MSK 014 Gracious Host
US$249.44 including shipping
Also available as an SDIY kit.
Every note in its place
The Gracious Host welcomes USB-MIDI devices to the Eurorack estate,
allowing performers to play the modular synthesizer with a wide range of
musical keyboards and other controllers. This module is an embedded
host, not a device, in USB terms, meaning that common
controller devices plug directly into it without needing the involvement of
a separate computer. Operating modes, selected by MIDI channel number,
include basic monophonic notes with pitch and velocity CV output; two-note
polyphony for controlling a two-voice patch (separate voices or with
automatic note assignment between them); three arpeggiator modes; two modes
of quantizing input CV to MIDI-selected notes; and drum trigger and gate
Plug in an ordinary PC typing keyboard (QWERTY style) and it functions
like a MIDI keyboard, allowing synthesizer control and access to all the
Gracious Host's features without a dedicated music keyboard. An ordinary
USB mouse can also generate control voltages, opening a range of interesting
new performance possibilities.
North Coast's first digital module continues the tradition of technical
openness with complete source code for the firmware and build system, and
detailed technical documentation totalling over 180 pages. Interested users
or third parties can modify the Gracious Host firmware to support unique
devices and operating modes; and it is available for use in other projects
as free software under GPL3.
The Gracious Host is available as a pre-built 8HP Eurorack module or a DIY
kit. Invite the MIDI world into your Eurorack.
- Supports most USB-MIDI devices, like musical keyboards, other musical
controllers, and DIN to USB interfaces, to control Eurorack patches from
MIDI. Twelve modes selected by MIDI channel.
- Supports most USB typing (QWERTY-style) keyboards to make them function
like MIDI keyboards, with piano-style and Wicki-Hayden isomorphic layouts,
pitch bend, sustain lock, octave shift, and tap tempo for the
- Supports most USB mice as musical controllers, with output voltages for
horizontal, vertical, and button states; optional quantization.
- Functions as an embedded host, meaning that USB devices can
plug directly into this module without requiring a separate computer. Hubs
are not supported.
- Can drive the Eurorack CV/gate bus (jumper-selectable option) to control
a synthesizer voice without front-panel patching.
- Powerful 16-bit microcontroller (Microchip PIC24F series) running at 16
MIPS with 64K of flash program memory, 8K of on-chip RAM, 128K of off-chip
RAM, and a variety of built-in peripherals. Thoroughly documented
open source firmware (GPL3), ready for modification and experiment.
Standard firmware leaves plenty of free space in memory for future
- No compromises on build quality: real aluminum panel, not PCB
material, with colour printing; panel screwed solidly to both PCBs for
maximum ruggedness; nickel and gold plating on the circuit boards;
close-tolerance metal film fixed resistors.
- Through-hole for easy hand construction and maintenance
- Fully open design - no lock-in
- 8HP Eurorack synthesizer module, 39mm deep including space for the
- Two analog/digital CV inputs (useful range 0V-5V, digital threshold
around 1.6V). Two analog CV outputs (useful range 0V-5V); two digital
trigger/gate outputs (logic levels 0V and approximately 9V). Two bi-colour
LEDs for status display.
- Maximum current requirements in normal use: 10mA +12V, 20mA -12V, 130mA
+5V. Note that this module requires +5V Eurorack power,
because devices attached to the USB port draw their +5V power through this
module. The 130mA specification includes the power for the attached USB
device, on the assumption that the USB device is drawing the maximum amount
allowed; most USB devices actually draw less.
- Build difficulty: easy. All through-hole. Output voltage calibration
involves patching it into a Eurorack 1V/octave VCO.