Stochas Documentation

About

The main component of Stochas is the grid. Each cell in the grid represents a possible note that can be triggered. The column of the cell represents a point in time, or step in the sequence (by default there are 16 steps per measure). The row of the cell represents a MIDI note. Rows can be customized to play different notes, or standard keys and scales can be loaded to facilitate performances in certain keys. Up to 128 rows, and 64 steps can be used. Each cell on the grid has a number of properties. The main property is Probability. This determines how likely the cell is to trigger it’s note. Cells also have velocity, length, shift (moved slightly forward or backward in time), chain dependency (will play or not play depending on whether another cell has played).

There are four distinct grids (or layers) that exist. Each layer has it’s own set of cells, and all four layers are played simultaneously. Each layer can have it’s own independent settings. For example, you might have layer 2 playback at ¼ the speed of layer 1, or you might have layer 3 have a different number of steps than layer 1 and 2 to create polyrhythms. You may also configure different layers to use a different set of MIDI notes, or even a different MIDI channel. Each layer has a set of eight patterns. A pattern can be seen as a separate grid of cells. When changing to a different pattern through the user interface, that pattern number will be selected on each layer. By using patterns, you can create different sections of a song. Using MIDI, you can switch between patterns.

One of the core concepts of Stochas is the Probability Mode. This can be set independently for each layer. When this mode is set to Single, each step in the grid will play one note. The note will be randomly selected from the cells that are turned on in that step. If a step has a higher probability set, it will be more likely to be selected. When the mode is set to Multi, then each cell in a step will play (or not play) depending on it’s probability. For drum programming, this mode is recommended. In Multi mode, a maximum polyphony can be set. This enables you to, for example, create 5 possible notes to play for a step, and have Stochas randomly select 2 of them to play.

Installation

Mac/OS X Users

On Mac OS X, plug-ins are installed in the standard plug-in folders in the system Library folder. These are the only possible locations for these files

AU – /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components

VST – /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST

VST3 – /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST3

AAX – /Library/Application Support/Avid/Audio/Plug-Ins

Windows Users

During installation you will be able to select the correct VST and VST3 folders for your DAW. If you use multiple DAWs which cannot share VST folders, you will need to copy the stochas.dll and stochas.vst3 files to the correct folders for your DAW, from the following folders:

C:\Program Files\Audio Vitamins\Stochas

C:\Program Files(x86)\Audio Vitamins\Stochas (for 32bit hosts on 64bit systems)

For ProTools AAXplugins, Avid have a set folder for plugins, the installer will copy the necessary files to the following:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins

If you still have problems please contact us via our websites support page

Registration

To regsiter your copy of Stochas please follow the below steps

Online activation

If your computer is connected to the internet then you can register with the UID and SERIAL that was emailed to you upon purchase.

1. Click on the settings tab

2. Open the registration window by clicking the Registration button

3. Enter in your UID and SERIAL

4. Click Authorize

Offline activation

If the computer that you have installed Stochas onto does not have an internet connection you will need to actiavte Stochas

Getting Started

Configuring Stochas

After installing Stochas, and restarting or refreshing your DAW, you should see Stochas available as a plugin. Since it accepts and produces MIDI messages, you will find that you may need to do a little bit of extra work to start getting sounds out of it. You will need to create a chain in your DAW where the MIDI output of Stochas is fed into the MIDI input of a virtual instrument. The way this is done differs depending on the DAW you are using. In some cases, you may add Stochas followed by a virtual synth into the same signal chain or track. In other cases, you will route the output MIDI from Stochas to the input of another track. For controlling external hardware gear, you will need to route the MIDI output to a physical midi port on your computer. Following are some common configuration examples.

Logic

In Logic Stochas works as a Midi FX and needs to be loaded before the software instrument on the track,.  Open up the instpector on the left and click on the MIDI FX insert selector, then select AU Plugins > Audio Vitmains > Stochas

Cubase

Add Stochas as a VST instrument by Clicking Devices, VST Instruments, and adding Stochas to an empty slot. When asked if you want to create a midi track, select yes.

Add an Instrument track to your project by selecting Project, Add Track, Instrument. Select any VST instrument that you would like to control with Stochas. Select the new instrument track that you just added. On the track panel, select “stochas – Midi Out” from the Input Routing list.

To control Stochas itself via midi, you can add midi events to the midi track you created when you added Stochas.These events will get sent to Stochas.

To use Stochas for controlling hardware, add a new midi track to your project. On the track panel select “stochas Midi Out” from the Input Routing list, and select your hardware midi output port from the Output Routing list. Ensure that the channel is set to “Any”. This will route midi data from Stochas to your external midi port.

Reaper

Create a new track and add FX to the track. Select Stochas from the list of VSTi plug-ins. Add another FX to the same track. Select a VSTi plug-in that produces sound. Make sure that this plug-in is after Stochas on the list of plug-ins.To control Stochas itself via midi, add a midi item to the track that Stochas is assigned to. These events will get sent to Stochas.

To use Stochas for controlling hardware, add Stochas to a track as described, then open up the routing/send panel for the track. Under “MIDI hardware Output” select your output MIDI port. If no ports show up on the list, you need to add your MIDI device under Preferences/Audio/MIDI Devices.

Ableton Live

Add a MIDI track to your project. Add Stochas as an instrument on that track by selecting it from the list of plugins and dropping it onto the track. Create a second midi track and add an instrument of your choice to it. From the second midi track, in the “MIDI from” dropdown, select the first MIDI track (where Stochas is located). In the dropdown beneath that, select stochas as the source. Ensure Monitor is set to In.

To use Stochas for controlling hardware, add a new MIDI track to your project. In the “MIDI from” dropdown, select the track where Stochas is present, and in the dropdown below that, select Stochas as the source. In the “MIDI To” dropdown, select your external MIDI port. Ensure Monitor is set to In.

Pro Tools

In ProTools you can load Stochas into any track and route the midi output to any instrument track, using the midi input selector in the Instrument Panel of the mix or edit windows.  Make sure that the midi output is assigned to the desired instrument on that track.

FL Studio

Note that Stochas can be used in FL to control other VSTi plugins (not native FL plugins such as 3xOsc), this is a limitation of FL Studio itself. From the Add menu, click “More Plugins” and select Stochas from the list. After Stochas loads, at the top of the Stochas window, Select VST wrapper settings (icon with plug and gear). Under MIDI section select an output port (for example 1). From the Add menu again, add any VSTi synthesizer plugin (as stated, it will not work with native FL plugins). At the top of that synthesizer’s window, click the VST wrapper settings icon and under MIDI, select the input port that matches the output port selected for Stochas.

Creating and Playing a Stochas Patch

By simply clicking in the main grid, you will add steps to your patch. When you start playback in your DAW, you will see the play indicator cycling through the steps in Stochas, and you should hear your configured instrument playing some sounds. If you do not hear anything, please check your routing as described in the previous section. Explore the interface and hover your mouse over each control to see a description of each control displayed in the bottom panel. Click through the tabs in the lower portion of the interface to see the available options. Feel free to experiment with different settings, however it’s recommended that you read on so that you can understand some of the concepts that are unique to Stochas.

Layers and Patterns

Think of each layer as a separate set of grid points that are overlaid and are all played simultaneously. IE. data on layer 1, 2, 3 and 4 will all play at the same time in sync with each other.

Switch between layers using the layer buttons. If a layer is muted it will have a small M on the layer button. To mute a layer, either shift-click on the layer button, or click ‘mute layer’ in layer options. To solo a layer, Ctrl-click (Cmd on Mac) the layer button. To the right of the layer buttons is a label that is editable. You may give each layer a name for easy identification.

Switch between patterns using the pattern select buttons. You may label each pattern using the edit box to the right of the pattern buttons. The indicator above the pattern buttons indicates which pattern is currently playing (which may differ from the pattern currently in the edit window if MIDI actions have caused a pattern change). The pattern that is selected and displayed will always be the pattern that starts playing when the sequence begins to play.

Edit Grid

Probability View – default

The EDIT GRID has several functions depending on the view you have selected. On first loading up Stochas, the edit grid is in the mode note inputting probability view, where you can input a not by clicking on the appropriate cell, this, by default will input a note with a medium probability as indicated by the orange cell with the label ‘Med’. To insert a note with a different probability, click and drag either up or right, this will cycle through the probability options for a note. Once a note has been placed you can change the probability by single clicking or by dragging to cycle through the options. To remove a note right click on the note, (note: the right click action can be changed, more on this on page XX)

The EDIT GRID also allows for a note length to be extended, by moving the cursor to the edge of the inserted note, the cursor will change to a resize icon, as shown in the image on the right, you can then drag the note to the desired length, dragging to the left of the note will extend the notes length over the end of the grid, for notes that you want to ‘hang’ over to the next bar in the sequence. The currently highlighted note will show an upwards tail at the end of the individual length indicator as shown in the orange medium probability note in the image to the right. Notes which are not being edited will show a single line with no tail as in the red high probability note in the picture.

To highlight and select multiple cells, in any view mode, press and hold the shift key on your keyboard and drag over your selection. When one or more notes are selected, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move them around the grid, or the Del key to clear them. When multiple notes are selected there are a number of functions available from the BULK EDIT options, such as clear, adjust probability and velocity, repeat to end (more information on these options can be found on page XX). The shift-drag behavior can also be changed to drag (without shift) from the settings tab. In this case, use shift to edit note contents.

In all modes the previous layer that was being edited will show on the grid, as black boxes around the active notes. This is useful if you are writing accompaniment sections for a melody in a separate layer.

Velocity View

The EDIT GRID in the velocity mode allows you to adjust the velocity of each note, clicking on the velocity view button will change colour of the notes to blue and will display their midi velocity values in different shades of colour with darker colours indicating greater velocity values. To change a velocity value, click and drag up or down to adjust the value, by default each note starts with a value of 127. This default can be changed in the settings tab. Single clicking a note will cycle through a set of common velocities. Right clicking on a note will set the value to 0 to quickly access the lower velocity ranges.

Chain View

The chain mode facilitates a revolutionary concept that allows you to indicate which notes can and cannot follow a particular note. It is comprised of positive and negative chains. If a positive chain exists between two notes, the target note (indicated with the arrow head) will be selected to play when the source note (having the arrow tail) has played on the current cycle of the sequence. If a negative chain exists between two notes, then the target note will never play when the source note has played on the current cycle. If an arrow is vertical (source and target are on the same step), or pointing to the left (source note is AFTER target note in the sequence) then the target note will be affected by the most recent cycle of the sequence in which the source note played. If a note is a target for both a positive and a negative chain and both source notes played, the negative chain will take precedence. In MONO mode, if multiple notes are to be triggered by chains, normal random selection will occur between those notes. If this sounds confusing, experiment, and it should become clearer.  Chains are useful in a number of scenarios. Some examples:

  • You have a small sequence of notes that you wish to play only if a certain note is triggered. In this case, the sequence of notes following the note have 0 or “–C–” probability.
  • You are creating a randomly occurring drum fill. In this case, the first note is randomly selected and the following notes are chained on so they always play, and have 0 or “–C–” probability.

To insert a positive/will-follow chain (yellow), click and drag from the starting note to the destination note you want to chain. Dragging to an empty cell will add a note to that cell which will default to 0 probability or “–C–”. This indicates that the target note will not normally be triggered except in the case of the chain source note triggering. For a negative/do-not-follow chain (red), hold down the CTRL (windows) / CMD (OS X) modifier key and drag from the start to destination notes.

To remove any chain you have created, right click on the end of the chain to remove, note that this will remove all chains that point to that cell. Right clicking on a “–C–” cell that has no chain sources will clear that cell.

Shift View

The shift mode allows you to move particular notes to be played in-between the grid positions, similar to ghost notes or accidentals. The notes can be moved up to 50% before and 50% after the position in the grid. To adjust the shift value, click one the note and drag up or right to add to the start time, drag down or left to play the note earlier. Right clicking on the note will return the value to 0, thus playing the note on the grid.

Shifted notes will not be affected by groove/swing, but will be affected by Position Variance (see appropriate sections for more information.)

Layer Options

Probability Modes

Stochas layers can operate in monophonic and polyphonic modes.

  • In MONO mode, Stochas will pick a single note from the step position based on the weighting given by the Low, Medium and High probabilities set when inputting the note. The higher the weighting the more likely the note is be selected, for the majority of sessions you will only use medium weighting for equal chance of a note being selected. Use this mode when you’d like only a single note to play for a step, and you’d like it to be randomly selected from a set of notes. The “Off” row on the grid can be used to create the possibility of NOT playing a note for the step position. If the note on the Off row is selected then no note will be played.
  • In POLY mode, each note has a probability of playing that is independent of other notes on that step, and thus, multiple notes may play at the same time. In this mode the probability changes from low, medium and high to a percentage value. The higher the percentage value, the more likely the note is to play. Use this mode when you’d like certain notes to either play or not play. The “Off” row on the grid, when selected in this mode, causes no note to play on that step.

You will also get two additional options when in POLY mode:

  • Max Poly – This will limit the maximum number of notes that start playing at any step position (regardless of what notes are still playing from a previous position).
  • Poly Bias –  This will affect the probability for all notes on the layer. A positive value will increase the probability of all notes relatively. A negative value will decrease the probability. This setting can be MIDI controlled via CC. An example of use would be in a drum rhythm: Increasing the value would make the rhythm more “dense” as more notes are likely to be triggered.

Scales

There are 2 options to control the scales that Stochas use in the grid mode:

  • Standard Scale: In this mode you select the root note (or key) of the scale, the scale type and the starting octave. This last option is for when you have the grid mode set to show less than the full range of midi notes available. When in standard mode the scale and note indicator on the grid will be the base colour of the theme with the note and octave number in the middle as shown on the right. When changing to a different key/scale/octave, the position of notes in the grid does not change. This means that, for example, you can change a piece from a major scale to a minor scale, or up and down an octave while it’s playing.
  • Custom Scale: In this mode, you can fully customize each row to play a specific MIDI note. Also, the scale and note indicator will change colour and you can click on each row and input a custom label, as shown right. This is most useful for drum programming as you can lay out the grid for different drum machines and sound effects units. You can save these custom layouts to be recalled again in any layer or session. To do this, use the Load and Save buttons below the Custom button when in custom mode.

Steps Per Measure, Total Steps, Playback Speed and Note Length

These three options control the rhythmical and time signature aspect of each layer. Note that Stochas plays in synch with your DAW (ie it obeys the tempo on your DAW), but ignores the DAW time signature. That is to say that for a BPM of 120, it always assumes that there are four beats per measure, and thus in this case, 30 measures would elapse per minute. To create different time signatures in Stochas, you must use the Total Steps setting in combination with the Steps Per Measure setting (below).

  • TOTAL STEPS will determine the number of steps that Stochas will show and play on this layer before it repeats. The maximum number of steps available is 64.
  • STEPS PER MEASURE will set the number of grid steps that will play for each measure of your song as defined by the DAW. This setting will also influence the length of each step. When the TOTAL STEPS is greater than the STEPS PER MEASURE, the grid shows a yellow line to show where the measure / bar will start or finish. The default value of 16 takes into consideration that most music has a 4/4 time signature, and therefore each step will have the length of a semi-quaver (1/16th note). If you’d like to achieve a 3/4 time signature, Stochas will need to be set to 12 steps for each measure to be the equivalent of a semi-quaver (1/16th). In addition, Total Steps will need to be a multiple of 12 rather than 16. With the combination of these two settings, Stochas can create unique and complex poly-rhythms, that can sit off beat. For example, a 9 step length pattern with a 14 steps per measure will set each note length to 1.14 semiquavers, which will repeat every 2.57 crochets (1/4th). A rhythm that nobody could keep to, but is possible!
  • PLAYBACK SPEED can be used to speed up and slow down the cycle of Stochas. Setting it to 2 will playback at double speed, 1/2 will playback at half speed.
  • NOTE LENGTH determines the duty-cycle of each note. A number less than 100% will result in shorter notes leading to a more staccato sound. A number greater than 100% causes note lengths to span over to the next step, and may result in legato depending on the synth.

Position, Velocity and Length Variance

The variance options add a humanised feel for the layer by changing the position start, velocity and the length of the note in a random way. In the example above the start position will vary randomly between + / -3% of a step length.

  • Position variance: The higher the percentage, the greater distance a note may stray from the grid. At it’s extreme of 50%, a note may start playing half a step back or half a step forward.
  • Velocity variance: The higher the percentage, the greater that a velocity will differ from it’s set value. A note with a velocity of 0 will never be affected by this. At it’s extreme value of 100%, a given velocity may drop to 1 or increase to 127 (regardless of it’s original value). At a lower setting, the velocity will be closer to it’s original value. For best results, notes should have an original velocity set below 127 to allow variance both up and down.
  • Length variance:  A higher value results in more variation. The value selected is a percentage of the actual cell length, so it will always subtract from the length. A value of 100% would allow the cell length to decrease all the way to 0.

Other Layer Options

  • Mute Layer – This will mute the layer from outputting it’s midi signal, however it will continue to randomise the selection. When a layer is muted, a small M is shown on the layer selector. Layers may also be muted via MIDI control, or via Shift-click on the layer selector. A layer may be soloed by Ctrl-clicking (Cmd on Mac) on the layer selector.
  • Visible Rows- This allows you to determine how many rows are visible in the layer, use mouse scrolling or the scroll bar to move up and down when the number of rows exceeds the visible area.
  • Midi Output – Stochas has the ability to send midi out over 16 channels. This selects the output channel associated with this layer.
  • Overlapped notes – When situations arise where a note is triggered and it is already playing, this dictates the behaviour. When set to ‘Trim’, the playing note will be ended and the new note will start. When set to ‘Join’, the playing note will be extended for the length of the new note. This may be useful if you want to create drones that extend past the length of the pattern.

Patch Options

The PATCH OPTIONS panel allows you to set some global options for the patch as well as load or save the patch to/from a separate XML file. The patch contains all the cell and note data for each layer and each pattern along with the global patch options on this panel. Each setting is described below.

Respond to MIDI/MIDI Mapping

When set to YES, the MIDI Mapping button will become available, and Stochas will respond to incoming MIDI data. By clicking on the MIDI Mapping button, you can assign the midi data to control various aspects of Stochas. A single midi message may be assigned to do multiple actions, or multiple midi messages may be assigned to do the same action. If you use a single MIDI message for multiple actions they are executed in order top to bottom. An action may be applied to a single layer, or to all layers. Clicking the learn button and then pressing a key, pad or button on your midi controller will assign that key to control that action. Actions can only be activated while your DAW is in Play or Record mode (ie Stochas is playing). The effect of the actions will stay in place while the DAW is playing or recording, and then will revert back when stopped. Usage scenarios:

  • Live performance – playing notes on your keyboard can be used to switch patterns, mute/unmute layers, etc.
  • Song creation – Adding MIDI notes to a MIDI track in your DAW can be used to change patterns at certain places in your song or mute/unmute layers, etc.
  • Advanced – Chain an instance of Stochas to another instance of Stochas to control which patterns play in a more random way

Following is a description of each action:

  • Change Pattern – switch to a different pattern and play it immediately at the same relative location as in the previous pattern. Patterns may be switched on an individual layer basis or for all layers. The bar above the pattern list indicates the currently playing pattern (which may differ from the current pattern visible).
  • Mute/Unmute – Allows layers to be muted or unmuted. You could assign separate keys to mute and unmute, or you could assign a single key to toggle a layer on and off
  • Set Speed – Will change the playback speed to either 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2 or 4
  • Transpose – you can transpose the layer in semitones or octaves. The last two values on the list allow you to transpose relative to the current transposition. The rest are absolute.
  •  Set number of steps – You can control the number of steps in the layer.
  • Set Poly Bias – This is controllable by a CC (knob or slider) and allows you to vary the poly bias value in realtime
  • Reset Action – This can be used to reset the effect of another action. For example if you have actions that mute/unmute layers, and you apply the reset action to mute/unmute, it will remove the effects of the mute/unmute action(s) and set the mute/unmute state to the current values for the patch (as they are when Stochas is not playing). Similarly, if you apply the reset action to Transpose, it will remove the transposition and set Stochas to play in the original key.
Passthru MIDI data

Determines how incoming MIDI data is routed out of Stochas.

  • All – All data that comes into Stochas is merged with data that Stochas itself produces and sent to the output.
  • Unhandled – If incoming data is consumed by Stochas (via MIDI Mapping), it is not sent to output. If it is not consumed by Stochas it is passed on to the output.
  • None – no incoming data is passed to output
Randomization

Normally, whenever you hit Play in your DAW, or Stochas reaches a loop point and jumps back (if you are looping a section of your song), Stochas will generate a new random seed for all layers. This means that successive loops of the same section, or successive plays of your song will generate different random data. This might be fine while you are developing your song, but at some point you might want it to stick to one random seed. You may set Stochas to be in a “Stable” mode where it will always use the same random seed. If you are playing your song and you like what you hear and want it to use the same seed you may switch it to Stable, and it will use the last seed that was generated every time it plays or loops. This will mean that your song will always sound the same on successive plays

  • Variable – generate a new random seed every time the DAW starts playing or the play position jumps back in time
  • Stable – Use the last random seed that was generated always. The same random sequence of values will always be used when determining notes to play, or variance data for the song.
Load and Save Patch

Patches can be saved in XML format to be loaded into other projects, used as templates, or shared. A patch contains all of the layer and patch options along with the cell and note data from the grid and the groove/swing data. It does not include the values on the Settings panel.

Groove and Swing Options

Swing
As with all MIDI sequencers and drum machines you can apply a traditional swing which affects every alternate note. Swing can be set in the range of -50% to 50%. A value of 50% will push all even numbered steps halfway to the next step, whereas a value of -50% will pull them back halfway to the previous step.

Groove

You can add a groove to your sequence. When swing is set to 0%, groove becomes active, and individual step positions can be modified. If Swing is active, you can use the swing as a starting point, and copy the effective swing data down to the groove, then modify individual groove points. To alter the groove, click and drag the groove controllers to change values.

Grooves can be imported from MIDI files. The MIDI data is analyzed to see how the notes fall around the 16th note points and the groove is thus extracted. If a MIDI file has multiple measures of note information, the data in later measures would take precedence over data in earlier measures. Commonly, you would find specific “groove” MIDI files available online, or use files generated by Stochas itself from Groove export. When Stochas exports a groove it will create a 2 measure MIDI file with notes on each 16th note position. The notes that are affected by the groove are moved forward or backward in time. These files can be imported into external drum machines / sequencers and and other software that accepts groove template files.

Chord Options

The Chord panel enables an additional edit grid mode, which will input multiple notes at a time. These notes fit the pattern of the selected chord, with the root note of the chord always being the note the cursor is on. In this mode using the up and down arrow keys while the mouse is over the grid will change the inversion / shape of the chord. Additionally, if you add a chord and edit the length of the root note, the other notes lengths will be altered as well. Right click actions also affect all notes in the chord.

In the example right, the chords shown are the 3 inversions of the G Major chord. The root note of the chord or position of the cursor is indicated by the lighter coloured cells.

Global Settings

Mouse Sensitivity

This will change how far the mouse has to move before it changes the value in a cell or control. A lower value will cause the mouse to be less sensitive, and a higher value will cause greater sensitivity.

Right Click

This allows the change of function when right clicking on a cell in the edit grid. “Delete” means that a right click on a cell will clear it. “Cycle down” means that a right click will cause the value to be lowered by a step (normally it’s value is raised by a step on a normal click).

Default Single and Default Multi

This changes the default probability value of a new note when it is added on the EDIT GRID

Default Velocity

Changes the default velocity that is assigned to each new cell when it is added on the EDIT GRID

Lowest Octave

Some playback devices and software have a different octave starting point for C0, changing this will only visually change the octave number in Stochas for easier note input, it does not have any effect on the midi output.

Colour scheme

The colours can be changed between a light and dark colour scheme. In addition, you can create your own custom colour scheme by editing the stochas.skin file in your Stochas user data directory.

Shift Key

Normal shift key behaviour is as follows: By holding down shift and dragging on the grid, you can create multi-selections. If the behaviour is reversed, then simply dragging on the grid (without holding shift) will create multi-selections. In this reversed mode, holding shift and dragging will alter values on cells.

Registration

Click this button to open a panel that allows you to enter your purchase information, validate the product and see the licensing status.

License

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