Expandable Modular Mixer

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skiddlydatdoot
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Expandable Modular Mixer

Post by skiddlydatdoot » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:25 pm

Anyone know of a set of modules that works like a modular mixer would? By which I mean, channel strips comprised of a fader, EQ, panning, a send?

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Post by Multi Grooves » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:45 pm

Have you tried modular grid?

CGM by Frap Tools is what you're looking for.
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Post by mdoudoroff » Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:31 pm

Here’s a survey of pretty much everything that’s out there:

http://doudoroff.com/mixers/

Few offer EQ for reasons of available space.

The most “modular” is probably the FRAP TOOLS CGM series, although it is also probably the most expensive and least space efficient.

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Post by Sandrine » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:29 pm

There's one (multiple) being designed over past 2 years that will probably be out soon (I assisted in early dev.) but I can't say much more ;)

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Post by strangegravity » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:32 pm

Circuit Abbey Unify is a 4 channel expandable to 12.

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Re: Expandable Modular Mixer

Post by euromorcego » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:40 pm

skiddlydatdoot wrote:Anyone know of a set of modules that works like a modular mixer would? By which I mean, channel strips comprised of a fader, EQ, panning, a send?
i've been wondering this for a long long time ... a modular mixer would be an obvious thing to do: a 'base unit' plus different flavors of individual channel strips that can be added, so either with eq, or stereo inputs, etc ... i wonder if there is not some technical difficulty that i overlook (because the schematics of most mixers looks quite modular).

Anyway, I have also been playing around with building my own, but it is more for personal use and progress is very very slow. The idea is to start with a dual channels, pan, one aux unit, but then it can be expanded to whatever channels i like (including single channels with eq). The first module is up and working, but all the others are still far away. ;)

Image

The Feedback Modules KM/CR/BX were also announced to part of a larger mixer system (or so I recall) ... that would be great.

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Post by mdoudoroff » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:10 am

Very hard to cram a full “channel strip” into 3U; brutal puzzle of spacial/ergonomic/feature compromises.

In addition to being vastly better value for the buck, outboard mixers tend to be pretty similar to one another. Evidently, there’s a formula there that really works, but it’s a formula that is fundamentally incompatible with 3U.

Worse:
- Eurorack modules are low volume niche products (no manufacturing scale benefits)
- HP usage adds built-in “hidden” cost
- In addition to providing typical “channel strip” features, why have a Euorack implementation without any CV? (Many decline to, but you gotta at least ask the question.)

Lots of options out there, each their own take on reconciling all the above with slightly different priorities. Meanwhile, new modules keep showing up because for each set of compromises, somebody is disappointed.

Generally speaking, most recent product introductions have been focused on minimalist modules that have few channel strip features features and few modular features (Intelljel Mixup, 4ms Listen, Nearness, Sound Stage, and many more). At the other extreme are the maximalist, sprawling ADDAC, Befaco and Frap multi-module sets that are—in reality—staggeringly expensive, once you factor in both the modules and the HP they consume. Earlier, there was a high concentration of feature-rich four channel numbers (Qu-bit, Toppobrillo, Verbos, L-1, Cwejman, XAOC, Koma, ProModular) some of which could be daisy-chained.

Also worth pointing out that this entire matter is relatively new to modular synthesizers. Except for outliers like the Buchla System Interface, it’s only quite recently that folks have been trying to make stereo mixer modules for modulars.

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Post by bc3 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:40 am

mdoudoroff wrote:Very hard to cram a full “channel strip” into 3U; brutal puzzle of spacial/ergonomic/feature compromises.

In addition to being vastly better value for the buck, outboard mixers tend to be pretty similar to one another. Evidently, there’s a formula there that really works, but it’s a formula that is fundamentally incompatible with 3U.

Worse:
- Eurorack modules are low volume niche products (no manufacturing scale benefits)
- HP usage adds built-in “hidden” cost
- In addition to providing typical “channel strip” features, why have a Euorack implementation without any CV? (Many decline to, but you gotta at least ask the question.)

Lots of options out there, each their own take on reconciling all the above with slightly different priorities. Meanwhile, new modules keep showing up because for each set of compromises, somebody is disappointed.

Generally speaking, most recent product introductions have been focused on minimalist modules that have few channel strip features features and few modular features (Intelljel Mixup, 4ms Listen, Nearness, Sound Stage, and many more). At the other extreme are the maximalist, sprawling ADDAC, Befaco and Frap multi-module sets that are—in reality—staggeringly expensive, once you factor in both the modules and the HP they consume. Earlier, there was a high concentration of feature-rich four channel numbers (Qu-bit, Toppobrillo, Verbos, L-1, Cwejman, XAOC, Koma, ProModular) some of which could be daisy-chained.

Also worth pointing out that this entire matter is relatively new to modular synthesizers. Except for outliers like the Buchla System Interface, it’s only quite recently that folks have been trying to make stereo mixer modules for modulars.
Well said and obviously so as it looks like you have spent some time curating what is currently out there. Yes there will always be sacrifices made in different designs do to the size of the format, but most important to me personally is how it performs sonically. Channel bleed always seems to be a problem that I have experienced in a few designs.

IMO the WMD Performance Mixer is still "king" in this category packing in the most features for the HP and sounds great. I'm interested to hear the incoming "Listen" series from 4ms as I understand they paid special attention to the circuit design to provide a great sounding and flexible mixer.

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Post by mdoudoroff » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:13 am

bc3 wrote:Well said and obviously so as it looks like you have spent some time curating what is currently out there. Yes there will always be sacrifices made in different designs do to the size of the format, but most important to me personally is how it performs sonically. Channel bleed always seems to be a problem that I have experienced in a few designs.

IMO the WMD Performance Mixer is still "king" in this category packing in the most features for the HP and sounds great. I'm interested to hear the incoming "Listen" series from 4ms as I understand they paid special attention to the circuit design to provide a great sounding and flexible mixer.
Yes. The WMD is what I wound up with, and I generally like it. (Actually, I regret buying the PM MUTES expander, but that’s a minor regret.) I was an early adopter and I had to send mine in for modification because the first batch’s faders all needed a different curve imposed.

At this time, exactly none of the other Eurorack options interest me in the least, but it all comes down to my particular setup and process. For me (large-ish modular), the others are either way way way too big and expensive, or have too few channels and are missing features I like in the WMD module. Or both. In terms of full featured mixers (ones with gobs of VCAs and aux busses), the WMD has achieved the highest channel density, but remains highly usable.

Meanwhile, other folks are hung up on the fact the WMD only has two sends, or that you can only use one send per channel, or that the sends are mono :roll: or that the DB25 expander is only prefader :roll:. Or they have smaller systems and the WMD is just overkill, which is perfectly fair—the PM fits in well in my large modular, but it’s totally absurd in my 84HP 7U portable case. Many folks only have small portable systems and must look elsewhere.

Even so, the WMD PM is roughly a US$1000 proposition. You can buy a very nice outboard mixer for a lot less than US$1000.

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Post by JES » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:09 pm

I can’t speak to channel bleed but I have been eyeing the Ladik series.
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Post by aze_007 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:52 pm

I just got the Frap Tools CGM, 8 channels in three groups (4+2+2) to replace my trusted but too limited Intellijel Dubmix which I really liked. Why not the WMD. I thought about it a lot and in the end decided for more expandability. I would still also consider the WMD to be a great mixer.
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Post by euromorcego » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:52 pm

Sandrine wrote:There's one (multiple) being designed over past 2 years that will probably be out soon (I assisted in early dev.) but I can't say much more ;)
and just now another one shows up:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tesseract ... o-channels
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tesseract ... o-channels
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tesseract ... er-section

coincidence? ;)

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Post by mdoudoroff » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:08 pm

aze_007 wrote:I just got the Frap Tools CGM, 8 channels in three groups (4+2+2) to replace my trusted but too limited Intellijel Dubmix which I really liked. Why not the WMD. I thought about it a lot and in the end decided for more expandability. I would still also consider the WMD to be a great mixer.
I’m sure the CGM setup is terrific, and I’m sure you have good reasons for going that route.

However, just to beat the dead horse a bit, my back-of-the-napkin calculation is that those twelve CGM modules cost you about €1900 (US$2200). Those twelve CGM modules consume 72HP, so tack on another €100 (US$130) give or take for the powered rack space.

For less than that, you could have instead bought—(just for example)—an Allen & Heath ZED-428 mixer, with 24 channels including a heap of mic preamps, 4 band EQ per channel, six aux sends, four sub groups, proper faders etc. And you’d still have money left over for a couple panning VCAs for that panning automation.

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Post by damase » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:49 pm

was recently looking into the CGM. that setup would be so nice if they had a stereo channel module. i wouldnt even buy any mono channels. until then, the hp per input ratio just doesnt work for me

the idea of expandable mixer is great, because everyone has completely different needs of their mixers and workflow requirement are a big sticking point for most(such as my need for stereo channels)

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Post by SSacco11 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:28 am

This isn't a set of modules but I saw this mixer the other day and I want to share it.

https://www.zaehl.com/products/am1-mixing-console

Definitely high end stuff, but it looks awesome. Check out the CV channel strip. 7 of its own CV sources and 5 external CV inputs per channel.

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Post by sempervirent » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:46 pm

That's funny, I was just about to comment on the Zaehl – there was some collaboration between Zaehl and Cwejman a few years ago:
viewtopic.php?t=65460&sid=adb765c095e0f ... baaffa0875

If you click "CV Channel" under the "DETAILS AM1" section of that page you will see this:
7 internal CV sources – designed in cooperation with VERBOS ELECTRONICS
- FLUCTUATION (randomized LFO)
- ENVELOPE FOLLOWER with selectable input SOURCE, SENSITIVITY and DECAY time and curve
- GATE with HOLD time control (sharing input SOURCE and SENSITIVITY with ENVELOPE FOLLOWER)
- AR ENVELOPE generator with ATTACK and RELEASE control, selectable trigger SOURCE and MANUAL trigger button.
- CV SUM for mixing any two of the other 11 CV sources or fi ltered noise
- FIXED VOLTAGE adjustable between -5V and +5V
- FIXED VOLTAGE SWITCHED - the same voltage, but switchable manually or by external CV INPUT 2
Well beyond my budget but they're certainly some impressive-looking consoles.

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Post by Ypsi Kid » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:05 pm

euromorcego wrote:
Sandrine wrote:There's one (multiple) being designed over past 2 years that will probably be out soon (I assisted in early dev.) but I can't say much more ;)
and just now another one shows up:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tesseract ... o-channels
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tesseract ... o-channels
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tesseract ... er-section

coincidence? ;)
Damn, these look like they would hit the spot nicely and are priced crazy cheap. Does anyone know if you can connect multiple of these together? Seems like a nice cheap solution as long as the quality is decent?

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Post by Heliophile » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:25 pm

Ypsi Kid wrote:
euromorcego wrote:
Sandrine wrote:There's one (multiple) being designed over past 2 years that will probably be out soon (I assisted in early dev.) but I can't say much more ;)
and just now another one shows up:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tesseract ... o-channels
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tesseract ... o-channels
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/tesseract ... er-section

coincidence? ;)
Damn, these look like they would hit the spot nicely and are priced crazy cheap. Does anyone know if you can connect multiple of these together? Seems like a nice cheap solution as long as the quality is decent?
Yes, you can. There's more info in this doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XIl ... sp=sharing.
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Post by goldi » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:19 am

Has anyone heard the tesseract in action? Especially the VCA? I really am digging this design.

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Post by vrfats » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:13 am

Honestly if you have the need for enough channels or have other uses for a mixer an outboard mixer and 1/8" to 1/4" cables are worth considering... I couldnt justify putting an entire 16ch Allen and Heath in my rack and it probably does mixer stuff better than modules at a cheaper price per channel. I frequently route the fx sends back into the synth or run them into moogerfoogers and loopers.

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Post by goldi » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:39 am

goldi wrote:Has anyone heard the tesseract in action? Especially the VCA? I really am digging this design.
Bump for an answer. Someone must have heard these modules. Come on muffs!

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Post by kid_kozmoz » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:33 am

Would love to hear more about the Tesseract as well, however I do have trepidation about this line I saw in the manual:
Keep in mind that in both 4 Stereo and 4 Mono Channels, “mute” is just the central position of a toggle switch, so muting could be clicky, especially with low pitched sine waves, like jungle basses and stuff.
Wonder if it can be modded to avoid that.

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Post by fuzzyboy » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:06 pm

+1 curious about Tesseract mixers, any experiences?

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Re: Expandable Modular Mixer

Post by Arneb » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:22 am

skiddlydatdoot wrote:Anyone know of a set of modules that works like a modular mixer would? By which I mean, channel strips comprised of a fader, EQ, panning, a send?
If you want expandable and are ok with multiple modules, there's always the MakeNoise mixer family (Optomix, X-Pan, Rosie etc.)

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Post by Zymos » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:14 am

fuzzyboy wrote:+1 curious about Tesseract mixers, any experiences?
There's a big discussion going on in the Eurorack FB group, and as far as I've seen, people seem to love them.

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