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Could someone explain to me how you use Matrix mixer
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page Previous  1, 2 [all]
Author Could someone explain to me how you use Matrix mixer
Kabuki
Don't sleep on the 4ms VCA Matrix! I love the fact that you can mute each of the 16 nodes, making it immediately playable
mosorensen
I know this is an old'ish thread, but I have been looking at matrix mixers lately. They are fascinating modules, but I have the same problem as the OP, I don't really grasp their purpose and how I would use one.

I have read the thread, looked at the main modules, and I am pretty sure I understand the mechanics of how they work. But I have a bunch of questions:

1) Most have the same number of inputs and outputs, but for the applications that I can imagine, it would make more sense to have more inputs (to mix and switch between) into a smaller number of outputs. Which leads directly to my next question ...

2) When using a matrix as a patch bay, why not just have a few small independent mixers next to each other? (something like Malekko "Mix 4" but there are many similar ones) That would give the same mixing functionality, with the added flexibility that they would not be restricted to using the same inputs (of course, you could still mult the inputs, when you need the same inputs in different mixers)

3) Another application of matrix mixers is to automatically switch the configuration of the patch. I can understand the benefit, for example, of switching between two different streams of triggers into an envelope or switching the routing of which VCO goes into the filter. But again, I would think that I can do that more flexibly with two independent switches. In particular, a single matrix mixer would switch the entire configuration at the same time. If I want to, say, switch the triggers to the envelope and the VCOs to the filter at independent times, it seems much easier to set up with two independent switches.

I am probably missing something, because I see that smart people praise matrix mixers, but I just don't get it. Maybe they are just not for me.

TL;DR: Why use a matrix mixer when independent mixers and switches seem more flexible?
cptnal
When you mention many independent mixers it makes me think you're focusing on the many-ins-one-out conception of a mixer. What sets a matrix mixer apart is the many outs.

It's one member of a class of my favourite kind of module - those that do bugger all by themselves, but which add a completely new dimension to your rack.

Where they really shine for me is feedback patches. Not just audio, but CV too. And they encourage you to look for feedback paths where you wouldn't have without it.

If you have 20hp and to spare I'd recommend just trying out a A138M. I did, and a week later I bought another. I was so blown away by the possibilities that I knew I'd want to use it more than once in a patch.

Here's a couple of my favourites:

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=221373

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=218986

A word about the Mix 04. A great module, but it lacks pots so doesn't have the hands-on immediacy of something that does.
Prunesquallor
Seriously, this topic has been discussed many times. Have a look here and check out the linked topics in that thread...

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1226245

Having said that, uses that haven't been mentioned include effects inserts and a 16-step sequencer (combined with a couple of utilities).
artieTwelve
Well now I'm thinking about putting rubber bands on my Renee... Great, now I'll have to steal some from work.
crisponline
feedback, feedback, always feedback, more feedback







(feedback)
MarcelP
mosorensen wrote:


I am probably missing something, because I see that smart people praise matrix mixers, but I just don't get it. Maybe they are just not for me.

TL;DR: Why use a matrix mixer when independent mixers and switches seem more flexible?


My usual use of a matrix mixer (Doepfer) is as a central performance control. A typical patch would have 3 outputs of Batumi going to inputs 2,3 and 4 with inputs 1 unpatched (on the Doepfer unit this means control knobs 1 mix a DC voltage used as an offset. The four outputs are then multed to various CV inputs perhaps including the Batumi frequency input and/or VCAs that are also part of a feedback chain. One can then achieve a central control “panel” where one has manual control over multiple effects within a patch. Or a confusing mess of modulation... Either way it is a fun way of controlling modules that need lots of modulation (any Noise Engineering oscillator for example, or multiple filters, delay feedback paths, etc, etc). Like others I have 2 of these relatively cheap modules and they are in constant use.
mosorensen
Thanks for the explanations. I have read all the previous threads (thanks Prunesquallor), looked at all the modules, thought hard about the "big guns" and the "torque and Angle conversion of tuning" (thanks Edenney), and really tried to wrap my head around matrix mixers. The best I can do is:

1) They are a cheaper and smaller way to get a modulation patch bay (thanks MarcelIP), which doesn't really do anything that I couldn't do with a couple of my small independent utility mixers (like Malekko Mix 4 and Happy Nerding 3xMIA).

2) They do feedback, feedback, always feedback, and more feedback ... which I can also do with my small independent utility mixers.

They are probably not for me. But this was helpful.
Graham Hinton
mosorensen wrote:
1) They are a cheaper and smaller way to get a modulation patch bay (thanks MarcelIP), which doesn't really do anything that I couldn't do with a couple of my small independent utility mixers ).


...and a LOT of mults and patch cables. Then you won't be able to see what you are doing and it won't be pitch accurate.

Quote:

2) They do feedback, feedback, always feedback, and more feedback ... which I can also do with my small independent utility mixers.

They are probably not for me.


You still don't get it. Maybe Steevio's Live Performance Tutorial will help.
mosorensen
Graham Hinton wrote:
mosorensen wrote:
1) They are a cheaper and smaller way to get a modulation patch bay (thanks MarcelIP), which doesn't really do anything that I couldn't do with a couple of my small independent utility mixers ).


...and a LOT of mults and patch cables. Then you won't be able to see what you are doing and it won't be pitch accurate.

Quote:

2) They do feedback, feedback, always feedback, and more feedback ... which I can also do with my small independent utility mixers.

They are probably not for me.


You still don't get it. Maybe Steevio's Live Performance Tutorial will help.



You're obviously right, and I don't really get it (also I am old and grumpy) ... smile

That said, I did watch Steevio's tutorial on YouTube yesterday. The way he patches his A-154/155 sequencers through precision adders and quantizers into the SwitchMix (made by you) is fascinating. It is an inspired way for evolving generative melodes. Maybe the way to think about this use of the SwitchMix is that it allows faster and more flexible routing of V/oct signals to different VCOs to create more immediate and dramatic melodic shifts and movements.

My system is too small to truly benefit from that, but it makes perfect sense. I am struggling with immediate and dramatic movements in my sounds and melodies.

EDIT: typos
cptnal
Graham Hinton wrote:
mosorensen wrote:
1) They are a cheaper and smaller way to get a modulation patch bay (thanks MarcelIP), which doesn't really do anything that I couldn't do with a couple of my small independent utility mixers ).


...and a LOT of mults and patch cables. Then you won't be able to see what you are doing and it won't be pitch accurate.

Quote:

2) They do feedback, feedback, always feedback, and more feedback ... which I can also do with my small independent utility mixers.

They are probably not for me.


You still don't get it. Maybe Steevio's Live Performance Tutorial will help.


I'd missed that, so thanks. Even if you don't do techno you can learn a lot from Steevio's workflow.
Graham Hinton
mosorensen wrote:
Maybe the way to think about this use of the SwitchMix is that it allows faster and more flexible routing of V/oct signals to different VCOs to create more immediate and dramatic melodic shifts and movements.


That's just one way, it's more than that.

I think your difficulty is that you are coming from patching a small system where you tend to connect up modules in chains. If your first synth had been a VCS3 where you can only patch with a matrix you would miss being able to connect to multiple destinations and mix from multiple sources very easily. To do that on a modular system you have to really plan how you allocate mults and think it out which takes away the immediacy.

The other thing is that you have been looking at 4x4 matrices which do not really provide enough choices. The first thing you would find is that you really need a 5x5 and then a 6x6 and so on... Being able to choose, say, 3 inputs from eight to one destination and another three to another, and then add one in common is quite different from only having 4 to 4.

The usefulness of a matrix increases geometrically with its area, but you also have to consider accuracy and whether you can route audio and CV equally.
Prunesquallor
Are you still making the SwitchMix, Graham? I'd heard it'd been discontinued.
ersatzplanet
mosorensen wrote:

1) Most have the same number of inputs and outputs, but for the applications that I can imagine, it would make more sense to have more inputs (to mix and switch between) into a smaller number of outputs. Which leads directly to my next question ...


Some modules like the 4ms VCAMatrix have internal headers that allow stacking or chaining units to double the rows or columns or both. It gets big fast of course.
Graham Hinton
Prunesquallor wrote:
Are you still making the SwitchMix, Graham? I'd heard it'd been discontinued.


There was a bad batch of switches a couple of years back which forced me to stop making them, but this has now been resolved. SwitchMix II will be available from December. Get in line behind Steevio who will be field testing the first one.

Meanwhile there is also MatrixMix, which is SwitchMix with knobs on, and PinMix.
Prunesquallor
Graham Hinton wrote:
Prunesquallor wrote:
Are you still making the SwitchMix, Graham? I'd heard it'd been discontinued.


There was a bad batch of switches a couple of years back which forced me to stop making them, but this has now been resolved. SwitchMix II will be available from December. Get in line behind Steevio who will be field testing the first one.

Meanwhile there is also MatrixMix, which is SwitchMix with knobs on, and PinMix.


Very interesting! Could you supply a custom banana option?
Graham Hinton
Prunesquallor wrote:
Could you supply a custom banana option?


All our modules have balanced I/O on bantam jacks as standard and so can connect to anything with a suitable cable. If you want minijack or banana connectors it costs more and you lose the balanced capability and then you can only connect to that type.

If you have the room a 4HP panel with minjacks or bananas, or both on 6HP, can be placed at the sides and normalled through the bantams. Then you can connect to anything.

Your choice.
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