HYDRAMORPH™ Documentation

Thank you for purchasing HYDRAMORPH™ for MacOS 10.11.x or higher! HYDRAMORPH is a generative sound design tool for the Ashun Sound Machines Hydrasynth polyphonic analog synthesizer. The application is designed to algorithmically morph parameters on the instrument in realtime. Keep playing or record the results as up to 482 (so far) parameters are manipulated! Use HYDRAMORPH to create anything from chaotic, rapidly-changing textures to slow, evolving drones.

Unzip the HYDRAMORPH zip file. Start by reading HYDRAMORPH_readme.txt and the End User License Agreement or EULA (HYDRAMORPH_EULA.txt). Next, double click on “HYDRAMORPH.dmg”. Drag the HYDRAMORPH file into the Applications folder. Once it is copied to Applications you may eject the HYDRAMORPH volume from your desktop by dragging it to the trash.

To register and start using HYDRAMORPH it must be copied into your Applications folder and your computer must be connected to the internet. Once you’re connected open HYDRAMORPH and choose “Register HYDRAMORPH” from the “File” menu. Fill out the form including the registration key that was emailed to you after purchasing the software and press SUBMIT. Upon successful registration, “Registered to <first name> <last name>”, will appear to the right of the HYDRAMORPH logo in the user interface.

Please proceed with caution! Degrading, morphing, and randomizing parameters on your synth may cause extremely loud sounds. Keep your levels low and be prepared to quickly pull down the volume.

HYDRAMORPH works by scaling or randomizing customized groups of parameters on the Hydrasynth. This is possible through the use of NRPN (non-registered parameter numbers) over MIDI. Currently the Hydrasynth is only able to receive these message on MIDI channel 1.

1. On your Hydrasynth go to SYSTEM SETUP, Page 4/12 and set MIDI RX to either 1 or OMNI.

2. Next in SYSTEM SETUP, Page 6/12 set Param RX to NRPN.

3. Now make sure your Hydrasynth is connected your computer with a USB cable.

4. Next open HYDRAMORPH, click on the menu underneath the “Refresh MIDI Devices” label, and choose the “HYDRASYNTH KB” or “HYDRASYNTH DR” option.

5. USB is recommended, but if you need to use MIDI DIN connections choose the name of your MIDI interface from the menu under the “Refresh MIDI Devices” label.

6. If the option “HYDRASYNTH KB” or “HYDRASYNTH DR” are not available check your connections and then press the orange button to the left of the “Refresh MIDI Devices” label.

7. Afterward “HYDRASYNTH KB” or “HYDRASYNTH DR” should be a choice in the menu. Do not press the orange button to the left of the “Refresh MIDI Devices” label after choosing “HYDRASYNTH KB” or “HYDRASYNTH DR” from the menu. The button is there to refresh the list of MIDI devices and will disconnect the Hydrasynth.

8. Once you have selected “HYDRASYNTH KB” or “HYDRASYNTH DR” from the menu and registered your software you can begin.

9. The options titled “AU DLS Synth 1”, “from HYDRAMORPH 1”, and “from HYDRAMORPH 2” will not work with HYDRAMORPH.

Aside from manual editing, the most simple thing HYDRAMORPH will do is per parameter randomization that can be looped and timed. Choose the parameters you’d like included and then press [play/pause] or the spacebar. If [loop] is pressed the checked parameters will be randomized continually at the rate specified under “RATE (ms)” until [play/pause] or the spacebar is pressed again. The rate ranges from 5 millisecond to 3000 milliseconds (3 seconds) per parameter change. This technique will jump from one value to the next creating unpredictable or chaotic results.

Press the [interpolate] button to smoothly scale parameters from one to the next at the specified rate. Use this technique to morph values smoothly. This is where the magic happens. Imagine up to 482 hands turning knobs on your Hydrasynth all at once! However, the best approach is to be selective about the parameters you choose for the morphing process. Try all sorts of combinations to suit your personal sound design aesthetic. The twelve presets included offer a few examples of how it will sound to start degrading from different values and with different groups of parameters selected. Increase the [interval] value to speed up the morphing parameters that have finer adjustments. Coarse parameters ignore the [interval] setting. As more parameters are added to the morphing process, the morphing rate slows down. This prevents HYDRAMORPH from overloading the Hydrasynth with MIDI data.

NOTE: Although the Hydrasynth only shows a range of values from 1.0 to 128.0 for many of the parameters the range is actually much higher through the use of NRPNs, or Non-registrered Parameters Numbers. These parameters generally range from 0 to 8191. This means very slow and smooth morphing can occur using a low [interval]. At an [interval] of 1 it will take about 41 seconds to span the entire range from 0 to 8191 with the rate at 5 milliseconds. With an [interval] of 200 it will only take about 2 tenths of a second.

Use the [Update Preset] button to store your own sets of values and parameter choices. Presets cannot be selected while the transport is playing. HYDRAMORPH opens with twelve default presets available in the user interface. Each preset stores the state of the checkboxes, the values of every parameter displayed, the [rate] (ms), the [interval]. the state of the [interpolate] and [loop] buttons, and the state of the section toggles (i.e. [All OSC1 OFF]). Pressing a preset button labelled 1-12 will send the parameter values to your Hydrasynth and recall the state of the HYDRAMORPH interface. This makes it convenient to use HYDRAMORPH in a performance setting. Keyboard shortcuts for the presets are mapped to 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0,-,=.

The twelve presets included offer provide examples of how it will sound to start degrading from different sets of values and with different groups of parameters selected. Use the [Update Preset] button to store your own sets of values and parameter choices. Presets cannot be selected while transport is active. Once you have some presets setup the way you want them choose “Save Presets File” from the “File” menu. You will be prompted for a filename and location. Your presets will be stored with a .json extension. To load a previously stored file choose “Load Presets File” from the “File” menu. You may save as many preset files as you wish, each with twelve new starting points to morph from. You may also choose “Restore Default Presets” from the “File” menu. This will replace all of the presets in memory, so make sure that you have saved any customized presets first.

A new feature in v1.1.0 allows users to morph between two Hydramorph presets. This feature can produce fascinating new sounds by “mixing” or interpolating between two very different presets. Use the drop downs under “MORPH BETWEEN” in the upper right to choose preset A and preset B, then update the number box or the slider to interpolate between the two presets. For example if you set the value to 0.75 then your Hydrasynth will contain a new patch that is interpolated 75% of the way from preset A to preset B. The values are sent to the Hydrasynth after releasing the mouse, or immediately when nudging the values with the arrow key. Keep in mind that an entire new patch is being sent over MIDI with every change. Rapid changes to MORPH BETWEEN might lead to overloading the Hydrasynth making it necessary to reconnect.

Q: Why after verifying is there a box that says, “HYDRAMORPH is damaged and can’t be opened”?
A: This is what is called a Gatekeeper error and happens on Macs that do not have the Preference set to allow applications to be installed from the internet. This article explains how to resolve the issue: How to fix damaged app message. If you get the error with MacOS Catalina follow these steps.

Q: Is there a way to fine tune the values in the number boxes?
A: Numberboxes can be changed by clicking and dragging on the box, entering numbers by hand, or using the arrow keys. Clicking and dragging is the least accurate method. Use the up/down or left/right arrow key to nudge values at the smallest increment, or click on the box and type in a specific value. Clicking and dragging on the left of the box makes coarser adjustments. Clicking and dragging on the right of the box makes finer adjustments.

Q: Why does my Hydrasynth stop receiving MIDI values from HYDRAMORPH?
A: This might happen if you have alot going on on your computer at the same time or while morphing rapidly between presets. HYDRAMORPH has been stress tested with all 462 parameters checked and [rate] (ms) set to 5 millisecond. But if you have a lot of programs running at once it’s possible that the Hydrasynth will stop receving data. Try closing all unnessesary programs and then disconnect and reconnect your Hydrasynth to get it working again.

Q: Can I install HYDRAMORPH on more than one computer?
A: Yes. Currently the registration system allows for HYDRAMORPH to be installed on one computer. If you need to install it on more than one computer or a new computer please contact keston@audiocookbook.org to make arrangements.