Couple of setup questions - ES1 + ableton

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JP
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Couple of setup questions - ES1 + ableton

Post by JP » Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:27 pm

Here's a quick screen shot of my test setup.

I have a gigaport 8 out audio interface to the ES1 module, at the moment channel 1 goes to channel 8 of the ES1 and channel 8 of the ES1 out goes to a Z3000 (so I can see numbers changing when stuff happens).

Z3000 has every knob pointing to 12 oclock.

Sine wave out goes to a SY02 bypassing all the filters and straight out the VCA.

VCA out goes to an I-Onix audio interface back into Abelton.

My assumption has that hitting calibrate it would go through a scale of sorts and then afterwards I could play most of the notes on my, but I get maybe 3 or 4 distinct notes on the midi repeated going across (as you can see in the calibration graph thing.

Any thoughts on what I might be doing wrong?

Image
Last edited by JP on Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by baltimoroder » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:46 pm

I've _seen_ this before and fixed it but can't recall why it happened. I don't have an ES-1 so I can only speculate...

Is "Ext 1" also your "Master" out? That is a common one.

Maybe remove all the extra, inactive SW plugins.

Better yet, load an empty project with the DC plugin -> AC Encoder to a known good output and just mess with the DC offset. It should be the roughly the same as turning the tuning knob on the Z3000.

But you're correct,... when calibration works you hear a low rumble as it starts running through the octaves 'til it hits the upper limit of your interface. The X-axis is Voltage. The Y-axis is pitch.
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Post by baltimoroder » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:52 pm

A troubleshooting chart similar to what Serato has would be very helpful for interpreting that calibration box when things go awry.

Image
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Post by JP » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:05 am

baltimoroder wrote:Better yet, load an empty project with the DC plugin -> AC Encoder to a known good output and just mess with the DC offset. It should be the roughly the same as turning the tuning knob on the Z3000.
.
Yeah silent way the es1 are "doing" something.

I tried the DC plugin first to get things rolling.

The calibration chart basically seems to show that it just has 1 octave (sometimes I get 2 octaves), those are repeated across the entire midi scale.

I removed all the inactive plugins, no difference.

My current theories, and these are wild guesses.

My new audio out interface (the gigaport HD) has 8 RCA outs, mono. I'm getting a feeling that silent way is expecting stereo outs, and it uses one for the octave and the other as some sort of multiplier. If that's teh case, I guess I'm going to need a bunch of 2 x mono 1/4 to 1x TS adapters and my new interface will only allow me 4 channels (which sucks - once again i get hammered by "buy nice, or buy twice" life rule).

But I'm not convinced by the above assumption as I did try a random 1xRCA to 1/4 TS and it didn't seem to help, when putting the 1|2 output into channel 8 of the ES1 and the ES1 8 out to the VCO.

For fun I tried hooking up one of the 3|4 or 5|6 envelopes thru the ES1 to the VCA CV, but that just did nothing.

Some really dumb questions to finish off:

- How do I know if I have a AC or DC audio interface (I'm assuming AC)?
- Do I need to touch my ES1 jumpers?
- Do I need to calibrate anything with the little pots or should things work better than they are now, before I even think about doing that?

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Post by JP » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:15 am

Another quick screen shot of where I'm up to.

This is with stereo out of the tracks that silent way is on. This would mean I'd need RCA to stereo adapters. But since each channel changes independently I'm thinking this is my issue.

Image

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Post by baltimoroder » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:49 am

Check whether ES-1 is expecting uni- or bi-polar signals from AC Encoder.

What does the matrix mixer look like on the Voice Controller? You're not accidently sending an offset or an envelope on the pitch channel?

I suppose the next thing would be to look at your return path to the Voice Controller. Are there any plugins/mixers or anything else that is in the path of the modular to the voice controller? That would potentially mess things up. Even simple things like not having a mixer at unity or if something's clipping. I'm just guessing here... but I've found when I have trouble calibrating, it's usually because I've got compression or eq on the modular return channel. Simply calibrating through through a filter (even fully open) is enough to "color" the sound and potentially dork things up. All circuits react differently.

Try another DAW/AU Host? Ha! No seriously. Ableton routing confuses the hell out of me... It'd be the next thing I'd try. You're on a Mac, try out Numerology. Grab the public beta at five12.net. The cool thing is that once you have a VCO calibrated, you can save/reopen it in Ableton. This is actually what I do/did; use another program for calibration which allowed me to delete the return path from my SW/Ableton template.

I'd bet the house your interface is AC. But don't know about your little pots.
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Post by baltimoroder » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:01 am

JP wrote:My current theories, and these are wild guesses.

My new audio out interface (the gigaport HD) has 8 RCA outs, mono. I'm getting a feeling that silent way is expecting stereo outs, and it uses one for the octave and the other as some sort of multiplier.
The plugins are stereo yes. Usually Pitch on 1/L and Amp Env on 2/R + 4 addl output channels but you can direct whatever you want to whichever output you want using the matrix mixer.
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Post by os » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:48 am

I think this is simply a matter of your gigaport having a very low voltage output. Try increasing the gain on the ES-1.

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Post by os » Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:09 am

Earlier reply was from iPhone - more detail follows.
JP wrote:My new audio out interface (the gigaport HD) has 8 RCA outs, mono. I'm getting a feeling that silent way is expecting stereo outs, and it uses one for the octave and the other as some sort of multiplier.
No, not at all. Each output is independent.
JP wrote:- How do I know if I have a AC or DC audio interface (I'm assuming AC)?
Assume AC-coupled for now.
JP wrote:- Do I need to touch my ES1 jumpers?
Not if you're running the AC Encoder.
JP wrote:- Do I need to calibrate anything with the little pots or should things work better than they are now, before I even think about doing that?
Quite likely. As I said, it looks like the output of your interface is very weak, and so needs amplification.

Each channel has a trim pot, as noted in the manual. Turn it several times (say 10) counter-clockwise to boost the gain and then try it.
baltimoroder wrote:Is "Ext 1" also your "Master" out? That is a common one.
Indeed. If your Master track in Live is also routed to Ext1/2, then you need to not use that for the Voice Controller's outputs.

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Post by JP » Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:10 am

Os thanks for getting back to me.

Master outs are on 9/10, all my ES stuff are on 1-8.

The power is probably the issue, my audio interface is USB only. So that's probably my problem.

I'll try the…

"Each channel has a trim pot, as noted in the manual. Turn it several times (say 10) counter-clockwise to boost the gain and then try it. "

…tonight and update.

Great to know about the mono being OK. But a question, SW Voice Contoller the main out is 1|2, 1 goes up and down when you trigger notes, 2 stays steady at about 80% volume.

Should I just pick channel 1 for the out?

Also in my AC Encoder, I was playing around last night at like 2am with the left and right channel stuff and the bipolar/unipolar. What do those two actually do? Is there some standard setting. I was surprised that turning off right I'd get no calibration, turning on right and off left, I'd get crazy calibration graph. Both on, just the 1 octave.

I have to say, even with just want I was able to get running last night, my eyes are open to the possibilities with this thing. I can't wait to start automating 8 channels thru ableton. :D

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Post by os » Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:17 am

I think at this point you need to do two things:
- delete your Live set and start again with the plug-ins all at their default settings
- spend some time reading the Silent Way user manual.

By default the Voice Controller's outputs are pitch on channel 1 and gate on channel 2. So you should see channel 1 hold fairly steady and channel 2 jump from 0 to +1 when you hit a key.

For the AC Encoder, you want every channel on, and select bi/unipolar depending on what the channel represents. To begin with, use bipolar for the pitch output of the Voice Controller, and unipolar for everything else.

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Post by JP » Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:49 am

Good plan, I'll revisit this tonight when I get back from seeing Inception. ;)

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Post by spammethehardest » Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:18 am

I'm using a presonus firestudio and am having lots of trouble getting a basic cv/gate to work with my moog concertmate-mg1.

I've done the following so far:
1. made gate->s.trig cable. verified it works, triggering works
2. made the ac->dc cable. can't verify it works so far as pitch doesnt work
3. created ableton project with the following setup:
a) audio track for synth input
b) audio track with
- audio output to channel 3/4 [pitch/gate]
- ac encoder & voice controller plugin. I've tried them in either order, with or without each other, i can get it to trigger but not get pitch correct. for ac encoder I tried enabling both channels in each configuration (bipolar/uni)
- made sure channels 3/4 really route to the correct audio outs
- also i've tried fiddling with the voice controller parameters but it doesn't make pitch work and the cool calibration pleasing sounds elude me.

4. midi input going to the audio track with the plugins. i've tried sending the midi to the ac encoder or the voice controller.

5. when i do a calibration I see audio level at 0db on the right channel (connected to trigger), and in the left channel (connected to pitch) it starts at 0db then goes down about 20db in steps, then back up.
so im thinking it's likely the cable I made for dc/ac filtering. I followed the most basic version I found with a 1N4148 diode, and a .22uf polyester capacitor. not sure how critical the polarization is as this capacitor doesnt have a +- sign anywhere. i could try flipping it? also in reading the diagram for the cable it seemed strange that the sheild for the TRS side was totally unused and that I connect the TRS-ring <-> TS sheild.

help much appreciated! once i can get a basic setup working then i will buy the plugins!

thanks

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Post by os » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:55 am

My usual advice in these situations is to drop the Voice Controller plug-in for now, and just try to get stable pitch control working with the Silent Way DC plug-in. By patching its output to your pitch cable you should be able to change the pitch on the synth by changing the 'Out' control of the DC plug-in, and moreover the pitch needs to hold steady when you're not changing the control.

The AC Encoder comes after the other plug-ins.

Polyester capacitors are not polarized.

You could try the cable with the shield connected to shield i.e. leave the ring disconnected. What works best depends on the exact audio devices involved.

If this still doesn't work, please describe exactly what does happen on the pitch - is it not changing at all, or not changing as expected, or what?

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Post by spammethehardest » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:16 am

ok thanks,

i replaced the capacitor with a 1uf tantalum, making sure the + end is properly tied in. also i tried connecting the - to the ring and the sheild (independently and simultaneously just for fun).

i had dc encoder -> ac encoder loaded. i also tried it just with dc encoder but i assume i need both since my soundcard (presonus firestudio) i dont have reason to believe is ac coupled.

anywa i get a high pitch squeal from my synth, and adjusting dc encoder values for the left channel (which is routed to the audio output going to my synth pitch in) only makes the squeal get higher pitch. sometimes i can get tuning to make a really low frequency thump but that's it. other times i can get tuning to make a few short click sounds. i have no idea what the two putut (positive and symmetric mean) so i just fiddled them endlessly, sometimes they make a bit different sounds.

something i notice is that the right channel always maintains a constant volume, which is strange as i'd assume it wouldnt only show up with level when a note was triggered?

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Post by os » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:48 am

OK it sounds like the Silent Way DC plug-in might be working.

Try Silent Way DC feeding Silent Way AC Encoder, with the AC Encoder set to Enabled, Bipolar, and the default min and max out (0.0 and 1.0). Then set the DC plug-in's "Out -1->1" knob to -1 and tell me what you hear. Then set it to -0.5, 0.0, 0.5 and 1.0 and tell me what you hear. Ideally you would hear a simple constant pitch from the synth, with the pitch rising as the knob value is raised.

If you had a voltmeter, or an oscilloscope (even a software or VST oscilloscope - I'm sure you could download a demo or freeware version from somewhere) this would be easier to figure out.

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Post by spammethehardest » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:20 am

yes it makes a super high pitch squeel, then it gets higher pitch as the dc plugin knob goes from -1 to 1.

but still when i send midi data to the channel with the dc / ac encoder plugins i dont get real pitch input, just hogwash noise. what steps next? i do have a multimeter, and can try to setup an oscope

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Post by os » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:41 am

Is there a tuning knob on the synth, so you can bring the range of pitches down to something more usable?

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Post by spammethehardest » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:21 am

yes it changes pitches, but not to something usable. just a tad bit less super-high than before. i tried fiddling the other knobs on the plugin and synth to no avail

maybe i should use a capacitor less than 1uf? or maybe a different circuit all together? i built the most basic one on the site with just 1 capactitor and 1 diode.

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Post by os » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:34 am

Something must be seriously bad. At one end of the Silent Way DC knob range, the AC Encoder is basically outputting silence (you'll see the level meter in Live drop to zero). If you have silence routed out via your diode and capacitor, you will be feeding 0V into your synth's pitch input. If that makes it squeal, something's broken. Or more likely, your routing's messed up.

Are you somehow feeding the synth's output back into the CV, creating a weird feedback loop?

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Post by spammethehardest » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:09 am

check this out, it's my live setup. channel 6 input is where the synth output comes into the sound card. channel 5/6 output is where pitch/trigger go out. as you see right channel isn't enabled, but if i enable it the level goes up to roughly 0db.Image

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Post by os » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:08 am

As I said then, you have a feedback loop. Silent Way DC doesn't need input from the synth. Set the monitor switch on that channel to Off.

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Post by spammethehardest » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:24 pm

ok did that, it squeels differently now. still not sounding good with any variation.

i assume for troubleshooting having the trigger off and unplugged is a good idea. also that was to isolate the v-trig/s-trig cable i made earlier. but it does actually trigger fine with this cable using my machinedrum impulse so i doubt it's the problem but better safe than sorry

also i just bought some tantalum capacitors .1, .33 and .47 uf, so i was going to try changing them out for the 1uf currently in the circuit.

has anyone mentioned using silent way with a moog synth (im using the mg-1) by chance? i think this triggers/pitch is similar to minimoog.

one last thing also i noticed is that when i send midi data to DC Encoder the right channel volume level doesn't jump up with the note as I'd expect. it always stays constant.

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Post by spammethehardest » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:22 pm

OK using a a .33uf and .47uf capacitor give better results, in other words i can get a broad range of frequencies from my moog when i move the knob on the dc encoder.

now i just need to get triggering working with the right channel of the DC Encoder and i should be good to go, unfortunately im having some issues. Since this is a moog s-trig I have a special cable Image, but it's not working with silent way (it works with my machine-drum fine). any tricks to get trigger working now that pitch seems to be on the right track?

thanks again

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Post by os » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:43 am

You'll need to use the AC Encoder and the capacitor/diode combination again on the gate channel (on the output of the interface, before the circuit for the s-trig).

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