ER-301 Sound Computer

The only thing that worries me in what you say is that it could also replace my norns (at least in relation to my use which is more based on everything that is fx and delay/sampling) :smiley:
edit : otherwise I have to rethink my approach to norns in addition to an ER :sweat_smile:

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I have a Norns and I don’t think it could replace Norns or vice versa. The 301 is truly a unique module. The only thing I can think of that is a closer comparison would be an octatrack, but of course the 301 doesn’t have a sequencer…


Yeah, the 301 can stand as a replacement for a lot of different modules but nothing I’ve seen could really replace the 301

I keep hoping the SSP will get better/easier to use but it is still very clunky and tedious to patch with compared to the 301… which is such a shame because it’s a seriously powerful module (spec wise)


Do you have a Teletype? I use my faderfox plugged into Teletype using midi in ops which controls the patch on er301 via i2c. It’s 2 lines of code.

MI.$ 3 1


This will send any controller values to the corresponding SC.CV port on er-301


Would this work with an ansible?

Or with a controller plugged into Norns, plugged into crow? [then connected via i2c to the 301?]

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I’ve not done this but you can load Teletype firmware on Ansible and run any script……whether mid in ops work on Ansible running Teletype firmware - I’m not sure. Satellite: run teletype scenes on ansible

I’ve not tried this - but If you plug a grid into Ansible Kria - select er301 option on the grid. Then unplug grid. Plug in a controller and try. Might work? Actually thinking out loud - I think not - you need it paired with a Teletype for midi in ops to work midi | monome/docs

this I’m pretty sure will work - you just need the er301 commands in the script which I’ve seen done in other scripts. This version of Awake below has er301 support which has now been incorporated in the main Awake git.

4 big knobs scripts has er301 support also


Oh wow, didn’t realize this


I feel the same about both modules.

I don´t know if holding on to the SSP is worth it. The project looks pretty dependent on two (maybe more) guys doing the heavy lifting (@thetechnobear and Bert).

For me, the only thing that is truly cumbersome about the unit is the super bad user interface. It is zero fun to sit in front of the SSP to program a patch. I find it frustrating and because of that I won´t even turn on the case it currently sits in. Soundwise it is great, no question.

I have the Axe FX3 here as well and they have a few similarities regarding the menu structure, the grid layout, etc. On the Axe FX3, there are 5 encoders, a few buttons, a jog wheel, and a far smaller screen. Compared to maybe something like the Helix the Axe FX3 has a worse user interface. It is still effective, quick, and readable in comparison to the SSP. And there is an editor for the computer which comes in handy for complex patches.

The ER-301 is super immediate and except for patches, where you go many layers deep, it is very easy to understand and you can see what’s going on. The user interface is quick, you don´t need many buttons to get around and the sound is awesome as well.

Agreed on everything above… I only have one question though:

How to actually get an ER-301?

Prices on the used market are through the roof since more than 2 years and it’s currently still unclear when it will be available again.


Sometimes you can find them on forums for a bit more than the new price. It is a rare module for sure and to me, it seems like most hang on to it for some time to test the capabilities. Because of the necessity to dive deep, you probably either sell it quickly after your first sessions with it or you might keep it longer until you tested the different ways to integrate it into your system.

For what it is I think something like the Euroburo could be seen as an alternative for some. It is super capable of sound design, pretty easy to use, and powerful enough for somewhat complex patches. Of course, that module has no i2c and misses many i/o options the ER-301 has, on the other hand, there is MIDI available.

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It’s a bad sign when your “only thing” has everything to do with how you interact with the module :grimacing:

It’s sad that they spent all this time rewriting the code for how the graphics work (I think to speed up responsiveness and make use of the GPU) but made no meaningful changes to the actual UI. The whole patching system seems like it takes so many steps just to establish a connection. Also the short names given to modules and connections also seems really unintuitive at times.

I should dig it out and try and have a go again… but every time I do it ends in some amount of frustration and negative productivity. Which is so frustrating because it seems like it could be so good.

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i do, and i appreciate you reminding me of this function. very cool!

when i made my comment wishing for standard midi support, it was more for simpler/more direct ways to get midi control in - just a usb or midi trs plug - and a native midi mapping option in the 301 ui - vs loading up modules.

i love i2c but it’s another layer of “things to do” that i’m not always in the mood for :sleeping:



So you have yours stowed away as well? May I ask why you bought yours?

I do use mine once in a while. Just not keen to program that thing because of the frustration and negative productivity as you say.

ER-301 is not “fun” to set up either. But at least you have your building blocks together pretty fast and once you have your connections on the back panel running most sessions will reward you with sound.

Euroburo is the most immediate modular in a module device I have. If anyone asks for that kind of thing I usually recommend it, also because of its actual availability.

Yeah I’d also second the enjoyability in patching on the 301. It’s neither enjoyable nor unpleasant. Adequately neutral.

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I didn’t buy it. It is on permanent loan from a friend who also hit a wall with it.

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if you can suffer FB, people sell them occasionally on the ER301 group there


I had one for almost 3 years. The experience was very good and during that period the Er-301 was the center of my system. The entire audio chain passed through it to process, record and generate sound. However I realized that with a computer I could always do many more things for much less money. Now I work with an MBP M1, but a year ago I started working with a MacMini that I bought second hand for €200. What I could do with that MacMini and with MaxMsp or Ableton was beyond the capabilities of the ER-301. It is true that the ER-301 is capable of doing many things, and probably in relation to price/performance within the modular system it is a good option. But if one thinks of combining the digital world with the analogue, in terms of performance, a laptop is unbeatable in terms of power and experimental capacity. If you combine it with a CV interface like the ES-9, you have a HUGE palette of options. That is just my opinion.


@Cromatica45 I have always thought in the following way. Virtually a DAW and other software solutions will always be much more powerful than any modular and synth system. The only real reason for me is the question of sensitivity and workflow. I agree with the conclusion of your reasoning but I am unable to produce anything on live by expl. Even if I don’t have an ER301 I feel that the interface and patch builds are still affordable. I mean it will always be less abstract for me than max msp or pure data.

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Here is my ER-301 easel:

I´m trying out Clouds and a DPLPG this week, had Maths in that spot before. Removed it to try an even more strict hands-on approach.


i am always coming back to this. So in the lab i mostly end up using the 301 to realize “process ideas with a bit of hands-on control” rather than “generating a sound as imagined in extreme details”.
In live situations, i approach the 301 case as a weirdly controlled multi-track player with effects sends.
Currently i am trying to lock it in a small case with Teletype for basically making the Octatrack i won’t buy. I am slowly getting in the headspace of keeping this open-ended machines assigned to a single purpose for possibly a very long time.
Using a computer (…and another set of modules …and a norns shield) for all the other duties will hopefully allow that kind of focus.

P.S. since i feel my post might come across gloomy like today’s weather: the 301 for me has been a wonderful exploration tool and opened/broadened significantly my practice of sound.