Tao Sambolec / Testing and playing around with 2 bend sensors, connected to Max/MSP via the JunXion Board

RESIDENCY REPORT 26.4: 1.5. 2007
My aim with testing bend sensor was to add a soft element of control to my existing setup, which I use for live performance and studio work. My existing setup consists of max/msp patch, controlled with 10 faders, switches, keys and mouse.
Employing the bend sensor, I focused mainly on volume envelope and triggering.

PREPARATION OF SENSORS:
I used bend sensors a flexible drumsticks. I put small weight on the end of the sensor stripe (a bit of tape), and then I waved the sensors in the air, making most out of regular bouncing of the sensor itself, which results in a smooth decay envelope.

SETUP:
I hooked the 2 bend sensors to my existing max/msp patch, which is a kind of sampler with 1 buffer and 4 separate playback modules. All the parameters are separate for each playback module: triggering samples, playback speed, position of playback in the sample, volume envelope, panorama, loop length, loop on/off.
I addressed the data of the sensors to the triggering and volume envelope in 2 different modes:

MODE 1:
If I wave the sensor in the air, it triggers chosen playback module(s), every time a value of the first differential crosses a defined threshold. At the same time the values of the first differential shape the overall volume envelope of the chosen playback module(s) in linear way (0=0, 127=127). The result is a multipercussive sound with a soft volume decay envelope.

MODE 2:
If the value of the first differential is smaller then a certain threshold, and the absolute value is bigger then a certain threshold, then the sensor switches to second mode which does the following:
Here both the triggering and volume are controlled by the absolute value of the sensor data. Data is scaled in such a way that bigger the value, louder the volume and faster the triggering, and shorter the small volume envelopes.
This mode comes to use when I don’t wave the sensor in the air, but when I slowly bend or straighten it.
The result is steady or accelerating and growing in volume or decelerating and decaying sound.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS:
For now, I would like to find a material in which I could wrap the sensor, so that it would maintain flexibility, but also keep the form more firm then at present situation. After some time of playing, the sensor bends, and its starting position is changed, resulting in different range and offset. I could also tackle this problem with calibrating, but would prefer to find a better material for the sensor itself.

VISION:
For now, I mainly see the 2 sensors as a part of my existing setup and not as an individual instrument. I think I can get a lot out of it over a longer period of time, playing and trying out different things in different setups: live improvised as well as in studio.
If I will be able to play the sensors for a while, I will probably have an idea of further developments within the possibilities of Junxion interface.
Most important for me is the softness achieved with the use of sensors, and the possibility to physically play the sounds.

COMMENTS ABOUT SENSORS AND JUNXION BOX:
Junxion box worked flawless, except the first day, when hi object in max kept loosing contact with it. This was not happening any other day, even though I haven’t done anything different.

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