Arpeggiator Help?

Arpeggiator Help?
« on: July 03, 2023, 06:27:11 AM »
Hi guys, got my OB-X8 a few days ago and am slowly learning all the features and functions.

I spent a couple hours last night with the Arp. I more or less understand it, but there's some features I can't figure out/understand.

The manual mentions "Hidden Arp Features":
Quote
Arp Transpose Select: Hold the mode switch and press one of the six Lever Box bottom row switches from left to right to set the octave jump (from 0 to 5 octaves).
Got it. It's not "transposing" anything, just expanding the octave range. This works as expected. I hold the button and click the (Transpose) "Up" button and it goes into extremely high ocatves, the buttons to the left of that button go to progressively lower octaves. Cool. But: 
Quote
Arp Transpose Set: Hold the mode and arpeggiate switches together and press up to 5 keys on the keyboard. Each pressed key will sequentially set the transposition for the Arp Transpose Select setting. If fewer than 5 notes are played while mode and arp are held, the remaining transpositions are unaffected. The transpose amounts are always upward relative
to the lowest note (C0). To set to the default values, Hold the mode and arpeggiate switches and while holding both sequentially play C1, C2, C3, C4, then C5.
I have NO idea what this is even saying. When I hold the Mode and Arpeggiate buttons, then press a few notes, up to five, then start the arpeggiator, it seems to play additional notes, but it in no way "transposes" the arp (say, I had a held G chord, it doesn't go to A or F#, etc.); it just maybe adds another note in the arp or something? I'm not really sure what exactly it's doing.

I think the most frustrating thing is that I can't figure out how to reliably make it play a predictable pattern. After a LOT of trial and error, I finally got it to do the first arpeggio of the Stranger Things intro, but the transpose thing seems wonky.

Lastly, sometimes, I feel like it's not playing all of the notes in my arp; like, if I'm holding a G B D, it'll just play the G maybe once and then just repeat the D; ignoring the B altogether. Other times, if I have 4 notes and have up/down pressed, it won't JUST play the 4 notes in ascending/descending order - it'll insert some randomness in there.

Is it just me or is the arpeggiator bugged? Just seems like this is not intended behaviour... Is there a suggestion forum we have access to where the devs are watching for feedback?
« Last Edit: July 03, 2023, 06:31:24 AM by PolyBrute »

Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2023, 12:17:54 PM »
Hi there! The OB-X8 arpeggiator is a little different from what you may be used to. It functions in the same way as the historic OB- polysynths, and not like any of the modern Sequential instruments. The manual states it pretty much as it is - anything in particular you are having trouble with?
Sequential | Oberheim

Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2023, 04:29:36 AM »
Hello! I don't mean to seem rude, but it looks like you didn't read my OP; I posted my specific questions in my OP with examples from the manual that don't make sense to me, what I've tried, and the results. I have no prior experience with Sequential and very little experience at all with arps, so expectations and comparisons to modern gear aren't the problem. I specifically just don't understand exactly what that second quote from the manual is saying.

I think what I'll have to do is just spend more time with it; slow it down and try it one key at a time to eliminate as many variables as possible. I feel like a basic feature shouldn't be so difficult to understand (especially since the arp on my PolyBrute is 10x more robust and featured, yet it's immediately understandable, in terms of knowing what notes to expect to hear), but it is what it is, I guess.

Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2023, 11:03:38 AM »
For the first point you mentioned you are correct. Holding the arp and selecting the bottom switches sets the octave range. The transpose thing in your second part is a very situational thing most people will not even use - it makes the extended octaves that repeat actually repeat at ANY interval you set (not just an octave.) So if set to 2 semitones the GBD would play then AC#E would play as the 2nd "octave" or transposition. This is why they refer to them as transpositions rather than octaves, because technically they can be whatever interval you want. The random behavior you may be experiencing could be that you have the direction of the arp in random mode or it could also be my note at the end of this post.

Try this:

First make sure you are in arp editing mode and not modulation - the MODE switch (On keyboard version to the left of the paddles/levers, on the module version to the left of the rate knob on the top of the synth) should be yellow
In arp mode now the UP and DOWN switches (The 2 arp/mod switches that say "bend" below them on both versions of the synth) select your direction - the basic modes work as written. Up goes up. Down goes down.
Selecting BOTH up & down will make it go up and down backwards and forwards.
Selecting NEITHER up or down (both lights are off) will put it in random mode which sounds somewhat like what you described.

Important to note about the UP and DOWN behavior is that the notes are actually scanned in the order you press the keys. So think of it more like forwards and backwards (with UP playing the first key you hit then the 2nd key, 3rd key etc)
This means that if you want the arpeggiator to play GBD upwards in that order then you gotta hit the notes in that order. This makes it a bit tricky if you're going for super simple reliably the same arps but tbh i personally like it because the randomness of the order spices it up and makes every time different.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2023, 11:13:31 AM by deflep44 »

Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2023, 04:26:08 AM »
For the first point you mentioned you are correct. Holding the arp and selecting the bottom switches sets the octave range. The transpose thing in your second part is a very situational thing most people will not even use - it makes the extended octaves that repeat actually repeat at ANY interval you set (not just an octave.) So if set to 2 semitones the GBD would play then AC#E would play as the 2nd "octave" or transposition. This is why they refer to them as transpositions rather than octaves, because technically they can be whatever interval you want. The random behavior you may be experiencing could be that you have the direction of the arp in random mode or it could also be my note at the end of this post.

Try this:

First make sure you are in arp editing mode and not modulation - the MODE switch (On keyboard version to the left of the paddles/levers, on the module version to the left of the rate knob on the top of the synth) should be yellow
In arp mode now the UP and DOWN switches (The 2 arp/mod switches that say "bend" below them on both versions of the synth) select your direction - the basic modes work as written. Up goes up. Down goes down.
Selecting BOTH up & down will make it go up and down backwards and forwards.
Selecting NEITHER up or down (both lights are off) will put it in random mode which sounds somewhat like what you described.

Important to note about the UP and DOWN behavior is that the notes are actually scanned in the order you press the keys. So think of it more like forwards and backwards (with UP playing the first key you hit then the 2nd key, 3rd key etc)
This means that if you want the arpeggiator to play GBD upwards in that order then you gotta hit the notes in that order. This makes it a bit tricky if you're going for super simple reliably the same arps but tbh i personally like it because the randomness of the order spices it up and makes every time different.
Thanks for the reply; good notes about the "order scanned" concept.

I still don't understand the transposition thing. Why would I want a GBD in the lower octave and then an AC#E in the next octave up? It says:
Quote
press up to 5 keys on the keyboard. Each pressed key will sequentially set the transposition for the Arp Transpose Select setting. If fewer than 5 notes are played while mode and arp are held, the remaining transpositions are unaffected.
Why mention "press up to 5 keys" and not say "press the key relative to C0 that you want the arp transposed; ie, if you press D, then you'll transpose your arp 1 whole step."?

It just doesn't make any sense and there's no videos or explanation about this ANYWHERE. This seems like an obtuse, idiotic and musically useless feature. As I mentioned, when using this mode, nothing happens other than it includes a couple passing tones in the lower octave (it certainly doesn't play a GBD in the lower octave and then a AC#E in the next octave up...).

I spent some more time with it last night but can't seem to crack the code. I suppose it's possible that my unit is defective in just that one specific area, but I think I'm missing something. I'll poke around the web and see if there are explanations for the previous OB models that can shed some light on this. Regardless, thank you for your answer. I'm still no closer to understanding, but at least you tried :) I think I'm just going to e-mail support. Perhaps someone questioning it will inspire them to update their manual to be a bit more clear as to how it works.


Disregard for now; I completely missed that it just wants you to press the C notes only to enable transposition. I was pressing G, A, B, C, & D to test, so it looks like it only caught the C1... I think I have a little bit of a foothold now to test things out a bit.

I'm still a little unclear of how to activate the transpositions (like, I may not want the A chord to play every time), but maybe it'll all become clear, and maybe I have to just realize it's not a very robust arpeggiator lol. No biggie, but I like to at least understand the possibilities and limitations of my gear :)
« Last Edit: July 06, 2023, 04:56:04 AM by PolyBrute »

Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2023, 07:11:49 AM »
@deflep44 - I was able to find the manual for the OB-8 which sort of explained the transposition function a little more. It says,

"...While holding both buttons, play five keys on the keyboard, one at a time. These five keys become transpositions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in the order in which they are played. The arpeggiator will now transpose played or held notes by these intervals, after arpeggiating the notes as played."

So... if I understand, from the factory, the transpositions are all successive octaves, but can be adjusted as desired to have up to 5 custom transpositions (either octaves or chosen intervals). But you are correct (as you knew lol) that the transpositions play successively (depending on the button you choose), so I can't just have the arp hang out on a G for several measures, then go to a C, then a D... It just plays the notes all in a row, basically. I suppose you could have the tempo set really slowly to get a sort of chord progression :)



Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2023, 07:31:30 AM »
@deflep44 - I was able to find the manual for the OB-8 which sort of explained the transposition function a little more. It says,

"...While holding both buttons, play five keys on the keyboard, one at a time. These five keys become transpositions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in the order in which they are played. The arpeggiator will now transpose played or held notes by these intervals, after arpeggiating the notes as played."

So... if I understand, from the factory, the transpositions are all successive octaves, but can be adjusted as desired to have up to 5 custom transpositions (either octaves or chosen intervals). But you are correct (as you knew lol) that the transpositions play successively (depending on the button you choose), so I can't just have the arp hang out on a G for several measures, then go to a C, then a D... It just plays the notes all in a row, basically. I suppose you could have the tempo set really slowly to get a sort of chord progression :)

Yeah that's correct! Kinda why I think of doing anything other than octaves as a very situational and uncommon feature to use tbh.

Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2023, 07:04:25 AM »
Yeah that's correct! Kinda why I think of doing anything other than octaves as a very situational and uncommon feature to use tbh.
Okay, I finally (and fully) understand the arpeggiator. I'm gonna make a YouTube tutorial video this weekend and then update my OP with some more clear/thorough instructions than what are in the manual :)

DaveInSanFran

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Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2023, 10:00:31 AM »
It helped me to think of it as a double arpeggiator.  Here's my (newbie) understanding:

By default, each held key will play once, in the order pressed (assuming direction "up" is enabled.)

Pressing "mode" and one of the 6 buttons adds a "secondary arp" for each pressed key.  Each note held will play 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 additional transposed notes.

By default these transpositions are one octave apart. (This has nothing to do with the Transpose Down/Up buttons which offset the source note.)  Holding Mode and Arpeggiate, I can press up to 5 keys to set the offset distances to be played for this secondary sequence (as measured in steps from C0.)

So if I would like to arpeggiate a major triad out of order, say 1-5-3, I can hold Mode and Arp, and press G0 and then E0.  To add my 2 transposed notes, I hold Mode and press the 3rd button ("down"),  Now if I hold "C", I get an arp sequence of C-G-E...  If I hold D, it now plays D-A-F#...

But holding multiple notes is where it gets tricky!  The layering of steps is the reverse of my intuition. 
 - If set to "up" and I hold C+D, I'll hear C-D-G-A-E-F#... 
 - If set to "down" I'll hear D-C-A-G-F#-E. 
 - If both "up" and "down" are enabled, it plays C-D-G-A-E-F#-E-A-G-D...  (goes "up" to F# and back "down" to C).
 - When both buttons are disabled, it will play any of these 6 notes randomly.
 - Set up to 5 transpositions and press multiple keys and your head might explode!

I'm finding that by experimenting with the ordering of offsets and key presses I am taken down some creative compositional pathways I would not have otherwise explored.  I'm sure that I'm breaking some rules from Music 101 but that's where the coolest stuff gets discovered!  (I have other sequencers and arps that follow the rules.)
SF Bay Area synth hobbyist
OB-X8 Desktop, Moog Matriarch, B2600, Roland System 8, Korg MinilogueXD, Yamaha MODX8, Arturtia MicroFreak, Drumbrute, Moog Opus3, Eurorack, 0-Coast, B.Neutron, B.Model Dů

LPF83

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Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2023, 03:41:51 PM »
It helped me to think of it as a double arpeggiator.  Here's my (newbie) understanding:

By default, each held key will play once, in the order pressed (assuming direction "up" is enabled.)

Pressing "mode" and one of the 6 buttons adds a "secondary arp" for each pressed key.  Each note held will play 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 additional transposed notes.

By default these transpositions are one octave apart. (This has nothing to do with the Transpose Down/Up buttons which offset the source note.)  Holding Mode and Arpeggiate, I can press up to 5 keys to set the offset distances to be played for this secondary sequence (as measured in steps from C0.)

So if I would like to arpeggiate a major triad out of order, say 1-5-3, I can hold Mode and Arp, and press G0 and then E0.  To add my 2 transposed notes, I hold Mode and press the 3rd button ("down"),  Now if I hold "C", I get an arp sequence of C-G-E...  If I hold D, it now plays D-A-F#...

But holding multiple notes is where it gets tricky!  The layering of steps is the reverse of my intuition. 
 - If set to "up" and I hold C+D, I'll hear C-D-G-A-E-F#... 
 - If set to "down" I'll hear D-C-A-G-F#-E. 
 - If both "up" and "down" are enabled, it plays C-D-G-A-E-F#-E-A-G-D...  (goes "up" to F# and back "down" to C).
 - When both buttons are disabled, it will play any of these 6 notes randomly.
 - Set up to 5 transpositions and press multiple keys and your head might explode!

I'm finding that by experimenting with the ordering of offsets and key presses I am taken down some creative compositional pathways I would not have otherwise explored.  I'm sure that I'm breaking some rules from Music 101 but that's where the coolest stuff gets discovered!  (I have other sequencers and arps that follow the rules.)

And here I was thinking one of several possibilities was at play:

1)  My particular unit has an arpeggiator that's possessed by the devil himself
2)  I'm having trouble figuring it out because I'm just getting old and modern technology has outrun me....
3)  ...Even worse, modern technology outran me back in the late 70's or early 80's when this arp strategy was first concocted
4)  Someone stole the page of the manual that properly explains all this
5)  All of the above

... but your post is encouraging  :)
Prophet 10, OB-X8m, Prophet 6, OB-6, Prophet 12m, Prophet Rev2-16, Toraiz AS-1, Pro 2, Virus TI2, Moog SlimPhatty, Hydrasynth desktop, Korg Minilogue XDm, Roland JP-8080, Roland System-8, Roland SPD-SX SE / Octapad, Maschine, Cubase/Ableton/Akai MPC

Re: Arpeggiator Help?
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2023, 07:57:21 AM »
It helped me to think of it as a double arpeggiator.  Here's my (newbie) understanding:

By default, each held key will play once, in the order pressed (assuming direction "up" is enabled.)

Pressing "mode" and one of the 6 buttons adds a "secondary arp" for each pressed key.  Each note held will play 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 additional transposed notes.

By default these transpositions are one octave apart. (This has nothing to do with the Transpose Down/Up buttons which offset the source note.)  Holding Mode and Arpeggiate, I can press up to 5 keys to set the offset distances to be played for this secondary sequence (as measured in steps from C0.)

So if I would like to arpeggiate a major triad out of order, say 1-5-3, I can hold Mode and Arp, and press G0 and then E0.  To add my 2 transposed notes, I hold Mode and press the 3rd button ("down"),  Now if I hold "C", I get an arp sequence of C-G-E...  If I hold D, it now plays D-A-F#...

But holding multiple notes is where it gets tricky!  The layering of steps is the reverse of my intuition. 
 - If set to "up" and I hold C+D, I'll hear C-D-G-A-E-F#... 
 - If set to "down" I'll hear D-C-A-G-F#-E. 
 - If both "up" and "down" are enabled, it plays C-D-G-A-E-F#-E-A-G-D...  (goes "up" to F# and back "down" to C).
 - When both buttons are disabled, it will play any of these 6 notes randomly.
 - Set up to 5 transpositions and press multiple keys and your head might explode!

I'm finding that by experimenting with the ordering of offsets and key presses I am taken down some creative compositional pathways I would not have otherwise explored.  I'm sure that I'm breaking some rules from Music 101 but that's where the coolest stuff gets discovered!  (I have other sequencers and arps that follow the rules.)

And here I was thinking one of several possibilities was at play:

1)  My particular unit has an arpeggiator that's possessed by the devil himself
2)  I'm having trouble figuring it out because I'm just getting old and modern technology has outrun me....
3)  ...Even worse, modern technology outran me back in the late 70's or early 80's when this arp strategy was first concocted
4)  Someone stole the page of the manual that properly explains all this
5)  All of the above

... but your post is encouraging  :)

I dropped a new topic with my own manual for how to use every aspect of the arp. It should help explain things :)