Expert Sleepers ES modules + Max & Ableton Live

staff note: this thread has been preserved for continuity.

Context: This thread is a conversation about the ES-8 (and related Expert Sleepers modules) and its connection to computers (running CV Toolkit, Max, etc.).


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.

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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.


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.

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

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)

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.

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

i love my max/reaktor + es8 setup, and wish to play with it again soon. it definitely slows down the process and makes it much more about max but the potential is incredible.

i’ll try and drop a patch idea i’m working on later, but a note: latency is definitely present when you pass signal in to max for processing. if i want to keep things in sync i pass the rest of the audio into the interface as well (and pipe it back out). i try to avoid processing modular audio on the computer if i can and stick to generating control signals, but that’s just my preference!

My $0.02 is that latency is less of an issue if the computer is your ultimate destination for audio.

to ES-8/OSX users: are you using it as an aggregated device? or are you using just that interface? always wondered about this…

Latency is an issue in certain scenarios, though you can compensate for it in a number of ways.

The other night, I was generating a sequence in Reaktor for a hardware oscillator to A/B it against a Block. I then brought the oscillator back into the computer to treat with Reaktor’s LPG. The LPG was plucked by the Reaktor sequencer’s gate.

Because of the latency, the note changes on the oscillator were late compared to the LPG’s pluck. I compensated for this by inserting a Gate Delay Block between the sequencer and LPG. After that, it worked perfectly.

It’s not an ideal fix, although my patch was an unusual use case for sure. If I sent the sequence AND gate out of Reaktor and used it to trigger an external LPG, there wouldn’t have been any issues. Generally, if you’re just going in one direction (modular controlling Reaktor or Reaktor controlling modular) you won’t have an issue.


While not an ES-8, my ES-3/ES-6/USBStreamer combo amounts to the same thing. I use it as part of an aggregate device along with my Focusrite Scarlett 18i8.