Using Stuff Wrong, episode 2: Mimetic Digitalis
Welcome back Using Stuff Wrong, my personal favorite blog series where we use modules in ways they weren’t really intended to be used. Today, we’ll be using Mimetic Digitalis to create logic gates. Let’s go!
While it may seem a little overkill to use a module like MD for logic, sometimes it’s good to know everything you can do with a piece of your system. And, because I’m a nerd, I do this kind of stuff for fun. So now you can enjoy my weird patches, too!
How’s this gonna work?
We’re going to be using gates into the CV inputs on MD. As long as your gate signal is around 5 volts, this will work exactly like I show it working in this post. If your gates aren’t that strong, fear not! Just adjust the high steps to match the voltage on your MD (for instance, if inputting a gate to the X in on MD only takes you to step three, use step three instead of step four for your logic programming).
One gate will go into the X CV in, and one will go into the Y CV in. We won’t be using the clock/trigger inputs at all; it’s all in the sequence programming. We’ll just be using channel 1 of MD for this, so your final output will be the channel 1 CV out (but more on multiple channels later).
What is this logic you speak of?
If you’ve heard this “logic” term thrown about but have no idea what the difference is between NOR, OR, and XOR, or why you’d care, we have a couple links for you (here and here). In short, these refer to logical operators for Boolean Algebra. Not a math person? Don’t panic. There is zero math required here, other than knowing that 0 (which represents false) is not the same as 1 (which represents true).
Cool. But first, how do I easily program MD?
For this task, we’ll be setting steps as high as they’ll go, or off. Select the channel you want to edit by pressing the corresponding button (for instance, to edit channel 1, press the 1 button so the LED turns on, and press any other channels that are on to turn them off). I like to start with a sequence empty; to clear that channel’s sequence, press Load + Zero. For steps that have to be high, navigate to the desired step with the N, X, and Y buttons, then press and turn the encoder until the step is at max.
NOT/Inverter, or NOR
For the NOR one, we’ll just be using one gate. Plug it into the X CV input. Set all the steps to 0, and set step 1 as high as it’ll go. When your gate is high, the voltage drops to 0, and when your gate is low, the voltage goes high. To use it as a NOR gate, plug your second gate into the Y CV.
Okay, we’ll be using two gates from now on, so keep your second gate patched to the Y CV. Set all your steps to 0, except the last one; set that as high as it’ll go. When X or Y goes high, nothing happens, but when both go high, it’ll take you to step 16, and your gate will go high.
Set step 1 to 0, and set steps 4, 13, and 16 high. When X, Y, or X and Y go high, you get a gate.
Set steps 1, 4, and 13 high, and 16 to 0. When X or Y are high, or when neither are high, you get a gate, but if both are high, you don’t.
Set steps 4 and 13 high, and the rest to 0. When one of your gates goes high, you get a gate, but if both or neither are high, you don’t.
Set step 1 and 16 high, and the rest to 0. When both gates are high or low, you get a gate, otherwise you don’t.
That was kinda fun, but let’s make it more interesting
Since we have 4 channels of CV on MD, we can do a lot more with it here. For example, we can use up to four types of logic at the same time. For instance, program in an AND gate on channel one, an XNOR on channel 2, a NOT on channel 3… You get the idea. Plus, the trigger output gives you a ping every time a step moves (regardless of what the channel outputs are doing), so you can do more stuff with that too, like make an entire drum beat out of logic and two gates!
Making an entire drum beat out of logic and two gates
So here’s a video of that.
Using modules in creative ways is fun! Got some ideas of your own? Send them over or tag us in a post on Instagram! We love seeing your ideas.