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The OWL | News

Latest Posts

  1. Demo Videos

    We’ve made a few videos showing off some of the new patches and functionality. Enjoy!

  2. OwlNest Rev04.004b

    We’re pleased to present Rev04.004b of the OwlNest, with updates to support new features in the latest OWL firmware. The new release is available for download from GitHub.

    Remote Control

    You can now switch the OWL pedal into remote control mode from the OwlNest. This lets you change parameter values by sending MIDI Control Change messages to the device. The MIDI messages can come from any DAW, another MIDI device, or even a web browser using the new Web MIDI API.

    The new OwlNest has a button to enable Remote Control on the device. When set, this also enables the GUI knobs, letting you control the OWL directly from the OwlNest.

    OwlNest Screenshot Remote Control

    The parameters are mapped out to MIDI CC values 20 to 24, representing knobs A, B, C, D and the expression pedal input E. The full set of MIDI mappings is available in the source file OpenWareMidiControl.h. Remote control can be switched with CC 27 (127 for on, 0 for off). Remote control is always off when the pedal boots.

    Single Mode

    The Patch API now includes methods to get and set the status of the pushbutton. This means that you can write patches that uses the button for anything you like: looping, tap-tempo, triggers.

    As you know, the pushbutton is usually mapped to swapping between the Red and Green patch slot. If you select Patch Mode: Single, then only the Green patch will be active, and in full control of the button.

    Screenshot from 2014-07-09 17:33:58

    We have developed a patch which demonstrates the API, called Karplus Strong. The patch uses the button to trigger sounds, by synthesising a string being strummed. The LED changes to red for the duration of the note. To try it out, simply load the Karplus Strong patch in the Green slot, and remember to enable Single mode!

  3. New Firmware Release: Rev04.004

    It’s been a little while since our last release and we’ve had lots of contributions since then. We’ve wrapped them all up in this mega-firmware, which also comes with some fancy new features!

    The release comprises a record 56 patches. Contributions from the FAUST project means we have lots of great Guitarix effects. There are also many updates to previously released patches: check out the re-vamped Ring Modulator, and new additions such as the Moog Drive, Digital Mayhem, Reverse Reverb and Psyche Filter.

    The full list of patches is listed on the wiki. It includes numbers showing the approximate number of ARM CPU cycles per sample, and the memory used by each patch. This gives an indication of what patches are likely to run well in parallel or series.

    The total number of cycles per sample shouldn’t exceed 3500, and the total number of bytes available is 1Mb (which is precisely 1048576 bytes).

    These two bits of information can now be gleaned at runtime from the device by clicking ‘Device Info’ in the OwlNest. Along with the firmware version it will show two numbers, e.g.: “OWL Rev04-004 (1661 | 67320)”.

    OwlNest Rev04.004 Screenshot

    In my case, this shows that the currently active patch, DroneBox, is using slightly less than half of the available 3500 cycles. If the mode is set to parallel or series, then this will indicate the total time (in cycles) for both patches. The memory always shows the total for both the red and green slots. With DroneBox and FreeVerb selected, I’m using 65Kb of RAM.

    To get the latest version, simply spark up the OwlNest, go to Tools / Download Firmware From Server and select Rev04-004. Or get it from GitHub.

    There’s a couple more new features, which we will tell you more about tomorrow when we release binaries of the updated OwlNest!

  4. OWL @ NIME 2014

    OWL will be at the NIME2014 conference at Goldsmiths on the 3rd and 4th July (the conference runs from 30th June – 4th July), presenting the project on the 3rd and participating in the Technology Cafe event in the Great Hall on the 4th.

    The schedule is packed with a wide range of presentations, workshops, installations and performances with the BEAM festival running alongside. Hope to see you there!



  5. OWL and Faust

    Another step towards bringing creative tools for non C++ coders for the OWL ecosystem!

    The team from Lyon based Grame research center is developing a great language called FAUST (Functional Audio Stream). It is a functional programming language specifically designed for real-time signal processing and synthesis. FAUST targets high-performance signal processing applications and audio plug-ins for a variety of platforms and standards.

    We are happy to announce that there is now an OWL target available in Faust, thanks to the amazing Yann Orlarey. This means any OWL user can create a Patch from FAUST effects. Have a look at the online collection: www.faust.grame.fr

    Here is a quick video that shows a basic synthesis example:

  6. OWL + PureData: AlphaTesters Wanted

    We have been working over the past few months with the amazing Martin Roth and Joe White from Section6. They develop a compiler for PureData which is called Tannhäuser. What does it mean for the OWL community?

    In a nutshell, it means that  OWL users will soon be able to create their own  patches in PureData, which is an open-source, cross-platform, easy to use graphical programming environment. No more C++ required! Yay!

    Together with Section6, we are launching an alpha-test program, and are looking for a dozen interested OWL owners that meet the following criteria

    • familiarity with the procedure of building firmwares using the OwlWare Makefile
    • some experience creating their own OWL patches
    • familiarity with PureData

    If you would like to take part in the alpha-test, please send us an email (hoxtonowl at gmail dot com) and we will send you more info.


    the OWL team


  7. OWL at Messe: Video

    Andy from Sonic State came to visit us at the Alex4 stand at Frankfurt Musikmesse. We talked about our Rebel Technology modules, current prototypes, and the OWL pedal – check out the video:

  8. Frankfurt Musikmesse 2014

    Meet the OWL team at the Messe – and see some of the new stuff we have got coming up!

    We will be at the Alex4 stall (Hall 5.1 surround, Booth C54) from Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th March, showing the OWL pedal and Rebel Technology modules.

    Along with the existing projects we have some very exciting news to share and demonstrate, including :

    • OWL in Eurorack format: voltage controlled parameters and packed full of modular goodness
    • PD patches on the OWL! We will show a beta demo of our collaboration with the team behind the Tannhauser Pure Data compiler
    • DEX extensible, modular mixer: first in a new series of Rebel Technology modules
    • Bit Reactor: Ryan Sarver’s famous low-fi bit crusher in modular form

    Contact us via twitter or by emailing us (info(at)hoxtonowl.com) if you want to arrange a meeting. Hope to see you there!

    Tom, Martin, Guillaume and Sasha (L to R)

    Owl team

  9. New Software Release

    We’re excited to be releasing a new version of the OwlNest and OwlWare – lots of new features and improvements!

    Our main focus has been to improve the firmware update procedure, so that this can be done smoothly. With the new version of the OwlNest you can download firmware updates directly from our website, as well as update the device from file. The update process is also much improved with a progress bar and much better stability.
    For the firmware, the main exciting new feature is that you can run patches in series or parallel mode. In series mode, the output of the green patch is further processed by the red patch – on both channels. In parallel mode, the green patch processes the left channel while the red patch does the right. Synchronously and simultaneously! Pressing the pushbutton to switch between red and green lets you set the parameters for the two patches independently. You can still run the pedal in the default Dual mode, with only one patch running at a time and the button switching the currently active patch.

    We have also implemented a filter for the parameters and numerous other improvements which we hope you will appreciate!

    Mac and Windows binaries are available on the OwlNest page – Linux version coming soon!

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