This module performs a relatively simple mathematical scaling operation on V/Bar signals but it has quite a profound impact on the V/Bar timing system and offers perhaps unexpected creative potential.
One way to think of the Time Flow Changer module is as it being rather like a clock divider / multiplier in a clock based sequencing system.
Normally Adroit sequencers, such as CV Sequencer and Rhythm Sequencer, run for a single bar – there is a simple one-to-one relationship between the V/Bar signal and the running of the sequencer. A change of one volt results in one cycle of the sequence. However this module allows this relationship to be changed so that, for example, a sequence can last for eight bars (i.e. running 8 times slower than normal by using a 1/8 setting) or for just the duration of a quarter note (i.e. running 4 times faster than normal using a 4/1 setting).
Running a CV Sequencer at faster than normal rates allows you to produce tempo-synced LFO style modulations with user programmable waveforms.
Running a CV Sequencer at slower than normal rates enables you to create control signals similar to automation curves in a DAW.
In both of these applications engaging the GLIDE buttons on the CV Sequencers will produce nice smooth changes. And because linear interpolation is used rather than slew limiting you don’t need to adjust anything to maintain the same slopes at different speeds.
Note that feeding the CV OUT signal from a CV Sequencer channel back to the channel’s MERGE input will enable the glide to interpolate between the last and first step when looping.
More dramatically, changing the time flow for a Rhythm Sequencer can fundamentally transform how a song sounds.
The range of time flow multiplication or division available is quite vast as the change is expressed as a fraction that can vary from 99/1 (in other words 99 times faster than normal) down to 1/99 (or 99 times slower than normal).
The scaling is very precise as 64 bit math is used and there is no lag in tempo tracking. Unlike with a clock based system there is no need for the module to measure the time between pulses – it simply performs a multiplication directly on the V/Bar input so you get an immediate and totally accurate response.
Simple fractions such as 2/1 or 1/2 perform simple doubling or halving but it is also of course possible to enter weird values such as 15/17. If you are interested in polyrhythms or ever wondered what a melody sounds like when played 64 times faster than normal then this module should offer you hours of fun.
An important benefit of voltage control of timing is that Adroit sequencers don’t have an internal “count state”. So, when you change the time flow using this module you can revert back to a simple timing ratio such as 1/1 and any attached sequencers will immediately return to normal in-sync timing, unlike in a clock based system where conventional sequencers would most likely be confused and require a reset in order to get back into synchronization.
One interesting technique is to insert Time Flow Changers at strategic points in an LSSP patch just before Progression and Rhythm Sequencer chains and experiment with things like doubling or halving the speed of chord changes, the lead melody or bass line. Sometimes one can discover that say slowing down the bass to half speed or doubling the rate of chord change produces an unexpectedly good outcome. Sometimes a melody that sounds really cheesy at 140 BPM can have deeply serious impact when played at 20 BPM and askew to the rhythm section.
Although this module is usually inserted just before the V/Bar input of a sequencer or a chain of sequencers it can be inserted anywhere in a V/Bar patch so can open up new possibilities with Time Splitters too.
It’s an open ended approach that can lead to all kinds of happy accidents and discoveries – exploratory changes that you would never encounter with a piano roll editor as the editing work involved would be ridiculously arduous and so unlikely to be productive that you would never dream of venturing there.
A slightly related module is V/Bar Utility which can be used to remap an oscillator’s -5 V to +5 V sawtooth output into the 1 V to 2 V range. You could then, for instance, use a CV Sequencer to create custom audio-rate waveforms or free-running LFO waveforms that aren’t tempo-synced.