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Introducing the Orb... the first offering in our new line of XS-ories.
The Orb is an easy to use, single track, step-based digital sequencer, ideal for controlling our XS semi-modular synthesizer as well as other analog CV/Gate or MIDI synthesizers. The Orb is also a perfect solution for controlling 303 clones which often lack the essential sequencer.
Based on our highly successful Revolution concept, the Orb provides an intuitive interface that we feel most accurately represents the principles of time and music. From ancient sundials to modern day analog clocks, time has been represented as the circle, a cycle which never ends. For time itself is nothing more than our perception of the revolution of planets as they journey through their celestial orbit. It is this motion that we call time that can be measured, divided, and arranged to provide the foundation of music. This circular cyclic theme can furthermore be found throughout music in everything from song structure and repeating rhythms to the fundamentals of sound itself, being the sine wave. With this understanding we must conclude that music is cyclic and should so be represented in its natural form.
Continuing our tradition of hand building quality products, this sleek compact unit is housed in a rugged aluminum chassis with a high contrast white on gun metal grey finish for superior viewing of controls in dark environments, and bright blue LEDs all around. New spherical switches allow quick selection of multiple steps by sweeping through the surface of step keys.
Let's start with the sequencer....
As you can see, the sequencer's interface is circular, which provides several benefits over the traditional linear-style step sequencers. Visually, it is easier to divide a measure of music into equal parts. The circular interface also provides a more intuitive way of displaying patterns playing as cyclic loops, either forwards or reverse, and will help you better understand the underlying geometric symmetries used throughout our Remixing process. This design also allows the user to carry out all sequencing functions with a single hand.
There are 256 recordable patterns available, each recording note duration, pitch, accent , glide, loop point, time signature, and swing amount. Pattern editing features include copy/paste, pattern shifting, pattern transposing, multiple pattern cueing for chaining patterns together live, and LED chase. In addition, all pattern editing and recording can be done while the sequencer is running, and it will automatically save all your edits so you don't have to stop creating!
The Orb also provides the ability to play patterns forwards or backwards, as well as remotely select patterns to play using MIDI program change messages.
There are 16 songs to arrange the patterns in, each recording its tempo, the bank/pattern for each step, the transposition of each step, and the song's loop point. Each of the 16 songs can contain up to 3,580 measures, and multiple songs may be chained together so they play sequentially.
In addition, the Orb provides our unique Remix feature which gives 256 variations for every pattern and song, for more than 65,000 possible patterns right out of the box. Whether you're improvising during a live set, creating variations for other parts of a song, or simply have a case of writer's block, our Remix feature is sure to inspire you and speed up your creative process.
Patterns and songs can be backed up via SysEx dumps to other Orb units, Revolution units, or your computer. In addition, all patterns and songs created in the Orb can be played in the Revolution units, just as all Revolution patterns and songs can be played in the Orb.
The Orb provides separate 1/4" jacks for the CV out (1V/oct standard) with adjustable Glide Time control, Gate out (positive polarity type, 0 to +12V), and Accent out (positive polarity type gate, 0 to +10v) for playing most analog synthesizers. Or if you prefer, the Orb can act as a MIDI to CV converter allowing any MIDI keyboard/controller, or sequencer to contol an analog synthesizer. It's also possible to sync most pre-MIDI analog sequencers and arpeggiators to MIDI clock by using the Gate out signal as a programmable clock source.
MIDI In/Thru/Out are all provided for syncing playback with external sequencers, playing MIDI sound modules, or using the Orb as a MIDI to CV converter.