Mutable Instruments has announced MIDIpal – described as ‘a small and smart MIDI processor’.
To use it, you insert it between a MIDI keyboard (or sequencer) and a MIDI sound module, and it modifies the MIDI signals in musically interesting ways. For example, it can be used as an arpeggiator, chord memory, step sequencer, scale mapper, randomizer, clock divider and more.
CDM’s Peter Kirn talked with MIDIpal creator Émilie Gillet, who had this to say about the MIDI device:
One side of the MIDIpal is that it tries to be a “Swiss Army knife” for MIDI. The MIDIpal provides “plumbing” features for filtering events and channels. There are a few built-in modules for doing that (by lack of better terminology, they are called “apps”), but it can be programmed more in-depth with an editor.
The other side is MIDI event processing for creative purposes. The MIDIpal UI is deliberately minimalistic (one encoder). It’s obviously not something you perform “on”; it’s more something you set up and perform “with,” from your keyboard.
In a sense, the 49 or 61 keys of the keyboard are the real interface of the MIDIpal when used with those apps, including the classic arpeggiator and chord memory, a delay that can also transpose echoes and skew their velocity, and a scale processor which rounds all notes to a defined scale.
- 69€ assembled board – to be built into your custom case or DIY project.
- 89€ assembled board with DIY plexiglas case.
- 109€ fully assembled in a gorgeous aluminum case.
Here are some examples of how the MIDIpal can be used:
- Keyboard-controlled drums sequencer. Control a drum module from a keyboard by triggering and combining patterns — one for each key of a 49 keys keyboard. Create mesmerizing Euclidean drum patterns.
- Note randomizer: Randomize note values, velocity, and send random CC at each key press.
- Chord memory: Enjoy the classic chord memory feature of early 80s synths.
- Arpeggiator: Arpeggiate your chords. 4 modes (up, down, up&down, random), 15 rhythmic patterns, adjustable tempo, rhythmical division, gate and groove, syncable to MIDI clock.
- Delay: ay ay ay… Up to 32 echoes added after each note, transposition and velocity adjustment for creating feedback arpeggio effects, syncable to MIDI clock.
- Scale: Never miss a note in a solo… The scale mapper replaces each note you play by its nearest neighbour in one of the 25 preset scales.
- Step sequencer: The tiniest step sequencer! Up to 32 step can be sequenced, with note duration, note value, velocity, and CC control at each step.
MIDI message generation
- Clock: Make your MIDI setup groove! MIDI clock source with adjustable tempo and adjustable groove/shuffle/humanization patterns, from super-tight to funky.
- CC LFO: Generate up to 4 tempo-synced LFO and cyclic automation movements for any MIDI Control Change (CC) message.
- CC knob: Use the MIDIpal as a knob to send any CC or NRPN message.
- Controller: Up to 8 sensors / potentiometers (or any voltage source) can be connected to the MIDIpal board, turning it into a versatile “brain” for sensing applications.
- Ear training game: A fun note / interval recognition game.
- Monitor: Sometimes things go wrong with a MIDI setup… Use the MIDIpal as a trusted source to display the stream of MIDI messages coming from a cable.
- BPM counter: Use the MIDIpal to check the accuracy of a MIDI clock signal coming from a sequencer or drum machine.
- Channel filter: Remove all MIDI messages coming from a specific channel.
- Splitter: Control several synths from a single keyboard by routing one half of the keyboard to a MIDI channel, the other half to another.
- Dispatcher: Play a rack of monophonic synths like a polysynth. The MIDIpal will automatically route each note of a chord to a differentMIDI channel.
- Channel Merger: Merge several MIDI channels into a single MIDI stream.
- Clock divider: Create a slower subdivision of a MIDI clock.
If there’s something else you’d like it to do, MIDIpal can be programmed with new features.
The MIDIpal is available at the Mutable Instruments site.
via Peter Kirn