Matrix

Modular and other sound devices from BugBrand.

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BugBrand
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Matrix

Post by BugBrand » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:18 pm

I don't usually post too much for discussion during development, but thought I could see what people think this time. Maybe I'm unsure on demand, maybe I realise already there should be some changes, maybe I just want to experiment with discussion..

First off, just to be clear - this project isn't really a main focus for me at the moment - I've bandied around ideas of Matrix Mixers for several years (there was the 4x4 in the modular line and I almost got going on a very big mixer collaboration project a few years back..). So, don't yet count on this actually ever reaching fruition - and anything will likely be some way off anyways. (did I kill the buzz enough already?!). As I said, partly I'm interested to see if people are interested!

I've seen a few PASSIVE Matrix Mixers appearing of late. But for proper fidelity and control, I really think ACTIVE is the only way - just as with regular mixers.
How big? Well, you'll almost always want more inputs than outputs (so some can be used as effects returns most likely).
Does a 6 x 4 provide enough, but not too much?

This initial iteration has:
- input preamps for line level signals (fine with modular though AC coupled, of course) + simple clip level leds (at this stage, keeping it simple)
- 24 knob matrix
- output buffer / level controls

Having tried this, I do feel already there is need for:
- improved signal level indication - 2 or more leds per input and maybe the same for each output.
- still doubtful about whether phase and/or boost/pad switches may be good
- maybe impedance balance the outputs.
- scribble space (white rectangles) on the panel to note input/outputs.

One other thought would be to treat the lower two rows differently - change one row to PAN and the other to LEVEL. Saying that, same could be done for the upper two rows too. It is a subtle but perhaps useful difference.

Oh and I haven't yet tried any form of zener/diode level limiting - something I've used a bit of in recent designs & which could well be useful here - - definitely something for me to try in the next stage.

The build size is twice the length of my current standalones (ie. 6 FracWidth) with internal DCDC power conversion. Decent, but not over-the-top-$$$ opamps inside.

I don't think anything really exists along these lines at present?

(sorry for the slightly shitty picture)
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Post by flippantminister » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:48 pm

i would definitely be interested in an active matrix mixer. i had a passive one for a while and it didnt work for me. 6x4 would be sufficient. signal level leds would be a rad bonus. and having all this in bugbrand blue would be a major selling point.

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Post by numan7 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:43 pm

:tu: sounds very, very interesting to me!

:hmm: 6 x 4 means i can patch it as 4 x 2 with 2 channels of feedback (that can be routed through a pair of vcas, for example). that should be sufficient for my purposes, although i wouldn't if there were another pair of inputs.

i would be really keen on mute switches, for each input-output pairing.

and i am curious about how having one row of level pots and another row of pan pots would work - does it become a 6 x 2 mixer then?

cheers
"knowledge has to be organized so it can be taught, and it has to be reduced to information so it can be organized do you follow that? in other words this leads you to assume that organization is an inherent property of knowledge itself, and that disorder and chaos are simply irrelevant forces that threaten it from outside. in fact it's exactly the opposite. order is simply a thin, perilous condition we try to impose on the basic reality of chaos..." --william gaddis

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Post by dadek » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:55 pm

super-interested. i have a matrix, and would much rather deal with an active mixer.
i'd love a way to link, for a 12x4 or just a bigger one.

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Post by Zeitdehner » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:53 pm

8_)
:hmm:

6x4 seems like a sensible size for the matrix, the same as the Hordijk one I use.
Would be cool though to be able to input DC signals as well as AC signals, and to have bi-polar level control over the nodes (matrix intersections)...must be technically feasible, I think ( maybe the cost would get kind of prohibitive...)
Oh, and double up inputs and outputs with bananas and 1/4" jacks (or 1/8" jacks) to be able to crosspatch banana modulars, jack modulars and outboard gear ... that's what I'm gonna do by modding a passive matrix mixer :mrgreen:

Also, it feels more natural to me to have input level controls at the "bottom" of the unit...but this is just a matter of getting used to...

:tu:

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Post by pugix » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:24 pm

I wonder if 6 inputs is too many. I recently built some DIY active matrix mixers. (I color coded the jacks according to BugBrand!)

http://pugix.com/synth/the-blue-panel/

I considered a 6 by 4, but then asked myself how often I would want to actually mix 6 signals together. I ended up making a 4 x 4 and a 4 x 2. That gave me 8 inputs and 6 outputs and seemed more flexible (not to mention that it fit my panel space well). I think in stand-alone I would prefer to have two 4 x 4, rather than a 6 x 4.

I do like the idea of master input and output level controls (your yellow and green knobs) for the columns and rows, although I think the master input level controls might be the more useful of the two, if I had to limit panel space.
Richard
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Post by BugBrand » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:31 am

Choice of 6 ins / 4 outs well..
I was seeing that as 3 or 4 mono sources, 2 effects sends/returns and stereo output. (maybe I'm thinking too boring though..)

As I say (replying to Richard/Pugix) - I do think you tend to need more inputs due to effects returns.

The PAN idea mentioned - no, doesn't make it a 6 x 2 - works like on a 2-buss mixer, for example -- so pan to LEFT for channel 1, pan to right for channel 2. This'd make the lower 2 channels more easily useable for standard stereo setup. (perhaps?!)

Linking -- yeah, dunno... I'm generally liking thinking in self-contained approaches at the moment.
Mute Switches -- yes, maybe..

AC/DC -- DC doesn't really make sense when you have preamps etc - this is designed for line signals - modular AUDIO signals will work fine, but modular CV signals don't make sense for it. (passive matrix is fine for that, actually)

Cheers so far.

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Post by tIB » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:05 pm

Mute switches and ouput blinknelights would make me happy.

I wonder if a lesser specced/slimmer CV matrix mixer might be a useful thing to have in the standalone format? (perhaps even just a couple of a similar design to the dual DC mixer)

Anyway, interested to see where this ends up... I hope to be in for one.

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Post by otoskope » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:33 am

6x4 is a good size. I'm a bit hesitant about making the lower 2 output tracks a stereo track by having Level+Pan instead of two levels. In theory you can do the same things, but you interact with it differently. Maybe it would be good, allowing it to be used as a normal mixer with two sends, ans you say, Tom. Maybe it complicates the more wild matrix-specific uses.

Bananas+jacks would certainly be a plus for us bananaheads. I'd love to have a mixer like this as the output stage on my modular...

You could add a bus connector for a flat cable on the PCB to allow for channel expansion. Shouldn't complicate the circuit too much (but I'm no expert).

Regarding zener limiting - might be a nice feature, but a bit off target. I think high headroom is more important.

/Palle
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Post by cebec » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:50 am

otoskope wrote:
Bananas+jacks would certainly be a plus for us bananaheads. I'd love to have a mixer like this as the output stage on my modular...

/Palle
I second that!

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Post by ear ear » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:03 am

This would be great! :) Yes to banana and 1/4", balanced outs, and some scope for inversion/feedback.
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Post by KNYST » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:57 pm

Don't know if it's just the photo, but those nanas look extra colourful... What brand are those, and where did you buy 'em?
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Post by pugix » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:37 pm

Johnson/Emerson banana jacks from Mouser. Green part #530-1080904-1. Photoshop enhanced. :mrgreen:
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Post by KNYST » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:43 pm

^
Johnson/Emersons? Now that's some serious Photoshopping :hihi:

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Post by soup » Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:33 pm

Yes please.

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Post by numan7 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:10 am

BugBrand wrote:Mute Switches -- yes, maybe..
:party::hail: hooray, tho i would also be just fine with the original design shown on p1 (esp if items such as click/thud-free operation of the switches adds signiciantly to product cost and development time - knowing :bugbrand: tho, i think i can solidly hope for clever solutions).

cheers
"knowledge has to be organized so it can be taught, and it has to be reduced to information so it can be organized do you follow that? in other words this leads you to assume that organization is an inherent property of knowledge itself, and that disorder and chaos are simply irrelevant forces that threaten it from outside. in fact it's exactly the opposite. order is simply a thin, perilous condition we try to impose on the basic reality of chaos..." --william gaddis

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Post by BugBrand » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:25 pm

Funny - I was just thinking on the bus back to Bristol today that I'd not progressed at all with the matrix ideas and wondered if anyone would notice sometime.. !!

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Post by opsysbug » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:32 pm

I'm still in love with the Matrix Mixer!

Happy Xmas Tom!

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Post by numan7 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:23 pm

:tu: i actually woke up thinking about the :bugbrand: matrix this morning (i believe it came in at the end of a dream concerning ciat-lonbarde instruments, where i had too many outputs that i wanted to mix).... anyways, happy winter holidays all!

cheers
"knowledge has to be organized so it can be taught, and it has to be reduced to information so it can be organized do you follow that? in other words this leads you to assume that organization is an inherent property of knowledge itself, and that disorder and chaos are simply irrelevant forces that threaten it from outside. in fact it's exactly the opposite. order is simply a thin, perilous condition we try to impose on the basic reality of chaos..." --william gaddis

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Post by slow_riot » Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:27 pm

matrix mixing is great. imo it works best with level control on the inputs and using switches to add an input onto a specified output rather than a bank of pots. becomes a very usable calculator in that instance!

my Hinton SwitchMix is very well designed. I use the Trimmer module before hand, and each input is automatically daisychained to the the input below it. There are also switches to invert these inputs.

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Post by wednesdayayay » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:44 am

I'm looking for a matrix mixer solution currently for my ciat lonbarde setup. I love your current standalone solutions I'll have to watch your site :bacon:
sh is the sound of data
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Post by diasporos » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:51 am

wednesdayayay wrote:I'm looking for a matrix mixer solution currently for my ciat lonbarde setup. I love your current standalone solutions I'll have to watch your site :bacon:
Have you checked out the Repeater Electronics matrices? Passive 4x4. I have two and they are great for CL gear though some amplification after the signal helps.
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Post by wednesdayayay » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:45 am

what do you use to amp?
sh is the sound of data
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Post by Kalerne » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:19 pm

Dear Bug,

Do you still have plan to work on this matrix mixer ?

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Post by BugBrand » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:22 am

Unfortunately it seems to be an area I only occasionally come back to - I did have another bash at ideas over the summer, but still no real progress. (I have far too many such ideas stuck in early-stage limbo..)

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