Introduction

Requirements

Overview

Control section

Synth module

Drum machine

Effects panel

Performance panel

Info Screen

Session manager

 

technoBox2 Manual

Introduction

technoBox2 is the next version of our popular technoBox adding many asked for features such as dual 303s and drum machines, export recordings of songs and SoundCloud integration. A performance page has been added which allows access to the most commonly used controls on one page. The drum machines now allow you to load your own samples (via iTunes). technoBox2 runs on iPad and retina displays with crisp native resolution.

Requirements

This app requires as minimum iPhone 3G S but runs best on iPhone 4 and iPad or equivalent iPod touches. iOS 4.2 or greater is required. It is recommended to reboot your device before using technoBox2, as with any resource hungry app.

Overview

The main GUI in technoBox2 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 in view.

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 increased accuracy
  • 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 back a song

To play the song double tap the Song Play button. The play button will light up 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 buttons.

Playing individual patterns

To play individual patterns, tap the Pattern 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 performances.

Stopping the sequencer

If the sequencer is playing, tapping the same button again will stop the sequencer. Note that it is possible to switch between Play Song and Play Pattern without stopping the sequencer.

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 machines 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.

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Control section

The controls from left to right are:

  • Play Song (or stop playing song)
  • Play Pattern (or stop playing pattern)
  • 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)
  • Lock Parameters - Locks the current parameters to the sequencer position
  • Scroll left
  • Scroll right
  • Info - The info panel gives you access to the Session manager and the manual

Patterns selectors

The pattern 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 patterns are grouped so that each twelve selectors select patterns for both synths and drum machines.

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Synth module

Each synth pattern is made up of 1 to 64 steps (s16 steps by default). 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.

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 center tuning.
  • Cutoff - Set the basic cutoff frequency of the filter
  • 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.

Programming controls

The synth buttons have different meaning depending on if shift 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 octave
  • Up - Transposes the current step up one octave
  • Accent - Sets the accent state on the current step
  • 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 position.
  • Next - Makes the step sequencer go forward one position
  • Current step - Displays which of the steps is currently being edited
  • Pitch buttons - Selects the pitch for the current step
  • Auto Advance - When Auto Advance is on the synth will go to the next step after entering a pitch

Shift state:

  • Shift left - Decreases the number of steps in the pattern
  • Shift right - Increases the number of steps in the pattern
  • Clear - Clears the pattern, except now all gates are set to off making a totally silent pattern
  • Random - Randomize pattern
  • Alter - Alters the order of the steps randomly
  • Repeat - Repeats the steps in the pattern to fill all 64 steps
  • < - Shifts the pattern left by one step
  • > - Shifts the pattern right by one step
  • Pitch buttons - Transposes the pattern with 0-12 semitones..

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Drum machine

The drum machine consists two sound sets (808 and 909) and 11 parts (for a total of 22 sounds) with 16 steps per part.

Pattern and sound controls

The controls from left to right are:

  • Clear - Clears the current pattern
  • Copy - Copy pattern
  • Paste - Paste over pattern
  • Volume Part - Sets the volume of the currently selected part
  • Decay Part - Sets the decay rate of the currently selected part
  • Shuffle - Sets the amount of shuffle for the current pattern
  • Cutoff - Sets the amount of low pass filtering for the machine
  • Sound - Brings up the sound selector panel
  • Volume - Sets the basic volume for the drum machine

Instrument part selectors:

  • BD - Bass drum

  • SD - Snare drum
  • LT - Low tom
  • MT - Mid tom
  • HT - High tom
  • RS - Rim shot
  • CP - Clap
  • CR - Crash
  • CY - Cymbal
  • OH - Open hihat
  • CH - 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.

Note: If you select a different sound set or load your own samples into the drum machine the part labels may not be correct. A good tip is to keep sounds similar to the label name loaded into the right part.

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 volume
  • Accented - a hit is sounded on the step with accented volume

Sound selector

With the sound selector you can select sound sets or individual sounds for the currently selected part. There are two built-in sound sets: 808 and 909. Selecting these sets will cause all the instruments for all parts of the drum machine to be set.

Loading your own samples into the drum machine

  1. In iTunes, select your device
  2. Click on the Apps tab, scroll down to File Sharing
  3. Select technoBox2

Here you can add .aif/.wav samples. technoBox2 only support uncompressed 44.1kHz 16-bit .wav/.aif but you should be able to use Audacity or similar soft convert in case your samples are in another format. 

In technoBox2 simple press the Sound button on a drum machine, the samples should now be selectable.

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Effects panel

The Effects section consists of a Phaser, a Distortion unit with two types and a Delay. There are On/Off controls for each machine which allows the effects to be applied to any or all of the machines.

Effect settings

  • On/Off - Turns the complete effects section On or Off
  • Synth 1 - Turns effects On or Off for Synth 1
  • Drum 1 - Turns effects On or Off for Drum machine 1
  • Synth 2 - Turns effects On or Off for Synth 2
  • Drum 2 - Turns effects On or Off for Drum machine 2

Phaser

  • Phaser - Sets the rate of the phaser
  • Depth - Sets the depth of the phaser
  • Sync - When on syncs the phaser's built-in LFO (low frequency oscillator) to the sequencer
  • Amount - Sets the amount of dry/wet phaser mixing

Distortion

  • Dist - Sets the amount of distortion
  • Crunch - Crunch causes a lofi aliasing/bitcrunching type of effect with variable amount
  • Type - There are two types of distortion, foldback (unlit) and diode (lit)

Delay

  • Feedback - Sets the amount of feedback in the delay
  • Time - Sets the delay time. The delay time is always tempo synced to the sequencer
  • Damp - Damping softens the sound in the delay feedback
  • Amount - Sets the amount of Delay mix in the sound

Note: Rapidly changing the delay time can cause weird noises or clicks

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Performance panel

The Performance panel allows easy access of the most commonly used parameters for both synths and drum machines. This panel also holds the controls for setting the song start/end markers, loop and tempo.

  • Start - Sets the start of the Song marker
  • End - Sets the end of the Song marker
  • Tempo - Sets the tempo for the song
  • Loop - Allows looping of between the Start and End markers
  • Record - When activated the song is recorded when the sequencer is playing
  • Upload - Allows you to upload and share the recording via SoundCloud

Recording a performance

Before recording a performance, set the Start and End markers and the tempo. Then select Record and make sure it is on. Start the sequencer with the Play Song button. When the sequencer reaches the end marker the sequencer will stop and the Record button will go off. Now the song is recorded to a file (record.wav).

Note: You can also use Play Pattern to record a live performance, but you will have to stop the sequencer manually. 

Exporting a performance

  1. In iTunes, select your device
  2. Click on the Apps tab, scroll down to File Sharing
  3. Select technoBox2
  4. Select record.wav and press the Save to... button

Your recording has now been saved to your computer, where it can be processed further.

Uploading and Sharing performance

A performance can be uploaded to SoundCloud and shared directly. The first time the upload button is pressed you will be prompted to Log Into SoundCloud or create an account. If you don't want to upload at this time you can switch back to technoBox2 by task-switching (double click the home button).

Once you have created an account and authorized technoBox2 with that account your User name will appear on the Connect with SoundCloud screen. Once you are logged in and authorized technoBox2 will not require you to log in again until you've logged out.

Now simply press Upload and your track will begin uploading to SoundCloud. When the progress bar reaches its maximum the upload is complete. If you wish you make your track public slide the Make public slider to the right.

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Info Screen

  • Session manager - Brings up the session manager

  • Manual - Shows the manual (this document)

  • Save as startup session - This can be used as a quicksave for the current session. Next time you start technoBox2 the session will be reloaded

  • Back - Closes the Info screen

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Session manager

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.

Transferring sessions from technoBox1

It is possible to load technoBox1 sessions into technoBox2. To do this make sure you are using the latest version of technoBox1 (1.5.3 or later), resave the session and use the File Sharing in iTunes so save the session to your computer. Then import the same session into technoBox2.

Note: technoBox1 has only one synth and one drum machine the session might not play back exactly the same in technoBox2.

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