modules as automated mixer (analogue)

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Reptil
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modules as automated mixer (analogue)

Post by Reptil » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:58 am

I'd like to automate mixes.
got a MCV-24 midi-cv interface and have been looking at good quality VCA for this.with a midi faderbox, this is "flying faders" on the cheap => there's advantages above automating mixes inside the computr (it's outside of the computr lol) :tu:

Anybody else done this? I'll be feeding some equalisers and compressors and then into my line mixer. levels? problems with noise levels (multiple channels)?
let's hear it please?


looking at this four banger VCA
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wetterberg
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Post by wetterberg » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:07 am

I dont see the idea of doing this; I can stretch so far as to believe that using a summing mixer outside the box is a good idea, but why would there be any benefit to using vcas outside the box?

or do you mean doing the entire mix in hardware?

:despair:

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Post by Reptil » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:57 am

yes!
that is a HUGE plus
the VCA will fit in an analogue chain

sequence AND automate from my EMU MP7 or a computr
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Post by wetterberg » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:00 am

uhm... what?
so you plan to do an entire track with multiple voices and sequence the whole thing over midi and only do one recording?

I don't see it. I'd rather do the mix myself, aka actually control knobs and faders. If I have to automate it I'd prefer doing it ITB after recording.

I don't see any benefit in automating the control on the modular itself, at least if it's only volume you're controlling you might as well do it in the computer after recording. ymmv.

Babaluma

Post by Babaluma » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:07 am

i've automated sends to outboard reverbs in this way before, with good results. fed the vca with the inverted output of an envelope follower and the audio, so that as the audio got quieter the reverb level got higher. worked a treat.

dunno how easy it would be to automate an entire mix this way though. might be handy if you had like 16 vcas, but maybe a lot of hassle?
Last edited by Babaluma on Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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wetterberg
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Post by wetterberg » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:11 am

Babaluma wrote:i've automated sends to outboard reverbs in this way before, with good results. fed the vca with the inverted output of an envelope follower and the audio, so that as the audio got quieter the reverb level got higher. worked a treat.
now that's a use I can subscribe to! Also quite different than just using midi to control VCAs for volume management purposes.

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Post by Reptil » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:36 am

Babaluma wrote:i've automated sends to outboard reverbs in this way before, with good results. fed the vca with the inverted output of an envelope follower and the audio, so that as the audio got quieter the reverb level got higher. worked a treat.
a "ducker" :ninja: nice!
Babaluma wrote:dunno how easy it would be to automate an entire mix this way though. might be handy if you had like 16 vcas, but maybe a lot of hassle?
not really... it might be 8 or 4 and do the rest myself. also handy for live performances, to have some recognisable stuff going on (live, instead of recorded audio playback from a computr (like the rest of the world seems to be doing - dance to the laptop!! :sadbanana: ) while the other part is improvisation. record in midi the best performance and use that. loop some parts... etc. etc. Of course this isn't limited to audio. :coffee:

the reason to not automate inside the computr (DAW) is simple:
volume changes in the analogue chain have a very different result than just some volume automation at the end after recording. a piece of gear sounds very different when you slam a fat signal :animal: into it's transformers, instead of a moderate volume signal, and then add some volume curves afterwards. totally different thing.

it surprises me there's no other ppl. doing this???
maybe some of you use telekinesis :cthulhu:
mixer dudes pay huge sums of money just to have some automation in their desk
my setup is seperate pieces (mixers, summers etc.), not just one desk but the principle is the same. I see no reason why I should keep my modular and mixer/outboard seperate.

I want a bunch of ultra clean (straight response curve) VCAs
the doepfer above is 100 euro. any alternatives?
anybody using a Cwejman for this??
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Post by hbc » Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:06 pm

If you don't mind handling this outside of modular land, there was a product called the Niche ACM that was basically 8 vca's in a rack, controlled by midi cc's or note on/off messages. It also had a sum output for two groups of 4. Hard to find now, but I have two I'd consider selling.

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Post by Chuck E. Jesus » Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:37 pm

i'd be wary of zipper noise from the midi CC outputs...for example: i've used the pressure out from my controller keyboard to do pitch vibrato, but i need to use a slew limiter to smooth out the low resolution...

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Post by hbc » Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:07 pm

Chuck E. Jesus wrote:i'd be wary of zipper noise from the midi CC outputs...for example: i've used the pressure out from my controller keyboard to do pitch vibrato, but i need to use a slew limiter to smooth out the low resolution...
That Niche contraption has slew built in. No zippers.

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Post by wetterberg » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:48 pm

- but if it's cc's then you're dealing with 7bit resolution... that not good enough for mixing, surely.

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Post by bwhittington » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:51 pm

You'd want to use a nice quality, low-noise VCA, but it certainly is possible to do this.

Serge used to offer a beautiful voltage controlled output mixing system. Each module had two-channel with VC gain and VC pan per channel. Multiple modules were chained and summed in a master output module with VC control of the master gain. There was similar line for VC quad mixing as well. It's a shame stuff like that isn't available anymore.

The Niche product recommended above sounds interesting. A dedicated product would be nice for simplicity.

Cheers,
Brian

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Post by BananaPlug » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:05 pm

Serge used to offer a beautiful voltage controlled output mixing system.
On the right.
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Post by daverj » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:04 pm

And a quad channel mixer/panner (also on the right)

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Post by bwhittington » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:52 pm

Beautiful panels, each of you!

Cheers,
Brian

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Post by Reptil » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:41 pm

lovely panels indeed
hbc wrote:If you don't mind handling this outside of modular land, there was a product called the Niche ACM that was basically 8 vca's in a rack, controlled by midi cc's or note on/off messages. It also had a sum output for two groups of 4. Hard to find now, but I have two I'd consider selling.
interesting... :!:
no problems here modular/non modular
the whole thing is a grey area anyhow :lol:
hmm does it do 230 Volts mains?
PM me if you decide to sell please?
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Post by Chuck E. Jesus » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:06 pm

i think Mackie may have had some sort of midi driven VCA thingy designed to plug into channel inserts for level automation (Kent? you there?) ...

also MOTU had some seven channel midi controlled mixer to be used with 8 track decks (understood the 8th track is used to stripe timecode)...but we are talking 20 years ago...

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Post by flashheart » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:59 pm

Chuck E. Jesus wrote:i think Mackie may have had some sort of midi driven VCA thingy designed to plug into channel inserts for level automation (Kent? you there?) ...

also MOTU had some seven channel midi controlled mixer to be used with 8 track decks (understood the 8th track is used to stripe timecode)...but we are talking 20 years ago...
I recall the Mackie, 16 channel I think. It was designed to plug into the inserts on the 1604 or the 8 bus. Had it's own (Mac only) control software.

I actually had the MOTU, 7 stereo channels with MIDI control over level, pan 2 aux sends, bass + treble. Was OK sounding but I eventually decided it was more than it was worth - just a complication I could do without.

TBH if you're using a summing / line mixer any gain in convenience is likely to compromise sound quality more than it's worth unless you use very high end VCAs.

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Post by Reptil » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:33 pm

flashheart wrote:unless you use very high end VCAs.
yes, stock ICs can be replaced.
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Post by wetterberg » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:35 pm

Reptil wrote:
flashheart wrote:unless you use very high end VCAs.
yes, stock ICs can be replaced.
you won't get a high-end VCA just by replacing some ICs here and there.

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Post by Reptil » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:58 pm

of course obviously a circuit is the sum of it's parts, I realise this.
however improving the sound of older mixers (or cheapass doepfer modules) by replacing stock ICs is a viable upgrade now. I don't see why it shouldn't be the same for a VCA.
:hmm:
so... where can there be improvements?
the IC itself (high grade ICs are available now for reasonable prices)
the midi - VC part (slew)
the supporting electronics (capacitors)
the interconnection with other gear (level matching & balancing)

or just get the bloody cwejman :lol:

anything else of importance?
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