Expert Sleepers ES-8 + MAX


Is anyone using this? I’ve been super happy working with it over the past couple weeks. My modular has been in a really pleasing state for some time so I’ve managed to avoid the gear-lust that plagues so many of us. BUT, I’ve always wanted to work to integrate MAX into my modular approach to get ‘off the grid’ of the Octatrack which I will use with my MIDI2CV module. So, I traded that out for the ES-8 and they’re the same size, so I can switch them out as needed.

Anyway, if anyone uses the ES-8, I’d love to swap ideas and nerd out. Originally, I intended to focus on using MAX for control. Strange clocking, etc. But right now I’m tinkering with some really basic spectral filtering of my modular. It sounds super cool and it’s really so straightforward of a patch.

Let’s share ideas!

CV recorder in Max

Please do share as you go. I’ve got an ES-3, and have plans to upgrade to and ES-8 at some point. Right now I just use it to send basic CV from my laptop, mostly from CV Toolkit.


I accidentally received an ES-8 instead of the Disting I ordered from Red Dog (if any of the guys are here, gonna email you about that). So I’m using that as the impetus to finally get stuck into Max programming. Definitely keeping an eye on this thread, will post back with what I come up with.


I’ve got an ES-3 and an ES-6 (ES-6 is pretty noisy, kinda wondering about that).

So far I haven’t used the ES-3 much. My only oscillator at the moment is the Mangrove, and I’ve been having difficulty getting it to tune with the Silent Way Voice Controller.

I’ve got all four channels of the ER-301 heading into the ES-6, and everything else is heading into the ER-301.

What am I doing with it? Mostly trying to find ways to avoid descending into utter madness within minutes of turning the thing on. :wink: (but the crazy is fun! just perhaps not as musical as some would prefer)

In the computer I’ve got tracks for each ES-6 input, and I am using plugins for effects.


I’d imagine the calibration of exact voltages out of these Expert Sleepers modules might be a pain. The BEAP calibration module seemed handy, but honestly, if I’m doing note-ier stuff, it seems like it’d be more trouble than its worth. If you do figure out techniques for calibration, by all means let me know, but that is definitely something I haven’t sorted out yet.

I’m pretty amateurish on the MAX side of things, but it’s been interesting trying to re-interpret what I do know with the routing and workflow of this new setup. Every now and again I just make a little discovery when I slow my brain down and think it through.

The Expert Sleepers stuff always seemed super cool, but all the wonky lightpipe/ADAT stuff kept me away. The USB keeps it simple which is what had me pumped.

So do you use Ableton more - for the effects hub side of things?


Yeah, I’d prefer an ES-8 at this point, but shrug.

I am using Ableton for effects. I’ve got a pretty hefty collection of plugins collected over many years, and I don’t think I could ever walk away from them entirely.

It’s funny, I’ve used Max and Reaktor and other software modulars (many times over a number of years) and they just honestly never really clicked with me. It could be the decades of family pressure to pursue computer science as a career (they won! mostly, at least I managed to get into the pixel-ier side of it, somewhat) so when I sit down to make music, I want music to happen, immediately. This is not to say I am opposed to programming for the sake of music. But I seek out really quick coding experiences (tidal, sonic pi, gibberwocky on the computer, teletype and er-301 in eurorack) that allow me to go from zero to music in moments (not minutes, and certainly not hours).

Buuuuut, maybe this thread will tip me over the edge and yank me into Max for real, finally. I keep trying. I’m super impressed with what others have achieved with it.


Yeah, I remember when I first sort of learned about MAX and I played with Keith Whitman here in town and toured some with Greg Davis, it just seemed way over my head. I was using cannibalized Reaktor stuff with the help of a friend in Denmark. They always encouraged me to just make the switch, but it always seemed super intimidating.

I drifted from the computer (heck even stopped doing much electronic music at all for awhile) and definitely can dig on not wanting it to be a part of the workflow, but more recently I’ve sort of dipped my toes back in. A few friends here in town work with it and we had a little club, the Kadenze class helped, and some of those ‘textbooks’ that have come out were useful. I think I just look at it as a lifelong pursuit. It’s a skill I will gradually learn and if nothing musical comes of it, it’s fine, because it’s fun anyway. If I want immediacy, I can work without it. But the potential of MAX and the power of a computer is pretty overwhelming and I don’t want to just ignore exploring it. This ES-8 and integrating MAX in with the modular has definitely given me a real surge of energy on the computer front though :slight_smile:


I think I’m just in a “not using it right now” phase with Max. It’s nothing ideological or anything. In fact, I’d love to dive back in, if inspiration struck. But really I just want to figure out how to calibrate my ES-6 right now. As much as I love microtonal non-equal-temperament stuff, I’m pretty fond of the more conventional stuff too. I also just need to finish my half-done Befaco Even VCO so I can have some simpler waveforms at hand.


I’ve got the ES-8 on my list for this reason, I figured I could buy an organelle or an ES-8 and learn Max properly. I’m also kind of hopeful for a way to integrate the ES-8 with some Live Coding programs, but don’t know of any off the top of my head. Any ideas?


Givberwocky linked above is made for Max for Live or just Max.


I totally forgot about Gibberwocky, I started my live coding journey after reading the post about it in the live code thread and dived into the Gibber browser app! Awesome!


Funny timing. I was using Reaktor and the built-in pitch calibration Block tonight. I hadn’t used the calibration Block before tonight, and was having a hell of a time tuning Mangrove. It worked instantaneously with my Hertz Donut’s sine. The waveform create by the Formant output drives the pitch calibration engine nuts.

Does the ER-301 have an oscillator unit? I would calibrate using the 301’s sine generator (if it has one) and using that calibration data on the Mangrove. Should be close enough for jazz.


I use an ES3/6/7 with Max although they’ve sat idle for a while as I’m really not using my Euro stuff at the moment. They all have a degree of offset inherent in their design although it’s not something that is an issue for the type of noises I make. I don’t mind the adat connections (I’ve finally remembered which input/output numbers on my interface they correspond to!) but must admit the usb connection of the ES8 looks handy.

I wrote a patch a while back (which I really need to finish off properly) that was designed to work in conjunction with an Addac Fixed Filterbank. It enables presets for the filterbank with morphing between them. I was trying to replicate some of the functionality of a Buchla 296e. Thinking about it though that concept could be used for lots of different modules.


ER-301 has a noise unit but no oscillator.

I’ve even had trouble calibrating to Mangrove’s square wave output.


spectral filtering & fft operations are the main directions my hybrid system is taking (es-8 & max happy user here)


I really don’t know much about spectral filtering in MAX, but I’d love to hear about your patching. I tinkered a bit last night with that very thing. There was a nice tutorial this week on Cycling74 and the multislider Fantastic Planet patch they showed at the end I lifted to play with.

This week, a friend is coming over because he wants to check out the module, but he is also interesting in the direction of taking the spectral quality of recordings and using them to filter other sounds. I’m not even sure if that’s the proper language and what the differences are entirely between that and vocoding, but it is a new direction I’m excited to explore.

So, feel free to share or describe what you’re doing!



it’s very early stage in my workflow, but the main reason i am interested in spectral/fft filtering (other than the sound) is its digital specificity (which is part of my ongoing research)

will share once i have interesting/decent results!

this is a great starting point by an actual connoisseur:



Somebody made a Max for Live clone of the Buchla 296e


Oof. Okay, just looked up some more info. You could try loading a single-cycle sine sample into the sampler unit and calibrate from there. That should provide accurate tuning results.


I’ll give that a shot. Not even going for accurate so much as usable.