Eigenharp Pico first steps, DAW connection, etc

Hi folks! I’m gonna ask a few stupid questions here, so please bear with me-- I was gifted an Eigenharp Pico from a friend, and I’m super excited about it (I’m a wind instrumentalist who studied music tech and tend to work in hardware synths mostly these days)-- but I’m finding it kind of cryptic? I’m usually no slouch when it comes to navigating weird UIs and jank instruments, but I admit I’m not sure what to do here-- I’ve installed EigenD as per the thread below on OSX Catalina community build instructions, and I can get it to play the “Modular Synth” patch under Example Setups > Pico > 1, but I can’t figure out how to get EigenD to let me play like, a wind patch or something? Or at all what the fingerings are supposed to be? The Eigenlabs website seems to be down, but I guess I’m looking for a little direction, if possible! Ideally I’d like to be able to just set it up with Logic as a midi controller, but I’m not sure if that’s a thing (I’m currently trying to figure out what EigenD does-- I read through the documentation but am still having some trouble.


1 Like

Ugh, the Eigenharp webpage seems to be down indeed atm. Let’s hope it’s up again soonish.

As a start I would recommend to explore the default setup. Here an entry page:
Particularly the start guide and reference guide (which explains the default Pico setup in more detail) and video tutorials can be recommended.

The Clarinet “wind patch” you might be looking for can be activated via mode key+key 15.

If you are into creating your own patches you can e.g. have a look at the three part EigenD synth tutorials on Mark’s Youtube channel (this channel contains also lots of other valuable infos):

Here some further links that explain further details of EigenD and Workbench:

For official support feel free to contact John Lambert via customerservices@eigenlabs.com

Otherwise, for questions to the community (the more concrete the easier to answer) you found the right place :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply! I’ll look through some of those links, I’m really excited to get to using the Pico! I’ve been considering buying an EWI/Roland Aerophone for a while now, so getting gifted something like this out of nowhere is super exciting-- I’m going to play around a bit with EigenD to familiarize myself. Off the top of your head, do you happen to know if the Pico is applicable to a use-case like this: https://twitter.com/AntonMCorazza/status/1294511327348752384?s=20 ? IE, using it as a midi controller for a vst that supports expression and other windsynth stuffs? Thank you again for the help!

Yes, that is possible and how the majority here is using the Eigenharps. You can either host VSTs directly inside EigenD (on Windows restricted to 32 bit VSTs) or - more convenient - route MIDI out of EigenD into any host of your choice to play MPE or voice-per-channel compatible plugins or external hardware synths. E.g. the Audiomodelling stuff is great when it comes to physical models of wind or string instruments!
The default Pico setup supports MIDI out (mod key+key 16). Then you still have to choose which midi interface this output should be assigned to in the EigenD menu. Can either be a physical midi out (if you want to control an external hardware synth) or a virtual midi cable that connects to a DAW (how this works depends on your OS).

1 Like

Thank you so much! I’ll do some experimenting, I’m super excited!

1 Like

Sorry to come back with more silly questions! I’m reading through documentation and looking at videos, but I’m having some trouble still-- I have access to both Mac OS and Windows, but am currently working on Mac OS-- I’m trying to get the Pico to talk to Logic, I can’t find it in the Audio MIDI setup, but Logic can sometimes see the Pico when I press on the keys, but I’m not sure which mode that is. I tried following this video (which is hilariously over 10 years old but was hoping there would be some overlap): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6aVat3UWRk but I wasn’t able to figure it out :frowning: Do you know if there’s a more concise tutorial or steps I can take to route the Pico’s MIDI out to a DAW in a way that also uses the breath controller? I know that this very DAW and OS specific, but I have a couple DAWs and OS’s, so I can probably figure it out if I have a starting point. I think I’m having a lot of trouble with the Pico’s mode settings because I’m red/green colorblind, and those are the color of the LEDs, so I can’t tell what I’m doing haha. Thank you for the support!

Most of the things explained in the video should still be up to date.
The only thing is that EigenCommander doesn’t work with current macOS versions anymore.
But that is not severe, you can do most things also with Workbench.
In this case you can open Workbench, select the edit tool (fifth tool buttom from left), scroll to the “midi output 1” agent and select the midi interface there (by default it is “null” - so disabled). You can either use Eigenlabs 1 (which is a default virtual midi device created by EigenD on macOS or the IAC channel when you followed Geert’s tutorial).
Then you have to choose the same midi device in Logic aus input, load an AudioUnit and and you should hear something.

Edit: In the EigenD menu there is an entry “MIDI Converter 1”. There you can define the mapping of Pico controls to MIDI Events, define which channels are used etc. The midi matrix is explained here:
And default mapping (that can be changed in the matrix) is documented here:

  • Strip controller 1 -> MIDI continuous input 1 (CC 16)
  • Breath -> MIDI continuous input 2 (CC 17)
  • Key pressure -> MIDI note on/off
  • Key roll -> MIDI pitch bend wheel
  • Key yaw -> modwheel (CC 33)

Edit2: Hm, for me in the latest EigenD community edition these weren’t the defaults set in the matrix… But perhaps I have overwritten it at some point, cannot remember. Seldomely using the default setup. Better check how the controls are mapped in your matrix before making any assumptions.

Under settings/active channel in the midi matrix you can also enable MPE mode (there are different variants because the EigenD implementation preceeds the final MPE standard)

You can either configure a synth to react to the configured events or configure the events that your synth uses. Usually it’s best to stick with one mapping in EigenD and configure all synths accordingly, so you can just keep the EigenD setup constant. (At least that’s what I do).

1 Like

Thank you for the assistance! I’ve played around with the clarinet model, and have figure out how to set it to chromatic (the red green LEDs are really getting me haha), I can send MIDI to Logic (by setting up the midi routing, and then holding the main mode key and key 16), but that only seems to react to key presses, instead of the breath sensor. Is that resolved by selecting CC 17 for breath? In Midi converter 1, it lists CC 17 as “General purpose controller 1”. Sorry for all the questions! Thank you again!

If you scroll down the “Breath controller” column in the midi matrix, is there a green number in any of the cells? If not then breath is not mapped. Then you can click in the row with the midi event you want to map it to (e.g. cc2 or cc17 or something), then a dialog opens where you can set the configuration parameters (min/max mapping value, slope etc.).
Edit: If you are using poly or MPE mode it is important to keep the setting for the breath controller at “Global” instead of “Per-note”, as there is only one breath controller (in contrast to e.g. roll, yaw and pressure, which makes sense to configure as per-key).

Ah yeah this is what I see-- sounds like it’s not set up by default. I think what I’m looking to achieve is having it act sort of like it acts in the clarinet modeling mode (notes sound when the breath controller hits a certain threshhold, fingering almost like a real wind instrument), if that’s a thing that’s achievable through setup. Also, if you don’t mind my asking, do you tend to live in chromatic fingering mode, or do you tend to pick a key? Sorry to keep you hostage answering my questions, you’ve been a huge help!

Yes, at least in the visible screen area it’s not mapped (you can scroll down to see more midi events that it might be mapped to). So just click on the cell at the intersection of Breath and the cc of choice, then you can configure the mapping.

The VST/AudioUnit you control has to expect a corresponding expression control at this CC of course. Which CC this is by default is plugin dependent. In many cases (e.g. in the SWAM instruments) you can also configure it. CC1 (modulation), CC2 (breath) or CC11 (expression) or CC7 (volume) might be worth a try - but best look up what your plugin uses.

For the Clarinet sound I have a quite special setup that uses the “fingerer” agent that allows to play notes by pressing combinations of keys, like closing several holes on a wind instrument to reach more tones (up to 5 octaves in my setup). Unfortunately this only works with the EigenD internal sounds like the Clarinet, notes seem to hang with MIDI out…

Found the posting in the Google+ archives: https://eigenharparchive.blogspot.com/2013/09/on-yesterday-eigenwarriors-hangout-i.html
Edit: Before going down that rabbit hole it might be better to play around with the default setup a little more. For Pico it probably makes most sense to think about which piece you want to play and choose the scale accordingly. On Alpha I use chromatic exclusively, but for Pico diatonic can also make a lot of sense.

1 Like

You’re a damn hero, seriously! Thanks so much, this has been immensely helpful :slight_smile:

Welcome :slight_smile: I’m off for today now, have fun experimenting!

1 Like

I’ve been considering buying an EWI/Roland Aerophone for a while now, so getting gifted something like this out of nowhere is super exciting

It is possible to play this in an EWI-like way. As you’ve discovered, it’s very complicated! But come back if you have more questions. (“Fingerer” is a very flexible way to develop breath-controlled fingering systems. If you’re interested in the Aerophone and the EWI you might also like Warbl, which is another versatile/programmable MIDI wind controller.)

Thanks for the info! I’ve been looking into the fingerer-- Does the fingerer config work for the midi out instrument setting as well? I’m trying to make it behave essentially like an EWI in the MIDI out mode, so I want to experiment with mapping the fingerings like covering the holes on a wind instrument, have it only send out note-on data when using the breath controller. I was having some trouble with my install of EigenD (it only has the clarinet and MIDI out for some reason, none of the other instrument settings load), but had to put it on the backburner slightly this week since I have some other projects to work on, but I’m going to tinker with it throughout! It’s a really fascinating device, I just wish the LEDs weren’t red/green haha

Technically yes, but it produces hanging notes. But if you play instrument sounds with a natural decay (like plucked instruments) you might get away with it. If you want you could just download the setup I posted in the link above and give it a try, then you’d see how your sounds of choice would react to it.
Only hearing a sound with breath would be something the synth preset has to support. E.g. by mapping breath to a filter cutoff, exciter strength, volume knob etc. (You still get note ons when not blowing into the pipe, but wouldn’t hear anything then)

Another possibility would be to just output midi normally (without the fingerer) and then transform the midi events on the Mac side. E.g. GigPerformer provides a scripting language that could do that. Or use Max etc. Would be some effort in any case but might be worth it.
Debugging the fingerer (or whichever agent leads to the problem) would also be an option but is not trivial unfortunately.

1 Like

Debugging the fingerer (or whichever agent leads to the problem) would also be an option but is not trivial unfortunately.

This is true…nothing about the Eigenharp is trivial. But it’s still compelling…this is why I rarely use it, but I still want a Tau…

I did get quite a way towards a problem-free MIDI version with EVI fingering at one stage. I’ll grab the thing out of storage and dig out my notes…maybe we can crack it.


1 Like

Cool! How did you tackle the MIDI issue?

…just to digress for a minute…

I’m a big fan of EVI fingering as it allows a large chromatic range with relatively few controls. The basic idea is that the right hand plays something similar to the first half-octave on a trumpet on three “valves”, while the left hand steps through half-octaves. (That’s a slight simplification.)

Various electronic instruments have adopted this pattern, and the main difference is the method of stepping through the half-octaves. On the original EVI, this was done by rotating a “canister”. On the Akai EWI, it’s done via a thumb-roller. On the Morrison Digital Trumpet, it’s done by pressing a series of buttons…and that’s the way I approach it on the Pico. I recently recreated the same thing on the Warbl, which was rather easier…

…but the Pico could work just the same. As NothanUmber says, I think Fingerer has some bugs in it, and there are some other gotchas, but it’s got a lot of promise. I found something I was happy with, more by luck than judgement, and once I’ve dug through the files I’ll see if I can recreate it. I’d like to play this thing again.

1 Like

Aha! Looks like Eigenlabs is back up! That’s fantastic!
@NothanUmber I did actually test your setup a bit, and ended up running into trouble-- I got the following message and the fingering didn’t work correctly, but it could have been on my end, I’m going to try to reinstall the community EigenD since mine is being super weird