Klavis - CalTrans

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vizor81
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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by vizor81 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:42 am

I am interested in this module as it seems to solve an important issue in modular synths.

But reading about the odd behavior rendering the module practically useless for its main purpose (please correct me if I misunderstood) and the lack of responsiveness from the manufacturer, sheds quite some doubts.

Now, I understand that we live in exceptional times where priorities shift to other aspects of life. In this regard, I hope Zentek & co @ Klavis are all safe & sound.
Has anyone tried to contact their support directly?

BTW, I’m a happy owner of a Quadigy and never had any issues.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by soon_come » Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:01 am

FWIW I’ve sent a message here to Zentek asking if he’s seen the latest posts in this thread, but I haven’t heard anything back yet. In the past, he was always really responsive and super helpful, so maybe he’s just very busy.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by donutschool » Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:16 am

vizor81 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:42 am
But reading about the odd behavior rendering the module practically useless for its main purpose (please correct me if I misunderstood) and the lack of responsiveness from the manufacturer, sheds quite some doubts.
No, I really wouldn't say that. I'm using it, it is working for me, and it is useful. Personally, the only real problem I have is with a feature recently added via firmware update - input calibration - and that may be more of a documentation fix than anything else, although I do think it needs some sort of better visual indication & a reset-to-default facility to avoid a custom calibration accidentally spreading to other presets.

My other criticism, the "limited" 0-7V input range, is something to be aware of rather than a deal-breaker.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by vizor81 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:23 pm

donutschool wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:16 am
No, I really wouldn't say that. I'm using it, it is working for me, and it is useful. Personally, the only real problem I have is with a feature recently added via firmware update - input calibration
I see - thanks!

So, the input calibration compensates inaccuracies of the upstream signal from the sequencer/quantizer, assuming the oscillator behaves well according to 1V/Oct.
While the original functionality corrects the innacuracies of the oscillator downstream, assuming the sequencer/quantizer signal is correct.

I hope my interpretation is correct now.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by donutschool » Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:10 pm

vizor81 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:23 pm
So, the input calibration compensates inaccuracies of the upstream signal from the sequencer/quantizer, assuming the oscillator behaves well according to 1V/Oct.
While the original functionality corrects the innacuracies of the oscillator downstream, assuming the sequencer/quantizer signal is correct.
Yup.
The other thing to get is that neither of those make it so that (say) C4 on your keyboard/seq should play C4 on the osc, they just correct for deviations from the "1 volt per octave" rule.

So, for the oscillator calibration, you do the routine and the caltrans builds a volts vs. pitch map for your VCO. Then you play (say) C4 on the seq and get, maybe, 30 cents off E#5 out, so you adjust the octave/semitone knobs on the caltrans to get that to 30 cents off C4 and only then fine-tune the VCO to nail C4, then leave the VCO tuning strictly alone. After that - assuming your keyboard/seq is correct, it will track properly and the Caltrans knobs will transpose correctly.

If that's still not tracking then possibly your kbd/seq is off. Not by a constant offset - fine-tuning the VCO above will have fixed that - but maybe tracking at, say, 0.99 volts-per-octave. That's where the new input calibration feature comes in - it allows you to slightly scale the input voltage - and I can confirm that it works, but (a) I'm not sure that the procedure in the manual is as helpful as it could be and (b) I haven't convinced myself that saving/loading the input calibration is working as advertised (or I've mis-read the instructions).

@soon_come, @auditorycanvas: one thing I've noticed is that the input calibration instructions are (IMHO) back-to-front: they have you fine-tuning your VCO to nail (say) A6, hitting (say) A3 and then adjusting the scaling on the Caltrans. Trouble with that is, A3 is likely to be a fairly small voltage and you're changing the slope of the v/oct graph, which has relatively little effect on a small voltage, so the change is hard to see (but you may still be setting the slope way off...). I'd suggest: play (say) A3, fine-tune the VCO, then play A6 and adjust the input calibration to get that correct - the effect of the slope should be magnified and make it easier to set accurately.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by vizor81 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 6:45 pm

Crystal clear!

Thanks @donutschool.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by soon_come » Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:22 pm

Appreciate those details, donutschool.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by auditorycanvas » Sun Jan 17, 2021 8:27 am

donutschool wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:10 pm
@soon_come, @auditorycanvas: one thing I've noticed is that the input calibration instructions are (IMHO) back-to-front: they have you fine-tuning your VCO to nail (say) A6, hitting (say) A3 and then adjusting the scaling on the Caltrans. Trouble with that is, A3 is likely to be a fairly small voltage and you're changing the slope of the v/oct graph, which has relatively little effect on a small voltage, so the change is hard to see (but you may still be setting the slope way off...). I'd suggest: play (say) A3, fine-tune the VCO, then play A6 and adjust the input calibration to get that correct - the effect of the slope should be magnified and make it easier to set accurately.
Good call on the input calibration. I got a 4.5 digit Fluke meter (+-0.05% +1 digit accuracy) the other day, and gave input cal a try, but it didn't help at all, neither did resetting input cal to no adjustment. I might try it the way you suggested, but I think it's a faulty module. Neutral calibration on all channels gives bizarre results, not at all like pass through, and another oddity is straight after a calibration and osc fine tune, with no input, if I turn on quantization on any channel, the output goes up by around 50 cents.

I emailed support a week ago (and sent a message on here), and haven't heard back - I hope Zentek and everyone at Klavis are ok. They did share a Matttech Modular Facebook post about restocking their modules on the 12th, so hopefully that's a good sign that all is well with them. I've started an RMA with the store I got it from, and asked for a replacement rather than refund. Hopefully the replacement unit works as expected.

In the meantime, I double checked the sequencer and fine tuned the calibration with the extra resolution on the new DMM, and also calibrated the Cs-L so that's now tracking within 4 cents across C1 to C5, C6 gets a little sharp, but good enough for now until I get a working Caltrans. Took a look at the voltages coming out of the Keystep Pro too, they were surprisingly close, only a few millivolts out on a few octaves. The Hydrasynth is a different matter, the voltages aren't very well calibrated on it at all, I'm going to ask ASM support if there's a way to calibrate the keyboard voltages.

@visor81, I wouldn't be too put off, I think my unit is just unfortunately faulty, there are plenty of users here with units working as expected.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by soon_come » Sun Jan 17, 2021 8:58 am

Appreciate all of the details here from everyone. I have to sit down with mine again and methodically figure out what exactly is happening. Ultimately, I think it’s kind of impractical to expect tracking across 5+ octaves to be perfect in the first place, and even though I’d love it if this module did exactly what it’s supposed to do more easily... I can’t think of the last time I programmed a sequence that used 5 octaves of range. I really do wish there were a much more straightforward way to use it as a transposer in neutral calibration.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by donutschool » Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:00 am

soon_come wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 8:58 am
I can’t think of the last time I programmed a sequence that used 5 octaves of range.
I think a better use case is programming a sequence that uses 3 octaves and then using that to drive 3 VCOs each tuned 1 octave apart - and then maybe shifting those oscillators up and down as the sequence plays. Also, not necessarily using all that range in a single piece but simply being able to have Caltrans semi-permanently patched in without having to re-tune everything to suit each piece (esp. as the recommendation is to not touch the VCO tuning once Caltrans is calibrated).

Really, it is about "headroom" rather than the actual range of the sequence.

I have to say that, in my case, it is running great with both my Keystep and Minibrute 2S. I'd suggest calibrating it rather than using neutral mode, since that enables the -3V to 7V range on your VCO, and spending some time experimenting with the starting note prior to calibration. The input calibration works for me if I ignore the instructions - but I can't convince myself that it is being loaded/saved with presets.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by soon_come » Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:02 am

The starting note might be part of the key here, indeed.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by Zentek » Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:33 am

Hello fellow users of the CalTrans.

Thank you to all helping others with replies to their questions about the CalTrans. :tu:

I was overly busy recently for personal matters.
We're all healthy here; no worries on that side. Sorry for causing concern.

I tried to follow and reply to the posts but they were appearing faster than I can make my mind for a unified reply. :-/
At this point, I don't know what remains open and what is clarified.
If you are still waiting for support, please post again with the necessary update about your situation.
I 'm now back.

One basic point to consider before describing your setup and results is to ensure that you have the latest firmware installed.
In case of doubt, install it anyway. No big deal: just play an audio file without removing the module from its case.
You'll find it on the product's page:
https://www.klavis.com/all-products/caltrans

Do not hesitate also commenting about the users manual. Is everything clear? are there holes? :help:
With the vast majority of users having no issues whatsoever, I'm wondering whether the explanations are not covering all cases relating to peculiar setups or usage?

Thank you very much for your understanding and patience. :zen:

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by donutschool » Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:31 pm

Zentek wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:33 am
We're all healthy here; no worries on that side. Sorry for causing concern.
Great to hear that and thanks for the response.

My fundamental unanswered questions are with the input calibration feature (P16-17 of the manual). I have firmware 1.17. Its possible that these are just documentation issues.

Question 1: Is there a quick way of re-setting the input calibration to default (i.e. exactly 1V/oct)?
If not - what is "default" in terms of the orange lights in input calibration mode - all on? all off? or (I suspect) somewhere in the middle so you have to set it using a tuner or voltmeter and a well-behaved voltage source?

Knowing how to "get back to the start" would make it much easier to experiment and answer my own questions.

Question 2: Are there any known bugs/issues in saving/loading input calibration to/from presets?

I'm assuming that the procedure is to follow steps 1-11 on page 16/17 to set the input calibration, rinse and repeat for each input channel then bottom encoder + number button to save to a preset? And that top-encoder + different number button should recall any input cal saved to that preset (for all ports) or, if not, restore the default. Am I missing something?

I've successfully set the input calibration, but can't convince myself that it is being saved/restored with the presets - it seems to me to be acting more like the v/oct output calibration, i.e. a global per/port setting.

Manual bug Minor - P17 step 8 refers to "the note you hit in Step 5" - should presumably be "the note you hit in Step 6".

Those are my two main questions, If I get those answers I'll probably be able to resolve the rest, or at least ask more intelligent questions or report reproducible bugs.

Thanks.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by Zentek » Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:19 pm

donutschool wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:31 pm
My fundamental unanswered questions are with the input calibration feature (P16-17 of the manual). I have firmware 1.17. Its possible that these are just documentation issues.

Question 1: Is there a quick way of re-setting the input calibration to default (i.e. exactly 1V/oct)?
If not - what is "default" in terms of the orange lights in input calibration mode - all on? all off? or (I suspect) somewhere in the middle so you have to set it using a tuner or voltmeter and a well-behaved voltage source?
There is no default to restore. The orange lights are telling a relative value that depends on the circuitry which is subtly different for each channel in each module.
Question 2: Are there any known bugs/issues in saving/loading input calibration to/from presets?
See thereafter
I'm assuming that the procedure is to follow steps 1-11 on page 16/17 to set the input calibration, rinse and repeat for each input channel then bottom encoder + number button to save to a preset? And that top-encoder + different number button should recall any input cal saved to that preset (for all ports) or, if not, restore the default. Am I missing something?

I've successfully set the input calibration, but can't convince myself that it is being saved/restored with the presets - it seems to me to be acting more like the v/oct output calibration, i.e. a global per/port setting.
It all works as you describe except that the input calibration is indeed not per preset. :oops:
The manual is wrong because it was implemented that way at some point. In the end it was too complicated and of little use.
The manual was not edited accordingly. :doh:
It was in fact simpler and an updated manual V1.5 is now online :party:
Manual bug Minor - P17 step 8 refers to "the note you hit in Step 5" - should presumably be "the note you hit in Step 6".
Thank you for spotting that.
Those are my two main questions, If I get those answers I'll probably be able to resolve the rest, or at least ask more intelligent questions or report reproducible bugs.
Many thanks for the investigation :hail:
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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by auditorycanvas » Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:09 am

Zentek wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:19 pm
Hi Zentek, I've sent an email to support about a potentially faulty module well over a week ago, and also sent it via private message here, and followed up a few days ago. Don't mean to harass, just checking in here in case the /email/messages got buried?

Would appreciate it if you could take a look.

Thanks.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by Zentek » Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:13 am

auditorycanvas wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:09 am
Would appreciate it if you could take a look.

Thanks.
Sorry for the delay. I was finalizing the updated user manual.
I now replied to your email.
Thank you for your patience.
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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by donutschool » Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:06 am

Zentek wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:19 pm
The manual is wrong because it was implemented that way at some point. In the end it was too complicated and of little use.
Aha. That helps my headache immensely! And, yeah, the idea of saving the input scaling to the presets sounds nice at first but I agree that it would have been a can of worms in practice.
There is no default to restore. The orange lights are telling a relative value that depends on the circuitry which is subtly different for each channel in each module.
Got it. As a "feature request" A way of reverting to the factory settings would be useful, since calibrating to precisely 1V/Oct is difficult without proper test gear - but I guess that if that isn't saved, that can't be fixed with firmware. Still, the main point is that it can be calibrated to work with the gear that you actually have...

Many thanks for your help.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by soon_come » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:23 am

Thanks for the insight, Zentek. I agree that a way to set everything to default would be incredibly useful, but perhaps “default” isn’t really meaningful in this instance (?).

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by AnalogDigits » Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:36 pm

soon_come wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:23 am
...but perhaps “default” isn’t really meaningful in this instance (?).
As a happy user of two CalTrans (plus a couple of AJH V-Scales) used in conjunction with several different types of oscillators and modules, and an ES-9, I’d say that’s an accurate statement.

Just like the ES-8/ES-9 “CV-out calibration” discussions, there are a few details that make any calibration a bit more complex than we might prefer. That’s just the reality of it.
Like: there is no actual precise 1V/octave standard. General agreement, yes. But it ends up meaning that you often have to calibrate in more than one place, and in the right order, if you want both offset and tracking to work “as expected”. Or to have two oscillators stay in tune over a few octaves.
There are no truly ‘plug-n-play’ simple solutions, as the challenge varies depending on your sound generator(s). And once you twist your Coarse Freq knob(s), you might well have to start over!

FWIW: I got started with CalTrans when the manual was at V1.0, which might have been “more approachable”. As the module has been improved, the changes and additions made sense because of that background and context.

That all said, CalTrans is the best calibration module I know of, atm. It’s the closest to “auto-tuning”. And it makes me wish that more oscillators could “lock” their Frequency controls like the TwinWaves does (to prevent accidental re-tuning).

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by donutschool » Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:50 pm

AnalogDigits wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:36 pm

But it ends up meaning that you often have to calibrate in more than one place, and in the right order, if you want both offset and tracking to work “as expected”. Or to have two oscillators stay in tune over a few octaves.
I think you're right w.r.t. the main oscillator calibration function of Caltrans - but in the last few posts we've been talking about the new firmware feature that lets you tweak the response of each Caltrans CV input to correct for a sequencer/keyboard/MIDI-to-CV that isn't generating precisely 1V/oct. Its only the scaling - any offset correction comes out in the wash when you eventually fine tune the VCO - and is really only affected by the CV source and the Caltrans.

The "default" in this case would be whatever that response was set to when the module left the factory (and which I guess always existed, but wasn't user editable until firmware 1.17)... but the lesson is that when you change it, it stays changed.

The VCO is a red herring here - we're really using a caltrans-calibrated VCO and a frequency meter to measure voltage differences, because a cheap bog-standard hobbyist multimeter isn't accurate enough for the job.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by soon_come » Thu Jan 21, 2021 5:56 pm

Every time I think I understand exactly what's going on at each stage, someone posts another comment here and makes me rethink it. I really have to find the time to sit down and test things out myself, because I do believe I was conflating some of this.

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by AnalogDigits » Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:41 pm

donutschool wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:50 pm
I think you're right w.r.t. the main oscillator calibration function of Caltrans - but in the last few posts we've been talking about the new firmware feature that lets you tweak the response of each Caltrans CV input to correct for a sequencer/keyboard/MIDI-to-CV that isn't generating precisely 1V/oct. Its only the scaling - any offset correction comes out in the wash when you eventually fine tune the VCO - and is really only affected by the CV source and the Caltrans.

The "default" in this case would be whatever that response was set to when the module left the factory (and which I guess always existed, but wasn't user editable until firmware 1.17)... but the lesson is that when you change it, it stays changed.

The VCO is a red herring here - we're really using a caltrans-calibrated VCO and a frequency meter to measure voltage differences, because a cheap bog-standard hobbyist multimeter isn't accurate enough for the job.
Ahh, now I see. ;) Thanks for patiently clarifying!
Yes, I would agree that a clear 'reset', where you could be certain that you had reset the 'input scaling' to zero (or return to 'factory-calibrated') would be useful; it would remove a key variable while trying to test various configurations. In my primary use-case, I am often utilizing CV (and triggers/Gates) coming from an ES-9 expanded with ES-5/ESX-8CV/ESX8GT (which also have their own calibration process). So I end up with 'good' CV-inputs, and I basically just use the CalTrans' for its transposition and quantizing features, and also to calibrate/compensate for the pitch-response of a particular VCO or sound-generator (the 'output' side).

The problematic 1V/Octave sources you describe: "a sequencer/keyboard/MIDI-to-CV that isn't generating precisely 1V/oct" is not something that I've really encountered... but I can certainly check a couple of my rarely used MIDI-CV modules (over a wider range of octaves), to see if I can understand/replicate the problem you all are describing.

If it would help, I can run any tests you folks might come up with; I have oscilloscopes, a precision voltage source, and an Agilent 6.5-digit meter (etc).

It's interesting: when talking about the calibration and compensation issues, sometimes the terminology gets in the way. I've noticed the same 'words are hard' phenomena over in the Expert Sleepers support forum. Getting people to agree on terms and common steps can be a real challenge! :hmm:

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by donutschool » Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:37 pm

AnalogDigits wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:41 pm
It's interesting: when talking about the calibration and compensation issues, sometimes the terminology gets in the way. I've noticed the same 'words are hard' phenomena over in the Expert Sleepers support forum. Getting people to agree on terms and common steps can be a real challenge!
Agreed. The Caltrans manual uses "V/Oct Calibration" and "Neutral calibration" to refer to correcting the tracking of the oscillator (or not) and "Input scaling" to refer to correcting the tracking of the input CV signal from the controller. Both of those could reasonably be called "calibration", though. I think its clearer talking about "output calibration" and "input scaling/calibration" respectively.
AnalogDigits wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:41 pm
The problematic 1V/Octave sources you describe: "a sequencer/keyboard/MIDI-to-CV that isn't generating precisely 1V/oct" is not something that I've really encountered...
Well, technically you do have that problem - with the ES-9 - I have an ES-8 and used "raw" each output has its own slight scale and offset error that is enough to mess up tracking over several octaves - but when you calibrate it with Silent Way/BitWig/whatever then that gets corrected along with any tracking flaws on the oscillator, the tuning of the oscillator, that dodgy mult you've used... As you said, though, the result is only valid for that specific chain of devices, and if you wanted to drive two oscillators, lets say one with good tracking, one not so much , from the same ES-9 port then they wouldn't be in tune.

Potentially, you ought to be able to use Caltrans' input scaling as an alternative to Silent Way etc. then the "input scaling" deals with correcting the ES-8/9 and the Caltrans' "output scaling" reigns in each individual VCO.

Also, I've got a Keystep which wasn't tracking 1V/oct very well - when you open it up (after removing an inexplicably huge number of screws and avoiding damage to several tiny ribbon cables) there are two of those little trim pots setting the offset and scale, which you can throw way off by showing them a picture of a screwdriver and are clearly going to be vulnerable to vibration and time. So I did manage to improve the Keystep's tracking, but being able to fine-tune it with a Caltrans is handy.
AnalogDigits wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:41 pm
If it would help, I can run any tests you folks might come up with; I have oscilloscopes, a precision voltage source, and an Agilent 6.5-digit meter (etc).
If you've got nothing better to do it would be interesting to know how accurate a few typical MIDI-to-CV generators were, and how accurate the Caltrans was in neutral mode...

Meanwhile:
* fiddles obsessively for hours to get everything tuned to within a few cents...
* Makes 3-VCO patch
* Yawn.
* Tweaks VCO tuning knobs randomly to get that nice warm, phasey, detuned analogue sound :-)

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by auditorycanvas » Fri Jan 22, 2021 3:25 pm

donutschool wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:37 pm
which you can throw way off by showing them a picture of a screwdriver
:lol: :lol:

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Re: Klavis - CalTrans

Post by skxdlxx » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:07 pm

Zentek wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:33 am
Hello fellow users of the CalTrans.

Thank you to all helping others with replies to their questions about the CalTrans. :tu:
Great to have you back!

I'm revisiting my CalTrans and still struggling with 'neutral calibration'. If Im connected directly to an oscillator, my tracking is good. If I then go through a neutrally calibrated I/O of CalTrans, it's off by a lot. Perhaps its a beginners modular problem im having :hmm:

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