Organelle User Manual
This manual was written by Dave Linnenbank.
First Edition, October 2015
Welcome to the world of Organelle! You seem to be in a hurry so here is the short version for getting up and running…
Before we get started, please note that this version of the Organelle manual is for hardware units running version 2.1 (v2.1) or later of the Organelle OS. You can check your OS version number from the Info menu item in the SYSTEM menu (see chapter three).
If your hardware unit is running a version earlier than v2.1, you should update your Organelle OS. You can download the update patch here.
NOTE: Even if your hardware unit is running an earlier operating system, this current website contains contains the patch repository for you as well. Just take notice of any notes about a patch’s friendliness with software previous to v2.1.
Along with this card, there are two main items in the box you just opened.
For the simplest configuration, follow these steps.
Vol(ume). Start with this knob all the way to the left (no sound). From the front of the Organelle, peer over the back of the unit (don’t worry; the port labels will be upright from this vantage). The leftmost 1/8" jack is for headphones, and the following two 1/4" jacks are for left and right audio output, respectively.
PATCHESand reach the
SYSTEMoptions. Select the first option,
Shutdown, and then press down the encoder to engage this function. Finally, Organelle’s display will notify you when it is safe to unplug the power supply from the unit.
Again, welcome to the world of Organelle! As this instrument can work for people in many different ways and at multiple depths of operation, let us begin by getting a few ideas straight, starting with the most obvious question…
We can (and will) talk about what the literal Organelle device is, but we’d do better to start with what it can be.
As you may have already noticed in the quick-start guide (chapter zero), Organelle can be connected quickly and is ready for sound. Other than the Organelle itself, its included USB drive and power supply, and a sound-producing device (such as headphones or an audio cable to connect to a sound system), no additional peripherals are needed for performance.
In addition to audio output ports, Organelle also has an audio input port. Accordingly, patches can access and make use of incoming audio in various ways. This can range from a simple effect processor (like a filter or basic delay) to something more elaborate (like a sampler or vocoder or something else entirely).
There is no requirement that the patches you load into Organelle are triggered by playing notes on the device. You could create patches that simply drone and/or create evolving textures on their own over time. The audio input could even be used as a source. As this definition is starting to become circular, let’s cut to the chase…
In truth, Organelle is a vessel for your musical ideas, connecting your own desires for musical expression with customizable technology and portability. You may use Organelle in a completely different way than someone else, and that is not just okay: it’s the entire point.
In short, yes. Organelle is a hardware device that comprises both controller elements (the ports, knobs, keys, etc.) and a modern microcomputer housed inside the case. The microcomputer itself is running a version of the Linux operating system, and one use of the USB ports is to connect a drive that contains your software patches. (The USB drive included with your Organelle is preloaded with the factory patches and ready to go.)
They are files configured with the program Pure Data. While the term “patch” often refers to the settings and parameter values that create one sound in a synthesizer (or some other predefined system), Pure Data patches are a bit more expansive. Each patch represents the entire software system for taking any/all input received by Organelle, processing it as desired, and then delivering the output as audio, etc., via Organelle’s output ports. (So by analogy, these patches are closer to both the synthesizer structure itself and all the settings and parameters that define its initial sound.)
Some patches require various support files (audio media, other support patches that are being referenced, “external” objects, etc.). Any time we discuss a particular patch, it is fair to assume that we are also referencing any necessary subsidiary files.
Pure Data (often called Pd for short) is a visual multimedia programming environment, meaning that its software files (yes, those patches) are created by adding objects from its library and then interconnecting them with virtual patch cords. For example, one simple Pure Data patch looks like this.
And no, you do not need to learn Pure Data to use Organelle. Aside from the factory patches, you can also find a repository of additional patches at organelle.io for your perusal. You can customize or create your own patches — Pure Data is free and available for all computer platforms — but “to code or not to code” is completely up to you.
A basic understanding of audio can only help. And MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) is the protocol for triggering notes and sending control messages. To use Organelle as is, basics are enough. If you decide to create patches, a little bit more will be required, but we will get to all that in later chapters.
Certain chapters (such as this one!) are relevant to everyone. But depending on how you will start using Organelle, some chapters may be more valuable to you than others.
And do realize that your uses of Organelle are likely to change over time. If a chapter is not important to you today, don’t feel bad about that: the chapters are happy to wait for you.
As we begin to explore the universe that Organelle makes available to us, we should start with Organelle’s place in the physical universe: its hardware.
In this age of software and “virtual” devices, please do not neglect the hardware side of things! While its microcomputer does indeed run everything that Organelle does, we endeavored to make Organelle an “un-computer.” Configuring and then interacting with the physical interface is just as critical as anything you do on the software side. In fact, this is how the pretty box can become an instrument…
Organelle is rectangular, with three of its six faces containing either controls, ports, or other interface items. We will start with the back and right-side panels (where all the ports are housed) before moving to the controls of the main face.
If you have turned on Organelle, then you already have some familiarity with its ports, but there is a little more here than you realize (and a little more than is labeled).
Again, our orientation would be upside down if you walked around to the back of the unit and directly faced the back panel. We are assuming that you standing in front of Organelle, just as you will be when operating it. From that position, you would access the back panel either by leaning your head forward or by tilting Organelle upward.
Out(put) ports are both 1/4" TS (mono) jacks. They deliver the left and right audio outputs of your current patch, as scaled by the
LRport is a 1/4" TRS (stereo) jack. It receives any stereo audio input that you would like fed into your current patch.
NOTE: If a 1/4" TS cable is connected, any incoming signal will only be received by the left input.
Pedalport is a 1/4" jack. It is intended to be connected to a keyboard sustain-/damper-style pedal, which will deliver on/off messages to your patch.
NOTE: Organelle presumes that any sustain/damper pedal used has a “normally closed position” (negative polarity).
NOTE: If an expression pedal is connected, your patch should receive a continuous range of values. In our experience, various expression pedal models and settings tend to deliver different ranges of values. This can be addressed at the patch level.
9VDC) is for connection to Organelle’s own power supply.
NOTE: The output specifications of this power supply are: 9VDC, 1000mA, and a tip with center-positive polarity. Any power supply used with Organelle must meet these three specifications.
Compared to the back panel, the right-side panel is downright simple, housing two USB 2.0, Type A ports. One of these identical ports must be used for connecting a USB drive that houses your Pure Data patches (such as the one included with Organelle). They can also connect class compliant devices that utilize MIDI over USB or other computer peripherals.
The main face is both Organelle’s primary interface with you and the place that you will spend the most time. While the other panels are critical when Organelle is being setup or when you are altering its configuration, the main face is the operations center for when you are actively running the show.
4are available for parameter control within your patch. Each knob is typically assign to a parameter that is then continuously altered across a preset range of values by movement of that knob. Movement of each knob can also send a corresponding continuous controller (CC) MIDI message. [For information on the default MIDI operation of Organelle, see chapter three.]
NOTE: In some of the factory patches, the Selector encoder is used to advance through additional pages of parameter assignments. This allows you to shift the the four knobs’ mappings to additional (read: more than four) parameters. Patches with this behavior are often indicated by a message like <-- HOME in the bottom line of Organelle’s on-board display. This functionality can also be built into your own patches.
Vol(ume) knob governs the potential audio output level of Organelle. The knob ranges from silence (in audio terms, -∞) at the far left to no attenuation (unity gain) at the far right. Any adjustments to the Volume knob take effect immediately.
While Organelle is an open platform that permits and encourages nontraditional setups, we will now look at a few potential configurations for Organelle. Rather than suggested setups, treat these more as baselines or ideas; nearly all elements of any configuration can be mixed and matched.
Here we start with a variation on the setup proposed in the quick-start guide (chapter zero). This bare-bones approach is the most compact performance configuration possible.
Note that the power is connected to the wall and that the first USB port has a flash drive inserted with our
Patches folder. Without both the power adapter and USB drive attached, Organelle cannot operate and run patches, meaning that you cannot do anything of use. Accordingly, every possible configuration will contain these two items.
Out(put) ports are connected as a stereo pair to a mixer, which assumably runs to the venue’s PA system, etc. (Instead of going straight to a mixer, these ports could just as appropriately be connected to direct boxes [DIs].) If there is a sound person controlling levels, you may want to leave the Volume knob all the way up, providing maximum signal for them to work with.
This example uses a microphone as an audio source for Organelle and headphones for audio output (to avoid feedback). This setup is also fairly minimal.
As the audio
LR port accepts a 1/4" cable, you will need something other than a regular XLR cable to use a microphone with Organelle. This could mean a cable with the appropriate connection for your microphone (probably XLR) and a 1/4" plug on the other end for Organelle, a standard XLR cable with a female XLR to 1/4" adapter attached, etc.
As most microphones are monophonic, most patches that use audio input are likely to either sum the left and right inputs together or only use the left input. This is not problematic in and of itself, but it could affect your setup choices and expectations.
And while we will no longer note the inevitable presence both of the power adapter and the USB drive (containing our
Patches folder), we will observe here that our USB drive is now connected to the second USB port instead of the first one. The point is that Organelle’s two USB ports are completely interchangeable.
This example uses powered speakers for audio output, a mixer as the source of audio input, and a USB MIDI controller to supplement Organelle’s own keys and knobs.
By using a mixer for Organelle’s audio input, we can now use multiple audio sources with Organelle, and we can also use the mixer’s various gain controls as input level adjustments for Organelle. As most mixers provide two mono outputs and Organelle has a single stereo input, you will likely need an adapter or insert cable (aka, a Y-cable) for connecting the two devices.
In the case of using powered speakers, you need only connect each of Organelle’s audio outputs to one of your speaker’s inputs.
In addition to our trusted USB drive, a MIDI controller is connected to the other USB port. Any incoming MIDI messages are sent directly to the current patch, which will determine how to use them. As long as it is class compliant, any device supporting MIDI over USB would work, whether it is an 88-key piano-style controller or a DJ-style controller, etc. Even MIDI-only controllers will work when connected to Organelle via a USB class compliant MIDI interface.
This example uses headphones for audio output, a USB hub for connecting more than two devices, and an HDMI monitor for seeing Organelle’s microcomputer at work.
Connecting an HDMI monitor to Organelle shows the internal microcomputer’s command-line interface and graphical user interface. [For additional information on using the HDMI port, see chapter five.]
Our USB drive is still connected, but it is now running through a class compliant USB hub. By adding a hub to our configuration, the number of USB devices we can connect grows to the capacity of the hub. Connecting an HDMI monitor assumes that you want to operate Organelle’s microcomputer in a typical way, and this implies the use of peripherals, such as a mouse and keyboard. This necessitates the use of a USB hub. And even without using an HDMI monitor, a USB hub would be needed if you wanted to connect multiple MIDI controllers at once, etc.
As we stated early on and as the configuration ideas have shown, Organelle is a fully capable stand-alone instrument. To use Organelle in this fashion requires understanding the workings of its internal operating system. By learning the options provided by Organelle’s software along with the uses of the Selector encoder and the on-board display, you will be ready to travel and perform with Organelle alone.
In this chapter, we’ll explore where this combination of the Selector and on-board display can go, and we will also go through the default MIDI operation of Organelle and how connected USB MIDI devices interface with Organelle.
These topic areas will prepare you for general use of Organelle. So let’s start using it now and get the pretty box singing.
To interface with Organelle, we will primarily work with two of its components. The Selector encoder allows us to navigate system options and execute functions, and the on-board display shows us the choices we have and provides feedback on our current patch and system.
In order of appearance, we will cover the two primary screens that peek out at us from the on-board display.
When Organelle is powered up, it first runs through its boot sequence and then drops us into its menu screen.
The menu screen itself comprises two sections: the system section (or system menu) at top and the patches section (or patches menu), which we see in the above image.
After Organelle first boots up, it places us directly in the patches section, which is helpfully labeled
PATCHES. By turning the Selector to the left and right, we are able to move up and down respectively in the patch list.
(If we scroll too far to the left, we will navigate past the patches menu and up into the system menu. In that case, simply move back down to the patches menu.)
To load the selected patch: press down on the top of the Selector encoder.
After the patch is successfully loaded, Organelle’s display shifts to show us the patch information screen, which we will discuss in a moment. To return to the menu screen, turn the Selector. The only difference is that the active patch is now displayed in the top line of the menu screen.
NOTE: One neat performance trick is that Organelle remembers its selection in the patches menu. So if you want to cue up the next patch you will need, you can turn the Selector and leave that patch selected. Now all you have to do to load that patch is press down the Selector knob — you don’t even have to turn the Selector or call up the patches menu.
At the top of the menu screen is the system menu. The top of this section is labeled
SYSTEM, and it contains at least seven options, the first four of which are shown below.
To engage one of these options, follow the same procedure as loading a patch: select the desired option by turning the Selector and then press down on the top of the Selector.
Ejectsafely unmounts an attached USB drive. The display will notify you when it is safe to unplug the USB drive.
Patchesfolder of the attached USB drive and then refreshes Organelle’s patches menu. (This also unloads the current patch so note that all sound will stop until you load another patch.) Any time that you connect a USB drive to Organelle while the unit is already powered up, you should run this function. Once the reload process has completed, you will be left in the patches menu in order to load an available patch.
Infodisplays the system information screen, which presents four pieces of information. (To exit this screen, turn the Selector left or right.)
Versionrepresents the version number of Organelle’s operating system.
MIDIwill list any recognized MIDI controllers that are connected. When no controllers are connected, nothing will be shown.
USB drivepresents the ID number of the attached USB drive. When no drive is connected, nothing will be shown.
CPUreports the current usage that the microcomputer’s CPU is experiencing. This value is regularly updated.
Shutdownsafely prepares Organelle to be powered off. The display will notify you when it is safe to unplug the power supply from the unit. (Once the unit has been shut down, you must remove and reconnect power to start using it again.)
MIDI Channelsets the default channel for outgoing MIDI messages and the expected channel for incoming MIDI messages. (After selecting this option and pressing down the Selector encoder, another screen allows the setting of the
MIDI Channelwith the Selector. Pressing the Selector again returns to the system menu.)
Savestores the current parameter settings with the open patch, essentially printing the values that have been set with the knobs. Whenever this patch is reloaded, all of your previous parameters will be recalled regardless of the current knob positions. Once a knob is moved, however, its physical position will regain control.
Save Newduplicates the current patch and all of its associated files into a new patch folder and then loads that patch. The new patch also stores the parameter values of the knobs, just as the
Save Newwhile a patch named
Basic Polyis loaded would create (and load)
Basic Poly 2. And selecting
Save Newagain with either
Basic Poly 2loaded would spawn
Basic Poly 3.
Once a patch is loaded, you will be taken to the patch information screen, which serves as your main performance interface.
Once a patch is loaded, Organelle treats this page as your “home screen.” You can return to the menu screen by turning the Selector knob, but after a few seconds of inactivity, Organelle will automatically return to the patch information screen.
On this primary screen, each line tends to show particular information related to the current patch. (Individual patches can vary this pattern when deemed appropriate.)
I(nputs) and those that are ending up at its
O(utputs). Each meter is actually a stereo representation, with the top rows showing left levels and the bottom rows showing those for the right channels.
In the example pictured above, the audio output seems to be of similar strength on both the left and right channels. And no audio input is being received at this moment in time.
NOTE: The on-screen output meter is operating in a “post fader” mode, where the displayed signal is scaled based on the unit’s current volume setting.
4, each representing that respective knob. Following the knob number is usually a short name for the parameter being altered and then a numeric representation of that parameter’s current value. So in the example shown above, Knob 2 is controlling a parameter named
Vibrato Ratethat is current set to
Auxas it tends to provide more information about the assignment and/or current state of the Aux button. In the example above, this patch seems to toggle the waveform being used an oscillator, with a
Sine Wavecurrently in use.
NOTE: As was mentioned in the previous chapter, some factory patches use the Selector encoder to switch the knobs through pages of parameter assignments. In this case, the middle lines of the on-board display (starting with
4) will be updated as the Selector encoder is turned and the knob assignments shift. The bottom line of the on-board display may also suggest that the Aux button returns you to the HOME menu.
The way Organelle handles MIDI will be relevant to all users, even if you are mainly pressing the unit’s own maple keys to trigger note messages. There are certain default MIDI assignments in Organelle patches that you should know.
NOTE: In this section, terms specific to the MIDI protocol will have quotation marks around them. As this jargon predates Organelle, we would suggest consulting a general resource on MIDI if the terms aren’t clear to you.
NOTE: These MIDI assignments are labeled “defaults” as you can override them in your own patches. For more on making patches, see chapter five.
With the exception of the Selector knob and the Volume knob, all of Organelle’s other interface elements send out MIDI messages when they are used. All MIDI messages are sent on the global MIDI channel, as set in the system menu.
NOTE: All outgoing MIDI messages are sent over USB. They will be received by any connected USB MIDI device or interface that is actively listening for them.
The 24 keys (not including the Aux button on the far left) transmit “note on” messages. The leftmost key uses note number
60 (“middle C,” or “C3” in most MIDI systems), and the rightmost key uses note number
83 (“B4”), with all keys in between following this scheme.
When a key is pressed down, a “velocity” of
100 is transmitted. When a key is released, a “velocity” of
0 (zero) is sent.
Knobs 1, 2, 3, and 4 transmit “control change” messages using controller numbers
24, respectively. The full range of controller values (from
127) is utilized.
The Aux button transmits momentary “control change” messages using controller number
25. When the button is pressed down, a controller value of
100 is transmitted. When the button is released, a controller value of
0 (zero) is sent.
A pedal connected to Organelle’s
Pedal port transmits two sets of “control change” messages.
64 transmits a controller value of
0 (zero) for any received signal below
64, and a controller value of
127 is sent for any received signal of
64 or above. This discrete, threshold behavior is particularly good for sustain-/damper-style pedals.
26 transmits continuous values. While the general range would be from
0 (zero) to
127, the exact range of values may vary based on the pedal connected. This continuous behavior is ideal for an expression-type pedal.
No matter what type of pedal is connected, both of these control change messages will be transmitted, and there is nothing stopping you from using both sets of messages.
While all MIDI messages received by Organelle (via USB) will be passed on to the patch that is currently loaded, certain messages are handled uniformly across all patches.
In general, the MIDI messages that are output by Organelle (as outlined in the immediately previous section) are identical to the incoming messages recognized by Organelle. This can be helpful, for example, if you want to record the movement of Organelle’s controls into a sequencer as automation data. In other words, the mappings are a bit of a mirror. So let’s take particular note of how incoming MIDI messages interact with and can sometimes override Organelle’s on-board controls.
And similar to the outgoing messages, incoming messages should be sent to Organelle on the global MIDI channel , as set in the system menu.
Incoming note messages can happen concurrently with note messages created by playing Organelle’s keys. If incoming and internal notes are occurring at the same time, these two streams are essentially merged into one large set of notes.
Incoming “control change” messages using controller numbers
24 replace the current values set by Knobs 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively.
To restore a knob’s control: simply turn the knob enough to register a new value. In the same way that “control change” messages are designed to work, the dominant message is always the last one received.
Incoming “control change” messages using controller number
25 affect the internal status of the Aux button. A controller value between
127 simulates the Aux button being pressed down, while a controller value between
0 (zero) and
63 simulates a release of the Aux button.
NOTE: A momentary control source, such as a damper pedal or button, would work well with this sort of threshold behavior. In certain situations, controlling the Aux button from a external “sustain” pedal could be quite effective.
Incoming “control change” messages using controller number
26 replace the current value used by Organelle for an expression-style pedal. And incoming messages using controller number
64 replace the current value used by Organelle for a sustain-/damper-style pedal. (This subtle distinction really only matters if you are making your own patches.) Similar to the knobs, using the pedal will reactive it as the current control source, updating both controllers
Incoming “program change” messages are used to change Organelle’s current patch. “Program numbers” are assigned based on each patch’s position in alphabetical order. Let’s unpack this a bit.
Just as they are displayed in the patches menu, all currently available patches are taken in alphabetical order, and each patch is then dynamically assigned a “program number” based on its position. So if Organelle had three patches available called A Patch, B Patch, and C Patch, program number
1 would call up A Patch, program number
2 would call up B Patch, and program number
3 would call up C Patch. (If these were the only three patches available, program change messages for programs
4 and above would do nothing.)
Any other MIDI message is passed directly to the current patch. If the patch is configured to handle that particular message, it will respond as configured. If the patch is not listening for that message, then nothing will happen.
Using a MIDI device with Organelle is rather painless but not “hot swappable.”
That’s about it. By remembering to reload your patch and knowing what MIDI messages are understood by Organelle (see the immediately previous section) and/or those understood by the particular patch you have loaded, you should be all set to use MIDI with Organelle.
One of the strengths of Organelle is its depth. The included factory patches represent a good sample of what is possible with Organelle, but these are by no means the only patches you can use.
As was mentioned in an earlier chapter, organelle.io is the official repository of Organelle patches and a great place to start when looking for new sounds, options, and performance approaches. (And as it tends to do, the Internet will probably have some suggestions of its own…)
Finding and downloading Organelle-ready patches is easy enough. To actually use these patches, however, requires getting them from a computer to our properly formatted USB drive, which can then be connected to Organelle for running our newfound patches. (And yes, that computer could be running Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or some other operating system. No additional software is required; the computer is just being used to download files, possibly decompress them, and then copy their folders to the USB drive.)
In this chapter, we’ll look at how to work with Organelle’s USB drive on a computer. But to get there, we must begin with how that drive needs to be configured, and we’ll end with a few extra notes on USB usage with Organelle.
With this information in hand, we’ll be able to expand our patch library. Here’s to growing our set of options.
As has probably become clear by now, Organelle will only work properly while a USB drive is attached to it. In light of this fundamental fact, a few words on the setup of that USB drive are in order.
Patches are run directly from an attached USB drive. This could be the flash drive included with Organelle or another USB disk that is appropriately configured.
Patchesat its top-level. (This name is case-sensitive.)
Patchesfolder must contain a folder named as you would like the patch name to appear. Each patch’s folder must contain a file named
main.pdthat contains the top-level patch itself. If any other files are required by the patch, they must also be included in the patch’s folder.
An example directory listing of an Organelle-friendly USB drive would start like this. You can see here at least four patches, each with a required
Patches/ 32 Oscillators/ main.pd Analog Style/ blsaw.pd distort.pd main.pd sequencer2.pd simple.pd Arpeggio - Double/ counter-down.pd counter-up.pd counter-updown.pd delay2sec.pd main.pd master-metronome.pd sequencer2.pd Basic Poly/ main.pd voice.pd …
Rather than guide you through web browsing, we will assume that you have already downloaded some new patches either from organelle.io or another source.
NOTE: If the patches you downloaded are ZIP files, be sure to ‘decompress’ those files into folders before continuing. On most modern operating systems, this can be achieve by simply opening the ZIP file from the system’s file browser.
From here, we need to connect the USB drive you are using with Organelle to your computer. A couple important notes.
Ejectthe disk before removing it. This option can be found by accessing the system information screen from the system menu. (See the end of this chapter for specific instructions.)
Be sure that the exposed pins — I think of them as teeth — are facing “up,” toward wherever the top of a connected USB cable would go. (On Mac laptops, for example, the pins should face upward, toward the sky.)
Once the drive is connected and seen by your computer, we can proceed.
Earlier in this chapter, we went over the required folder structure for a usable USB drive. Now that the drive is connected to a computer, let’s see the same structure in a more familiar, graphical view.
The top-level of my USB drive, whose disk name is
ORGANELLE, is shown above. Inside of the top-level
Patches folder, the folders for the first four patches are selected (with blue coloration), and their contents are exposed.
Again, the requirement here is that each folder contains a
main.pd file that serves as the primary file for that patch. As long as this file is in place, that patch will appear in Organelle’s patches menu as the folder name. So in the example shown above, the first four patches shown on Organelle would be
Arpeggio - Double, and
Assuming your USB drive is formatted correctly and the Patches folder is appropriately named and located, making changes to your available patches is as simple as working with files on your computer.
To add a patch to your Organelle’s USB drive: copy the properly formatted patch folder into the USB drive’s Patches folder.
To backup a patch: copy the patch’s folder to a location on your computer.
To rename a patch: rename the patch’s folder, just as you would rename any folder on your computer.
To delete a patch: delete the patch’s folder, just as you would delete any folder on your computer.
Taken together, these basic functions make it easy for you to organize and sort your patches. Another useful idea is to prepare a set of patches for a live performance by doing something like this.
Here are a couple of other procedures and facts to bearing in mind while working with USB on Organelle.
SYSTEMsection, and select and engage the
Ejectfunction. The display will notify you when it is safe to unplug your USB drive.
Well, you have made it to the final chapter. Mazel tov! We hope you have enjoyed the journey thus far, and it is worth mentioning that repeat visits to this document tend to be rewarding.
This chapter covers the basics of running the Organelle with a monitor, keyboard and mouse attached for the purpose of editing or creating patches. The actual process of creating and editing patches is covered in a series of tutorial videos.
While we have continually mentioned the microcomputer within Organelle, we have also pointed out the “un-computer” nature of this instrument. But we also recognize that you might want run Organelle with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse — some folks might find it particularly nice to edit patches in this fashion. So our main theme has reemerged: it’s your choice.
This chapter will walk us through the general use of Organelle along with HDMI, which presumes the use of a keyboard and mouse as well. We will do this by going through a general narrative of using Organelle as a computer.
Let’s get visual. And peripheral.
Connecting an HDMI monitor to Organelle is simple enough. But the function of the HDMI device is to provide the visual output of Organelle’s functioning microcomputer. (As we will see very shortly, connecting only a monitor will show you, well, not much.) As with any computer, you need a keyboard and mouse actually interface with Organelle.
Just about any USB mouse should work with Organelle, and most PC-style USB keyboards should also be fine. Additionally, mice and keyboards that have their own USB wireless dongles should also work with Organelle. So long as the data is coming across a USB port, your peripherals will probably work.
NOTE: While we have aimed to support regular USB keyboards, not all manufacturers implement the general USB standards in the same way. Accordingly, some keyboards may not work with Organelle. Please report any finding of incompatibility on our forum.
Finally, we are talking about more and more USB devices being used with Organelle. (And don’t forget the USB drive housing your
Patches folder!) Before you worry about running out of ports, remember that a USB hub can be connected to Organelle.
After you have connected an HDMI monitor and powered it on, you will immediately see a semi-cryptic terminal window for text entry. To optimize performance, Organelle runs in this fashion (with no graphical user interface, or GUI) by default.
This window helpfully suggests that you run the command
startx to start up the standard graphical environment. So if we want to go beyond this screen, we will need a keyboard. (And we can say now that if you want to edit your Pure Data patches on Organelle, you will definitely need a mouse as well.)
To start Organelle’s graphical operation mode: type
startx, and then press the [ENTER]/[RETURN] key to execute the function.
NOTE: Booting Organelle’s graphical operation mode causes the system itself to be reloaded. This means that any currently loaded patch will be unloaded, and any audio output being produced will cease.
The options on this screen are fairly sparse. This matches the character of the running operating system, which has been stripped down in favor of achieving the most stable audio performance. There are four elements here.
USB Driveat the top left of the screen represents the USB drive containing your
Read me First!file contains some helpful notes from our technical team. You should probably do as they say.
To exit Organelle’s graphical operation mode: click the red octagonal icon at the bottom right of the screen. This will close out all open windows and unload the current Organelle patch, interrupting any ongoing audio output (the same as when we entered this graphical mode). This red “exit” button is the primary interface option that you will need.
While you can navigate the file system with the keyboard and mouse, the best way to load a patch is to do it from Organelle’s hardware. By using the Selector encoder to choose and load a patch, you will then see the patch visually loaded by Organelle along with a crucial helper patch.
The Organelle unit itself is now functioning as we would normally expect it to: the patch has been loaded, Organelle’s hardware display has shifted to the patch information screen, and audio can now be produced.
Within the computer interface, we are now seeing the behind-the-scenes implications of loading a patch. Our patch (in this case, Basic Poly) has been loaded, and its main.pd file is taking up most of the screen. But sitting atop the patch we expected is one we did not.
mother.pd exists at the root (or top) directory of Organelle, which is located on the microSD that comes preloaded within the Organelle hardware. This helper patch is the other half of the data handshake between the Pure Data patches we run and Organelle’s hardware.
In short, this helper patch is executing the raw communications with the Organelle hardware. (This is done using the Open Sound Control [OSC] protocol.)
mother.pd is necessary for the general operation of Organelle. That is why this patch is loaded concurrently with any patch that you call up.
NOTE: In general, you should not edit
That being said, Organelle will use any file named
mother.pdthat it finds within the
Patchesfolder of your USB drive. By copying the root directory’s
Patchesfolder, you could experiment with editing this patch while keeping the master version clean. Again, you probably don’t want to do this.
To better understand the full relationship at hand, let’s take a step back for a moment. Anytime a patch is loaded, Organelle goes through a sequence of steps.
mother.pdhelper patch is loaded.
Once this sequence completes, all assets needed for your patch to communicate with Organelle will be loaded and ready to go. So the general flurry of windows closing and opening that you see in Organelle’s graphical operation mode is both expected and proper.
By clicking on your loaded patch, it will move
mother.pd to the background (without closing it) and allow you to focus on working with your patch.
Just a few parting notes on this mode of operation.
Patchesfolder, rename the new folder, and then open the contained
main.pdpatch for editing. (You could also create your own “new patch” template for this purpose.)
NOTE: Externals that you encounter here are built for the Linux operating system that Organelle is running. If you are building patches on your own computer, these externals will only work if you are also running Linux (these compiled externals are platform-specific).