LXR Custom Firmware – Tutorials


For the past few years, I’ve been plugging away at updating the code of the sonic-potions LXR Drum Machine, a versatile digital drum synth with a powerful sequencer that is both open-source and open-hardware. The updated firmware (available here, and hosted on GitHub here), aims to expand what can be done with the LXR, without altering the standard workflow or changing its sound. Any files made with the original firmware are compatible with my updated one. However, files saved with the custom firmware may not load, or may not load correctly in the stock firmware, so make sure you back up your SD card before trying the new firmware out!

LXR – firmware and running list of feature additions

I’ve tried to keep the menu as intelligible as possible. Rest assured, all the things that you might have done with the original LXR firmware can be done with this one, too. However, a number of the new functions require some explanation, as they aren’t documented in the manual. To help new users, I’ve created a series of tutorial videos to show some of the things that can be done. If you use this firmware and have developed a workflow that I don’t mention here, please let me know in the comments, too!

Video 1 – General Overview, New Menu Items

A brief introduction into what looks different about the menu items. In short, not much! I’ve tried to keep the menu as similar as possible to the LXR. The highlights are individual voices under the ‘Load’ menu, ‘instant’ pattern switching, and the expanded ‘PERF’ mode menu. There is a lot of talking in this one, bear with me!

Video 2 – New Voice and Sequencer Options

Covers the one expanded voice option – one-shot LFO waveforms – and a number of sequencer enhancements. Track scaling allows for a more extensive use of the LXR’s 128 step sequencer. New copy functions allow individual tracks to be copied between patterns, and steps and sub-steps to be copied within tracks. The rotate function of the pattern generator can be used non-destructively on existing patterns to change step positions. There is a new automation target that morphs the target voice independently, that can be set both to step automation and voice modulation destinations. ‘Automation-only’ steps can be set by assigning a velocity of zero.


Video 3 – New Performance Options

By far, most of the enhancements improve the LXR for live use. Instant pattern switching, individual track pattern switching, enhanced rolls, transpose, macros, and the looper are covered, with some methods for combining them.


Video 4 – MIDI Features

Details some of the new things that can be done with the LXR over MIDI, and some of the changes to how the LXR responds to channels and MIDI messages.

38 Responses

      • Omer says:

        I was hoping to get any kind of contact information of you… im using your firmware and i would like to save for example a kick i made and access it when choosing future kicks in audition mode… how can that be done ? help, please ! :)

        • Hi Omer,
          There isn’t an option to save individual instruments, but you can load an individual instrument from the saved drumkit files. This is pretty fast, so it works well as an ‘audition’. So if you have a kick you like as ‘Drum1′ just save the whole kit, and you will always be able to load that kick back in.

  1. Kurt uenala says:

    Wow, your enhancements make this drum machine a must buy! Yes, more videos please! Thank you

  2. Thor viggo Fauske says:

    Really nice!
    Looking forward to more tutorial videos on the new
    additions to the firmware :)

  3. Dosta says:

    Hello Brendan,

    thanks a lot for this FW!

    I bought LXR recently and i`m very excited from it. I have Elektron Octatrack as well, which is my main sampler and sequencer and the only thing I miss here on LXR is 16 x 4 step grid. Your solution to multiply each track is nice but its reducing number of steps to be used. If there will be any way how to update this in the future to have at least 32 to steps, the best 64, it will be the last thing I could ask for.
    Thanks anyway!!!

    • Dosta says:

      So i`m finally using it wih Octatrack so i dont need anything ,) …. Anyway thanks a lot for great FW! for such great DM…

        • Hi Dosta!
          I’ve continued working on the firmware, and I think I have this problem fixed. There was an issue with the LXR’s processing of realtime (clock) messages over the MIDI jacks that blocked most channel-specific messages (CC automation, notes). Try new one (in the same folder, linked above) and see if that fixes your issue!

          • Dosta says:


            pls one more thing, my drum sets will stay untouched if i`ll update the FW ?? I figured out the workaround with another sequencer in the meantime, i want to test if it does work fine but i dont want to loose my drumsets. Many thanks again for everything!

          • Hi Dosta!
            I’d advise you to make a copy of the files on your SD card before you try the firmware, just in case, but just loading files won’t change them. I think kit files are still cross-compatible. I think that some of the files containing patterns (pattern, perf, all) may not be, but it’s been a log time since I made any kits or patterns in the stock fw.

            Hope that helps!

          • Dosta says:

            based on Brendan Clarke says:
            19 September, 2016 at 07:39

            Hello Brendan!

            so i tested last FW and it works like a charm!!!! No problem with clock and MIDI notes at all! Great job. Thanks a lot! Just FYI some of my saved Kits didnt have names (I had to resave them with the name again) and some drums (Drum2 and Cymbal) were empty in some kits, i had to reload them from another sounds in other kits (this option in your FW is wonderfull as well!) and recreate, especially one, that i used as mono synth ,) in last song, but not big deal really.
            However I recognized one thing, if i loaded specific kit, and then reloaded only one drum in to it (Drum2) in some cases it did modified somehow Drum1 as well (seems as some modulation or decay parameters changed) .. strange. I couldnt test if new FW influenced old patterns or performaces as i didint use them at all, now with new FW i`ll probably start to use them as well ,)

            Brendan thanks a lot! Your approach is unbelievable as I was unable to sort out much simple problems with Arturia or Roland at all and they are payed for that! Bye ,)

          • Dosta says:

            Brendan, pls one more thing, when i start play of arrangement in Octatrack (LXR is MIDI and clock slave) on the beginnig of arrangement in OT, LXR automatically jump to the first kit.. you dont know why ? ,)

            Thanks a lot!

          • Hi Dosta, sounds like you have a bank set on the same channel as the LXR. Look at your MIDI tracks on the OT, and double-tap the ‘playback’ button. If one of those settings has bank set to ‘0’, that’s probably your culprit. You can have the OT send bank change messages to the LXR to change either the kit or perf file. Hope that helps!

  4. Pétrisot says:

    Hello , I am trying to install your firmware, but I do not have your new option. I tried several of your firmware, but nothing changes. Can you enlighten me :S I thank you in advance

    • Hi Petrisot!
      The latest one will always be brendanclarke.com/files/LXR/FIRMWARE.BIN. Put that on your SD card and then hold down the encoder while powering the LXR on. If it’s not updating with that method, there might be something faulty with the LXR. Check on the sonic-potions forums!
      Hope that helps!

  5. Dimitris says:

    Hello Brendan,
    your firmware is really nice but has some problems…
    when i want to choose individual drum sounds from different presets the lxr sound engine and the sequencer freeze, but the menu work without any sound :(

    i really want your firmware most for the reason to choose sounds from all the presets to make my combination

    thanks and i hope you fix this bug :)

  6. dekalboy says:

    Hi bredan ,
    I have recently bought a LXR and installed your firmware which seems to be very useful for me , since I had the idea of controllinf the LXR by an external sequencer .
    So having individual voices for external MIDI control is very nice !

    But currently I am NOT succed in running the LXR properly in this way.

    Even if I set for instance, channel 1 for track 1 etc ….. channel 7 for track 7 ; when i am sending notes with my external sequencer with channel 1 , all tracks are playing instead of only the track 1 .

    Could you help me that ?
    thank you very much !

    • UM says:

      Hi dekalboy…i faced a similar problem when i tried to sequence my LXR with the pyramid sequencer, heres how i got around it. when using an external sequencer to program the LXR, go into the LXR menu and set the global channel to one. Then go into voice>mixer>channel and set the individual drum channels for the voices, like kick on channel 2, snare on channel 3 etc. Dont assign anything on channel 1, cos thats what leads to the situation you described and voices will play on all channels instead of only the sequenced one. once you’ve done these channel assigns to the voices, you can change the kits freely and they will be maintained and you can sequence externally on these channels. If you want to sequence all the voices on one channel, just set the channel to anything other than the global channel and assign the note numbers for each voice.Or you can save as a kit and load it up when you start up. This is the way ive been doing it, hopefully theres a better way out?? anyone??

      Hope that helps

      • dekalboy says:

        Hello UM ,
        thanks for your reply .
        It is ok now , for controlling the LXR with a midi sequencer .
        I have also bought a PYRAMID for that !
        BUT :
        I want to use the MIDI out fo the LXR to send midi CC data and record it into the pyramid . Do you know how to set that in the LXR ?
        Because in the OS 0.37, there is a lot of modification on the global menu and I don’t understand what all of these things mean :

        etc ….

  7. Ammanuel says:

    Hi Bredan,

    Really looking forward to update my “factory” .34 version to your,a test. However, I have never had to update and this will be a first. Brendan, if I were to download your firmware can it be done via USB interface or the SD car Door? If it is the SD card I would need a SD card reader/writer? Afterward I power up using the SD card with the LXR?

    Thank you again for furthering my adventure with this beast of a machine which I recently acquired. I am learning more about the possibilities of pattern /song mode….

    Happy New Year


  8. UM says:

    Hi Brandon, where can we find some more details on the additional features you added? I was hoping for some more info on the macros and midi features…any new videos coming up?

    Amazing work btw, any new updates in the pipeline?

  9. dekalboy says:

    Hello UM ,
    thanks for your reply .
    It is ok now , for controlling the LXR with a midi sequencer .
    I have also bought a PYRAMID for that !
    BUT :
    I want to use the MIDI out fo the LXR to send midi CC data and record it into the pyramid . Do you know how to set that in the LXR ?
    Because in the OS 0.37, there is a lot of modification on the global menu and I don’t understand what all of these things mean :

    etc ….

  10. boris volt says:

    Hello, I have installed your firmware, and restart the LXR, everything is fine
    I have the new options that appear, but it seems that there is no action on it, for example the “PCI” on or off, I am obliged to use the shif key as in the old firmware .

    On the other hand, I do not understand the MAC, it seems that these values do not have registrations either, I forgot to do something?


  11. Andreas says:

    Hey Brendan,
    first of all thanks for your awesome version of the LXR! It really enhances this machine further. I was wondering though if you could give a bit more detailed infos on your improvements – the new midi features, the performance feature, etc. This would really help out here, since there is no detailed documentation (besides your first video) on the firmware.
    Thanks a lot!

  12. AlexAnt says:

    Hi! People want more!! give us some more info about macros please. And all the rest is interesting also.

  13. synthface says:

    We miss you come back 😉 Hope you are well and thanks for your great work. would love to hear more from you

  14. Rob says:

    Hi Brendan,

    Love the effort put in for this and really appreciated. I can’t seem to get external sequencing to save though. As described I set global to channel 1, and set the channel/note values in the mix page, but if I load a new drumset it always defaults back to note > any.

    Am I missing something?


  15. Jean-Sebastien Nicol says:

    Hi!!! I enjoy the 0.37 firware a lot!! Does the 0.37 works with Bastl’s 60 Knobs? Thanx!!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you like it. Hopefully I can put in a bit more work on it soon. I’m pretty sure it won’t work with 60knobs at the moment but I might look into putting the stock midi mappings back in future.

  16. Ammanuel says:

    hello Brendan,
    I am having a problem extracting the Download firmware….after being asked to extract the archive file and responding “open” and selecting FIRMWARE.BIN to be extracted I cant find the file which I am supposed to open….

    any help?
    Thank you

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