Twirl is a simple MIDI controller designed to work with the Neuron VS virtual instrument for desktop sequencers.
Neuron VS was released in around 2005 and shipped with a hardware controller. The Neuron VS has sadly been discontinued, however the owners of the software have recently the software component available for free! So, anyone with a Mac and a compatible VST host is able to run the Neuron VS and write music with it free of charge.
One of the exciting features of the Neuron VS is its Resynators, similar to oscillators that you generally find in every synthesiser. There are 2 Resynators in the Neuron VS. Each Resynator has a joystick that lets you adjust the ‘scape’ and the ‘sphere’ of the sound. ‘Scape’ refers to the generation properties of a sound (such as the excitation source in a real instrument), ‘sphere’ would contain all parameters referring to the properties of the resonating ‘instrument’ body.
In order to manipulate the Resynators, the hardware controller that shipped with Neuron VS was required. These controllers are very rare now, so this iPad app has been created as an alternative form of control. The app has been set up to transmit MIDI CC data, as specified in the Neuron VS manual, with the graphics of the app reflecting the graphics in the Neuron VS.
Where to get the Neuron VS?
You can download Neuron VS by visiting http://www.neuronsynth.com/.
How to use?
- Launch the app
- Make a MIDI connection between your iPad and your desktop sequencer. You may transmit MIDI over Wifi or use any Core MIDI compatible device (such as a Line6 MIDI Mobilizer)
- Add the Neuron VS instrument to your sequencer
- The app transmits MIDI on channel 1 at this time, so ensure that the channel containing the Neuron VS is set to receive on MIDI channel 1.
- Touch the controls on the Twirl app, you should see the appropriate Resynator on the Neuron VS respond.
- If you don’t see the Resynator respond, you may need to manually map the Resynator parameters to the appropriate controls. The Twirl app makes this easy. Double-tap on the word “Surface” to display the “Mapping” screen. On the sequencer, find the exposed parameters of the Neuron VS (every sequencer displays this differently so you may need to check your manual). Taking Ableton Live as an example, you are able to enter MIDI Mapping Mode, click on a synth parameter and send the MIDI CC that you wish to map. Tapping on the 1 + 2 circles for each Resynator property sends the appropriate MIDI CC command. Once you have run through each parameter on the Neuron VS (ignore Filter Cutoff and Filter Resonance), you are ready to play!
The Twirl app relies on your desktop sequencer’s ability to receive MIDI CC data with the possibility that you may have to manually map that data. So, once the Neuron VS running in your sequencer and responding to MIDI data from the sequencer itself, but are unable to control the Resynators from the app, feel free to contact me by leaving a review or tweet @glidepro
Please note: The Neuron VS software downloaded from http://www.neuronsynth.com/ is provided as a free and unsupported product. The Neuron VS site has a Frequently Asked Questions section with some useful information if you do run into problems. Additionally, there is a Facebook Group where you might get some useful pointers from. Finally, there is a very detailed manual included in the Neuron VS download, so it’s worth reading that to get to grips with it!
Additionally note that this app is not officially linked with the owners or developers of Neuron VS. It’s offered as a free tool to enable as many people to use this great synth for as long as possible!
Twirl is free.