Eurorack (Monome) modular + computer integration

This question addresses those of you working within a hybrid Eurorack modular (viz., Monome modules) + computer (i.e., digital, software-based, e.g., Live or Max) environment. I lean heavily on the latter, and as I have no plans to abandon software for an all-Eurorack environment, lately I’ve been brainstorming how I might creatively integrate select pieces of Eurorack modules (especially those by Monome) into a predominantly software-driven and controlled workflow. How do you integrate the two?

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Grappling with this at the moment, aiming for portability + power.

Will add some notes tomorrow.

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I was in the happy position of coincidentally already owning a dc-coupled interface when I got into modulars… pretty comfortable thing to have (or some expert sleepers if you have spare digital ports). being able to directly output control signals from max to the modular is ace…

I actually started out with envelopes just from the computer, but with WW ended up getting some module for that too. as I learned, you can’t really beat the direct and hands on control. But max integrated opens up a whole universe of possibilities too…

I’m about to add an arduino to the setup to trigger stuff and save precious ports of my interface for other things (won’t work for everything though, eurorack is a wild west of CV duties)

Right now I’m sending USB-Midi from my Laptop to my Mutable Instruments CV-Pal but I’m thinking of adding a [Terminal Tedium module][1] [1]: https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=104896 to send bangs from Max to some of my patches and maybe run some CSound patches directly from the modular.

In the photo above, under the MacBook, is a MOTU Ultralight MK3 Hybrid audio interface that I just picked up. I went with this as it has a multitude of ins and outs, and, importantly, S/PDIF I/O that will drive my Expert Sleepers ES-4 (and the various expanders).

The MOTU is half rack width, so I’m going to get a small 4U Gator half rack case to mount it in, with 42HP of Euro underneath, as a “sidecar” to my main rig. The half rack will be the “sync and I/O box”, with the Expert Sleepers gear, a Hinton Gearbox, and an Innerclock Systems SyncGen II LS, and a few other bits and pieces - meaning I can sync anything to anything in a number of ways.

I often jam with others, so having a do it all sync box is very handy.

The MOTU can also act as a stand alone mixer, has Hi-Z inputs for guitar and bass, and has onboard DSP effects (adequate reverb, EQ, dynamics, etc.) … and more. Pretty much the Swiss army knife of interfaces.

In the main Euro case is a combination focused on Make Noise in the upper boat, and various drum and rhythm focused modules from Jomox, Mungo and others in the lower boat, and a Metropolis sequencer front and centre.

To start with I’m exploring the use of MainStage and Logic on the software side, rather than Ableton Live, just for the hell of it, because every damn person out there uses Live. I’m hoping to get a nice workflow going where I work on fully blown tracks on my main iMac, then can easily move them across to this performance rig as bounced stems, that I can jam with in various ways.

I haven’t settled on the MIDI controller and keyboard side of things yet. In a perfect world I’d have a bespoke aluminium MIDI keyboard / controller unit with the EXACT dimensions of the Monome 128, just to satisfy my OCD. I’ve also got a skiff with a MakeNoise Rene, PP + Brains combo … but then all this is getting a bit much to carry. I might ditch the Akai keyboard, and just use the 128 via EearthSea for playing melodies, and maybe add a FaderFox controller.

Some of this setup is informed by what James Holden does these days when he performs live - though he’s not doing much actual modular patching during his sets (that I’ve seen anyway).

The adventure continues…

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the motu could also output cv without the expert sleepers module :wink: (you should use floating ring cables for that though)

@sakul yep - another reason for the MOTU. There’s also the newer MOTU Ultralite AVB which ticks all the same boxes, dropping FireWire for Ethernet / AVB, and adding iOS features. I couldn’t wait another month to get one here in Australia though.

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I’ve been on this integration quest for some years now. I started out (2007 i think) before the Expert Sleepers and MOTU stuff was around by building a customized Doepfer 6HE portable case (upgraded to 9HE later). I fitted a Marian Adcon (ADAT interface) in it because it was small enough and turned out to be one of those dc-coupled interfaces, and used the outputs as control voltages and the inputs for mixing/multitracking in my laptop running Max. Of course, i had to amplify the cv outs to euro level, and also attenuate the modules outputs. To simplify the workflow i built a mini-jack patch panel for the ins and outs. A couple of years later i discovered that there was actually room left in the box to fit my Nord Modular G2 engine if i stripped it to the bare-bones… A bit too much maybe but, you know… :wink: So i added that, a breakout panel and some op-amps to match the levels. Some pictures here.

Actually i have to admit that building this case was more fun than actually working with it. Something with the workflow that never really suited me. I don’t know what really. And the Doepfer cases are quite heavy even while they are empty, so carrying this beast around wasn’t that fun.

Nowadays i use the ES-3 and ES-6 modules to control my modular from various SuperCollider instruments using a Monome 128, a Snyderphonics Manta and a custom made Arduino based controller i named The White Flower.
In my studio i have the balanced version of the nw2s::io which is a really nice module that allows cv signals back and forth as well as using my modular as an insert while mixing.

Right now i’m working on a huge SuperCollider based project that is The One Sequencer To Rule Them All. Of course it will integrate modular control via ES-3, MIDI, OSC etc. More on that another time maybe.

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The White Flower looks great! So does the Doepfr case mod. Nice work!
I also have Manta in the studio, but it has been seeing less action in recent years since I focused more on the modular. I wish Snyder completed the Mantamate… Manta would be a great modular inteface. But I lost hope that he will ever get it done. :frowning:

At one point there was a discussion to make the Manta work with Aleph. Relatively sure that never happened, though.

Thanks! Yes, i had hopes for the MantaMate as well. But if you can stand having a computer in the rig lot’s of great things can be done with an ES3/ES6 combo. I took it as a good sign when i realized that those two gives 8 outs and 6 ins. And the Manta has 8 pads times 6 rows… :wink:

quoting Jeff from the manta google group:

" I’m back in the swing of Snyderphonics development for the summer. Starting next week, there will be regular updates about new project developments appearing on the Snyderphonics Facebook page. The projects we are working on this summer include the Birl (a new electronic wind instrument), the Drumbox (an electronic percussion instrument), and, yes, the Manta Mate. As you noted, development work is slow-going, and I thank you for your patience and your continued Manta enthusiasm. The current goal for the Manta Mate is a relatively simple Eurorack module that sends CV, and I think it will suit your needs as well as many other Manta users’."

and there is a video clip of the prototype posted on July 8th on Snyderphonics FB page.

i think it should also be doable to add Manta support to nw2s::b module and take advantage of many outputs. i don’t have a Manta myself but been eying it for the longest time now. beautiful controller.

Ok then!
I lost all hope for this to ever happen, but here we go: SOME sign of life!

used to have a manta a while back but sold it. if manta support would be added to the nw2s modules, especially the upcoming ones, that’d definitely make the manta relevant for me again.

More details from Jeff on the Manta Mate. Sounds very promising:

Yep, the MantaMate is in very active development. I’ll send photos and video to the list once I’ve got a prototype with the new panel layout.
It’s simplified from the original plan, but it has 12 CV outs, so it can be polyphonic or monophonic. There are no dedicated gates, you need to use the CVs as gates or triggers if you want them. With the 12 CVs, you could do four voice polyphony, with pitch, “pressure” and gate outputs for each voice.

It will act as a USB host for the Manta, and also for most standard USB midi devices. We’re working on some crazy neural net machine learning features, but that may be a later firmware update after the initial release.

I know this is an old thread but I was wondering about that Eurorack case. Is that a custom build? Looks a bit like an Amalgamod case. Is it 104hp wide?