Altar of Wisdom – The Gridfather (VST/AU)


The GridFather brings the AutoGrid-MIDI concept to non-Live users, as it is a regular plugin (AU/VST/VST3 for Windows and macOS).


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The GridFather is a Midi FX / Synth plugin (depending on what DAW you're in), that sends random grid synths patterns to 8 different MIDI channels, one note at a time so they never plays simultaneously.

I's a huge timesaver for building interesting patterns with different sounds, or sequencing arpeggios or basslines, making sure they don't overlap whatsoever. The resulting MIDI can be recorded onto the DAW and further tweaked afterwards to fit best to the track, The GridFather is not intended to creat full tracks, though it can be used for live performance to generate evolving patterns without needind too much work on stage.

The GridFather offers the following parameters:

Control of the 8 channels probabilities of playing.
Time allocation control between four different time divisions from 1/32 to 1/2, including dotted and triplet notes
Ability to slow down the whole device up to 64 times using the "multi" parameter (providing up to 32 bars long notes to trigger arpeggios or full patterns on the target tracks for example)
Minimum and maximum length per note (as a percentage of each time division)
Minimum and maximum velocity per note
Note probability (to insert some random silences and thus play with density)
Ability to transpose every note from the root incoming note, up to 5 octaves above root note, with per note degree probability (from 1st to 12th note)
Ability to directly load a given scale to instantly map the note degrees probability (60+ scales provided in a dropdown menu for example to directly select a major scale, or a 7th arpeggio, ...)
Ability to have phrases per channel (to have sub rhytmic patterns play on one channel before switching to the next one), with a minimum and maximum time division per phrase (from changing at each note to 8 bars long phrase)
Fully automatable parameters
Loopable random engine to loop the same random pattern again and again, or to load it back with a simple number, pattern being stored in the preset and project.
automatic modulation of one Midi CC and Pitch bend upon note trigger (rest/min/max value and ramp time)

Set-up and choice of plugin (AU/VST/VST3 and SYNTH/MFX) strongly depends on the DAW and OS, as it is necessary to create a MIDI loop for the patterns to come back to the DAW (using IAC bus under OSX, and loopMidi for example under Windows), but it is also possible to control hardware synths with it, provided they can be set to listen to midi channels 1 to 8.

The plugin has been tested inside:
Apple Logic Pro 10.5 / 10.6 /10.7 (MidiFX AU using IAC bus)
Cubase Elements 10.5 (VST/VST3 under both Windows and OSX, using several IAC or loopMIDI bus + SW MIDI patchbay)
Cubase Pro 10.5/11 (VST/VST3 both Windows and OSX, using IAC or loopMIDI, and Cubase Input Transformer capacity)
Bitwig 3 (IAC bus / loopMidi)
Cakewalk (internal routing)
Cockos Reaper 6.27 (internal routing)
Image Line FL Studio 20
Presonus Studio One Professional V5 (may work in non Pro and probably in V4, not tested though)
Tested under Pluginguru Unify (didn’t do the test myself so I cannot provide any help unfortunately)

These DAWs can be used as well but limited to one channel only, as they lack the proper routing features:
Ableton Live 10.1.30 and 11.0.2 (VST/VST3, though limited to 1 channel only, as Live does not handle multiple channels outputs, even in v11).

If you’re running Live, it’s better to consider AutoGrid MIDI which provides all features of The GridFather within a M4L device.

Note that some hosts will only work on the VST2 version, the VST3 not always being able to output anything yet (issue with VST3 and Steinberg®). As well, depending on your host you will use the MFX (MIDI FX) or the SYNTH version of the plugin, all these are identical except for their packaging, and are provided to adapt to as many hosts as possible.
It should work with pretty much any DAW that can output MIDI data and filter incoming MIDI per channel.
User manual for set-up is provided of course, and there is a full walkthrough of it on the video below.