Behringer PRO-800 with Patch Parsing .
Description to come.
Behringer PRO-800 with Patch Parsing .
Description to come.
I’ve cleaned up the code and the lay-out, added a bit of descriptions and tested it for a while.
It’s pretty useful in its current state.
And it sounds better if you have more control
@NewIgnis Thanks! I’ve been so tempted to get one. In your expert opinion, could you recognize a Pro-800 vs a Prophet 5 in a recording?
Pro-800 is a bit harsher in tone. Not sure though I would distinguish them, but I’m sure some would. A nice touch however is that the controls of a Pro-800 are almost the same as a Prophet-5. I don’t have the P-5, but I do have the Arturia VST, so sometimes I’m just sound designing on the Pro-800 with the vst listening in and playing along. Gives you a layered P-805 !
Layering the same synth with slightly different parameters is a classic recipe, special on multitimbral/multi tone synths. I can imagine how good it will sound with the differences of those analog/VA synths!
I just don’t like Arturia synths (it’s been years since I evaluated them), but I can vouch for u-he VAs: they are top notch and I can clearly say its p5 reproduction it sounds just the same. But I wanted it in hardware, so the P800 is a really cheap alternative.
Fortunately i’m in no need for another Sequential. The P-6, OB-6, and the two Behringer Pro-1 and Pro-800 are enough. But I get what you saying about Arturia. This being said, layering a Pro-800 with a VST (U-He’s as well I gather) is much easier than for instance layering it with the P-6. No need for the E1 here.
The Pro-800 will not sound like a P-5 if you are after a P-5 clone. But it will complement the U-He, I’d say.
You might just have given me a new idea : by positioning the Electra One in between as a mapping device to convert one HW synth’s controls to another one, this might be useful for sound designing two synths as one! So not simply layering sounds, but layering sound design !
Pro-800 to P6, System-8 to OB-6… That might be doable as long as synths don’t have a modulation matrix. One modulation typically comes in groups of 2 to 4 parameters, and synths do implement them usually quite differently.
By the way, sonically the Pro-1 is very musical, and esthetically pleasing alongside a Pro-800 :
The prophet 5 has been on my list for decades (and I owned a CS-80!) I have the Pro-1 and… I just don’t like it, go figure! Why? I just don’t like the tone for a mono. I also own and love the model D and the K2 (I also have a wasp that I haven’t set up yet).
Im not in my studio to show pictures of my synths, but I can see I have something you don’t: a label maker!! I think you order your synths as I do, by sections on a port (I call them stations) so a station is always linked to a single port, and each port to a station. Do you use a midi router to specify what you want to edit with the electra one?
I also had the proteus 2k, the Z filters were interesting, but dang it if I want to program synths on those tiny screens again! (here comes the Electra One to save the day!)
tell me more about stations !
for routing , there are three MioXL’s connected via ethernet to each other and to the PC.
Electra One in turn is connected via DIN MIDI to one MioXL and via USB to the PC.
Imagine a place with 50 midi devices that we want ready to go. We have a bunch of midi interfaces, that we want near each other, and those near a computer. So we buy 50 cables to connect the INs, and 50 more for the Outs. That is just Midi obviously! we still need the audio. We do it and… its a mess of cables!
We try to group them, and still, is a mess of cables! Then to troubleshoot any noise problem is a nightmare. Cleaning? Forget about that! To solve that, we run them carefully in the walls, and we found that if we want to move a one synth for half a meter, maybe the cables were too short and we have to re-run the cable, what means, moving all other synths in the path. And then we want to make sound design on a synth that is 5 meters away, making us being away from the main speakers and worst, hearing the sound with just one ear if we are on a side wall. I could continue, but there are always problems in a place like that. I’ve lived thru a sea of issues and problems, and I know you have too!
So I came out with the concept of stations. This is what I do to solve all those problems:
A station is one piece of furniture. It can be a table, a synth drawer furniture, a rack, etc.
Only 16 channels per station. The furniture may contain as many midi devices as I want, but no more than 16 channels.
Some furniture is big enough to hold 2 stations. A 2 meter tall rack can easily hold more than 16 devices. In this case, half rack is Station X, and the other half Station Y.
One midi channel per audio output. Long gone are my days of running 16 channels on a little synth and then record track by track from the sequencer. If I really want to run something multitimbral, I assign one midi channel per each output it has. For example, the Integra 7 has 8 audio outputs and real multitimbral capabilities (no sharing FX, like old roland romplers), so I assign 8 channels to the Integra, leaving other 8 for other devices in the station. If I were to put a Proteus 2k box, I will NOT assign the 32 channels it allows, but will instead use just one MIDI channel because I know I will NOT use it multi timbral. I hardly ever record synths in stereo, since I can do much better stereo FX outside.
So I use only ONE midi channel and ONE audio output.
Each station is labeled with a letter. A, B, C and so on.
Each station device has a clearly seen label of the station letter and the channel number. A1-08 for Station A device using channels 1 to 8. A15 for device in station A with channel 15. A label maker is a must here! Half inch tape with the largest font is what I use.
2 Midi cables per station. A station receives from the interfaces a full midi port. One cable for IN and another for OUT.
One midi THRU box and one midi MERGE box per station. This allows us to skip any latency and problems using thru ports in devices. Every midi device still will send the midi data, and receive any data.
INTERFACE MIDI OUT → LONG MIDI CABLE → Station MIDI THRU BOX → SMALL MIDI CABLE → multiple devices
multiple devices → SMALL MIDI CABLE → Station MIDI MERGE BOX → LONG MIDI CABLE → INTERFACE MIDI IN
Use ethernet connections if possible. I build many ethernet to MIDI connectors on the cheap so I run just one ethernet cable to each station. Ethernet cables are cheaper to build and cheaper to find at different sizes vs regular MIDI cables.
All stations are powered from the same outlet. From a single wall output I connect the power conditioners, then after that, a cable to each station. The max suggested for this usage is 10 Amps, but I hardly ever reach even 5 amps with many many devices on. Having the same outlet helps us to use the same ground for all the devices and avoid ground loops.
Each station should have a power outlet available at hand. If the station is a table, then it should take less a second to disconnect a device. Use short cables to the power outlets. If a rack, short cables are a given.
WALL OUTLET → POWER CONDITIONER → MULTI CONNECTOR → LONG EXTENSION AC CABLES TO STATIONS → POWER OUTLETS → short AC cables to devices
At least a Transformer Isolator per station. This is key! I use many ART T8. It will not only provide isolation and protection, but works as a patch bay in a sense and removes ALL common loop problems with an easy hack: I just make a special cable that connects all the RCA grounds together, then the ground of the isolator I cable it directly to the AC distributor. Not a single ground loop problem ever! Additionally, it converts the signals to TRS!
All station devices use short TS cables to the isolator. This keeps the station tidy with short cables, that can be troubleshooted.
The isolator output uses a TRS snake to the main audio patch bay. A station usually have 16 audio outs, so I get a long enough 8, 16 or 24 TRS to TRS cable that connects everything to my main patch bay (TRS based)
MIDI DEVICE AUDIO OUT → short cable TS → ISOLATOR → long snake TRS → TRS patch bay.
When its time to connect to the snake to your patch bay use colored electrical tape and labels on the ends of the snake plastic cover to quickly identify which station it comes from and making recognizing sources at a glance.
Station ergonomics. If a thing is not on a place were you can comfortably work for 30 minutes, then it’s not in it’s right place. I prefer to have 2 keyboard synthesizers per station than 3 or more. Rack stuff that you actually program should not be on the floor level! Here is were Electra One can solve all the ergonomic issues!
Pièce de résistance: mobility! Use furniture with casters and long enough cables to allow you to roll them away from your main console/desk/daw and roll them back if you need to do some sound design! This way you can bring the station with the device you need for sound design, hear what you do in the sweet spot and roll it back to its place! In case that cables are too long, they can be wrapped and hanged in some place in the station. This is probably the best addition I have done. Do I miss racks bolted to the ground? not really! Small racks with casters can do wonders in keeping things movable. Electra One may solve the back and forth of furniture if everything can be on it’s place and controllable remotely.
With stations I have 3 cables going to each station: Power, Midi (ethernet) and audio snake. Stations are easy to move, I know what is what, short cables to change a device in a station in a beat! Cleaning is actually easy!
Pretty impressive @Kaltar , with the desciption you give a assume your studio is a little bit bigger than mine when it comes to space, and the idea of the stations you have stretched to a full professional approach. I stand in awe.
I believe I have a little less room but still a comfortable 16 square meter only intended to electronic music making. Making music is a hobby for me, but lately I found myself constantly repairing stuff, updating, upgrading , searching faults… which took way the fun. And that was hardly the purpose.
So I’ve taken a new approach that is similar to the station concept but in a simpler way.
So I left the idea of having everything always connected in favour of being able to always play.
For one, I bought a cupboard with glass doors, and put a lot of shelves on the wall. The cupboard contains all smaller stuff (groove boxes, pedals, desktop synths), on the shelves are the bigger instruments ( mostly 49 - 61 key poly-synths). They are thus disconnected (not needing maintenance ), but they are very visible, present in the room, and within reach.
The rest of the materials is divided into 3+1 “stations”, to paraphrase you.
3+1, because the latter is just a classical upright piano, which is usually the instrument that triggers most ideas . The other stations allow up to three musicians to play at the same time. Each station is having its own power supply, MioXL MIDI router and analog mixer.
Each station can be played independently, without the others being used so, just as in your concept , this has vastly decreased the issue of fault searching and repairing. Each station has 2 to 3 synths/workstations/MIDI keyboards assigned to it, and 3 to 8 fixed desktop or 19" rack instruments. I use up to 32 MIDI channels on a single Mio, so there is sufficient room on each station to use some of the synths in a multi-timbral mode. By default all multitimbral synths have 2 or 3 channels assigned to them.
Station A is the main station with a Novation MIDI keyboard and the (optional) PC in its area.
Clock: MioXL A gets the BPM clock from the MIDI keyboard and spreads it (or not, depends on the chosen presets on the MioXL’s) via Ethernet to the other 2 Mio’s. The Novation thus defines the clock, but is in sync with the DAW if the computer is introduced to the music making. So both DAW and Novation can define the clock for all instruments.
All 3 (analog) mixers are connected usually via 4 outputs to a main digital mixer (Zoom Livetrak L20) which also serves as 22 audio interface. That mixer has an internal recorder, and 6 separate submixes I then use to feed specific sounds back into a sampler or a modular system for further processing.
The PC itself feeds 4 audio channels back into the mixer.
It allows again to just use the studio with or fully without PC / DAW, even for recording.
At every station there is still available physical space, audio channels, MIDI or USB connectors to temporarily add synths that are in reserve.
I’ve thought about setting up station 3 on casters, for the same reason you mentioned. But so far this hasn’t hampered me, and the furniture used can still be amended later on.
That is the most important thing, and never keep it out of mind! Any solution we can come with will cost time and money, and more time to see if it works or not. We all need to keep it present at all times!
Having things on casters are really a game changer, by the way! Even if it is just to be able to turn a rack to see the cabling instead of having to crawl to the rear to cable something… or just for cleaning!
I did something similar to your setup for a time -mixer per each station-, but that was just too much, costly and brought it’s own problems. I did wanted the Zoom livetrack for a while, but later considered a Behringer x32 in rack and a break-out box for each station, but the x32 in real life usage is not as instantaneous as an analog mixer. So I got a soundcraft MTK22 just fed from the patchbay. I hardly ever record more than 20 channels, and I have the immediacy of an analog mixer (yes, I miss the inserts and have to use channels as aux returns, but keeps everything immediate). But now with new 32 float audio devices coming out (they are impressive!), I will jump to one of those, and forget about levels and compressors at tracking.
I stop using clock generators: the computer gives me all the sync I need, so I will use that. hardly ever have needed clock for what I’ve done.
I no longer have complicated synths nor old synths. If I can’t fully operate it after reading the manual ONCE, then is gone. Example is the Proteus2k, or sequencer on the mother 32: I needed a manual at hand all the time to learn it, and that’s just not for me. My time is the most precious thing. Same goes for old synth maintenance, I won’t do it anymore and all those synths are gone. I keep everything in desktop modules or rack versions. My only keyboard now, besides the master keyboard, is a JD800 that has sentimental value, and of course, a need of repair This are the most important reasons I had to shrink the studio, and I have tons of space now! I sold most of my equipment and shorted it all to 2 stations! That’s all I need, and later, the 2 stations consolidated into a keyboard furniture with drawers, with rack stuff using some space. I use very little now of my 70 sq meter studio. All other stuff that is not connected (groove boxes, guitar pedals, etc) goes straight into the storage room (36 square meters). If needed, I just take them out and plug them in the desk. A minute operation.
Cupboards and shelves are great! Gives you instant access and a reminder of what you have! But the messy look is not for me, So all my storage has closets(9) with 2 pull out doors each. So everything is hidden and neat.
Took out the piano from the studio and just use the master keyboard with a GEM RP-x module always on to have piano access from the main desk. Saved even more space, however, a nice acoustic piano is always a good thing to keep near by.
Anyway, I still have a place for the prophet 5 in top of my JD800 in a wheeled stand I’ve been controlling my GAS for it since it was announced.
Have you had any latency issues with it? Any “disconnection” problem with the other units?
No, not yet. My oldest MioXL had freezing issues, which is really annoying, and this didn’t happen before. I’m still looking for the root cause. When it frooze, it did keep routing though, but I couldn’t change it on the fly anymore. But it only happens like once a month. Still… When I record, I therefor disconnect the whole studio from the rest of the computer-network, so nothing else besides the 3 Mio’s and the PC can transmit.
The Auracle software from Iconnectivity is not always dicovering all 3 Mio’s for editing purposes, but that’s not having any influence musically and it restore itself in less than 10 seconds.
Apart from that, all okay.
Talking about old synths and time: my oldest synths are from the eighties, so all having sufficient MIDI capabilities to get them controlled remotely. That is exactly the reason for me to have the Electra One, because it allows to deal with the many quirks these old MIDI implementations have.
(But also newer stuff is not always following the exact MIDI rules, like with Dreadbox or with Novation)
Except for a Poly-800 that is waiting to be getting the HAWK-800 treatment and a TX7, all synths older than 20 years are rackbased, and these prove to be very reliable: TG77, 01R/W, Triton-Rack, XV5080, Matrix1000, K4R, VZ8M, microQ. But I haven’t made presets yet for all of them.
Holy cow! Triton and XV are over 20 years old! I had them in mind as “recent” haha! I feel so old now.
The TX7 is a device that screams make an ElectraOne for me! However, I don’t see what any 80’s FM have over the current Korg offerings (other than the FB-01 that has more personality). It’s amazing that until now, we have a device like the Electra that allows INTUITIVELY to edit patches on those devices (without the use of a computer, that is. I remember all those expensive editors for the 80’s and 90’s computers)
I bought the TX7 recently, allthough I have the TG77 already more than 20 years. But a TG77 is very complicated to program on itself and its SysEx implementation is quite a challenge, even for an Electra One. I believe the Electra One Mk II may offer a way out, by combining two or four simultaneous presets; 2 for FM and two for AWM.
But I honestly longed for that pure DX7 tone from my younger years (played my very first synths in '81, just before MIDI started. There were Synth courses in Belgium in '83 and '84 where musicians brought their gear together for us to play on. Man, it’s only afterwards I realised what these guys offered us : their MiniMoogs, MS10,MS20,MS50, System700M, OB-X, Prophet 5, a brand new DX-7…) which I couldn’t find in all younger FM models (and I have suficient FM VST’s to cover that area). Moreover , the TX7 let itself be controlled very nicely on an Electra. Taking inspiration from the Korg Opsix, I colored the controls to show which operators are sound output and which are modulators.
Check it out! Electra One App
Do change the algorithm on page ‘COMMON’. Then observe on page “OPS /MAIN” the colors per operator:
On row one: white means a sound output. Another color in row one refers to the colored operator (on row two to 6) that it modulates.
It’s on those ‘simple’ FM machines like the DX7, TC7, TX81Z and the likes that FM is a bit comprehensible. So the TX7 is a keeper