Pyramid arpeggiator, what is happening?

Hello everyone,

One thing I always noticed in my Pyramid using the arpeggiator fx is that it often repeats the first note 2 times before starting arpeggiating regularly.
I “solved” the problem by not using the arpeggiator but today I was wondering again if there is a way to make it work properly or if I’m doing something wrong.
All other devices I have with arpeggiators work normally.

I attach here a video to explain what I mean, at 0:15 the arpeggiator goes fine, all the other times you can hear that the first note is repeated 2 times instead of one at the first “round” of the arpeggiator.

which arpeggiation style do you have selected?

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“up” mode, but it behaves like this in every mode

Are there any other FX on?
Does this still happen if you turn the tempo down by 50% or 75%?

No other fx active, happens with every kind of tempo

Does it do the same with a recorded chord, or one you have programmed in using a
step mode?

It doesn’t do it with a recorded chord, it does it in live mode. I attached a video in the first post in which I show the behaviour

If you don’t get the problem with recorded notes it seems like the appegiator FX itself works okay and so it seems the problem is with the MIDI coming in, or the processing the Pyramid is doing to it, before it hits the arpeggiator. It’s difficult to say what though. Try Pyramid’s keypads to play a chord - if that works okay it would seem the problem lies with the MIDI before it gets to Pyramid - if not maybe check through your settings and double check the quantiser is off (or perhaps try turning it on). If you find something that even alters the behaviour it may give you a clue. Good luck!

Is it a retriggering issue? Sounds a lot like when I play with arps and am ahead of the beat.

When I use the same controller with an arp FX in Cubase it works fine, I don’t think it’s the midi signal going into the Pyramid

Could be, but arp FX in cubase work fine with the same controller (and the same key “player” of course, me)

Okay, it could be something to do with the settings you have set on Pyramid. Or possibly to do with other MIDI devices/hosts you have wired up. There’s lots of variables with either of these possibilities and, as I’m sure you know, trouble shooting these sort of things is easier the simpler the setup you use. So if you are going from your controller MIDI out to Pyramid’s MIDI in and from Pyramid’s MIDI A out to MIDI in of a sound device or a setup that’s equally simple, and the problem persists it is likely that the answer lies with the settings on Pyramid.

One setting I would think that might possibly cause this behaviour could be the Live Looper setting (if it was enabled). But I’m just guessing really. You may need to go through changing a few different settings (e.g. the Default Quantize in the Misc settings menu, or a few in the MIDI in and MIDI out settinigs menus) to see if any of those help.

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And back to my question, the retrigger settings would need to be the same (e.g. key vs 1/4 note, etc). If the retrigger settings retrigger on keypress, playing ahead of the beat doesn’t matter. If it retriggers on 1/4 notes, playing ahead of the beat will have different results.

Just guessing and I don’t know the settings options off the top of my head but this is one of the (many!) reasons I tend to sequence my music instead of playing keys live.

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The midi routing is very simple: M Audio keystation midi into Pyramid midi in/Pyramid midi out into Doepfer dark energy midi in.
I don’t know about the Live looper function, I’ve never used it or enabled it I think

Are the retrigger settings in the settings page?
Arp fx doesn’t seem to have a page in which you set the retrigger

That sounds about as simple as it could be. That should mean there’s little to confuse the issue. Are you using any external clock source into the Pyramid or powering it from a computer or USB hub? I took a closer look at your video clip and I can see that Pyramid was stopped at the time. It also appears that the right arrow key (>) is flashing (I’m not sure what that represents, it’s not something I’ve noticed on my Pyramid).

Sorry, I checked the manual and it seems the Live Looper setting probably wouldn’t cause this. I haven’t used it either but I had read something about some quantising being involved (and I can’t help wondering if your Pyramid is doing some quantising somehow), But it’s only the end point that gets ‘quantised’ so any loop that’s recorded using it will have a length that’s at least in whole beats (rather than being some weird and awkward fraction of a bar). It doesn’t quantise what you play as I had been thinking. It’s probably good that it’s off though - it’s one less thing to be concerned with.

It does seem like Pyramid somehow sees your chords as being played ‘before the beat’ like what @sirshannon says. Like perhaps the arpeggiator needs the chord to play on or after the ‘1’ of the bar and that you have somehow managed to play all but one of those chords just before the ‘1’ (!). But if Pyramid is not playing you’d think there would be no ‘1’ anyway. Never-the-less it might be worth extending the length of the track that would be recorded on so that it was definitely more than a bar (perhaps extend to 4 or even more to give the appegiator plenty of room and for you to play more than once). With a bit of luck the chords you play, at least in the middle of the track/pattern, will not produce the repeated notes. Also perhaps try recording so you can check where in the bar(s) you chords land and if there are any repeated notes. If you heard the repeated note(s) and it isn’t recorded is that because it lands on or very near the ‘1’ of the first bar?

If this gets you no further take a look through the settings menus. The setting I think @sirshannon was referring to is the Pattern Delay. I would set this (or keep it set) to ‘same as seq perform’ and I’d change it in the SEQ mode (SEQ Perform) to ‘instant’ but you could set it in the Misc settings as a default (you need to ‘save settings’ if you want it or any other settings in the menu to remain after powering down). The one I’d start with in the MIDI in menu would be USB Clock Sync (check it is set to ‘off’). You could also check the Clock Sync is ‘off’ and perhaps try changing the MIDI Echo setting. In the MIDI out settings I’d check the MIDI A Mode was to ‘out’, same with the MIDI B Mode. In the Misc Menu I’d check the Default Quantize was ‘off’ and also the USB (output) was ‘off’. You may spot some others you might like to try changing.

I hope that helps.

Pyramid is powered from its psu, there is no connection to any usb device. I could consider playing errors if it happened with every device I play with.
There should be a function somewhere that make the arp start at the beat and not immediately as you press, like there is in the play mode of the seq. section of the Pyramid. I will check it back next week

I wasn’t/am not at my desk and was thinking of a few different devices. The DAW settings would still matter compared to the Pyramid settings (quantize, retrigger, etc) but I don’t remember the Pyramid settings or defaults for arp and quantize fx. (I am also starting to get confused about Pyramid vs Hapax functionality if not sitting at my desk using one/both.)

I didn’t mean to suggest it was to do with your playing (in case you thought I did). More that the chances of you having happened to have played all but one of the chords in that video just before ‘the beat’ (which shouldn’t even exist in your setup and with Pyramid not playing) were very unlikely. The arpeggiator really ought not to work like that, I’d think it should just play the notes in the order according to its arp style, irrespective of when the initial note is played, and the timing and length of the notes would be determined by the rate and gate settings (and Pyramid’s BPM). But in your case it doesn’t do that, at least not most of the time. So we’re looking for reasons why it might not work as expected. To be fair I’m just guessing. But if you think, ‘could it be that’, perhaps you can find a way to test that hypothesis and potentially get to the bottom of it, and perhaps find a solution or at least get some sort of understanding as to why it doesn’t work in your setup.

From what you have said about your setup there isn’t really anything else that could be having an effect. So now, I don’t think the Pyramid settings I suggested that you check would make a difference with the possible exception of the MIDI A Mode (or MIDI B Mode, if you were using the MIDI B out), I’d make sure that was set to ‘out’. I think it is possible setting it to ‘out and thru’ could mean what the controller sends out could be confusing the issue. But I’d guess you probably have it set to ‘out’ anyhow (its the default setting).

Maybe it is to do with the way Pyramid and Dark Energy interact. Maybe DE just doesn’t ‘like’ the way Pyramid processes and sends its arps. Maybe it’s a setting on the DE - it does have a ‘retrigger’ parameter option. I’m not sure if this would work but you could try sending a Program Change message (from Pyramid) to the DE when iit’s in ‘learn mode’ to turn its retrigger parameter ‘on’ (I believe the default is ‘off’). When it is off it will play notes that you play legato with the same envelope, that is to say, by Ignoring the gate from a subsequent note you play while a previous one is still held (so not triggering a new envelope) but still changing the pitch. Setting it to ‘on’ will result in a new envelope with each note you press even if a previous note is still held. To me this shouldn’t make a difference, either should mean a new pitch. And Pyramid’s arp should generate seperate notes anyway, but maybe exactly how it does that isn’t quite like how I would have thought. MIDI can be confusing and different devices deal with it in differing ways. Sometimes you just have to test these things out. By the way, I’m looking at the DE III manual, and don’t know if earlier DEs allow you to change this function or which DE version you have. If you want to try I’d take a look at the DE manual (section 3.3.3) to find out how on the DE side. For the Pyramid side perhaps create a new project with just a couple of tracks each with only the relevant Program Change numbers in them (one for ‘off’ one for ‘on’), so you don’t accidentally change your DE’s reference pitch by sending a MIDI note. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be something you can change without being in ‘learn mode’.

It might be that the pitch CV gets converted from MIDI too late compared to the gate. And for some reason, that I couldn’t really even guess at, this tends to only get late enough on the second note of the arp. You could try using Pyramid’s analogue gate out ipatched to the DE’s gate in n the hope that the MIDI to CV conversion on Pyramid delayed (all) the triggers from the arp enough to ensure the note value was (always) converted by the DE before the gate triggered the envelope. If you have any modular gear you might be able to patch up a gate delay (this would give you more control and range for the delay). You could take the DE’s gate out to a slope/function generator with an end of rise or fall gate and patch that output back into the DE’s gate input.

At some point these possible ‘solutions’ become more troublesome (and a whole lot less likely to work) than programming your own arps on Pyramid!

I think as others have pointed out, its to do with note order, and the fact there is no live quantisation.

(there are already very long topics about live quantisation, so Im not going into details here)

so, notes will always come in sequentially even when you play a chord.
its only quantisation, that makes chord exactly start at the same time.
and its the quantisation that ‘fixes’ the issue (on the repeat loop)

you can demonstrate this to yourself, by recording a chord, and looking at the micro-time offsets.

the issue here, is the ARP is not quantised nor are the notes, so the ARP starts as soon as it gets the first note, and goes from there, thats why we hear different patterns on the first live input.

you can also see this clearly on the live pads, depending on what pad the Pyramid detects you play first, the pattern will alter the first time around

you can also replicate the issue by programming chords in step mode, and changing the offset ever so slightly, and see how it gets played (with quantisation OFF)

so why the double note??
well, the pyramid sees the lowest note, before its got the other notes… and so is acting as if this is a one note arp… so just plays it again.

now, I should stress this is just what I think happening… so, I do not think its your setup.
BUT Im not saying it’s what I think should happen, similarly, Im not from Squarp , so cannot say if this is intended behaviour.

I think what you need to do is raise it with Squarp via the contact form , and discuss with them, if. they think there is a solution.

I cannot really think of a workaround… other than to use the smart pads (or assign note to smartpad) , these don’t have the same issue, since the chord is see in ‘one go’ - but thats not really a good solution.

so really, your best bet is, as above, to talk to Squarp.