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Connecting your DAW to Eurorack modular – Ableton, Logic, Cubase..etc | Part 1 – Initial Connections

Eurorack Workflow Tutorial Image

Getting modular to work with your DAW doesn’t have to be daunting at all. The initial thought of setup might get your socks in a knot but it’s actually quite simple. Even getting midi signals and automation from the DAW to the control voltage(CV’s) inputs on your filters is really very simple. With the right MIDI interfacing modules you can also add velocity, polyphony, aftertouch and time-sync aka Midi Beat Clock (or just Midi Clock). Just to be sure that it is not midi timecode (or MTC) and is out of the scope of this tutorial. We are just going to be using midi clock for bpm information in this article.  First things first, getting audio into the computer for recording is number one.

Audio

Start by running the outputs of the modular rig using cables with 3.5mm mono patch one end to an unbalanced line input on your interface. Try not to use microphone inputs or XLR inputs as they are mainly designed for the low input signals of microphones. FIX HERE!!! Make sure you start with the gain on your preamps all the way down because the line level from you modular gear will most likely be pretty hot already. Adjust the modular rig so you are just hitting the yellows on your meters. This will give you some headroom for when you open up the filters or hit the feedback hard.

Fire up your favourite DAW and using an audio track, set your inputs on the audio track to the inputs on your interface and start monitoring them. You may have to record arm or click a listening/monitor enable button. There you have it. You can overdub and play into your session already.

MIDI Control

But what about timing, MIDI, and matching filter rates, bpm’s and other cools stuff? Well it’s even easier than you think. A MIDI to CV interface is all you need.

Audio Junki stocks a few solutions, each with their own individual features and workflow. Mutable Instruments offers Yarns. A twelve hp module with a built-in arpeggiator, sequencer and digital oscillators like Saw, Triangle and Sine. Yarns has midi cable inputs and outputs and setup is exclusively using the encoder on the front making it independent of the need for a PC or tablet.

For USB midi class compliance and PC and iOS integration, Endorphin.es offers the Shuttle Control, used on it’s flagship Shuttle System and can either run as a midi device or host with preset configuration via an internet capable browser. Whilst it doesn’t have an arpeggiator like Yarns, the usb connectivity more than opens up sequencing opportunities.

Once connected midi should work without hassle. As long as your keyboard or midi device is setup properly to send CC(control change) events you should be able to connect CC to the modules CV outputs. Use a standard Midi track without an instrument(VST or AU Synth) in your daw and ensure the midi output is set to your output connected to the module. Sending sequenced CC from your DAW’s workflow is normally clip/region dependant. You will have to read the manual of your DAW to find out how to add CC automation.

MIDI Clock

If you have a clock module to send clock info to sequencers or LFO’s you will need MIDI Clock info from the DAW. This is normally off by default just incase it is conflicts with another device. Same thing here, you will have to dive into your manual to turn it on. Whilst perusing through the options you may find MTC(Midi Timecode). This isn’t it and won’t work. Don’t even bother trying…it’s mainly for synchronising sequencers and/or DAW’s and video together on a timeline or Timecode. Midi Beat or Midi clock is what you are after.

We will get deeper into controlling clock signals using MIDI clock to control LFO speeds, sequencer modules, triggers, and effects synchronization in the next article.

A.J.

¢ 2018 Copyright Audio Junki

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Welcome to the new online store

Hey,

Welcome to Audio Junki. The online store in Australia and New Zealand for Eurorack, DIY Audio and unique pro audio gear.

Modular synths and sound design are our passions too so we understand the importance of having the right information and quality service backing up these amazing products. With some great manufacturers and products to showcase, we have now an in-depth selection of modules and gear to choose from.

Wether just starting out with a skiff or extending your rig, Audiojunki has what you need. Our DIY collection is getting bigger every week and our headphone range will soon be added too with a quality Australian manufacturer. In fact, in the not too distant future will be some Australian made custom skiff cases with some pretty gnarly designs. You may want to subscribe to get updated when these arrive. The eurorack world in oz just get better.

A.J.

¢ 2018 Audio Junki

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Getting Started with Eurorack – Introduction to Modular Synthesis and the basics

Fast track tutorial to get the concepts and basics of modular and Eurorack

Watch these handy videos by The Tuesday Nightmare Machines to get a handle on the basic Eurorack and modular concepts. There’s no need to be uneasy about the patching…you’ll pick it up quite fast and you don’t need a heap of modules to get awesome sounds and a midi playable rig.

 

 

 

 

BUDGET

Once you have an idea of the what type of system you are after (I’m sure you have no idea whatsoever), it’s time to set a budget and start looking at interfacing, oscillators, samplers, and filters to get the chain you are after.

CASES

Case combinations can range from simple to out of this world with walls of modular sucking the city power dry. To begin with, a small case to fit around 5 modules is plenty and budget friendly. They’re portable, can sit on your desk and come in handy when you want to play with combinations later. A modular carry case is also a great idea for keeping them safe when taking them to gigs.

AUDIO INTERFACING

First, you will have to make a decision on how you want to connect the system to speakers or headphones. Eurorack is ‘Line Out’, so any interface or mixer with ‘Line-In’ shall do and using a cable with a 3.5mm TS patch cables end to a 6.5mm TS(guitar end) to your audio interfaces line in. For headphones, it’s advised to use the interfaces headphone socket or use a small mixer if you have one handy. Plugging in a pair of headphones to your modules isn’t a good idea for your headphones or your ears until you know what you are doing. Keeping it simple to start is a good idea.

MIDI

Although not may also want to connect your modules to a midi keyboard. Midi interface modules can also add velocity, aftertouch, tempo, arp/seq, polyphony and CV (control voltage) capabilities. A MIDI module will save you getting an arpeggiator or sequencer for a while saving money for other modules.

Remember the good thing about the format is you can add modules as you get them, re-arrange them and re-purpose them. There is no need to get everything at once.

DESIGNING YOUR SETUP

Understanding the sounds you want to create from your new setup are key to designing your first combination. Are you after a sampler, bass, percussion, leads, arpeggios, etc.

Starting with a sound source, a basic setup will need a generator such as a sampler or an oscillator so we’ll start with oscillators to keep it simple. Most oscillator modules come with different waveforms which can be accessed separately or modified between by a knob and control voltage. I suggest watching this video by Junkie XL where he explains the patch he is making. It’s over 40 minutes but so worth the watch.

 

 

Now that your head is swimming with ideas, it’s time to start looking at modules and setups. Most of the products on Audio Junki have accompanying videos with examples so you can get a great idea of the sounds the modules can create.

In-store, we are currently working on saving you the trouble of sorting out power requirements and curating a few combinations we think are little powerhouses. Subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get updates.

A.J.

¢ 2018 Copyright Audio Junki

 

Feature image attribution:
By Kazuhisa OTSUBO from Tokyo, Japan (つづいてモジュール入れ替えちう。) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Micro is a collection of sampled breadboard prototypes and Arduino sounds .The library is ready programmed to manipulate and sequence the samples for sound design, FX, atmospheres and music. It has 62 different presets to choose from and sounds can be mixed through the envelopes, an LFO driven filter cutoff and effects.

Micro excels at creating genuine chip-sound arpeggiated runs, organic circuit sound effects and analog atmospheres. Effects controls are provided for delay, distortion, chorus, and convolution reverb with custom impulse responses to put your samples out of this world.

The interface is a tabbed design to enable ease of use when using more than one instance at a time in the sampler.

Features

  • 62 samples
  • Envelopes, LFO and Filter.
  • Distortion, Chorus, Delay and Convolution Reverb.
  • Arpeggiator & Panning Sequencer
  • Portamento and Unison

Specifications

  • 62 NKI presets
  • 82 MB installed
  • Kontakt Player Full Version 5.6 Required
  • Unlocked WAV Files for use in your preferred sampler

System Requirements

Minimum requirement of Native Instruments Full Version of Kontakt Sampler Only. Version 5.6.6 or above. Not Kontakt Player

See the PDF manual here

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Patches Demo

Atmospheric Demo