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  • Open the sources

    Hello, i've seen than you are surching for a dev, it should be so great to open the source code, than the comunity could devellop forks. I would like so much to use the BB as a looper for exemple, and i'm not sure that is the main dev orientation but if the code is open we could contribute by making it.

  • #2
    Hey Aaron and BB team,

    i have already expressed the importance of focusing on what I would consider "basic functionality" in previous posts (mainly copy-paste sequences [https://forum.1010music.com/forum/pr...d-up-workflow] as well as routing fx channels of pads to their respective outs [https://forum.1010music.com/forum/pr...ut-as-the-pad]) but having worked with the BB since 2019 I still find it odd that there is:

    a) no search function for samples or midis in the browser
    b) no indicator if a sample had already been used, or how often
    c) no sidescrolling in the menu to read longer file names (very important for music files!!)
    d) remembering the last destination of the imported midi file so I must browse the whole path again after each import..
    e) no possibility of previewing midi files via a "dummy synth"

    e) in particular just adds so much time and really refrains me from seriously working with midi in the black box (alongside the lack of copy/pasting sequences and reassigning sample slots) beyond creating a few basic sequences..

    let's say if I have downloaded some midi progressions in a sample pack and the sample pack has the path root/sample_company/pack/instrument/midi/midi_progression.mid and since there is no way to preview or at least look at the progression before importing (there isnt even a title scrolling function in the blackbox leaving you to guess which sample or file you have already used or imported since you mostly cannot see their ascending numbers)... I would have to import the file, see if I like it and if not browse the whole path again to import another file whose ending I cannot see because it is cut off from the screen.

    I hope you are with me on this one since I really do not understand how you possibly cannot prioritize these basic browsing / previewing functionalities which I am sure is not that hard to implement. If the fx routing is too much of a problem to implement, please let me know but fx is unusable with the blackbox as it is implemented currently.

    If you need manpower to implement these changes please let me or the community know as there sure are many skilled programmers that would take on the job possibly even without pay (or why not open up the firmware to the realm of open source and allow custom firmwares, support excluded?!)

    I hope the above finds you well and I really urge you to focus on a product that covers basic functionality first before adding fancy features (which are great as well, but it doesn't matter how well the solar panels work if the house is not fun to enter)...

    still a great fan of the BB, couldnt do what I do without it.
    Hey there Aaron and team, I would love to see the possibility to route the fx of a pad to the same output channel as the respective pad. I really don't see any benefit of routing all fx to output 1? this practically makes fx impossible to use on other pads in a live situation than pads routed to output 1.. if I want to cue

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    • #3
      The blackbox has a killer form factor for being on the go but the fact that actually creating sequences and managing sequences on it is so hard makes it basically impossible for me to use it. In my setup it's a glorified looper with some effects built-in and that's just sad.

      I bought the bb around firmware version 1.4 and since then not much has really changed in terms of improving the basic sequence workflow, nor has there been communication about the priorities of the team - something I do not understand in the slightest.
      I don't have much hope for it becoming open source unfortunately. And while I technically could try to reverse engineer the firmware (there are plenty of snapshots to diff in hex editors after all) it's more likely i'll just sell it again.

      It's the one piece of gear I _really_ regret buying

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      • #4
        Are you a C programmer experienced in embedded architecture? Aaron custom built the OS for these boxes from the ground up. I am just curious what you expect someone who has not been immersed in this custom platform can do...

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        • #5
          I hear ya, damn I wish someone would buy it off of me. Very pricey paperweight to me. Only piece of gear I’ve bought that I’ve had such buyers remorse for. Could have/should have been a really cool little sampling workstation

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          • #6
            As I've now got three of them, it's clear that the rules about 'basic functionality' vary hugely between users. There are things I'd like to be added - but I knew what was offered when I bought my first. Right now nothing else does what the BB does in terms of recording long chunks of audio so right now it has no competition, for my needs. I guess we're all different eh?

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            • #7
              I just got mine new a few weeks ago. The basic missing features are pretty absurd, especially for a product that's been out for two years. The note entry for the sequencer is quite unusable. I asked 1010 about this and was told that due to the small screen there was not much that could be done and that I should get a stylus... In truth there's plenty of room if there was proper implementation. I mean, it's been done more efficiently on far worse screens and there are in fact users on this very forum that have shown how it could be implemented better. As far as I'm aware there's no way to even clear a single pad's sequence at once, nor is there a way to revert back to the patch's saved state, nor separate tempos per sequence. Although perhaps the weirdest omission is the lack of a retrigger (note repeat) feature. Plus as the OP stated the copy and paste issue, etc. etc.

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              • #8
                In the interest of trying to move this forward, let me offer the following:

                Everyone has a different take on what is a basic fundamental feature and what is unnecessary. By all means, please start a wishlist thread about what you feel is missing. Nearly everything we have added to date was the result of a request of some kind. We are listening and are also overwhelmed with the number of requests.

                We just hired a full time developer who will start in August. It will help our pace of development. Thank you for your patience.

                Unless you are offering to implement your idea of missing features, asking us to go open source doesn't really accomplish anything beyond expressing your frustration.

                Thank you for your support.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Many of these frustration posts go back to the idea of buying a piece of gear for what it does, and not what you’d like it to do. A big part of that is fully researching what a piece of gear can do through videos and the online manual. Unfortunately BlackBox videos are not abundant like more popular beat like MPC One or Digitakt, etc.

                  The user Softroom is correct in stating that for some it’s very usable. Other posters are correct in stating their disappointment- it doesn’t do what they need it to do, so they should switch to a piece of gear that accomplishes their immediate needs. This may mean selling the unit at a loss, or enjoying its stability and build quality as a paper weight.

                  For me the BB is perfect for what I use it for, actually it excels and has too many unused features for my use case. I ask very little of it because it is just one piece in a group of gear. I sequence it with multiple, far superior sequencers. I manipulate and add effects to samples using other equipment and software before I load them onto the BlackBox.

                  The common theme for people who are let down by the BlackBox is expecting it to be able to be a substitute for more powerful pieces like DAW’s or groove boxes. The BlackBox is a simple sampler and sample player, with a few added features. For some it can be the main brain or even standalone workstation, I would say for most it can’t. For me the decision to buy it when it first came out was easy - a simple, small way to add 16 audio tracks to my Akai Force, and Elektron Digitakt and other gear. It’s also a fun piece to have in my lap, watching Netflix and sketching ideas and browsing massive sample libraries, collecting ideas to work on later.

                  There are many $5-$10 apps for iPhones that blow the BlackBox out of the water in terms of functionality and polish. A $400 iPad, a $100 midi controller, and $50 in apps will outperform the BB, in terms of outcome and final production, every day of the week. And you will still have $50 left over to get a camera connection kit to hook it all together.

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                  • #10
                    hey there and thank you all for chiming in and contributing with your experiences with the BB. Thank you Aaron in particular for taking note of this thread, it is much appreciated.

                    The discussion about what counts as basic functionality and what not I find not always justified. As the main criticism I have raised concerns browsing the samples and midi file library which by all means I would indeed consider "basic functionality". You don't know which file you are currently looking at because it is cut off from the screen <- anyone considering this an "advanced" feature leaves me baffled. Remembering the file path after importing a midi file to speed up the workflow, how could this not be considered basic? I will not go into my other points again, repeating myself doesn't implement these features faster, but what does in my honest opinion is making the firmware open source.

                    I know it is a big step to ask you, Aaron and your team, and it is not to say that I don't believe you are doing an amazing job already. Also the extra programmer is much appreciated and shows that the BB is far from reaching its full potential. But many great things have come from open source (Linux, Mozilla etc.. ) and many great communities have strived (Forge, Git, Stackoverflow...). There had been a similar discussion regarding the famous midifighter twister back in 2016 where many users were left alone with a great piece of hardware but a totally buggy firmware, rendering the device hardly usable (https://forum.djtechtools.com/showth...er+open+source). Ultimately Ean and his DJ Techtools team released the firmware to the public. This is not to say the BB is totally buggy and its firmware flawed like the MF Twister was, the BB is very stable, its developers very active and more new features are coming in than I had ever asked for, but the MF Twister and the BB are like world's apart. With the Twister just being quite a sophisticated midi controller, the BB is a supercomputer to today's music gear standards. It's potential is beyond imagination due to it's powerful processor and touch screen capabilities.

                    Now let's get back to the "basic functionality" discussion. What if the community could shape the BB in any way they wanted it, making it the most versatile hardware music production machine ever designed? Me personally, I don't need multisamples or granular synthesis. Maybe in the future but right now I couldn't care less. What I need is being able to route the audio fx to its individual outputs. I need that feature so bad I would happily give up other features for it. Sequential Circuits needs better optimized note entry.. so why not let him? All I am saying is that if the BB goes open source, everybody could cherry pick their features or optimize it to its liking. There are hardware devices going down this route, for example the Empress Zoia with a community allowing for downloading individual patches (or even games... I know so have you Aaron with the BB ) and I don't see any downside to it.

                    About the programming part. I myself am rather in the Webdevelopment part of it all and I know my Javascript will not help you much as I suppose the BB is coded in C, but the internet and this community is a big place and there sure are skilled developers around. Worst case the BB goes open source and nobody cares, but a device with this potential? Even non music guys might pick up on it simply to push it to its limits because this is what has happened throughout history with open source: you get a bunch of fellows that say, ok so thats the specs, thats the DAC thats the processor thats the refresh rate of the touchscreen etc etc.. now lets go ham on it and make it more powerful than its creators had imagined.

                    Of course you would not offer support or take responsibility for fried devices but wouldn't it make you proud to see what this little box is capable of if some nutjob dials it to 11?

                    To put it all together, I really don't want you or your team to take my proposal as an affront as to me the Black Box is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated devices of all time and I would never dare to call it a paper weight or insult its creators. I am just a perfectionist musician and want my gear a perfect fit and if I cannot buy that then I have to make it. So please take my suggestion only with best intentions. I and the community here are standing right behind you and your team, Aaron.
                    Last edited by Painting Silence; 07-01-2021, 11:35 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I see that most people who post in the wish list are asking for some novel functionality , usually similar to something on some other platform and these get the most votes. It is rare to see wish list posts that focus on functionality presently existing on blackbox and come forward asking for iterations that strengthen those features rather than adding some new tangent for the developers to branch off on. What I fear is that 1010 music's prioritizing of development resources mainly on what post in the wish list gets the most votes will keep the platform in dilettante / copy cat mode at the expense of making existing functionality more robust. I do understand that new features probably helps sell more units as it makes for better marketing copy, and attracts many music tech enthusiasts with gear accumulation syndrome, but I also think that iterating on existing features is what will keep the device relevant in the long run, attracting more pro and semi-pro users who have more exacting demands of their equipment, and those who follow in their steps. Blackbox is a uniquely capable and portable device standing on the threshold of greatness.

                      Comment


                      • Steve
                        Steve commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Rest assured, we are not driven by a wish list thread.

                      • Georges
                        Georges commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Speaking about the quest for novelty and about buying a device for what it currently does: the original recording menu back (pre-1.6) allowed for a much faster workflow. Now rolling back the firmware is an uncertain path at the additional cost of losing feature improvements.

                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Aaron View Post
                      Unless you are offering to implement your idea of missing features, asking us to go open source doesn't really accomplish anything beyond expressing your frustration.
                      Arguably you don't really have anything to lose by making the firmware open source. Sure, it's just an stm32, so anyone could come along and make their own board. But hardware design is far more complex and time consuming (*looks at half finished eurorack module projects*) than software design.

                      Open source has been adapted by a lot of companies because it gets more eyes on the code, and sure there can be forks of the firmware. But just write in your EULA that you don't support them and be done with it.



                      Originally posted by softroom View Post
                      As I've now got three of them, it's clear that the rules about 'basic functionality' vary hugely between users. There are things I'd like to be added - but I knew what was offered when I bought my first. Right now nothing else does what the BB does in terms of recording long chunks of audio so right now it has no competition, for my needs. I guess we're all different eh?
                      You are right about the blackbox being great at recording long chunks of audio. I think the main frustration for me is that the sequencing workflow fucking SUCKS. It's a tiny screen and I don't know, maybe I _am_ just too fat but when my fingers block half the screen, it's hard to program in a pattern. This isn't helped by having to enter _all_ notes in manually instead of having tools like extending a sequence (something my fucking 20 year old electribe EMX-1 could do..........), or copying.

                      It really feels like nobody in the development of this formware has _actually_ built several 8 bar loops on this thing.

                      So I used the blackbox only for live looping, recording stuff, and playing some stems, which is _fine_, but for that it is severely overpriced and over-powered in terms of hardware and other software capabilities. Not to mention that there's not even a great way to swap playing tracks instantly because you always have to go through the touch interface hierarchy (so you have to go back to home, which stops the currently playing track (or you have it set up that it keeps playing -- but now when you start a second track, because there's no choke groups, the live track keeps playing over the recorded one, etc).

                      It's not really about having bought the blackbox for what it _could_ do, I bought it for what it _can_ do. But it just does these things so poorly that it's no fun to use...


                      Originally posted by Aaron View Post
                      By all means, please start a wishlist thread about what you feel is missing. Nearly everything we have added to date was the result of a request of some kind. We are listening and are also overwhelmed with the number of requests.
                      Kinda meaningless when you explicitly don't even publish a list of things you're working on/ considering. Posting your wishes feels like shouting into the void. Sure I can yell up the mountain and listen to my own echo, but that isn't gonna get me features on the blackbox any faster than posting on the forum

                      I think overall I'm frustrated because blackbox _could_ be so great for my workflow but it just lacks these last 5% to make it all come together. I recently got a circuit tracks which is infinitely more fun to jam on, but doesn't really provide stem playback capabilities. Really hoping the blackbox can be that. I've tried selling it once but it doesn't really sell. So I guess I'm holding onto it and _hoping_ that shit becomes better.

                      Aaron, I hope you understand that I'm not mad at you. I don't know you and you're probably a lovely guy. I'm just frustrated. And I still think making the firmware open source would be a good move for you. I'm not a professional embedded developer (I do write software for a living though, and I have produced PCBs at scale before...). I do think though that it would peek people's interest, and even if just 1-2 people come along and help you with features/ bugs... that is going to be worth it for basically _no_ significant downsides

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by digidestrukt View Post
                        I see that most people who post in the wish list are asking for some novel functionality , usually similar to something on some other platform and these get the most votes. It is rare to see wish list posts that focus on functionality presently existing on blackbox and come forward asking for iterations that strengthen those features
                        uhh if you look at firmware updates of blackbox and bitbox for the last 10 months, you will see neither new features nor strengthening of existing features. All that has been done is a few bug fixes while resources were completely focused on the bluebox. Hopefully new personnel at 1010 will move things forward.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by sydilaxe View Post
                          Are you a C programmer experienced in embedded architecture? Aaron custom built the OS for these boxes from the ground up. I am just curious what you expect someone who has not been immersed in this custom platform can do...
                          You say "custom built the OS for these boxes" like that's something special in terms of embedded development.
                          And like...the OS is written now. Adding features is going to be much easier that starting something from scratch. C ain't that hard dude

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            There are definitely things I wish the BB could do and things I wish it could do better but overall I am very happy with this device and excited to learn that a dedicated dev resource is being added to the team. I hope that means that updates will start coming soon and more frequent as this sampler has become an important part of my workflow and it does sometimes get frustrating and make me want to flip for another piece of gear. I've had it for approximately 1 year so I am more than willing to wait a few more months for some updates so long as there are no major bugs that break my workflow.

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