Doepfer Introduces R2M Ribbon Controller

Doepfer ribbon controllerDoepfer has announced that its R2M Ribbon Controller is now available. R2M is a ribbon controller that generates control signals by moving the finger on the ribbon manual. The output signals are generated as Midi and CV/Gate control voltages simultaneously. Consequently R2M allows to control both Midi and CV/Gate based equipment (e.g. analog synthesizers or analog modular systems). R2M is the abbreviation for Ribbon to (2) MIDI.

R2M is made of two parts: the manual and the control box. For the manual the same type as the for the modular version A-198 is used. It includes a 50 cm position sensor and a pressure sensor. The control box converts the data coming from the manual (finger position and pressure) into the corresponding Midi data resp. CV/Gate voltages. The control box is available even without manual to make use of an already existing A-198 manual and take advantage of the additional features of the R2M control unit compared to the comparatively simple A-198.

These are the most important R2M features:

  • very precise and sensitive position sensor (length 50 cm) that responds even to light finger touch
  • simple pressure sensor located below the position sensor (the pressure sensor is made with conductive rubber and works not as accurate as the precise position sensor. The resistance of the conductive rubber changes with varying pressure but the coherence between pressure and resistance is not very accurate. Even some difference of the pressure sensor behaviour over the length of the manual may be possible as the conductive rubber has tolerances over this length)
  • solid metal frame (double U-shape profile), silver-grey color
  • several M3 threads on all sides (e.g. to mount the manual on a base or to mount several manuals together or to fix a strap or …)
  • measures: about 600 length x 30 width x 18 height (measures in mm)
  • weight: about 900 g
  • connection to the control box via 4-pin cable (same as used for USB connections but no USB function )
  • cable included, length 1m (longer cables are available at extra charge, a standard USB cable type A-A can be used)
    • receives the analog resistance data coming from the position and pressure sensor of the manual and converts these information into Midi date resp. CV/Gate voltages
    • operation via 10 buttons, 6 blue LEDs and illuminated 2 line LCD
    • these MIDI messages can be assigned to the two sensors:
    • o note on/off without pitch bend
    • o note on/off with pitch bend
    • o pitch bend
    • o after touch
    • o any MIDI controller (any control change number)
    • o program change
  • “Trautonium” mode: in this special mode only a single note on message is generated when the position sensor is touched. After that only pitch bend messages are generated until the finger is lifted off. Attention! This mode requires that the MIDI receiver (e.g expander or software synthesizer/ emulation) offers a sufficient pitch bend range (e.g. 5 octaves if a 5 octave “Trautonium” has to be emulated) and sufficient pitch bend resolution so that no steps can be heard. If for e.g. the maximum pitch bend width of the receiver is one octave only even the trautonium mode will work only over one octave ! For details about the Trautonium please refer to the Trautonium document on our web site.
  • Adjustable pitch bend width to adjust the R2M pitch bend to the receiver’s pitch bend (pitch bend is not an absolute MIDI message, the full pitch bend data range may correspond in the receiver e.g. to +/- one semitone, +/- one quint, +/- one octave and so on)
  • 12 bit pitch bend resolution
  • MIDI channel, control change number and pitch scale can be adjusted
  • quantization option, i.e. only certain notes resp. control voltages (e.g. only major or minor notes) are generated, for details please refer to the A-100 quantizer module A-156 as the quantization of the R2M is very similar.
  • adjustable manual scaling (i.e. which length of the manual corresponds to one octave, full length is max. 5 octaves)
  • inverse scaling is possible (important if e.g. the manual is put on with a strap)
  • arpeggiator function:
    • permanent arpeggio or synced a arpeggio
    • in case of synced arpeggio the tempo can adjusted at the R2M or MIDI clock can be used for arpeggio speed
    • the active incoming MIDI note on data (e.g. major chord) are triggered one after the other by moving the finger along the manual
    • octave multiplication 1…5 possible (i.e. the MIDI chord is copied up to max. 5 Octaves as note source for the arpeggio function, consequently arpeggios up to 5 octaves are possible even if only keys within one octave are pressed at the control keyboard connected to the MIDI input of the R2M)
  • MIDI input (only for arpeggio function, no merging of incoming MIDI data to the data generated by R2M)
  • MIDI output
  • resolution of the analog manual data: 12 Bit
  • simultaneous output of MIDI data and CV/Gate voltages
  • 2 CV outputs:
    • CV1 outputs the position sensor data (1V/octave standard, 0…max. +5V, i.e. max. 5 octaves)
    • CV2 outputs the pressure sensor data (0…+5V)
  • Gate output (corresponds to CV1)
  • Gate can be configured as voltage gate (0/+5V) or switched trigger (jumper inside the box)
  • adjustable gate polarity:
    • normal: 0 -> +5V when the sensor is touched
    • inverse: +5V -> 0V when the sensor is touched
  • CV output resolution: 12 Bit
  • all settings (e.g. scaling, quantization, arpeggio and so on) affect both MIDI and CV/Gate outputs
  • CV hold and active Gate are possible at the same time (was not possible for the A-198)
  • no CV drift in hold mode (A-198 has a small CV drift in hold mode)
  • 16 user defined presets (i.e. non volatile memory for 16 complete settings of the unit)
  • solid, silvergrey metal case (desktop shape)
  • measures: about 128 width x 91 depth x 26 height (front) resp. 42 height (rear, because of desktop shape, measures in mm)
  • weight: about 400g
  • external power supply (7-12V DC / min. 250mA required)


The R2M is available through the Doepfer site.

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