THE ORB - Introduction
Omni TR was designed to make the iPad the ideal control surface for Omnisphere’s innovative Orb feature. The Orb is both a remarkable sound manipulation tool and an intuitive performance interface — it can be thought of as a ‘circular controller.’ With a single gesture, it is possible to instantly manipulate a sound in many different ways. Best of all, the Orb automatically works with every patch a user has, there’s no setup necessary.
The Orb is a fun and intuitive way of introducing movement and animation into the sound by simply moving the Orb cursor with your fingers. As the Orb moves around the concentric circles, it morphs between automatically generated parameter scenes in Omnisphere’s STEAM engine in a highly intelligent and musical manner — all patch dependent — manipulating the sound in subtle or radical ways appropriate to that particular patch.
The Orb's unique dynamic results are based on Radius and Angle controls. The Angle defines which scenes or sets of parameters it manipulates, and the Radius defines the intensity of those manipulations. That means the closer to the edges of the circle the cursor is moved, the more dramatic the changes will be. Moving the cursor to the center of the Orb or pressing the CLEAR button returns to the sound of the original Patch. The overall intensity of the sound modifications can be determined with the DEPTH slider.
If you don't like what the Orb has created, a complete new set of manipulations can be chosen by simply rolling the DICE button, which instantly creates a brand new group of intelligent sonic modifications and effects to try. There’s no limit to how many serendipitous sonic variations the DICE can create – opening up the vast power of the STEAM engine to every user, regardless of synthesis knowledge. For advanced synthesists seeking maximum flexibility, the Orb can also be setup manually and used as a new modulation source in Omnisphere’s Mod Matrix.
The INERTIA controls of the Orb allow the creation of a ‘movement trail’ after letting go of the Orb, just like a ball might roll and bounce off the walls of a circular enclosure, adding a musical symmetry to the “performance” of an Orb interaction. It is also possible to Record performance movements directly into the Orb and play the performance back in sync with the host. The Orb’s movements and sonic results are saved within the Patch, Multi or the host’s session for later recall. The movement of the Orb can also be automated in the host. Each part in Omnisphere has its own Orb, which means that multiple Orbs can manipulate different sounds simultaneously.
THE ORB - Dice, Depth and Intertia
Pressing the DICE button will instantly create a brand new group of intelligent sonic modifications and effects to try. There’s no limit to how many serendipitous sonic variations the DICE can create – opening up the vast power of the STEAM engine to every user, regardless of synthesis knowledge. You will be presented with a different idea or point of departure each time you press it.
NOTE: It's important to save your Patches once you are satisfied with the Orb's changes. Once you press the DICE button or select a different Patch in that Part, Omnisphere will not be able to recall any previous Orb settings unless they have been saved with the Patch or with the host's session.
The overall intensity of the Orb's sound-manipulation can be controlled with the DEPTH slider. The higher the DEPTH slider is set, the more pronounced the changes will be to the Patch.
INERTIA is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest. When using the Orb with INERTIA enabled, it is possible to let go of the cursor in any direction and just like a ball might roll and bounce off the walls of a circular enclosure, adding a musical symmetry to the “performance” of an Orb interaction. When INERTIA is not enabled, the cursor will stop when the finger is lifted, providing the ability to jump from one stationary point to another for dramatic, instantaneous changes.
This turns the Inertia on or off.
The Inertia Amount controls the speed and duration of the cursor's movement after it is set in motion and let go. The higher the Inertia Amount slider is set, the faster and longer the cursor will bounce around. When turned all the way up, the cursor will continue to move indefinitely.
THE ORB - Recording
The Orb's movements, whether manual or INERTIA-based, can be captured with the Orb's built-in recorder. These movements can be saved as part of the Patch. This simple feature adds a dynamic quality to a sound that is unique and quite difficult to achieve with conventional controllers.
By using the RECORD button and the menus below it, the built-in recorder can be programmed to capture a general idea of the movements (MOTION) or to record precise movements over 1, 2 or 4 Bars, relative to your sequence. The recordings can be set to play back synced to LEGATO or SONG POSITION.
In all cases, the Orb creates a looping cycle by smoothly connecting the trajectory of the end with the beginning of the move, no matter how complex.
THE ORB - Recording - Recording Modes
The four Recording Modes are: MOTION, 1, 2 or 4 BARS.
MOTION will capture the speed and trajectory of the Orb for a few seconds and then generate a full orbit cycle out of those movements. MOTION mode is not intended to record precise movements that need to be synced with the song and tempo of the host.
To initiate recording, press the red RECORD button. The recording will begin as soon as the the cursor moves. The RECORD button will turn to solid red for a few seconds and a non-decaying Orbit will be created based on the recording.
NOTE: If the cursor is not moving when the RECORD button is pressed, the RECORD button will flash, waiting for the cursor to move. Recording will begin as soon as any movement is detected.
Choose 1, 2 or 4 BARS for recording precise movements in those lengths that you would like to be synced with the host.
To initiate recording, press the red RECORD button. With the cursor in motion, the RECORD button will flash while waiting for the beginning of the next bar, whether or not the host sequencer is playing (Omnisphere's internal clock continues to run when the host is not playing). At the beginning of the next bar, the RECORD button will turn to solid red and begin recording. After the selected number of bars are complete, the recording stops and a loop of the movement is created. The cursor's location at the end of the recording will be smoothly linked to the beginning to ensure there are no abrupt changes as the movement loops.
NOTE: If the cursor is not moving when the RECORD button is pressed, the RECORD button will flash and then start recording at the beginning of the next bar.
If you're not satisfied with the movement that was recorded, press the CLEAR button to start over.
THE ORB - Recording - Trigger Modes
There are two available Trigger Modes that determine whether the recorded movements are synchronized with the host sequencer or with your playing.
NOTE: It is important to set the Trigger Mode before recording, as it cannot be modified afterwards.
When set to LEGATO, the recorded movements will start their cycle when the first note of a legato phrase is played. As long as the notes played are connected, the recorded loop will continue uninterrupted. Once all notes are released, the recorded loop restarts with the next note that is played. Playing in a detached manner will cause the loop to restart with each note.
When set to SONG POSITION, the recording will track the bars and beats of the song and play back the movements accordingly. This setting is useful if you're moving the cursor around in sync with the beat and you want in to play back in the same rhythmic way, regardless of when a note is triggered.
THE ORB - Clear
Pressing the CLEAR button will restore the Patch to its original state. The Orb's cursor will be returned to the center and any movements recorded in the built-in recorder will be cleared.
NOTE: The CLEAR button does not affect which parameters are modified by the Orb. The same parameters that were modified before pressing it will still be modified afterwards when the cursor is moved.
THE ORB - Automation
The Orb's movements can be automated in your host sequencer. In order to do that, Host Automation needs to be enabled in Omnisphere's Orb page.
Since the Orb's movements are plotted on 2 different X/Y-type planes, "Angle" and "Radius," they must be enabled independently.
To enable the Orb's host automation, follow these steps:
1. Open the Orb page in Omnisphere, right-click on the Orb and choose "Enable Host Automation" to enable the Angle (the default setting) for automation.
2. Right-click again on Omnisphere's Orb and choose "Switch to Radius."
3. Right-click once more on the Orb and choose "Enable Host Automation" to set the Radius for automation.
4. Enable automation record in your host and hit play.
Any movements that occur in the Orb, either manual dragging or INERTIA-based, will now be recorded into the host's session. Play it back to hear a faithful reproduction of your Orb performance and use your host's automation editing features if you'd like to edit it.
THE ORB - Using The Orb As A Modulation Source
The Orb can be used as a modulation source. Using the DICE provides interesting and surprising results instantly, however, using the Orb as a modulation source gives the user flexibility and full control over the parameters it modulates.
The Orb is seamlessly integrated to Omnisphere's Flex-Mod™ system. In Omnisphere, by right-clicking on the parameter to be modulated, the available modulation sources will appear under the "Modulate", "All Mod Sources" submenu. By selecting "Orb," the Orb will be automatically routed to the target parameter.
Please check the Modulation section of the Omnisphere Reference Guide for more information.
Orb as a modulation source vs the DICE button
The Orb can generate sound modifications automatically by using the DICE button, or manually by user-defined modulation routings. Each method has its pros and cons and they cannot be used simultaneously. When using the Orb as a Modulation source, keep in mind the following rules:
1. Creating a modulation routing where the Orb is the source overrides any sound modification that was automatically generated by it.
2. If you press the DICE button after using the Orb as a modulation source, the routings will be overridden. However, they will not be lost. In order to enable them again, simply reselect the Orb as a modulation source for any of them.