The Organelle M makes me feel dumb haha

So, for months I’ve been toying with one or the OP1.

I bought the Organelle M and am keen to send it back (the day after it arrived at my house). I wasn’t overly inspired by it after playing around with it for 4/5 hours,

It just became apparent that it wasn’t what I hoped it to be. Yes I knew lots of learning would have to be done but the “plug and play” features got boring for me quite quickly and I found manoeuvrability around the device a bit too awkward without having to plug it in to a screen (which I don’t have)

My studio and only room that i have with a screen I feel like a secondary one is necessary so that I could spend time with it at home, that won’t be the case as i like to keep things simple at home. If i was in my studio more than 3 or 4 days a week I’d consider not returning… It’s nearly an hour from me. The manual is way too vague for me, too much “is it this?” and “is it that?”. I’m a hands on or visual learner.

I was also disappointed that it came with an American plug, even though from a UK provider… waiting all day for it, to have to go into town to buy one as I didn’t have any batteries, Lol. Petty I know, first world problems.

I haven’t found many tutorials on getting the most out of it, yes there is good stuff on PD out there but it’s not clicking with me, again not having a monitor means of being able to dive in deeply doesn’t help, even downloading patches is a pain and it’s making me feel a little stupid, I just can’t seem to get my head around it.

As for the OP1 there is an abundance of people going through the functions at great length, or great insights to the overall functionality but hands on approach is the only way to find out really. My friend recently purchased one and it all seems a bit clunky too with less expandability so I am not sure even that right for me.

What I was hoping for is a cool instrument to have some ease of use, portable, interesting and fun which is both of these are but somehow these aren’t right for me.

Can anybody point me in the direction of effective tutorials, or other options to consider?

I hope this doesn’t come across like I hate the product. I really don’t but maybe I just don’t get it.

Thanks for your time.

As loopop explained in his M review, Organelle is more a live perfomance / jamming / experimental tool for creative idea than a regular groovebox or sequencer with song mode.
For me manual is very clear, it depends of the patches you’re playin. Have you try Orac ? or the three tracks patches by c&g ?

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Your post struck a chord with me - I’ve been stalking this forum for a few weeks and you’ve prompted me to sign up and respond. I don’t have an Organelle, but became aware of it via the recent Engadget piece, and am considering buying one. As part of that “consideration” I’ve watched possibly every YouTube video on the device, have started tinkering with Pd, and have even put up my Eigenharp Pico and Pocket Operator for sale to help me on my way. (Hope you’ll forgive the plug.)

And like you I’ve also been fascinated with the OP-1. But I’ve rejected that because (a) it’s ridiculously expensive, and (b) you really need to be using it with Apple devices to maximise its capabilities, and I’m not an Apple user.

So, first some thoughts and observations, then some suggestions from what I’ve learned…

Thoughts and observations

I have noticed a real difference between the OP-1 and Organelle usage. In his Organelle-M video, @thetechnobear suggests the Organelle can do everything the OP-1 does, but really does more. However, that’s not what people seem to do in practice. In practice there seems to be cultural difference between Organelle and OP-1 usage.

The OP-1/Organelle difference seems to me like the Apple/Linux difference. The OP-1 is a beautiful piece of hardware, has a carefully-curated brand image, but is expensive, has a closed ecosystem and is heavily tied to Apple hardware. The Organelle is much more reasonably priced, is very open, and its creators actively encourage and even celebrate third party tinkering. (I should add that the Organelle is also very nicely produced; you don’t design in wooden keys and a bright colour by accident, and C&G generate beautifully-produced videos.)

I suspect this is what encourages the cultural difference. You can’t tinker with the OP-1, so the video tutorials (almost all tutorials these days seem to be video tutorials) can only themed around “this is how you use it” and “here is some music I’ve made with it.” By contrast Organelle videos are themed around “look at this cool thing I’ve done with it”, often in the form of patches. It’s very hard to find “here is some music I’ve made with it” videos, let alone “here is how I made this music” videos.

I also note that quite a few patches come with minimal or no instructions. It’s that Linux-like community thing again - lots of software out there, but much of it has questionable or terse documentation. And I would like to see more videos of “here is some music I’ve made with it” - not just on this forum, but on YouTube. I really, really appreciate C&G taking the time to showcase patches so nicely, and I would love to see more of the community encouraging those new users who want to have fun without being hackers.

All the reviews of the Organelle say something along the lines of “you can use Pure Data, which is great, but you really don’t have to because there are loads of great patches already out there.” That’s true, but what people tend to make public is their patches, not their music or their basic usage.

I suspect there’s also a numbers game going on here. I guess there are more OP-1 users than Organelle users so just by pure quantity you’re bound to get more people posting tutorials on the OP-1 than the Organelle.

Suggestions

I’ve been pondering how I might get started if/when I were to acquire an Organelle. In case it’s helpful to you, my thoughts have been

  1. Try some simple standalone patches. Probably start with some synth patches, because they just make noises without extra equipment. Load patch, twiddle with knobs, make sounds. There are only four knobs, so that should be nice and simple.
  2. Try some more complex patches (sequencers, loopers, etc). Again, these are just standalone patches.
  3. Start with Orac. Orac allows you to string patches together, so we take our earlier knowledge and build on that. Personally, I’m imagining putting a little recorder/looper thing at the end of the Orac patch sequence to allow some kind music-making without any additional devices.

So I agree with your observations about lack of tutorials (though the manual looks okay to me). But I hope the above 1-2-3 suggestion might be of some use. It’s really tempting to start hacking (which needs an extra screen etc), but I do believe there is so much fun to be had without that.

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Hmm, the organelle is a hard thing to pin down I suppose.

If I were you, I’d spend another day or so only playing with the stock patches. Don’t even think about getting into PD/ editing/ making patches yet. There’s a bit of a learning curve to it and I wouldn’t recommend starting there.

Try a few patches out, and see if any jive with you. Each patch is really a new instrument. Spend some time with them.

A few patches that grabbed me from the start:

  1. Stereo rhythmicon
  2. Rhodey
  3. 1008

But that’s just me! :slight_smile:

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I think that not connecting with an instrument or a musical platform is completely normal. The OP-1 is a fantastic design and completely different from the Organelle as an instrument. It’s strengths are in it’s limitations and the integration of the interface, the lovely screen and graphics, and the sound. As an owner of an OP-Z, Op-1, and an Organelle-M, they each have strengths and weaknesses. In the end, it comes down to how you connect with an interface and what tools help you achieve the results that you want. I know a lot of people who ditched the Organelle because they did not like how you had to invest time in planning and troubleshooting patches. I just spent a few hours trying to figure out how to get the fluidsynth libraries to work on the Organelle-M. I have also been a fan of the platform for several years, and have watched as Mark, Patrick, Owen, and the C & G team have built upon the platform and worked around it’s limitations. The Organelle-M addressed my initial complaints about the instrument (lack of battery power, speaker, etc.). Working with a smaller subset of features or patches can help you get to know whether this instrument works for you or not. I would avoid Orac initially (as it is a big rabbit hole and requires planning and investment) until you “get” the Organelle… if you want synthesizer engines, there are some glorious patches out there. I particularly like Multipage Synth. Good luck.

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I started writing my reply before sydilaxe had posted so I’ll be echoing a few things.

I’ve had the OP-1 for a little more than a year and an Organelle mk1 a few months. They are indeed very different and might appeal to different people for very different reasons. As has been said, the OP-1 is a clever design, fitting a complete workstation in a tiny enclosure, its limitations are well documented. Four tracks, max 6 minutes etc. The constraints are there for a reason - to force decisions, creative workarounds etc.

Organelle on the other hand, apart from its physical specs and processing, is virtually limitless. It can be anything it seems. The endless possibilities are almost as terrifying as promising. At least for me whose biggest constraint is my lack of time due to work and family duties. The creative possibilities of PD (make your dream sound machine!) that is crazy cool, is not for me. The threshold is too high.

For me I find it necessary to decide which hat to wear. I’m a musician, not an instrument maker. So I’m grateful for the patches created and shared by others. Sydilaxe advice on how to approach Organelle seems sound. Every patch can almost be seen as a new instrument. So there’s a lot to master. Better start out small.

I can relate to some of the bewilderment and frustration trying to get my head around some patches. Yet, I need to remind myself that i bought the Organelle to be this “crazy box” that amongst many things will keep me from buying expensive dsp boutique pedals or to venture into euro-rack. When I want to mess with something granular or create some weird interesting loop it’s quite an interesting tool to have. But I doubt I’ll ever make a full track on it.

PS. I should add, I never make full tracks on Op-1 either. Once I have a few loops going I move them over to my daw (Live) and finish the song there.

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Hey ALL,

I thought I’d leave it a few days before responding. I decided to keep it anyway:

  1. I bought it knowing it was much more expansive than the OP1 (had the money to get it but went this route instead.

  2. At the end of the day, it will serve my purpose as a songwriter and producer. I’m a working drummer mainly and thats how I pay my way, I was never after a beat machine, just a cool instrument for live work with my new project. I know the Organelle can shine and the deeper I go, I know I’ll grow to love it.

  3. I see the potential in this and have committed to learning my way through it to the best of my ability.

Thanks to all the advice above, it is very appreciated!

I have had several problems loading Patches, resulting in having to clear an entirely new folder after downloading a dodgy synth BUT I can’t work out which one?

Next time it happens Ill take a photo… but what happens is this…

I select ‘reload’, but then it defaulted to what looked like an ‘Orac’ type screen as my main boot screen. to find that the > symbol had disappeared from my created folder to access my latest patches.

I hope that makes sense? I have a feeling this place is the only place I’ll get my head around things.

Thanks again everybody!

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agreed !! :slight_smile:

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The Organelle opens some neat possibilities as a drummer/percussionist. You could incorporate it into a percussion rig for live sampling/glitching of drums using mics/preamps into the Organelle. You could also connect midi triggers from your kit to the Organelle to launch events in an Organelle sequencer patch or individual sounds.

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This happens when a zipped patch does not contain a directory and then the files, but instead the patch files are all in the root of the .zip archive. For example patch.zip/main.pd instead of patch.zip/patch/main.pd.

It’s super annoying, and the solution is to find the last patch you installed, open the .zip on your computer, and then delete all the matching files from your Organelle. Then go leave a comment on Patchstorage telling the creator that they need to repackage the patch.

It should be fairly easy for the Organelle’s patch install script handle this problem by locating main.pd and treating that as the root of the patch. Hopefully it will be updated in the future. Anyway, until then, I hope this helps with your Organelle journey! :slight_smile:

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Thanks man! Learnt my lesson so have created a folder for uploading new ones…moving any successful ones into a sensible folder.

My organelle was critical part of my rig this weekend, enabling a no laptop setup

As well as sound generation it for my Eigenharp Alpha ( see pic :wink: ), it also connected it to my Eurorack for CV.

For me this is its strength, it can be twisted and tailored to what you need , but for sure flexibility and depth, can also make it tricky to pin down to doing one thing…

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The thing that got me when I first played got the Organelle was how dull it sounded. I have a fair amount of synthesisers, hardware and software and the Organelle stuck out like a sore thumb. A few weeks later after digging around, it made me realise that the dullnes was a result of many third party synth patches having the Moog simulation filter simulation with a default cutoff frequency set to…er…dull! Once I got past this I regained interest, and yes, it has found a nice place amongst the other 34. I use it mainly to playback my EMUIII and orchestral libraries along with some serious physical models. It really can do a lot, but one thing I will say is that listening to many of my undergraduate sudents work written on just one device, especially the OP-1, is that no matter how good the audio convertors and single patches sound individually, when you add various instrument tracks of internal instruments and fx they loose resolution, clarity and sound as if the result is “boxed” in one machine.
The Organelle is a lovely machine for realising PD dreams and for me there are some gem patches out there (the RE-201 being my most favourite) but it can’t answer everybody’s needs, naturally.

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