4ms SMR?

Has anybody had a look at porting the Spectral Multiband Resonator into VCV?

https://github.com/4ms/SMR (MIT licensed)

I had a look at this some months back and realised that I didn’t stand much chance of making headway with this.

(Notwithstanding any agreements or other issues with 4ms themselves; just from a purely practical standpoint)

I’m curious what the general policy is with Eurorack modules that have open source firmware? Surely, as long as you’re not either violating trademarks or profiting from it, it would be okay?

Out of courtesy it would be sensible to contact the manufacturers. It’s in the interest of the VCV ecosystem as a whole to play nice with the hardware side of the business.

They have chosen the license and the restriction on the use of their trademarks, which covers the strictly legal side. Maybe VCV and 4ms have a plan to bring a version (free or otherwise) to Rack?

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Unfortunately 4ms is rumored to be under exclusive contract with someone else…

You can use the firmware source for your own module though, since it’s open-source.

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I can only speak for myself but if it hadn’t been for @Vortico creating the Befaco Rampage I wouldn’t now own a hardware Rampage. Before playing with it in Rack I simply thought of it as a Maths alternative, and didn’t appreciate it’s unique characteristics.

And seeing as Andrew alluded to Softube Modular, by strange coincidence I’m also a proud owner of a 4ms PEG which also happens at a casual glance to appear to be a Maths alternative but after first purchasing the Softube version it really clicked with me (as I am a dance producer after all) and it’s amazing for all manner of syncopated rhythm shenanigans that Maths could never do (with ease or a single unit).

There’s a lot to be said for creating official software clones of hardware, as artist’s like myself use hardware and software in tandem, and I far rather learn a module over time in software form, rather than spending a noisy afternoon at London Modular (or similar).

The 4ms SMR is a great case in point. If I’m totally honest I regretted getting the Softube version for a fair while as I thought of it as something of a one trick pony that was too easily recognisable in a mix. But in truth it was simply a case that I hadn’t learned how to make the most of it. I haven’t gone so far as to purchase a hardware unit yet, as it’s one of those modules that makes more sense to me as an ITB tool, but you never know.

@Vortico I’m currently in the middle of demoing the Softube version of the Buchla 296e and have found that I can achieve much the same goals with multiple iterations of the SMR (interestingly, multiple iterations of the SMR still offers greater CPU efficiency). And this got me thinking that maybe Spectra could be enhanced to have to a version of the rotating scale features in SMR, and maybe even the resonance aspect. One of my initial negative impressions of the SMR came from watching too many video clips with the resonance cranked.When used with subtlety, it can be wonderfully responsive and musical, and not just on cliched coloured noise input sources.

The scale feature can also be used as a source of multiple evolving CV’s from the envelope followers (a very different flavour to that in the 296e).

Just a thought, seeing as the firmware is open-source.

i’ve looked at it and then thought it would be more flexible if split in two or more modules. separating the filter bank and chords components became the inspiration for Rakes and Riemann. tbh. i think 4ms were trying to do too much in one module here.

I have been poking at the code again, in the same way that you would poke a dead animal with a stick.

The first conclusion is that the code is not nearly as neatly organised as the Mutable Instrument code, with which it shares a lot of similarity since the STM32 chip is common to both SMR and MI modules.

The second conclusion is that porting seems quite doable particularly taking the shim code in the VCV ports as a starting point. I have a bit of doubt about some details since it looks like the ADCs are slightly differently set up between, say, Rings and SMR. But it might be that the sampling code in the VCV side takes care of this completely.

I will see how far I get.

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@gerhard.brandt76 I was of the same opinion at first ref SMR attempting too much in a single module (I think there was a faze with Eurorack when many modules were overly multi-functional, including Mutable ones) but over time I’ve come to appreciate the design strategy.

@johnhoar Wishing you good fortune. An SMR like module in Rack would be a welcome addition.

Well, this is as far as I’ve got. It’s been extremely interesting. I think I may have to get hold of the Softube version just to have a reference to work against.

I’m also glad that I didn’t spend 480 euros at Schneiders Laden on it. It’s sometimes very pretty sounding but I’m not sure how useful it actually is.

I’ve contacted Dan Green at 4ms but had no reply yet. He’s either busy running a company or something or employing the services of Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne…

In any case there’s still quite some work to do and I’m going to wait a little longer to hear from 4ms.


Looking good so far. :slight_smile:

The one thing that’s missing is the thing that I use the SMR most for. I find the resonating aspect of the 4ms to be something of a one trick pony (and one that’s too easily recognisable), but the individual Env Out’s are fantastic as control voltage sources based on the rotating scales (you can of course treat them as 6 individual 1v/oct outs too).

This is a recent patch I put together where I’m using the 4MS SMR in partnership with the 4MS PEG to drive the Buchla 259e (Twisted Waveform Generator). Be warned it’s on the darker side of things but it is a great example of using the SMR in a more creative way.

BTW it’s only a still image as I was having a problem doing the screen capture alongside Softube Modular (resource hungry beast that it is!).