DEGREE Firmware Update + ALT sequencing firmware

Over the last year, I have been slowly putting together a firmware update for the DEGREE to deal with some reported bugs discovered after its initial release, as well as some features / enhancements that were suggested by users 👌.

For everyone who wrote in, I can't say I included everyones feature requests, but that doesn't mean I didn't appreciate the feedback 🙏. If I left it out, it was either too hard 😅 or it was too much a departure from the original theme / vision I had for the design.

👉 Click here to update your firmware 👈

Here is a list of everything that changed 👇.

Bug fixes:

  • After recording a sequence, ratcheting would prevent any recorded gate signals from triggering
  • When using a really low frequency LFO as CV input for quantizing, the quantizer would not latch the input to any new notes
  • CV input hysteresis (rapid triggering of the gate output). This was kind of a cool effect at times, but its gone now...
  • Sending a +10V signal to the CV input would randomly crash the system 😬
  • Allow pitch bend below lowest degree / note
  • Disabled certain menu actions when record is enabled for stability
  • smoother transition of bender from idle position to active position 👌

Features / Enhancements:

  • Sequencing octave touch pads (mono + quantizer mode). This was by popular demand... I am still not super sold on this yet because I do miss being able to jump a sequence up and down an octave, but it does allow for some more interesting melodies...
  • Saving sequences between power cycles (check the manual to see how this works)
  • Holding a channel select pad in quantizer mode will let you override the incoming CV when touching the touch pads. Really minor enhancement, but a nice thing to have while improvising / performing.

ALT Firmware

In parallel with the bug fixes and enhancements, I have also been working on an alternate version of the firmware, in an attempt to make the live sequencing a little more forgiving and predictable. This is only a slight departure from the original firmware, and it might not be for everyone which is why I will be maintaining both firmware versions going forward.

ALT firmware summary:

  • Sequencing is now based on a time signature / beats per bar
  • The LENGTH button no longer sets a sequences length, but sets the active time signature (options are 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, or 7/4)
  • Each sequence can have its own time signiature. The sequence time signature is determined by whatever time signature is set using the LENGTH button
  • The FREEZE LED will indicate beat 1 of the bar
  • Enabling and disabling sequence record always happens on beat 1 of the bar
  • Pressing the RECORD button will "arm" sequence recording (REC LED will Flash / blink). Recording only gets enabled (and disabled) once beat 1 of the bar rolls over.
  • This means each sequence will either be 1 bar long, 2 bars long, 3 bars long, etc.
  • Reset will reset all sequences to beat 1, as well as the current bar to beat 1
  • Progress of a channels sequence is now displayed like a clock face (much like ableton does it with their clip looping)

If this isn't clear, I basically took the clip looping / recording from the Ableton Live Session View 🙂. 

Make sure to check out the manual as well, I updated it.

You can also check a video of me demoing this firmware here:



Whats to come next for the firmware?

I have been considering the idea of reducing the "resolution" of the sequencer in order to increase the length of a possible sequence. At times, I find the max length of a sequence tends to be half of what I would like it to be.

So, currently there are 96 sub-steps for every step in a sequence. If I reduce the amount of sub-steps down to 24, then the max sequence length would be 4 times longer than it currently is. (note: this is all due to the memory constraints of the microcontroller).

This technically would reduce the resolution of the bender movements / touch inputs, but the thing is I don't actually think it would be that noticeable (and lets be honest, we are all quantizing our sequences after we record them anyways 😅).

24 PPQN is still a solid resolution for the touch events, but for the bender events I would have to simulate a smoothing effect for the spots between the sub-steps, but I am already kinda doing that so this also might not be that big of a difference... anyways, not for a while. I want to program the step sequencer now 😃


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