Interfacing elektron with Modular


#1

I am awaiting an elektron A4 Mk1 (damn Canada postal strike!), and I have been looking into various interfacing options. I watched two videos this morning that were very interesting. They both feature the digitakt.

This first video features a pretty well laid out intellijel case.

In the second video, I like how drum focused this setup is. It really reflects a direction I am heading.

I don’t know how the A4 will factor in what I am doing. I have reasons why I chose it over the digitakt. However, I am keen on some sort of sampling solution and the digitakts are now popping up used. I like to have some idea of where I want to go down the line. It would be nice if I had a serious sample manager/sequencer. I wonder how the digitakt stacks up to the octatrack in this manner.


#2

10 months later, the DT is still far and away my favorite.

What’s my experience? after half a year of octatrack, I can say I barely mastered the basics… except for instant gratification, what are the advantages of the digi?

Turning on the device and getting right to music making without visiting 6 menus (or turning off your machine without having to save and assign your sample buffers) is really important, don’t discount instant gratification. And setting up a new project is even more complex, requiring visiting the global menu and making choices about buffer size and master controller before you even visit the tracks. Second would be the size, being half the size of the OT means I can take the DT more places. Also because of the size there are two rows of 8 rather than one row of 16 buttons, so playing the keyboard is a lot more intuitive for me. Also the native sound quality is better DSP, the filters are more like VA modeling and less like plug-in EQ and the reverb/delay is cleaner with better options.

I do still use the OT though. When I want to sample live and slice, or need a mixer/drum machine with a bunch of effects that I can automate and mangle, the OT pays off. The OT is especially well suited to be a control console for a modular system because sequencing via midi over CV and then sampling/layering has many possibilities. The DT can do this, just not with slicing and live looping. So when you want to change tempo on the modular, the OT can just time stretch the current pattern, while the digitakt will have to start from a blank pattern. In practice this isn’t much of an inconvenience, but as a side note it makes the OT better for incorporating sampled music for remixes and such. I don’t regret getting the OT and won’t part with it anytime soon, but between the two the DT gives me more joy.


#3

Had to share this one. This is just rad. I think there is a sort of bitter modular hangover crowd who got into it for various reasons. They have jaded business interests, etc. Whatever.

But there are other people who are drawn to modular mostly from being focused on dancefloors. To us, everything is just getting started. We began in the sweaty rave warehouses and we know how to cordon off an event and dance the shit out of life for hours. This means whole different skill sets, akin to differences between luthiers and proper bands. All I’m saying is look out, here we come. Someone get the lights.

You can see in this performance, because Dapayk knows how tracks, sets, melodies, and tensions function over time, he manages to perfectly balance the groove with variations. You can also hear the analog modular gear shining. If you have an ear for it, there is a big sonic difference here as the circuits interplay.


#4

I am attempting (and failing) to send cv out of the Analog 4 to my mod synth. Here is the CV Track screen.

Anyone see anything funny in that setting, or are there any obvious settings elsewhere that might need to be changed?


#5

What does “failing” mean in this case? Are you not hearing a change in pitch? If you plug the cable into your scope, can you see it doing something, but it’s not registering on your oscillator? My immediate thought would be maybe you have the tune knob up too high on your oscillator, and it’s basically maxing out, since tune knob + incoming CV might be more than the highest note it can play.


#6

No change on the scope. The oscillator should be pretty much tuned to Audulus’ tuner (it’s sitting at about 8 o’clock).


#7

Then it’s probably something up with the way you have that track in Analog 4 routed internally. My suggestion would be to check the manual and see if you didn’t miss something trying to set it up.


#8

#9

I watched about 4 of these, read the manual and skimmed some forums. Just thought something on the screen might look off.


#10

@Catfax If you are out there, You’re the only reliable source for A4 stuff I know on this forum. Perhaps you can weigh in?


#11

I mean it is a complex system and there are a lot of little options I need to get right. Like right now I am looking at the menu for a gate. A couple of weeks ago I was reading this article on trigs and gates. In the menu there is a lot of versatility with the cv signal, so part of it is just me learning a bit more.


#12

When I hit a button on the sequencer cv track in rec mode and the led stays lit, am I automatically sending a signal of whatever I chose for both cv outputs for every cycle?


#13

If you are in step mode and you have assigned a trig to a step, then yes, you have assigned a cv and gate to that step.

I am unsure what you mean by “every cycle” though.

The default is to have a 16 step pattern and you assign trigs per step. The pitch CV usually stays the same until the next active trig but typically the note isn’t voiced because there isn’t a gate to go along with it.


#14

Been using an A4 with a euro rack setup for about a year now. Dumb question but something I struggled with at the very beginning. You have a trs to two mono cables?


#15

They are stereo 1/4" to 2 x mono. I figure stereo 1/4" is TRS?


#16

Nice video on shaping bass tones.


#17

Hmm you’re sending cv and gate on the same side? A/B together or C/D? Also make sure you didn’t mute your CV track and make sure your gate envelope is set to something you would hear. If you do function plus a cv selection you get access to all sorts of CV types of your just looking for an LFO or something like that.


#18

Track is not muted.

I don’t understand what difference it would make.

I guess if I was getting a gate with no pitch control or vice versa. I can’t get a change in the trace on the scope at all. Keep in mind that I am trouble shooting, so it isn’t so much that I can’t get an optimal setup – I can’t get a damn signal! :blush:


#19

One issue is that I should just be able to hook it up and it works. Looking at pp. 55 of the manual, or this tutorial,

It is just a breeze. Maybe I need to do a factory reset of the machine, maybe there is some weird setting the previous user turned on…


#20

Okay I figured it out and I have to share the story:

I live in a tiny town and went to the city last week (5 hour drive). I stop by thesource (radioshack futureshop bestbuy type place). They shrug. Then I go to Long and McQuaid, lead the sales guy over to the elektron gear and the cable rack and try to explain what I want to do. He tells me I really should just order what I want online. I leave the store. Then I go to a hi-fi audio shop. The one guy behind the counter rips a fart while I am talking to the other guy and they basically let me know that if I am not here to get swindled on some overpriced crap, I should get out of their store.

I go online to check Long and McQuaids stock on cables. I find the solution I need and go back to the store and speak to the same guy and tell him that it says they have the cables I need in the store. So I spend over a $100 on a bunch of cables. I get home and realize he sold me two TRS patch cables (for routing the modular to the A4 for effects). I really needed two mono cables. Oh well. I hook up the cv cabling I picked up and have been lost, troubleshooting for a couple of days. Then I notice that the mono euro patch cables aren’t quite sitting right in the 1/4 to 1/8 " adapters. So I jerry the cable out a bit and low and behold the cv starts working. Then I check the boxes on the four adapters the guy confidently handed me.

Stereo 1/8" female to mono 1/4" male. #%ing idot. Like Fu#! Dammit.

I need mono to mono, as the 1/4 TRS to dual mono cable already split the signal. If someone comes into your store (twice) with a complex routing issue and explains that they are on a special trip to the city, make for damn sure you are providing the right cable advice. That just wasted a lot of time and now I have to sort out the problem again.

This week I will probably have to go to my local building supply store to by some bracket, sealant, compound or whatever. I might explain to the sales person at the counter as I am paying how I intend to use the product (so that if I am overlooking anything or there is a better product or a tip about working time or safe usage) I can get some quick advice. Well that person is going to shoot me a look like it is not their job to know that stuff and that if I don’t know I am in the wrong business.

Well it is there #@$King job. It is THERE job.

Ridiculous.

I happen to have 4 x 1/4 stereo to 1/8 inch stereo adapters laying around. Basically mono to mono are rarer than hens teeth. If you look at the official elektron kit this is what they give you.

1 × cable adapter module, featuring a 3.5 mm stereo plug and 2 × 3.5 mm and 2 × 1/4” mono jacks
1 × 3.5 mm to 1/4” headphone plug adapter
2 × 3.5 mm to 1/4” TS cables, 150 cm / 5 ft

So you can just use a common 1/4" stereo to 1/8" stereo step down (headphone adapters) and run a mono euro cable from there. In case anyone else has this issue. Remember don’t accidentally buy stereo 1/8" female to mono 1/4" male.

***okay so 20 minutes later I am sequencing my modular, passing the signal through the effects on the A4 while also sequencing drums on the A4. Super easy, really fast. So happy with the unit. Just what I needed. Now I can use the ES-8 and Audulus for more interesting applications.