If in doubt, ask.
This page describes the current firmware version, which is 4.2

User Manual

Contents:

Installation

House the disting in a Eurorack case of your choosing. The power connector is Doepfer standard. If using the power cable supplied with the Disting, the red edge of the cable is nearest the bottom of the PCB, and carries -12V. ("-12V" is marked on the PCB itself next to this end of the connector.) Be sure to connect the other end of the power cable correctly, again so -12V corresponds to the red stripe on the cable.

Inputs, Outputs and Controls

disting mk4
From top to bottom, the disting has
  • A rotary encoder/push button, named 'S'.
  • A dot matrix display.
  • A MicroSD card slot.
  • A knob, referred to as the 'Z' control, which controls some aspect of the algorithm. This knob also has a push button function.
  • Three input sockets.
    • The top input is the 'Z' CV input, which controls the same thing as the 'Z' knob. The two are added together.
    • The other two inputs are 'X' and 'Y', and their function depends on the current algorithm.
  • Two output sockets, named 'A' and 'B'.
The sockets are illuminated to reflect the voltage at the socket (or in the case of 'Z', the combined voltage of the input and the knob). Red indicates a positive voltage; blue indicates a negative voltage.

Inserting a MicroSD card

The disting's MicroSD card slot is to the left of the display.

The exposed contacts of the card should face towards the display; the angled side of the card itself points up.

The slot is of the "push-push" type - to remove the card, push it in slightly and it will spring out.

Updating the firmware

See this page for details on how to update the firmware on a disting, and to check you have the most recent firmware version.

Startup

When the module powers up it first runs through some patterns on its display. The sequence is as follows:

  • Each of the seven columns in turn, from left to right.
  • Each of the five rows in turn, from bottom to top.

It then shows the bootloader version (e.g. "b1") and the current firmware version (e.g. "v4.0").

If after the above the disting shows the message "Uncalibrated", then the calibration data in flash is missing or corrupt. A default calibration will be used, but for accurate results, please recalibrate the module.

The encoder & menu system

Pressing the encoder ('S') enters the disting's menu system, which is indicated by the display blinking.

At this time the menus are particularly simple, there being only four menu items to choose from, only one of which you will normally need. In general, the menu system works like this:

  • Press the encoder to enter menu mode.
  • Turn the encoder to select the menu item, and press to select.
  • At this point the behaviour depends on the chosen menu item.

Pressing 'Z' at any time cancels and exits the menus.

The menu items are:

  1. Algorithm - select algorithm
  2. Help - access help
  3. Settings - change settings
  4. Calibrate - begin calibration
    • If you accidentally enter this mode, press the Z knob to cancel

Selecting an algorithm

There is a single list of algorithms, named A1 up to P8 (i.e. A1, A2, ... up to A8, then B1, B2 etc.).

To quickly switch between algorithms, push and hold the S knob while turning it.

Alternatively, the algorithm can be set via menu 1 "Algorithm". Press the encoder twice (to enter the menu, and to select "Algorithm"). Then turn the encoder to select the algorithm. Finally, press the encoder again to switch to the chosen algorithm.

See the algorithm descriptions page for detail on the available algorithms.

Settings

The disting has a number of settings, which are stored in flash memory. They are accessed by menu 4 "Settings". Once you've entered the Settings menu, turn the encoder to select the setting to change.

The settings are:

  1. Brightness - set the display brightness
  2. Auto-store - enable/disable auto-store (see below)
  3. Recall enable - enable/disable recall from the Select Bus (see below)

Once you've chosen the setting to change, press the encoder to select it, at which point the setting's current value will be shown. Turn the encoder to change the value. Then press the encoder to accept and store the value into flash, or press Z to leave the menu without storing the value.

Auto-store

When 'auto-store' is enabled, parameter changes are stored to flash immediately. This has the benefit that the disting always returns to its current state if powered off and on again. However, the write to flash interrupts the usual functioning of the disting, and so can lead to glitching in the output. With auto-store disabled, parameter changes are not stored immediately, which allows the module to keep functioning smoothly. This can be useful for example if using the octave select of the VCO algorithms, or the quantizer key parameter, as part of a live performance.

If auto-store is off, parameter values are still stored along with the current algorithm when the algorithm is changed. This gives you a means to manually store the current parameters - simply switch to another algorithm and immediately back again.

Help

Accessing 'Help' from the menu displays algorithm-specific information. The help is loaded from the MicroSD card, if present (else the message "No card" is displayed), and scrolled across the display. To exit the help function, press Z.

The help text is a simple plain text file on the card, so it can be freely edited (e.g. to put your own choice of information first, or to translate it into a different language).

The default set of help files can be downloaded here. Simply unzip the file onto your MicroSD card. The file structure should look something like this:

i.e. the 'help' folder is at the root level of the card, and inside is a file per algorithm, named 'hXXX.txt', where XXX is the algorithm number, starting from zero for algorithm A1.

Parameters

In addition to the control provided on the Z knob, each algorithm may have up to four 'parameters', offering further control over the algorithm's operation.

Unlike the Z control, which is sampled at the same high rate as the X & Y inputs, parameters should be considered coarse, non-real-time adjustments to the algorithm. They may cause glitching in the outputs when changed. (In some cases this can be avoided by turning off the auto-store setting.)

Parameters are adjusted via the S knob. When changed, the parameter value is displayed for a couple of seconds.

If an algorithm has more than one parameter, pressing the Z knob cycles through them. The current parameter number is displayed briefly followed by its name.

Knob Recorder

In many algorithms which do not use a Z knob press for another purpose, pressing Z offers a 'knob recorder' function.

When this is available, holding Z down while turning it causes the Z value changes to be recorded. As soon as the knob is released, the recording is played back in a loop. To end playback, turn the Z knob slightly to regain manual control.

The maximum duration of knob recording is a little under 14 seconds.

Tap Tempo

Some algorithms (notably the Clockable LFO and Clockable Delay/Echo) use a press of the Z knob as a 'tap tempo' function. In these modes, pressing Z has the same effect as sending a clock pulse into the clock input. For example, pressing Z twice will set the delay time/LFO period to the time between the two button presses.

Note that if the algorithm is dividing down the clocked frequency, pressing Z twice will not set the output to the division of the time between the two presses; rather, it will be the time between a corresponding number of button presses. E.g. if the Clockable LFO is set to 1/4 (divide by 4), the LFO time will be set by pressing the Z button 5 times, and it will only change on the 5th press.

What's saved after a power cycle

When a disting is turned off and on again, the following information is preserved:

  • The current algorithm
  • The current algorithm's parameters (if auto-store is enabled - see above)
  • The Z control (implicitly, because it's completely defined by the physical position of the Z knob)

When switching between algorithms, their parameters are preserved. However, only the current algorithm's parameters survive a power cycle.

Favourites

You can define your own list of 16 'favourite' algorithms, via a text file on the MicroSD card.

The favourites are accessed as algorithms O1-P8. If no favourites are defined, or if there are empty slots, the disting runs algorihm A1, the Precision Adder.

The favourites are read from the SD card, if present, at power on. They are then stored in the disting's flash memory, and so persist even after the card is removed.

The favourites file is a simple text file which must be named 'favourites.txt' and placed in the root of the SD card (not inside any folder). The contents look something like this:

disting favourites v2
B8 VCO
a1
C5 resonator
I4 SD z speed
b5 LFO
e6 dual AR w/ push

The first line must be "disting favourites v2". Subsequent lines specify an algorithm to add to the list of favourites. After 16 algorithms, any further lines are ignored.

Each algorithm is specified as its two character name (a letter followed by a number). Any further text after the algorithm number is ignored, so you can add a descriptive string (as in the example above) to help you remember what's what.

Select Bus

If enabled in the settings, the disting mk4 will respond to save/recall messages on the Select Bus.

The Select Bus is a means of inter-module communication currently supported by a handful of modules from various manufacturers, including the Malekko Varigate 8+, Macro Machines Storage Strip and the Make Noise Tempi.

Note that the disting only responds to save/recall messages. It does not initiate them.

MIDI I/O

The disting's MIDI I/O functionality has its own page here.

Acknowledgements

The font used in the disting mk4 is an adapted version of 'Tom Thumb' by Robey Pointer. More on the font here.