Pollen(8) VA+FM 2.0 Field Edition available now

Hi there;
Available at http://hammondeggsmusic.ca/daisy/pollen8_vafm_2.html - is an updated version of Pollen(8) - my virtual analog synth for the Daisy Pod.

This new version adds some new features to the VA synth, and as well, adds a 6-operator FM synth (plus “brightness” operator) as well plus programmable CC control for every parameter.

Currently this is built for the Daisy Field, but I am going to port it to the Patch next, the 4 knobs + the encoder are likely going to be OK for the UI… I have it working for the Pod, but a companion app for a PC is currently required - as 2 knobs / 2 buttons / 2 leds, are admittedly a bit insufficient for this synth - there are more than 20 menus - each with 8 items. That said, you could use the app to program the synth and set up your CC parameters and then not need it…

Note! This software uses the first 516K (not 512 - 516) of the SPI FLASH - so any data you have stored here will be erased if you load the preset pack and/or save any patches. Sorry, the fatFS file support is great but there just wasn’t enough room - in fact, I have exactly 0 bytes free for the binary file. On that note, any major changes will likely see me split the virtual analog and FM synth up so long as I keep it to just the single 128K flash image…

Also included is a preset pack that you’ll have to load and run first - this programs the internal FLASH with some presets to get you started (note, this will erase anything you’ve already saved if you didn’t load this before, so I’d do this first… load the preset pack bin file and follow the instructions (simply hold SW1 + SW2 to confirm))

A short demo video is up at https://youtu.be/Sz5q9FvNLhI - the song in that video is all using this synth (except the drums and guitar).

I’ll put up a demo video of the presets and some basic programming - there’s plenty of documentation on my site, but demoing each and every feature in a video would be a very long video!



So cool! Please don’t forget the pod :slight_smile:

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No, it’s running on the pod already - a small companion app on a pc is required to (at least initially) configure / control it (this is how I got the screenshots for the manual :grinning:). Just need to do the FM and configuration portion.

Right now I just wanted to get the field out first instead of waiting for all 3. Now that it’s “done overall” this should come together pretty quick for the rest.

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Can’t wait to see your results and release on Patch as it will make Daisy to another level of professionalism in the eurorack composing world.


I received my Patch today and cannot wait until I can use your awesome synth! :smiley:


Really want to have your Patch version. Willing to pay as you worth it. Plus your Pollen will be one of the top Eurorack Synth to use in the synth music world! For sure!

No worries - it’s on the list and will be available as soon as possible! The patch and pod releases are definitely on the way!

Do you have plans open-sourcing the firmware?

I can imagine the amount of work you’ve put into the project, so I can totally understand if you won’t. But I think this is a great real-world example of a fully featured daisy project. It would be beneficial for all the folks who just getting started with daisy/C++ programming to explore how things are done.

Having a strict open-source license will protect it from commercial use, in case you worry about it.

I’ve considered it. To be fair, this… admittedly isn’t the sort of project you’d want to start with. I had to modify the daisy library to reduce some code space, I also had to employ other tricks to squish everything in to exactly 128K! There are 68 source files with the project alone.

As for how “things are done” - well that’s always debatable :grinning:

My experience with some open source stuff in the past wasn’t positive, people tend to do what they want and next thing you know there’s a new version out by someone else and yet I’m the one getting complaints when they’ve broken that version.

Who knows, maybe things are better now.

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To be fair, this… admittedly isn’t the sort of project you’d want to start with

Yeah, definitely. I just find the daisy examples really basic, which definitely great for beginners, but when it comes to building something more advanced, there are not many resources available.

Having a reference to some real-world project would be definitely helpful at least to me since all the embedded/DSP world is new to me.

I think the beauty of the open-source is that everyone can read & propose fixes/improvements. And I don’t think it makes any sense for an author to be responsible for any modifications of the original code.

I find libDaisy is a great example of a healthy open source community. For the last few months, there were quite a few contributions, which I think keep the project alive.

Yeah true. Like I said I’m not adverse to it, I will be opening some stuff up for sure - for example I was able to get the libdaisy oscillators to run about 2-3x faster and also add pwm, plus I reworked the oled font stuff to support variable width and make the 8x8 character set 8 bit only to save codespace etc. All stuff I’m sure someone could find useful, will have to see how I’d do that, as I don’t want to just fork the existing library as its continuously being updated etc.


How easy or difficult would it be to port Pollen to the Noise Engineering Versio platform?
The Versio module offers more controls and seems to be an interesting alternative to Daisy Patch.

Really cannot wait any longer to see Pollen on Patch


I hear you. I’m almost ready to buy the Knobula Poly Cinematic because I reeeeally want a polyphonic module in my system. I think it’s also Daisy based, but I actually find the Pollen much more interesting. What a dilemma. :slight_smile:

I hear you all. So much stuff going on not even project wise. That said, it is running on my patch. The biggest challenge is the UI - the knobs are also tied to the CV inputs - navigating through all of the menus with the encoder wheel alone would not be very friendly.

The second challenge is 128K - the field version used every single byte, including some string compression(tokenization) etc. For the patch, I may have to make the Midi CC assignment fixed, or remove it entirely replacing with CV assignability.

  • e.g. currently if you hold the encoder wheel down, it toggles between UI control and CV control, so you can assign the CV inputs to any of the parameters. That’s where all of the work is currently.

Like I said, to be honest, doing that isn’t the real challenge - it’s getting it all to fit in 128K. (The little title screen is only 327 bytes though). So I have to get creative some times, and that adds time, nevermind all of the other ‘life stuff’ going on :frowning:

Soon! Honest!


I‘m super happy about your update! Thank you for the work you‘re doing.

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Support you on working that hard. You deserve a payback!

Fwiw, the author has a donation link on his website. I gave a little a while back because I’ve enjoyed their NTS-1 plugins as well as the old pollen version – it was pretty easy (paypal IIRC).

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I will definitely donate once Pollen runs on my Patch.

I’ve come across several of your projects online by accident and I’m amazed. Keep it up.

I want to build my own no-frills VA synth module for live playing. The Daisy seed seems perfect for this. I don’t want it to sound algorithmically perfect, but with grit and imperfections. Looking at Pollen 2.0’s features, it seems you considered some analog modelling.

I understand you’re not open-sourcing the entire thing. But I’m very interested in how you designed some modules. Your sync’able oscillators, mixer overdrive, filter overdrive
Oscillator sync (!), mixer & filter overdrive, Hera chorus, are really interesting compared to the rather perfectly implemented DaisySP modules. Don’t feel obliged to release them seperately though, it’s your work.

Did you incorporate any virtual modelling principles to make the synth less perfect and gritty? And what kind of filter do you use?