Just Friends: Version Three
It's new, but mostly not. Expand your friends' digital literacy
Upon first release, Just Friends was finished. There was considered to be no path toward 'firmware upgrades' and a bootloader was very nearly left off the module altogether. But for one thing, Just Type, a digital communication layer between Just Friends and monome's Teletype. After a failed attempt to shoe-horn in the functionality, and the whole RUN-jack ordeal in late 2016, rewriting the software (along w changes to the hardware) didn't seem such a bad idea.
The main thing one will notice on first use is that the CURVE control has been switched around – sine and square waves have switched sides. The driving force here was to improve the transition into the square shape; a much more natural fit with the fast-rising logarithmic shape. Many smoother flavours of PWM are thus available.
While Just Type is admittedly aimed at a small userbase of scripting Eurorack users, the broader benefit is that the synthesis engine has been brought into a new RUN mode. SIFT has been removed (it's mostly accessible from SHIFT) and SPILL moved, thus now FLOOM mode can be present. This new mode provides an internal modulation oscillator on every channel. Thus each voice is a 2-operator FM voice. The ratio of the oscillators can be set via RUN voltage, and modulation amount via the FM knob & cv input.
A prior bug in STRATA mode has been remedied, and a hardware calibration mode has been added (though remains mostly unnecessary). Otherwise Just Friends remains largely the same.
See the JF Firmware Update Instructions for how to complete the update.
- sine & square waveshapes have switched sides of CURVE knob
- logarithm <-> square transition preserves polarity of PWM
- transient & sustain modes no longer reverse through zero with negative FM
- Fixes rare bug where these modes would get stuck cycling
- Decay is now smoothed logarithmically, relative to TIME
- Crash when FM-ing sustain level / FM input fixed
- Burst count is sampled per trigger (can be sequenced via RUN jack)
- Burst count scales exponentially, up to 36 triggers at +5v input
- RUN values below -3v5 will cause a trigger to choke the respective channel
- SIFT (deprecated. use SHIFT w positive CV offset into TIME)
- Decay time sampled per trigger (can be sequenced via RUN jack)
- Decay time range is increased & exponentially distributed
- Reconfigured for less chaotic, and more spectrally-defined use
- Only ID is cycling & will trigger receptive channels at end-of-cycle
- Retriggered channels will soft-sync (change direction)
- Each channel cycles & has individual sine-wave VCO for FM
- FM ratio controlled by RUN
- +5v ratio is 2:1 *crystals*
- 0v ratio is 1:1 *wavefolder*
- -5v ratio is 1:2 *grumble grumble*
- FM pot controls internal FM amount with standard INTONE / LINEAR response
- FM cv input acts as a FM-index offset (negative values decrease modulation)
Herein Just Type is explained to some extensive degree.
You shouldn't need this, but just in case! Furthermore, if things go awry you can perform a 'factory reset' to return to the pretty-damn-accurate default settings (see below below).
Calibration mode is launched at startup similarly to the bootloader, but with all knobs fully CW (maximum pots, sound, cycle, RUN jack inserted). Calibration settings are saved on-chip, so you'll only have to do this once.
- Turn off your synthesizer & set controls: all pots fully CW, sound, cycle, cable in RUN
- Turn on the power. You should only see IDENTITY lit, signaling calibration mode
- Connect your tuning voltage source to TIME. Set it to 0V output
- Switch to shape mode. 2N will light
- Set your voltage source to 2V
- Switch to sustain mode. 3N will light
- Switch back to cycle mode. 4N will light after a small delay while settings are saved
- Switch to sound mode. Just Friends will restart with your new settings.
Now each time you run JF it will use your custom calibrated values. Of course you can set different voltage offsets & tuning for truly weird behaviour. If JF is too fast, you could calibrate it to 1V & 3V to shift the pitch range down by an octave with no cable attached. Or calibrate to 2.4V for buchla standard 1.2V/octave. You probably just want to do it as outlined above though..
nb: The calibration settings will be retained even when re-flashing the firmware, so no need to re-do it each time you update.
nb: If you make a mistake with the switches in calibration mode it will just exit and use the existing setup. You can rerun the procedure as many times as you need.
If you need to return to the factory tuning settings, follow the below steps:
- Turn off your synth & set the calibration mode settings (All knobs fully CW, sound, cycle, cable in RUN)
- Turn on & you'll be in calibration mode. IDENTITY will be lit
- Turn all knobs fully CCW
- Switch to shape. The module will pause for a brief moment while it overwrites the custom tuning, then restart as normal.