Second synth[*] layer


I’ve created an alternative mother patch which adds six more synth slots without sacrificing any pattern slots. You can find “Second synth layer” on Patch Storage.

The 201 Pocket Piano functions entirely as usual, and you still have access to synth slots 1-6 in the normal way. However, you can access additional slots 7-12 by holding down shift and double tapping one of the synth buttons. For example, if you hold shift and double tap synth button 1 (B below middle C) you get synth 7. If you hold shift and double tap synth button 2 (middle C) you get synth 8. And so on.

There is more on the GitHub page, including how to install those extra synth modules.

For me this solves that “spoilt for choice” problem of having so many great synth patches to choose from, but only six synth slots… and I still want to have fun with all the patterns.

I hope it’s useful for others, too. Please do let me know of any problems.


I would be very, very happy if the nice people at Critter & Guitari chose to adopt this and make it part of the mainline mother patch. Selfishly, that would mean I wouldn’t have to keep adapting it each time there is a new mother patch. But (from C&G’s point of view) it might actually be considered an enhancement to the product.

If it was to be added to the main patch then of course the manual would need to be updated. I couldn’t find the 201 manual on GitHub, otherwise I’d have done that.

It’s worth noting that I’ve not tried to change the LEDs at all. Synth slots 7-12 have the same colours as slots 1-6. Should that change? I don’t know. I guessed the existing colours were carefully chosen, and I didn’t want to change anything there.

I can think of one reason why C&G might not want to make this part of the mainline. By default every function is accessed by holding shift and pressing a button. Doing a double-press is… well, not quite so simple. One of the joys of the 201 is its simplicity. Is the added complexity worth the benefit? That’s C&G’s own product decision.

In the meantime, I hope this useful to some others.


nice, does this add to the boot-up time? i found that eg using segmenti with more and more samples really adds to the time the 201 needs to boot.

Hi there. I think the honest answer has to be “yes, this will add to the boot time”. I say as much in the README, here.

However, it’s not the patch change itself that adds to the boot time, it’s that you’re adding up to six more synth modules which all have to be loaded. And so it’s down to which synth modules you choose. As you say, a synth which pre-loads a lot of samples will take more time to load than one which doesn’t.

Personally, I’ve got Segmenti and one or two other sample-based patches installed. Subjectively I think it probably takes one or two more seconds to boot up as a result. I’ve not timed it. But personally I’m fine with that. You may find different results.

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Pretty cool. Regarding the indicator for the second layer, why not have the corresponding synth LED to blink at 1 or 2 Hz? Granted, I think the septavox patch might redo the LEDs as well, but as long as that patch is in 1-6 vs 7-12, it should be ok?

Also would it be possible to add 7-12 pattern slots with the same technique?


Hello @CatManDeux. I hadn’t thought about making the LEDs flash, but that might be something to look at. I really don’t know much about the LEDs, and worry this might be tinkering with something that’s controlled at a slighly deeper layer.

And yes, the same idea could be transferred pretty easily over to the pattern slots. I’ll take a look if I get some time.

As suggested by @CatManDeux there is now a second release of this patch. It includes a second pattern layer and blinking LEDs when the second layer is in use. It’s available from Patchstorage as usual.

The blinking LEDs may or may not be what you want, so there are instructions on the GitHub page to turn those off.

Also the name the name of the patch (and this thread) has changed slightly to reflect the new functionality. It now has an asterisk.

FWIW it took some experimentation to get the blinking usable, because it was very easy for blinking LEDs 2 and 3 to confuse the user who wanted to follow the blinking metronome on LED1. In the end it seemed the best solution was to exactly match the metronome blinking. That means it’s a bit more subtle than it could be, but at it least it doesn’t cause confusion. Also, regarding Prese(p)tavox, that seems to work fine as long as you put it in the first synth layer and only use patterns from the first synth layer.

Do please let me know of any problems. Thanks.

[*] and pattern

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That is so awesome, thank you!

Yesterday was the first day I ran second synth layer. I did experience a situation where the 201PP would lock up with all purple LEDs and no tempo. I tried restarting it a few times and gave up on it at the gig. Once I got home I tried it again and it fired up like nothing was wrong.

I did have it quite loaded. Slots 1-6 were the original 201PP patches. Then Preseptavox, astral dream, one of the FM synths, Pacifica, yellotron, and drum selector. Obviously quite a number of samples with the last 3. Maybe too many. Startup time was lenghty but it seem to work, until between sets at the gig where it was constantly frozen.

And truth be told, perhaps I inadvertently recorded and saved a preset while in disk mode. If so, is there a specific file that would be corrupted? I had also edited mother live to give the master tempo knob more range.

Hello, @CatManDeux. Thanks for the feedback, and I’m sorry to hear about your experience. (Especially since it happened during a gig; that’s a bad time to have problems, plus I’d love to see pictures or videos of someone using the 201 at a gig.) I don’t have much of answer for you, I’m afraid, as I can’t explain why you experienced what you did. Here’s some background and some pointers, which may or may not help.

I’m guessing you loaded the v1 patch, which has been on Patchstorage until only a few hours ago. If instead you downloaded the latest version from GitHub, and if that version wasn’t tagged, then it’s possible you downloaded a version that was mid-development and which contained some bugs. If so, then try the latest version from Patchstorage.

The v1 patch does two things differently from the original mother patch. It loads 12 synths instead of 6; and if you double click a synth button then it loads one of the extra patches. All other logic is the same.

For this second action, the user hits a synth button and then - very quickly - hits the same synth button again. Under the hood the patch first loads one of the 1-6 synths as usual, because so far the user has only hit a synth button once. But when it gets the second hit (and if it’s happened quickly) it loads the corresponding 7-12 synth. So what’s happening is that a synth is loaded, and then another is loaded very quickly after. It’s possible that a synth doesn’t respond well to be loaded very soon after another one. However, I’d be surprised about that beucase (a) I’ve not seen anyone reporting anything like that about any 201 synth, or the device itself, and (b) I can’t see how synths would accidentally interfere with each other in that way. In any event, you will only see this behaviour when you try to load one of the 7-12 synths, not at any other time.

So apart from starting up and loading a new synth, all the logic is from the original.

The patch doesn’t write to the disk at all, so I can’t imagine why it might cause any files, or the disk more generally, to get corrupted.

The v2 patch adds two things that are new. One is that it adds six more pattern slots. So all the above is now true for patterns as well as synths. However, I’d be even more surprised if there was a problem here, because I think patterns are typically much less demanding than synths.

The other thing v2 does is the LED blinking. This happens constantly during normal use, but only if pattern slot 7-12 is selected or synth slot 7-12 is selected. The logic here triggers every beat, but it’s the same as the metronome’s logic, so I hope it’s solid and not too demanding. The worst that might be happening is that the LEDs are updated three times every beat instead of once every beat - and that happens if the both a pattern and a synth is selected from the second layer.

Here are some suggested troubleshooting routes.

One is to power the device by USB rather than batteries. I don’t know which you were using during your gig, but it’s possible the batteries were under-powered. However, I’m just guessing, as I don’t really understand the hardware side of things.

One is to remove synths one by one until you get it working consistently. If you can get success this way then it suggests the synths you’re left with provide some kind of “maximum load”. It might be that the last synth you removed is problematic, but I think that’s unlikely. More likely is that there is a combination that works fine and another combination that is somehow too much. If you’re using v2 and have extra patterns then you can also do this for those, too.

A final one - if you’re using v2 - is to turn off the blinking. There are instructions in the README for this, and that will ensure the blink logic is entirely bypassed.

I hope that provides a bit of help - and do let us know how you get on.

Thanks a bunch for this. By any chance, have you tried using Segmenti in this setup?
I’m getting a lot of crackle and popping sounds from that patch. (The only edit I’ve made to the Segmenti patch is editing all instances of 44.1 to 48)

Hi there. Yes, I’ve got Segmenti in my own setup and it seems fine to me.

As, I mentioned above, the only extra processing the patch does during normal playing is the blinking LEDs (and that’s only for v2; v1 doesn’t have the blinking LEDs). Otherwise, all the extra processing occurs (a) on startup (loading additional modules) and (b) when switching slots.

I can imagine that more modules consume more RAM and therefore limit what’s available to whatever modules are in use. This may cause the glitches you’re hearing. In that case, as suggested above, it might be worthwhile removng modules one by one until you find an overall combination that is stable.

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An update: I removed both of the stock sample based drum patches (as I personally never use them) and Yellotron. The 201PP has been well behaved ever since with the dual patch layer mother. No more freezes.

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Thanks for your response. I started from scratch and kept my folders clean. This helped and I think Segmenti is now behaving nicely.

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This is a brilliant addition. Bravo! And thanks.

For what it’s worth, the septavox patch has always occasionally acted in unpredictable ways for me, which for me adds to its charm. Suddenly it starts (mis)behaving in some surprising way and creating new unexpected sounds. I love the slightly out of control behaviour :))

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