The SWAM Engine is a platform developed by Sample Modeling for their SWAM-based instruments. BLOCKS Dashboard beta allows easy integration between BLOCKS and the SWAM Engine. This article will show you how to use the Lightpad Block as a melodic instrument controller with the SWAM Engine.
This guide refers to BLOCKS Dashboard beta, which is available as an open beta to all BLOCKS creators. To learn more about BLOCKS Dashboard beta, including how to download it, click here.
BLOCKS Dashboard beta Settings
- First, connect your Lightpad Block via USB or (on MacOS) Bluetooth.
- Next, launch BLOCKS Dashboard beta.
- In BLOCKS Dashboard beta, select Melodic Block mode to upload it to your Lightpad.
- Once Melodic Block mode is loaded, ensure that the following settings are selected under “Global”:
- MIDI Mode: MPE
- Note channel first: 2
- Note channel last: 16
- Click on “Global” to display a drop-down menu, and then select “Performance controls.”
- Under “Performance controls” change the “Pitchbend range” to 12 semitones (to match SWAM’s maximum pitch bend range).
Setting SWAM to respond to the Lightpad Blocks’s dimensions of touch
SWAM is able to receive and respond to the Lightpad Block’s dimensions of touch. The most common modulation in SWAM is called “Expression”. SWAM will want you to assign a controller to the Expression parameter before producing any sound.
Let’s assign the Lightpad’s Press (transmitted as Aftertouch) to SWAM’s Expression.
Click on Options → MIDI Mappings → Assign AT (Aftertouch) next to Expression
Glide is transmitted as pitch bend, and SWAM has a maximum pitch bend range of 12 semitones. Earlier we set the Lightpad Block’s pitch bend range to +/- 12 semitones in ROLI Dashboard, so now we will do the same in SWAM.
To set SWAM’s pitch bend range, in the upper-right corner of the main view set both “PB D” (pitch bend down) and “U” (up) to 12.
Mapping other controllers to parameters in SWAM is performed in the same way as Press above:
- Go to: Options → MIDI Mappings
- Each parameter has a drop-down menu. Simply select the input that you’d like affect that parameter.
For example, Slide is transmitted as MIDI CC 74. To assign Slide to “Bow Position”, simply select CC 74 in the drop-down box next to “Bow Position”.
Now you’re ready to expressively control the SWAM Engine with your Lightpad Block!