterns. To select a pattern simply tap the pattern
you wish to edit or play.
The arrows on the right of the pattern selectors
indicate which machine is currently being edited. It is
possible to tap these arrows as an alternative way of selecting which
machine to edit.
Synth editor view
Each synth pattern is made up of 16 steps. Each step
has a pitch and some modifiers such as down, up, accent and slide assigned
to it. One step at a time can be edited and the digits in the lower right
corner denote which step is currently being edited. The step can be
changed by using the left and right arrow buttons.
The synth has 8 knobs that alter the sound in
various ways. The synth is modelled after the classic 303, so many of the
knobs have the same meaning except waveform which allows a mixture between
saw and squarewave.
Synth sound settings
- Waveform - The waveform can be gradually set
between sawtooth and square.
- Tuning - The overall tuning of the synth can be
set to -12..+12 semitones. Double tapping this knob will return it to
- Cutoff - Set the basic cutoff frequency of the
- Resonance - Set the amount of resonance for the
filter. A higher level creates a more nasal and squelchy sound.
- Env mod - Sets the amount of envelope modulation
of the filter
- Decay - Sets the rate of decay of the envelope.
Lower settings make the envelope decay faster.
- Accent - Sets the amount of accent which occures
on accented steps
- Volume - Sets the overall volume of the synth.
Note that at higher settings some distortion may be introduced,
especially on accented notes.
The synth buttons have different meaning depending
on if shift (the lower left button) is activated or not.
Normal state (no shift):
- Clear - Clears the current pattern. By
default all the gates are set to on when clearing a pattern.
- Copy - Copy pattern
- Paste - Paste over pattern
- Gate - Selects whether the current step will
be sounded or not
- Down - Transposes the current step down one
- Up - Transposes the current step up one
- Accent - Sets the accent state on the current
- Slide - When on the current note will slide
to the next note, creating a longer overall note
- Back - Makes the step sequencer go back one
- Next - Makes the step sequencer go forward
- Current step - Displays which of the 16 steps
is currently being edited
- Pitch buttons - Selects the pitch for the
- Back - Shifts the pattern left by one step
- Next - Shifts the pattern right by one step
- Clear - Clears the pattern, except now all gates
are set to off making a totally silent pattern
- Gate - Randomize pattern
- Pitch buttons - The pattern can be transposed
0-12 semitones non-destructible.
- Down - Alters the pattern by keeping all the
steps intact but randomly shuffling the order of all the steps
Drum machine editor view
The drum machine consists two sound sets (808 and
909) and 11 parts (for a total of 22 sounds) with 16 steps per part.
Drum machine controls
The controls from left to right are:
Instrument part selectors:
- Bass drum
- Snare drum
- Low tom (909) / Low conga (808)
- Mid tom (909) / Mid conga (808)
- High tom (909) / High conga (808)
- Rim shot
- Crash (808) / Cowbell (909)
- Open hihat
- Closed hihat
The open and closed hihat parts are mutually
exclusive, meaning that the closed hihat will cut-off an open hihat, just
like on the original 808 and 909.
The pattern has 16 step triggers, each with three states:
- Off - no hit is sounded on the step
- Normal - a hit is sounded on the step with normal
- Accented - a hit is sounded on the step with
In this view you can manage your sessions by loading,
saving and deleting them.
- Saving a session - Tap the Filename field and
enter a name for the session. Then tap the Save button.
- Loading a session - Tap the name of a session you
wish to load, then tap Load.
- Deleting a session - Tap the name of a session
you wish to delete, then tap Delete. You will be asked to confirm the
deletion of your session.
- Renaming a session - You can rename a session by
loading the session and then saving it under a different name. Then
delete the first session.
Tip: It's possible to load sessions on the fly, even
when a song is playing. This is a good way to get around the 24 pattern
barrier as you can split your song into multiple session and load them
live from the session manager.