Ribbons Synth Mode

My Ribbons is slated to be here this week and I’m super excited to start messing around with it! Naturally I’ve been combing through the manual and I’ve got some questions about the synth mode. I just received a Chase Bliss Mood MKII last week which also has a synth mode, but I’ve been disappointed with the synth thus far because it seems to require freezing an actual note through the input jack before you are then able to modify it with midi. This is demonstrated in the first part of this video:

My question is does Ribbons require something similar, or will it automatically generate a note based on a Midi Note message without requiring any previous input in the pedals internal buffer? I’d love to be able to plug a midi keyboard into my pedalboard midi input to be able to play guitar through my signal chain but also generate synth from Ribbons if I place it near the end of my chain.


Hi @cmakohon -

So glad you’re excited to receive your Ribbons! Here are some answers about Ribbons’ sine wave synth:

Correct - there is no need to “freeze” or capture a note with Ribbons’ synth. You just plug in a MIDI controller and start playing. It has four-voices of polyphony, can be pitched up or down 5 semitones using the pitch slider / wheel, does note stealing, and has controls for attack, release, and volume.

Other things to note:

No need for an external MIDI box. You just need a TRS to DIN MIDI cable - Ribbons defaults to MIDI type A (which we generally recommend) but there are internal jumpers to accommodate a couple other MIDI types.

The synth gets mixed in with the audio from the input jack, so for example you could have the synth arpeggiate something while you play along with your guitar.

The synth can be processed by all of Ribbons’ tape effects, Touch Modes, and looper. There are lots of possibilities for creating unique textures using the sine waves as a starting point and then dialing in some wow, flutter, saturation, etc.


Thank you so much for the response Jaak! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the time and thought you’ve put into every feature of this pedal. I can’t wait to try it out and I also can’t wait to see what products Kinotone comes out with in the future.


Been exited to try out the synth mode! I’m trying to use it w/ an Arturia Microfreak since it already has TRS 1/8" MIDI outs.

Buuuuuttt…I’m not getting anything. I have it hooked up from the Microfreak MIDI out (1/8" TRS) directly into the Ribbons MIDI jack w/ a 1/4 TRS adapter. I tried both Type A and Type B (which I believe is what Arturia uses?) using the internal jumpers but there is no output and I’m not hearing anything.

What am I missing?

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I just tested Ribbons with a Microfreak on my desk and it works in the Type B position (remember to put both jumpers in the Type B position).

A couple of other things to check:

  • Make sure the Bypass LED on Ribbons is ON or you won’t hear the synth. Make sure mix is set to 100% (mix serves as a master volume control for the synth).

  • Make sure the Microfreak is sending out MIDI data on the same channel that Ribbons is listening on. Ribbons defaults to channel 1 from the factory. The channel can be set in the Utility->Global->MIDI->Output Chan in the Microfreak.

  • Make sure the Microfreak has Arp/Seq MIDI Out ON. This can also be found under the Utility->Global->MIDI section of the Microfreak menu.

  • Make sure you’re plugged into MIDI OUT and not MIDI IN on the Microfreak

  • Try another cable or 1/8" to 1/4" TRS adapter. Some 1/8" to 1/4" TRS adapters are not great quality and don’t make a solid connection.

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Thanks for the quick reply!

I seriously don’t want to admit it, but um…I didn’t have the pedal turned ON.

I appreciate you checking things on your end and giving me a thorough reply, because yeah, I would have pulled my non-existent hair out until hours later realizing the bypass LED wasn’t on!


Haha no worries! Glad you got it sorted :slightly_smiling_face:

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Another hopefully quick question–can the synth be played by something like the Korg SQ-1?

I believe so! Just connect the MIDI OUT on the SQ-1 to Ribbons MIDI input jack using an 1/8" to 1/4" adapter.

The SQ-1 follows the MIDI Type A standard, which Ribbons is also set to when it ships.

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Can confirm the SQ-1 works!

Now I just have to figure out what notes are actually played since there’s no keyboard…

edit: can any pitch info be sent to Ribbons’s synth via CV instead of MIDI? Oh, and I realized the SQ-1 is pretty limited to C2 as it’s tonal center…

Ribbons’ CV input cannot be used to control the pitch of the sine wave synth. That can only be done via MIDI note data.

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