Sonic Pi + Behringer Crave = Good

I got a couple of hardware synths because I want to explore using Sonic Pi to drive hardware in a live settings. I’ve already mentioned the Volca fm, this is about the Behringer Crave. I fancied tried a bit of CV for real without spending lots of money.

I started with sending MIDI notes scheduled by SPi, and that works fine. While that happens, you can twiddle the knobs and patches on the fly an that’s satisfying. The Crave makes nice analog wub-wub and hissy noises and things like that. But there are more interesting sound sources.

Then I tried making more use of the Crave’s sequencer. Not so such to plan/write/save complicated patterns of melodies and chord changes as that seems like hard work. More to use it as sync’d modulation. For this I used the midi_clock_beat function and I’m pleased to say that works a treat. And by playing round with how the clock is sent I reckon there’s rich pickings to be had. Including stopping the sync momentarily and letting it run free.

Current thinking is that this Crave isn’t going to add much to recording whereas the Volca FM can create some really new sounds. But I plan to play it live as an instrument in itself. I’ve got a feeling it might turn into ‘oh it’s that again’ - then again I don’t say that about a violin or trumpet.

Update, I tried this on a rehearsal last night (over the Internet as we are in lockdown here) and have to say it was good. Playing live tends to bring glitches to the surface but it was fine.

First off, it was rock steady on timing etc. Only issue was around sending midi_start to get the sequencer in phase after alterations - that’s more a music thing than a tech thing. Anyway the Crave has it’s own reset button so you can do that manually too rather than from code.

The Crave’s sequencer has a few functions for changing things live. Not nearly as flexible as working with code but since the object here is to have some non-code things, that’s how it is.

In principle you could play the keys like a keyboard, but they are more clicky buttons, so not so good for that. Whereas the Volca keyboard you can really play in the moment, little melodies anyway. The combo of repeating-sequences and playing things live is quite a nice paradigm.

@soxsa - fab to hear!

Out of interest, which version of Sonic Pi are you using? Are you playing with the new v3.3-BETA?

I’m running this on the Raspberry Pi so it’s 3.2.2 I’m afraid - There’s no build for the RPi yet I guess. If/when there is I’ll happy switch to that.

I have been running the 3.3 beta on Windows though, and it’s been working fine, no issues. Apart from the MIDI-grabbing thing I mentioned. Which won’t be a problem if I keep things separate - SPi on RPi, Rack on Windows.

Ah ok - Raspberry Pi OS compatibility is still one of the last few sticking issues holding back a full release of v3.3 - we’ll get there soon!