The Brain Seed is a realtime step recorder with many extras that packs as much fun and functionality as could be wedged behind a 4hp panel while keeping the interface as intuitive as possible!
- Record 1 to 1000 of steps in variable mode. Record the number of steps that you want until you're done and the Brain seed will play them back. The buffer clears and restarts at step 1 each time a new recording is started.
- Record 8/16/32 steps in fixed length mode. This mode is good for jamming, it allows you to punch in and selectively record over values in the buffer.
- Record (Reseed) has a gate input and a toggle switch, so that you can remotely control or automate recording.
- Each button has a tri-colored LED to show its state
- Each button is a 1-1 function (except save)
Turn off the modular! The Brain Seed is not getting power for some reason. Unplug the Brain Seed from the busboard, turn on the modular. Make sure that other modules are getting power. Now turn off the module and re-connect the Brain Seed. Check the power cable connection on the Brain Seed, and make sure that you connect it carefully to the busboard. Now power on your modular. If the Brain Seed still does not get power, turn off the modular again. Try connecting your Brain Seed to another power connection on your busboard. There is a chance that your modular power supplies may be over taxed. Try removing several other modules. If this does not help, try the Brain Seed in another case. Try another ribbon cable. If none of this helps, your Brain Seed may in fact be dead :-( Contact Antimatter with details of how you obtained your Brain Seed and what happened.
There are two jumpers on the Brain Seed's board. Placing a jumper on the pins labeled “Freeze” on the board will change the Freeze jack into a standard Reset input that can be used to sync the Brain Seed using clock dividers, etc... Placing a jumper on the pins labeled “Cycle” will change the cycle input range for CV mode from -5 to +5 volts to 0 to +5 volts. Many modules only produce positive voltage, and this may help to get the desired result from this mode.
Chances are that cycle is in CV mode (Red LED), if you are clocking the Brain Seed with a square LFO, this means that there are only two CV values for it to jump between. Try cycling the Brain Seed with a “sloped” waveform (sine/saw/etc...).
Do not adjust the trimmer on the back of the unit, it is for factory use only and the Brain Seed will need to be serviced if it is adjusted. The Brain Seed's quantized output is calibrated to offer reasonably accurate volt per octave output over 10 octaves/volts (-5 to +5). The Seed In CV input does not have a calibration pot and may be off slightly from the output. You may be able to match an input pitch by turning on the quantizer, which will bump the pitch to the nearest semitone.
CV cycle mode has a range of -5 to +5 volts (a range of 0-5 can be selected by changing the jumper on the back of the Brain Seed). If the CV input goes out of these ranges, the Cycle input will “clip”, meaning that it will not trigger a change to the step position or generate a trigger output. As long as the CV input is within a safe range (-12v to +12v), the Brain Seed will not be damaged by clipping the Cycle input, and this effect can actually be quite useful in creating different rhythms. Experiment with using attenuation before this input to achieve different results.
In CV cycle mode, the first step is accessed at the lowest possible Cycle voltage (-5volts, or 0 volts according to the jumper selection), and the last step is selected at the highest possible Cycle voltage (5volts). This means that any input must travel through the entire range of the Cycle input to access all of the steps of a sequence.
Make sure that the jumper on the back of the Brain Seed is in the proper position for the desired function (Freeze or Reset).
When no jack is in the Seed input and ReSeed is active, the Brain Seed will generate random voltages for each Cycle. If you want to prevent this, plug a jack into the Seed input and/or turn off ReSeed.
The Seed Out may be out of range (clipping), the Seed out has a range of -5 to +5 volts (including the shift input). Watch for the clip light at the top of the Brain Seed, and read some tips on clipping below.
The Seed output has a range of -5 to +5 volts. If the highest values of your sequence are around 4 volts, that only leaves 1 volt of Shift before you are out of range. Experiment with attenuation and using negative input values. Also try using a negative shift input, because this gives you a full 5 volts of shift with no clipping if your original signal was in the 0-5 volt range.
The Reseed button is a toggle, meaning that when ReSeed is toggled off, a gate will turn Reseed on, and when ReSeed is toggled on, a gate will turn ReSeed off.
If the Brain Seed’s trigger output is feeding a clock divider, trigger sequencer, or similar device that is then being used to Freeze the Brain Seed, the Brain Seed will be “Frozen” and will not produce another trigger that would be needed to un-Freeze it. A similar situation can occur in Reset mode.
Use the quantizer, it has been calibrated for tuned operation. Make sure that the quantizer is on (green LED) when volt per octave output is needed. DO NOT adjust the quantizer trim on the back of the unit, it is not user serviceable.
Disconnect everything except for a clock input. Try another clock source. Try changing the length setting. If the Brain Seed is still not responding, unfortunately, the Brain Seed’s firmware may have crashed. Reset your modular’s power. If this happens consistently, contact Antimatter.
Pressing the Length button for a few seconds will engage the Save function of the Brain Seed and will cause it to be non-responsive for a few seconds.
Variable length mode and CV Cycle mode can not be active at the same time, so the Brain Seed switches to 32- step fixed length mode.
In CV Cycle mode, the Cycle input voltage “scrubs” through the steps in the Brain Seed. If there are only 8 steps to scrub through, the transition between steps is much slower than if there are 32 steps to scrub through.
Noise is present in every signal to a certain extent, and because of this the Brain Seed may have trouble determining the threshold to select the next step. This means that it may quickly jump between steps in response to the noise. Even if you don’t hear noise in the signal of the device, it can cause this behavior. Experiment with using attenuation on your CV cycle source, or using another CV source that may produce less noise. Also be aware that the more steps you are accessing (8/16/32/1000), the more sensitive the Brain Seed is to the the CV cycle input voltage.
In variable length mode, the Brain Seed has no data and no set length until something is recorded, so it has no steps to cycle through. Record some data and the Brain Seed will react to a CV input in CV cycle mode.
Clock source such as an LFO.
Length (Any) ReSeed (On) Cycle Mode (Any) Quant (Any)
Give the Cycle input a clock source (pretty much any LFO wave will do). Click the ReSeed button so that the Brain Seed is getting new data (the cycle led will blink red upon receiving clock). When nothing is plugged into the seed in, the Brain Seed defaults to providing random values. Plug the output of the Brain Seed into the volt per octave input of an Oscillator. Now you have yummy random sequences!
The generated values are being captured into the buffer in the background. Find creative ways to use the ReSeed gate jack to sample and replay bits of your random sequence over time.
Clock source, CV source to sample
Length (Any) ReSeed (On) Cycle Mode (Any) Quant (Off)
Just like random sequence generator, but we add a CV source. Sample and Hold is a classic module, and every synth needs one! S&H takes a snapshot of the level of your input and holds it until a new trigger is received. Plug a CV source into the Seed In. Plug a clock source into the Cycle input. Click the Reseed button so that the Brain Seed is getting new data (the cycle led will blink red). Now the Brain Seed will output a stepped version of the input signal. This could be considered quantizing time, as opposed to pitch.
Play with adding signals to the ReSeed input to capture more that one step of data at a time. Try gating the Freeze input to produce extra hold states.
Clock source, CV source to quantize
Length (Any) ReSeed (On) Cycle Mode (Any but CV) Quant (Any on)
Follow the directions for the Sample and Hold patch, and then click the Quant button to select the desired type of quantization. Of course, you can quantize the output of any patch like this.
Any CV source, any clock source
Length (Any) ReSeed (Both) Cycle Mode (Any) Quant (Any)
Input a CV source (LFO, joystick, DC offset, etc...) into the Seed In jack. Set the Length to the desired number of steps, input a trigger source into the Cycle input, and press ReSeed to record data for each step that is triggered. Press the ReSeed button again to stop recording and playback your recorded data. Use the Brain Seed to record CV or note data, such as a DC offset from a controller or other module (some modules that can produce DC offsets from knobs are the Circuit Abbey Invy, the Malekko 8NU8R, the Make Noise Maths, several Doepfer mixers, CV controllers, etc..). Play back your recorded data with triggers or by utilizing the various cycle modes. Turn on quantization to get semitone CV. Use an external slew/lag generator to “smooth” out your stepped data and create slides between steps.
Any sloped CV source (LFOs/Envelopes/Random with slew, etc...)
Length (Any) ReSeed (Any) Cycle Mode (CV) Quant (Any)
See that Trig output sitting there? Well. it spits out a trigger every time the Brain Seed progresses to a new step. In CV Cycle mode, this can be a really fun way to create trigger sequences or bursts. Press the Mode switch to set the Cycle mode to CV (Red) and feed CV sources of various types (LFOs, envelopes, etc...) to the Cycle input jack. Use the Trig output jack to to trigger events, such as envelopes. Higher Length settings will produce more dense streams of triggers. For even more rhythmicallity, experiment with different sources controlling the Freeze input to stop the triggers being output from the Brain Seed at different intervals. When the Cycle input goes out of the -5v to +5v range, it clips. The Trig output will produce no new triggers when this occurs. Since the jacks in the Brain Seed are safe to use over an entire -12v to +12v range, you can use hot CV Cycle signals to generate creative pauses in your rhythms.
midi keyboard, midi interface, envelope
Length (Any) ReSeed (Both) Cycle Mode (Any but CV) Quant (Any)
Follow the directions for the CV/Note Sequencer, using your keyboard (or midi to CV interface) gate output to control Cycle (in trigger mode) and its CV for Seed In. This will record one step for each key pressed on your keyboard. Alternatively, clock the Brain Seed with another source (such as an LFO), plug your keyboard’s gate into ReSeed, and the keyboard CV into Seed In. Now try playing notes in legato fashion (do not release a key until another one has been pressed). This will keep ReSeed on as you play notes, telling the Brain Seed to record new data. When you release all of the keys, the Brain Seed will continue playing your sequence in time with the clock source. Doing this in variable length mode allows you additionally to set the length of the sequence by how many clock cycles were received as you held down the keys.
midi keyboard, midi interface, envelope
Length (Any) ReSeed (Off) Cycle Mode (Any) Quant (Any)
Since there is not a way for the Brain Seed to receive multiple input values, this patch is for a mono-input arpeggiator. Still, it is an arpeggiator that you can program (up to 1000 steps) and play with in some fun ways! The basic patch is simple - create a short sequence to start with, and use your keyboard’s CV as the shift source to transpose the sequence. To take the patch a little closer to being a familiar arpeggiator, add a momentary CV switch (such as a the Malekko Switch or Doepfer A150) or a VCA gated by the keyboard gate signal to switch the cycle input on and off with key presses. If you have reset enabled, you can also reset your arpeggio with each key press using your keyboard’s gate signal.
midi keyboard, midi interface, 2 envelopes
Length (Any) ReSeed (Off) Cycle Mode (CV) Quant (Any)
First, record a short sequence in the Brain Seed so that you have some “strings” to strum. Connect your keyboard’s CV out into the Shift input. Trigger an envelope with the gate out of your keyboard. Use this envelope as the CV Cycle source. Use the Trig out to trigger a second short decay envelope that is opening your filter or vca. Now playing the keyboard shifts the Brain Seed’s output, and envelope #1 should “strum” through the notes that you recorded. Try attenuating the Cycle input and varying the speed of envelope #1 to get variations in strum speed.
Try CV-ing the decay rate of the first envelope with your modwheel or other continuous controller to dynamically choose different strumming speeds.
Joystick or other continuous CV controller, mixer, envelope
Length (Any fixed) ReSeed (On) Cycle Mode (CV) Quant (Any on)
This is a fun patch to get a new use from your joystick (or other continuous CV controller). It will produce a new note with a trigger every time your control source moves. Combine the X and Y outputs of the joystick with a mixer. Mult the output of the mixer and connect one output to the Cycle input, the other to the Seed input. You will want to use the Trig out to trigger a quick envelope that is opening a filter, vca, or low pass gate at the end of your patch. Try attenuating the Cycle input and changing the Length settings to play with different levels of trigger sensitivity.
All of the gate inputs (Cycle in non-CV modes, ReSeed, Freeze/Reset) are comparators, meaning that they do not require a square wave to operate. Experiment with various signals as inputs. For instance - White noise that is attenuated at various levels (with an attenuator) as an input to the ReSeed jack will result in various amounts of random recording of new data, corresponding to the detected peaks of the noise signal at Cycle. When this is used along with random generation (patch example #1) , you get randomized random!