Let's talk about a Max/MSP/ES/Modular-Hybrid

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Let's talk about a Max/MSP/ES/Modular-Hybrid

Post by subultresk » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:02 pm

This thread is dedicated towards a hybrid Max/MSP-ES-Modular.
blue = edited.
I'd like to come up with a discussion about all those details and - with your help - establish a place to share our experiences/experiments. I prefer MW as the better place for hardware related discussions - maybe we could also move to a cycling74 forum at a later stage and more Max-related stuff.

I've written a Maxhelp-Patch for the es4encoder~ object which you can download here.
This Help-Patch might be also helpful for those having problems using the eight Gates of the Expander with one value (0-255) independently.
The "binary/integer-thing" and the Max-Help patch has been discussed here

There are so many common points which are hardware related:

- what should or can be controlled (speed and resolution of the ES-hardware etc.)
Only ESX-4CV expanders are running with 1/8 auf the audio sampling rate - i.e. 44.1kHz/5,5125kHz; 48kHz/6kHz; 96kHz/12kHz.
The ESX-8GT always reacts at full audio-rate.

- which ES hardware is optimal? What are the Ups and Downs of ES-3 und -4? (Adat/SPDIF)
this has been solved here
- Trigger and Gates (i.e. how to produce 8V triggers/gate to trigger modules)
The ESX-8GT has jumpers for selecting 12V outputs instead of 5V.
- Rectification (get only positive voltages)
we might only want to shift the voltage +5V (polarizer)
- Interface (controllers, iPad, Touch-OSC, Lemur, MIRA, pedals)
- Max/MSP tool-kit for ES-modules
1st mention here
- Max/MSP Seq, LFO, Random-Generators/Shift-Registers
- Max/MSP Granulator/Sampler/FFT/VST controlled via CV
- MIRA Multitouch - Buchla-esque iPad Controller
- software with audio-rates - like Stretta shows us with B E A P - any benefits with ES-modules? _ (Thanks so much, Stretta! This one of the nicest Max-collections ever!)
- instrument design (creating "one" portable and "easy to use" instrument)
- more

Here are my actual high priority questions - my workarounds/estimations/questions are inline:

1. How do you exchange audio between Modular and CPU? (+12, +4, -10 dB) What do you use? TAI-4, Cwejman or the new ADDAC800X :love: ?

Synth-out Ch 1+2 goes directly into the LIO-8 DI-inputs and the (software-) trimmer is set to -12dB. Ch 3+4 goes to a Sonifex Redbox RB-BL2. It is a balanced/unbalanced bidirectional converter - it also unbalances and amplifies the CPU-audio which is sent to the synth. The Sonifex has pre-set potentiometers/trimmers which i prefer, since they don't have to be set every time. The quality is very high. Also, i don't want to use too much synth-space and money. It must be of high quality. I also don't want to have too many "big" cables (that are't touched) on the front of my instrument. I'm already fighting against MOTM patch cables - they are too heavy in the Euro-world... anyway - i'm looking for 2 Tai-4...

2. Since i'm planning big (34-40 CV and 34-40 Gates), i would like to share experiences especially about ES-3 and-4. Are there only Gate expanders for ES-3? Are there any benefits of the ES-3 besides speed? Downsides?

I even would try the MUTEC AES-to-Adat (which seem to work with my equipment) - but maybe it can be cleared already. AFAIK there are only Gate expanders for the ES-3. This would keep me going on with the ES-4 since i use a lot CV-lines, LFO and Gates. I just wouldn't get that amount of CV-lines with ES-3 and 8 audio-ch.
This intensifies my need of information. I don't do any envelopes in Max (yet?) because i like to play and listen to EG and VCA/LPG modules - one of my reasons to go hybrid: VCO, Filters, AM/RM, Gates and EG are more alive in the analog world - it would need at least Qbits to reproduce the behavior. The Interface and of course all digital audio-processing can happen on the CPU side and with the best AD/DA conversion. We've reached the next question:


3. Because the "slow" reaction of ES-4 is 5,5125kHz at 44,1kHz: except for snappy envelopes - where else would this be too slow??

Do i get something wrong?? What the hell are you doing at this rate? I could image that extreme snappy envelopes could have short intervals - but 6000 Hz? From my point of view it only could cause problems in timing..., but... ?? Do i miss something? Please tell me!
I am working in 96kHz audio - which means 12kHz ES-4-reaction time. I had some problems with timing - but i believe this is on my side. It's the Gate/Trigger thing which i am still thinking of (see next question). Could it be that signals stack at 6kHz and produce significant dropouts and rhythmic failure?? I can't believe that.



4. Trigger-Signals seem to be hungry! How to convert a 5V-Gate into a 8V Trigger??
If i go with ES-4 and use 5 expanders i will "only" get ±5,3V and 5V-Gates. I.e. the Optomix Strike likes 8V Trigger. How do i get those? I've seen a module which does that - but only 1 time. It must be technically not impossible to build a module with 4 or 8 Gate-to-Trigger converters. Has somebody done that already?
A similar story is going on with 0-10V: it seems to be called rectification - am i correct that a ±5V will not produce 0-10V when fully rectified (by doubling the frequency)? Does it only produce the positive part 0-5V?
The ADDAC207 Quantizer (which i am just going to buy) receives ±5V and gives out 0-10V.



more questions later.... :guinness:
Last edited by subultresk on Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:42 am, edited 19 times in total.
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Post by subultresk » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:46 pm

To rise the entertaining factor a little bit - here are two pictures where i am and where i decide to go. On the iPad is a controller for a Partial Tone Generator. ;-)

My first year in Eurorack has been a more technical journey - sound-wise i was very happy in the 15V/5U MOTM world, but transportation... :despair:
Shortly before going Buchla i decided to try Eurorack - also because i already owned a ES-1, ES-2-2 and the Ribbon Controller in a Doepfer Minicase to drive the MOTM. Also, i didn't want the Buchla Firmware - i'd prefer to do that part with Max/MSP.

There is no Sequencer and almost no designed LFO (any more). It's mainly VCO, Filter, Waveshaping, LPG, EG, Thunderbold-Generator etc.. Plus Switches, Crossfaders, Slew-Limiters, Comparator, Joystick, Ribbon/QNT and some Utilities. As you can see the (red) Sonifex and the fabulous DIY iPad holder are fixed on the instrument (the holder can be removed for transport).

4x119 HP
Image

Now - this is where i want to go:
i want to have digital control over CV in a quite intense & complex way! This means i.e. i want to "switch" between different EGs on the Quadra with CV control, morph or interpolate between stored values. Or Maths controls the software granulator...

Since i want to keep the case i have thrown out a few modules for this design which function i should be able to do (even better?) with Max:
the QLFO - i love MAX/MSP-LFOs which i also can control with knobs! Sometimes a 100ms slew gives a kind of Vactrol-feeling!
the Envelope Follower - it's even better to get the "original"-recording in the best quality/through a good mic and preamp, also for parallel digital processing. The CV should come with ESX-4CV. At least there is the sigmund~object of Miller Puckette (the good minded giant), which let you take some more informations about the input and opens choices that feel like the finest area in the Buchla-world! With the A-119 i did some things with piezo - this should work with LIO-8 as well.

I made some tests with the sigmund~ re-synthesis. Unbelievable! This is how my voice sounds, when re-synthesized with 16 sine-waves - would be nice to do that with 16 Dixies! The bird-effect appears when the number of sine-waves decreases. With full resolution (the beginning), it sounds almost like a recording! It's pure sine-waves - no sample! I find it amazing! voice-resynthesis audio-example

What's funny is, that i start enjoying Max/MSP filters for the first time! It might be the mixture of analog and the new possibilities with filter-design or gen~ coding in Max6. I've checked out some ways to realize interpolating Formant Filters - like my MOTM 410 Triple Resonant or Buchlas original. FOF synthesis seems to be able to do that and also Stretta has a beautiful Morphing Bandpass in his BEAP-Collection. I have an old book from GDR where useful Freq-couples have been documented. Old things get interesting again! The three following excerpts are all made with Rubicon, Dixie, Korgasmatron and MSP (formants). In the first audio-excerpt you can hear, how nice formants seem to change the physics of percussive sounds - as if something would be beaten from different angles. In the second audio-excerpt you hear the same frequencies with longer tones (still pulses) - in Tuwa style. I try to get special "curves" with one VCO acting as a overtone generator. I like the natural flair of the third example (i think, Stockhausen would have liked this Filter!).

I am very curious about the (red) ADDAC207 Quantizer - for me an important step because it allows different tunings and has 4 i/o's (i don't want to play minor/major/equal tunings with the ribbon anymore). I've done quite a lot micro tuning (also for other composers) with MIDI - pitch and 14bit bend (LSB/MSB - today: xbendin). i hope i'll get some nice ADDAC-synchronized tunings in 12bit too - with one value!

This will hopefully gonna be my 12kHz/12bit ES-combat-wretch! (i've been quite a long time in Guerrilla-Electronics now) :zombie:


4x119 HP
Image
There are two dummy-modules in the picture.
Top-row: the filter-modules are Korgasmatron I, M11, M12, a Buchla 194 clone (fixed Filters) and the ADDAC601.
Second row. The I/O's will be Expert Sleepers modules.

The red Audio-Interfaces are Sonifex RB-BL2 (Unbalanced to Balanced Bi-Directional Stereo-Converter). 4x I/O in superb quality!
Last edited by subultresk on Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:19 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Let's talk about a Max/MSP/ES/Modular-Hybrid

Post by sandyb » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:59 pm

a few random thoughts below.
subultresk wrote: Here are my actual high priority questions - my workarounds/estimations/questions are inline:

1. How do you exchange audio between Modular and CPU? (+12, +4, -10 dB) What do you use? Vermona TAI, Cwejman or the new ADDAC800X :love: ?
at the moment i'm mainly using max/es3 for cv. i plan to bring audio into the equation at some point and have an es6 that i'll try using although i sort of want to keep that for cv control of max. so i may well just go straight into my audio interface and access that through the adc in max.
2. Since i'm planning big (34-40 CV and 34-40 Gates), i would like to share experiences especially about ES-3 and-4. Are there only Gate expanders for ES-3? Are there any benefits of the ES-3 besides speed? Downsides?
i can't see how you'll do this without multiple es3 or es4 and expanders. which of course then places demands on your choice of audio interface in terms of adat/spdif inputs and outputs.
3. Because the "slow" reaction of ES-4 is 5,5125kHz at 44,1kHz: except for snappy envelopes - where else would this be too slow??
don't know. i'm using an es3. i haven't tried it for envelopes yet but will be doing so as i don't have any in my reconfigured euro system yet.

here's what i'm working with at the moment.

Image
4. Trigger-Signals seem to be hungry! How to convert a 5V-Gate into a 8V Trigger??
If i go with ES-4 and use 5 expanders i will "only" get ±5,3V and 5V-Gates. I.e. the Optomix Strike likes 8V Trigger. How do i get those? I've seen a module which does that - but only 1 time. It must be technically not impossible to build a module with 4 or 8 Gate-to-Trigger converters. Has somebody done that already?
A similar story is going on with 0-10V: it seems to be called rectification - am i correct that a ±5V will not produce 0-10V when fully rectified (by doubling the frequency)? Does it only produce the positive part 0-5V?
The ADDAC207 Quantizer (which i am just going to buy) receives ±5V and gives out 0-10V.


i think the doepfer a162 dual trigger delay would do what you want regarding gates and triggers.

as for ±5v to 0-10v that's pretty easily achieved with an offset module such as the doepfer a183-2.

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Re: Let's talk about a Max/MSP/ES/Modular-Hybrid

Post by subultresk » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:17 pm

sandyb wrote:
here's what i'm working with at the moment.
:tu: ok - i see! :woah: ... and again - you seem to be "there" already... 8_)

I like that Quad Spatializer - unhappily for me those things are organized on the cpu-side in my system... also the Filterbank with Band-CV - great! I am working around something related in Max. Since filter-design (max6) you can create much better filters (i.e. butterworth bandpass) than in recent days. I use a EMS Analyse Filterbank B1-II. Its like a scalpel - with 104mm Penny & Giles sliders!
Are you happy with the VCA-quintet? It looks so nice!
What do you amplify? How is the sound quality?
i think the doepfer a162 dual trigger delay would do what you want regarding gates and triggers.
Thanks for the hint - i found out that there are some possibilities to abuse modules to get a trigger, but i'd prefer to have a little 4HP module with 4 gate to trigger i/o's.
Since this seems to be my biggest "problem" in the moment - i'l ask a good friend who knows that stuff for sure - i believe it's just a diode or some more easily stuff...
as for ±5v to 0-10v that's pretty easily achieved with an offset module such as the doepfer a183-2.
Yes - i use a Triatt. But it's similar to the point above: for such an ES-system, a customized module without pots would be cool - like 4x + 5V (switches?).
Here could be a problem that ES has ±5.333V - maybe a pot is necessary to "tune" the voltage... ?
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Post by subultresk » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:33 pm

Here is a comparison of the Outputs for my needs:
6 ch digital audio to
A: 1x ES-3, 3x ES-5 5x ESX-8GT and 14x ESX-4CV (56 GT, 56 CV - possible?) NO
B: 1x ES-3, 3x ES-5 2x ESX-8GT and 10x ESX-4CV (40 GT, 40 CV - possible?) NO
C: 3x ES-4, 5x ESX-8GT and 10x ESX-4CV (40 GT, 40 CV)

edit: the ES-3 combos are false
Image

If the maximized combo for 6ch audio on both Interfaces are compared. the ES-3 offers 16 more Gates and 16 more CV - because ES-5 has 6 headers for expansions. (correct?)

The price of the full ES-3 combo would be higher (and would offer 16GT and 16CV more), but the price for 1 Gate/CV is exactly the same than with the ES-4 combo. It means, in relation to the ES-4 combo the ES-3 solution get's less pricey when more than 3 ES-5 are fully expanded.
With 40GT and 40 CV, the ES-3 combo would cost ca. €100 more than the ES-4 combo, but would use 16HP less and offer more further expansions.
As i understand the ES-3 combo is also faster.


Can somebody please confirm that? confirmed as false
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Post by bil_g » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:07 pm

I'm pretty sure you can only use one ES-5 per ES-3. You can't chain an ES-5 to an ES-5 and use the expansion headers on both. You would have to have three ES-5 slots on the ES-3 for your first two scenarios to work. There is just the one.

So, there is a max of 6 expanders on an ES-3 with one being the ES-5. More info here.

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Post by subultresk » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:17 pm

bil_g wrote:I'm pretty sure you can only use one ES-5 per ES-3. You can't chain an ES-5 to an ES-5 and use the expansion headers on both. You would have to have three ES-5 slots on the ES-3 for your first two scenarios to work. There is just the one.

So, there is a max of 6 expanders on an ES-3 with one being the ES-5. More info here.
This would mean there is a maximum of 56 Gates and 6x 0-10V for an ES-3?
(Instead of ESX-8GT there could be alternately ESX-4CV)
Only one ES-5 per ES-3?
No expansion on the other stereo pairs?

I can't believe that!
I don't want to chain ES-5 to ES-5 - i'd like to chain 4 ES-5 to the 4 headers of the 4 ES-3 stereo pairs!

Please! I want to add 4 ES-5 to one ES-3!! :bang:

I hope, at least Os will make it clear...
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Post by bil_g » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:48 pm

subultresk wrote:This would mean there is a maximum of 56 Gates and 6x 0-10V for an ES-3?
48 gates and 6x +/-10v from the ES-3. The ES-5's signal is on header one so you can't use all the expansion headers and the ES-5's 8 outs. That's why it's 48, not 56.
Instead of ESX-8GT could be ESX-4CV?
Sure. You could use 6 4CVs. Again, you couldn't use the ES-5 outs, though.
No expansion on the other stereo pairs?
No, just the one. I don't know if you could DIY the other pairs, though. I kinda doubt it.

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Post by subultresk » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:53 pm

So - the main question up to this point is:

How many ES-5 can be connected to a ES-3?

From the Expert Sleepers site:
Easier access to the expansion headers <- headers! That is plural!
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Post by subultresk » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:58 pm

bil_g wrote:
subultresk wrote:This would mean there is a maximum of 56 Gates and 6x 0-10V for an ES-3?
48 gates and 6x +/-10v from the ES-3.
of course - i just reckoned up - it was the shock! :eek:
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Post by subultresk » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:03 pm

ok, found a photo - headers means one ES-5 and one ES-6 headers

Image

:cry:
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Post by subultresk » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:37 pm

Ok bil_g, thanks for this bad news! Nice to meet you! :cry:

You have just ended any further thoughts about the ES-3 for my project since i wouldn't get the number of CV channels.

Thanks for that! I really missed that point with the jumper - couldn't imagine that the ES-3 only has one output header.

i made a pic correction because that's impressive.

(edited: a solution is coming closer but this pic is also false!)
Image


...
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Post by os » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:05 am

Because the "slow" reaction of ES-4 is 5,5125kHz at 44,1kHz
To be clear, the ES-4 runs at full rate e.g. 44.1kHz. It's only the ESX-4CV that runs at a reduced rate.
How to convert a 5V-Gate into a 8V Trigger??
The ESX-8GT has jumpers for selecting 12V outputs instead of 5V.
The ES-5's signal is on header one so you can't use all the expansion headers and the ES-5's 8 outs. That's why it's 48, not 56
Indeed.
How many ES-5 can be connected to a ES-3?
Four. You have to make your own cable, but you can connect four ES-5s to the ES-3s expansion header. You would then use the jumpers on the ES-5s to select which stereo pair each ES-5 is working from.

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Post by subultresk » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:47 am

Ah Os, i had overseen this. Thanks for the clarification!
How to convert a 5V-Gate into a 8V Trigger??
os wrote:The ESX-8GT has jumpers for selecting 12V outputs instead of 5V.
Yes - i've read that on your website - should it be attenuated to 8V? Or would you say, i.e. a strike input of the optomix will work with a 12V trigger as it does with 8V? (ok - i should test that, but maybe i'll get even more delicious info about that from somebody here....).
bil_g wrote:The ES-5's signal is on header one so you can't use all the expansion headers and the ES-5's 8 outs. That's why it's 48, not 56
os wrote:Indeed.
Ok - 5 expansions of the ES-5 can be used (and one free header is used for the 8 Gates of the ES-5 itself) - right?
How many ES-5 can be connected to a ES-3?
os wrote:Four. You have to make your own cable, but you can connect four ES-5s to the ES-3s expansion header. You would then use the jumpers on the ES-5s to select which stereo pair each ES-5 is working from.
:yay: :nana: F O U R :goo: :guinness: :tu: :woah:

So: that's good news!

Do i understand it correctly / since i am still a bit confused:

a fully expanded ES-3 will handle 4x48=192 Gates?
160 of the 192 Gates could be exchanged with 80x CV(±5V)?

(since the ES-5 hub is always 8 Gates)

Yes?

:yay:
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Post by os » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:51 am

Yes.

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Post by subultresk » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:56 am

os wrote:Yes.
Bravo! Maestro!

:yay:

A last question on this combo:

at what speed/kHz are the ES-5 and ESX-expanders working?
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Post by os » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:58 am

The ES-5 is limited to 44.1/48kHz by the ES-3.

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Post by subultresk » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:15 am

os wrote:The ES-5 is limited to 44.1/48kHz by the ES-3.
but the audio sampling rate could be 96kHz at the same time?
(like now with the ES-4)
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Post by os » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:37 am

You can use your DAW at 96kHz if you're willing to use the SMUX plug-in, but the ES-3/5 itself will only go up to 48kHz.

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Post by subultresk » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:14 am

Since max-objects and SW-plugIns like to crash Max when used at the same time on the same module (nothing wrong with that) - does it mean:
in 96kHz i have to use the smux-plugIn?

In the moment i'm using audio at 96kHz and the ES-4 runs stable with 48kHz at the same time - i don't loose any channels.

Will this still be possible?
(i'd like to continue with the max-externals)


Thanks Os - you're extremely helpful!

and...
... your modules rock!
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Post by subultresk » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:27 am

Ok - since the maximum expansion has been discussed successfully and some false pictures have been seen - this is the reality-check!

Image

Ok - the ES-3 rules!
Smaller, faster, more CV/Gates, less pricey and NICER!
i would like to see the ES-3 mixed combo in my 4x119 case -
and a ES-6 and -7 just besides!
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Post by os » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:26 pm

Maybe I should do a SMUX external.

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Post by bil_g » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:20 pm

Os,

Woohoo! Thanks for the clarification on how many ES-5s can be used. That's very sweet! I overlooked the jumper for which channels are used.

At your leisure, can you give info on the special cable for multiple ES-5s and can this be done to a mk1?

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Post by os » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:11 pm

It's just the regular cable but with more IDC sockets crimped to it. It should work just as well with a mk1.

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Post by subultresk » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:06 am

os wrote:Maybe I should do a SMUX external.
Oh - yes - please do it! It feels so so much better using your externals and not needing VST-plugins.
I would say it generally feels so much better in Max/MSP! (i hope i'm speaking for a rising number of Max-wigglers...)

:party:
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