Welcome to the home of ANDROMIZER, the Alesis Andromeda patch randomizer for Macintosh 
 
ANDROMIZER
 

Running Leopard? Scroll down to have a look at the FAQ!


 

Tired of your A6 always sounding the same? (Yeah right ;-)

ANDROMIZE it!

ANDROMIZER is a utility designed to screw up your Alesis Andromeda's current program edit buffer. Utterly, completely, and irretrievably.

ANDROMIZER sends series of MIDI sysex messages to your A6, automatically changing lots of program parameters to random values. The result can be stored in patch memory or tweaked until doomsday and then stored, or even discarded on the fly.

 

system requirements

  • Alesis A6 Andromeda, OS 1.40.01 or higher.
    (Both blue and red front panels supported!)
  • MIDI hardware interface.
     
  • For the Mac OS version:
    • Apple Macintosh (or compatible) with PowerPC or Intel processor, running Mac OS 8/9 or X.
      (Tested on Mac OS 8.6, 9.2, and 10.x (up to 10.4, see the faq), but other versions might work.)
    • OMS 2.0 if running under Mac OS 8/9. (Google 'opcode oms')

  • For the Java version:
 

installation

  • Mac OS

    After downloading, unpack the .sit or .hqx file to any location you like, using StuffIt Expander or similar. Start ANDROMIZER by simply double-clicking its icon. Tweak away.

  • Java

    Java is available for several platforms, Microsoft Windows among them. If Java (version 1.4 or higher) is not installed on your computer, you will have to install it first. To do so, click on the button below, and follow the download and installation instructions.

    GetJava Download Button

    After making sure your computer has a current Java version, you can download the JAndromizer.jar file to any location you like. Depending on the platform, you may then be able to start the program by simply double-clicking its file icon.

    Alternatively, you can open a command line shell (DOS box on Windows), change your working directory to the one containing the JAndromizer.jar file, and enter the following text at the prompt:

    java -jar JAndromizer.jar
    

    This will start the program. Tweak away.

    Please note: your humble developer still works on a Mac, and does not have other MIDI-enabled systems at his disposal. JAndromizer has been tested on a Macintosh and some Windows PC systems; you are invited to let me know if and how it works on other systems.

 

user guide

Operation is fairly simple. On startup, ANDROMIZER shows the following window (screenshots taken from the Macintosh version):

Picture of the main window in rest

Use the checkboxes to select the module groups you would like to modify, then press the Randomize button. The window should change to something like this:

Picture of the activated main window

Duration of the procedure obviously depends on the number and 'parameterizability' of modules selected, and on the Delay Between Messages setting in the MIDI menu on the menubar. The default delay of 150 ms works fine for me, but some may choose to live dangerously. (If your Andy freezes, power cycle and try a longer delay.) MIDI speed itself is not configurable.

As ANDROMIZER processes the selected modules, their checkboxes on the main window become disabled. As long as a checkbox has not been disabled, you may change its setting.

During processing, the Randomize button changes into a Stop button. Pressing it has the expected result.

The Normalize button has the opposite effect to randomization: it gives every parameter a default value. (Usually this is the value you get when you press the up and down buttons on the A6 simultaneously.)

If you press the Normalize button while ANDROMIZER is busy randomizing, the values it sends out will be default values for as long as you hold down the button. Conversely, while the program is normalizing, it will send out random values as long as the Randomize button is held down. This gives you instant control over the sort of values that get sent to the synth, and is especially useful when the Repeat box is checked.

If the Repeat box is checked, the program will loop through the selected modules.

Before ANDROMIZER is able to send any MIDI message, you will have to select a MIDI output device. Look in the MIDI menu.

 

what exactly is randomized?

The table below gives some more info. The term "all parameters" means: actually all except the ones that make no sense to randomize. I have also excluded most parameters and values that refer directly to MIDI (MIDI sync, CC# etc.) or external inputs. The output, effects, global and mix sections remain untouched as well.

In a number of cases probability distributions have been tweaked to make them more usable. For example, the sequence 'loop count' parameter has 143 possible values: [OFF, 1, 2 ... 139, 140, SUSTAIN, INFINITE]. Andromizer makes sure that there is a chance significantly greater than 1/143 for OFF, SUSTAIN or INFINITE to come up.

Clock All parameters in the CLOCK section.
Seq/Arp All parameters in the SEQUENCER and ARPEGGIATOR sections. All 16x4 sequence values are randomized.
Sequence (notes only) Only the 16 NOTE values of the sequence.
Keyboard/PW/MW All parameters in the KBD MODE, PITCHWHL and MODWHL sections.
CROUTES A limited number of CROUTES.
Portamento All parameters in the PORTA section.
LFO/SH All parameters in all 3 LFO sections and the S&H section.
Process TRACKING GENERATOR: quantization, size, enable, curve, and input tab settings. No custom curves (yet).
ENGINE OPTIMIZER: smooth settings.
Oscilators All OSC1 and OSC2 parameters that are not FM-related.
Osc FM/PWM All OSC FM-related parameters. Separate because randomizing them usually results in the sonic equivalent of grey goo.
Pre Filter Mix All parameters in the PRE section.
Filters All parameters in the FILT1 and FILT2 sections.
Post Filter Mix All parameters in the POST section.
Envelopes All parameters in all 3 ENV sections.
 
 

real user guide (READ THIS)

What to expect?

Your instant, self-running, aleatoric chaos patch will not appear just using a randomizer. Remember that the only thing this tool does, is: to give a host of parameters totally random values. Most often, after a complete run of ANDROMIZER, what you will hear is complete silence, because most combinations of parameter values in a system like this just do not make sense. I have tried to reduce the number of useless configurations... but not too much, since such a selection process necessarily means applying personal taste. Be prepared to spend a lot of time tweaking, trying to figure out why the bloody thing sounds like it does (or does not make any sound at all), and how to make it sound more to your liking...

How to use it?

In all the ways it wasn't designed for, how else? :-) Seriously, I could tell you how I've used it successfully to create some remarkable sounds, but that wouldn't be much fun, would it? The only advice I will share: be selective about which modules to randomize. Not all of them are equally useful. And don't forget you can use the Normalize button to (wholly or partly) initialize your patch to default values.

 

change history

1.2.3 -> 1.2.4

  • Macintosh version is now Universal. No real functional differences, although the online help is now included in the application itself.

1.2.2 -> 1.2.3

  • Port to Java. No functional differences.

1.2.1 -> 1.2.2

  • Port to Mac OS X. No functional differences.

1.2 -> 1.2.1

  • Fixed small bug in envelope 2 & 3 trigger normalize.

1.1 -> 1.2

  • Added Normalize functionality.
  • Added Repeat functionality.
  • Added 'randomize while normalizing' and 'normalize while randomizing' functionality.
  • MIDI settings are now saved as preferences.
 

download

Mac OS 8/9:

Mac OS X:
 
Mac OS X 10.2.8 and later:

Older versions of Mac OS X:

Java:

Once downloaded, you can use StuffIt Expander to decompress .sit and .hqx files. To open the .dmg file in Mac OS X, just double-click it, and then open the mounted disk image.

NOTE: Some browsers may download the file to something called 'download.cgi' instead of 'Andromizer'. Don't worry; you should still be able to use StuffIt Expander to unpack it. Just dragging and dropping the file on top of the Expander icon should do the trick.

 

FAQ

1. Is there a program that does the same for Linux or Wintel PCs?

The new Java version, JAndromizer, should run on all platforms for which Java 1.4 is available. This includes Linux and Microsoft Windows. (updated 2004-10-10)

2. I'm on a Mac. Should I download the Java version?

No. Everything the Java version does, the native Mac version does too, but with more style ;-) (added 2004-10-10)

3. Does ANDROMIZER run on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard?

Our current MIDI setup does not work on Leopard, so we have not been able to test ANDROMIZER on the new OS release. We are waiting for M-Audio to update its drivers. If you have ANDROMIZER running on Leopard, we would love to know! Otherwise, watch this space. (added 2007-11-03)

Support, feedback, inquiries: andromizer@lycos.com

 

DISCLAIMER

I TRUST that it is not possible to damage the Alesis A6 Andromeda synthesizer by sending it MIDI sysex messages changing its parameter values. I have exposed my unit to numerous runs of ANDROMIZER and JANDROMIZER without incurring any damage. I will NOT be held responsible if such damage, permanent or otherwise occurs to any A6 due to using this software.

Other words: this software is provided FOR FREE, it is provided AS IS, and it is provided WITHOUT GUARANTEES. Don't like it? Don't use it, or better yet: file a bug report!

 

ANDROMIZER is Copyright © Mutant Piano Software, 2002-2008

Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.