AM104 CV Mixer for Reaktor Blocks

Discussion in 'REAKTOR' started by gabrielrodrigues, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. gabrielrodrigues

    gabrielrodrigues Member

    Messages:
    35
    [​IMG]

    AM104 is an 8 Channel CV Mixer, optimized for use in conjunction with a DC Coupled Audio Interface to convert Reaktor Blocks Signals
    into Analog Control Voltages, allowing the interaction of Reaktor Blocks Modules with Hardware Synths and Modular Systems.

    The dBFS Peak Display allows for precise adjustment of the Output Levels, while the builtin Output Clipper keeps your DA Converters protected
    from Excessive Levels.

    Promo Video:



    Features:


    - 1 Reaktor Block
    - Dedicated Attenuverters for Inputs 1, 2, 3 and 4
    - Dedicated Attenuverter for the Mixer Output
    - Mute Switch for Inputs 1, 2, 3 and 4
    - Mute Switch for the Mixer Output
    - Selectable Pre and Post-Fader Metering for Inputs 1, 2, 3 and 4
    - Inputs 5, 6, 7 and 8 are Unit Gain Inputs, they can be attenuated using a FREE AM103 Expander module
    - dBFS Peak Display with Reset Switch
    - Builtin Output Clipper

    Compatibility:

    Native Instruments' Reaktor 6.0.1 or newer (Full Version).

    For more information please visit:

    http://www.amazingmachines.com.br/products_blk_am104.html


    Cheers!
    Gabriel Rodrigues,
    Amazing Machines
     
  2. sowari

    sowari Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    28,400
    @gabrielrodrigues you say:

    optimized for use in conjunction with a DC Coupled Audio Interface to convert Reaktor Blocks Signals
    into Analog Control Voltages, allowing the interaction of Reaktor Blocks Modules with Hardware Synths and Modular Systems.


    can you give more info about this please. what systems have been tested and how have you set this up?

    sowari
     
  3. gabrielrodrigues

    gabrielrodrigues Member

    Messages:
    35
    Hey Sowari,

    There seems to be an aura of mystification surrounding this subject, something that we haven't predicted, so I'll try to break it down to a few topics:

    1 - The Nature of Control Voltage Signals:

    There's no such thing as a software that converts Control Signals into Control Voltages, the only difference between CV Signals and Audio Signals is in the content of the signals, for instance, in most cases you won't be able to hear an LFO through a speaker because it is too slow, but it still is an Audio Signal, same for Envelopes, Gates, you name it. Being that everything in Blocks runs at Audio Rate, it means that you can send any Output of any Block to an Audio Output of a DC Coupled Interface and get a CV Signal on the other side. This is the reason why we state that all of our Block modules are "Optimized" for use with a DC Coupled Audio Interface, because the kind of Audio Signals that are used as Control Voltages can cause damage to your DA Converters if they are not properly treated. This means that if you playback a recording of a violin through a DC Coupled Interface you will get CV at the Output, because Audio and CV are the same thing, which also means that CV Signals are not limited to Control Rate, for instance, you can use the Output of an Oscillator as a CV source at Audio Rate. The only situation where conversion is needed is when you want to convert MIDI Signals into CV, which means converting MIDI Signals to Audio, the "Note In" Block in the factory library does that for Pitch Bend, Velocity, Pitch, Gate, Mod Wheel and Aftertouch.

    2 - Safe Playback of CV Signals from a DA Converter:

    In order to keep your DA Converters safe, all you have to do is limit the Audio Output to the DSP Standard of -1…0…+1. Now, if you go with an ordinary Audio Limiter you will have problems with fluctuations, because Audio Limiters are usually Soft Limiters, for CV you want a Hard Limiter/Clipper that will stop any signal louder than 0dBFS. It's interesting to notice that the Factory Blocks, those with Bipolar Outputs, range from -0.5…0…+0.5, including Oscillators, it's not clear why they did this, probably to avoid clipping?

    Anyone?

    Anyways, this makes interfacing with hardware a pain, because you lose 50% of the range on your DC Coupled Interface, with that in mind we Optimized the Outputs on all of our Blocks to range from -1…0…+1, also all of our Blocks, including Oscillators, feature a Hard Limiter/Clipper set to 0dBFS on their Outputs, so they can just be connected to your DA Outputs and serve as CV sources right out of the box. Funny enough, NI tells you, in the Blocks Framework Manual, that the default range for Outputs should be -1…0…+1, still their own Blocks don't follow these instructions, which are universal by the way, this range of -1…0…+1 is a standard on any DSP environment.

    3 - AC Coupled vs DC Coupled:

    So, back to my "There's no such thing as a software that converts Control Signals into Control Voltages" statement, when we say that an interface is DC Coupled we are referring to an Electrical Specification, it has nothing to do with Software, Digital or Compatibility with anything, it has to do with parts of circuitry that are present on DC Coupled Interfaces but are not present on AC Coupled Interfaces, you can also use an AC Coupled Interface to generate CV but you have to build some special cables, here's a thread at the Muff Wiggler Forum on the subject:

    https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13698

    Keep in mind that AC Coupled Interfaces have Limited Range, at about 50% of what a DC Coupled Interface can provide, usually you will get -5…0…+5V out of a DC Coupled Interface while you will get 0…+5V out of an AC Coupled Interface.

    4 - Interfaces available in the market that are DC Coupled:

    This is a tuff one because most manufactures don't advertise this feature, but if you are handy with a Voltage Meter you can send a Bipolar Signal to an Output and check if you are getting a Bipolar Swing, if there are Negative Voltages coming out it means that your interface is DC Coupled, our FREE AM103 Block module is very useful for that because you can set a Static Negative Offset easily.

    Again, if you go to the Muff Wiggler forum and register, you will be able to search and find dozens of threads about DC Coupled Interfaces:

    https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/

    There's also a list available at the Expert Sleepers website:

    http://www.expertsleepers.com/siwacompatibility.html

    Here at the studio we are using a Motu Ultralite mk3 Firewire and a Motu 828 mk2 Firewire, both are DC Coupled, as are most Motu Interfaces.

    A commenter at the Synthtopia Blog said that the NI Komplete Audio 6 is DC Coupled, I can't confirm that.

    I think this is it, feel free to ask if you have any doubt!

    Cheers!
    Gabriel Rodrigues,
    Amazing Machines
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
    • Informative Informative x 2
  4. gabrielrodrigues

    gabrielrodrigues Member

    Messages:
    35
    Here's a quick video by Upright using the AM104 with a Flame 4Vox:

     
  5. sowari

    sowari Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    28,400
    Thanks for your detailed reply :cool:

    I actually bought the AM104 CV Mixer this morning and i own a UltraLitemk3 Firewire.

    have you used the UltaLite on its own with no help from something like Expert Sleepers stuff? the reason I ask is that I am finding it difficult to calibrate the pitch on to get an equal tempered scale. and yes, i have downloaded the AM 103 as well.

    sowari
     
  6. gabrielrodrigues

    gabrielrodrigues Member

    Messages:
    35
    Hey Sowari,

    You are very welcome :D

    Have you tried this one:

    https://www.native-instruments.com/en/reaktor-community/reaktor-user-library/entry/show/9439/

    If you own a DC Coupled Interface there's no need for the Expert Sleepers stuff, unless you want the extra functionality, a DC Coupled Interface usually ranges from -5...0...+5V, the Expert Sleepers stuff usually ranges from -10...0...+10V, which is spot on the range of most Eurorack modules, so if you want full range then the ES stuff is the way to go, now, if you can work with the reduced range of a DC Coupled Interface there's no need for additional hardware. You've got 10 CV Outputs on that Ultralite mk3, that's a lot, if you need an extended range for a specific module you could add a Unit Gain Mixer to your Modular, then you can sum 2 Outputs with the same signal for something around -9...0...+9V, these are cheap and small. Keep in mind that it must be a "DC Coupled" Unit Gain Mixer.

    At the moment there's no automatic VCO Calibration available for Blocks, but that's about to change:



    Cheers!
    Gabriel Rodrigues,
    Amazing Machines
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. sowari

    sowari Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    28,400
    @gabrielrodrigues thank you very much for answering my questions :cool:

    i had not downloaded the ES3 V/Oct Pitch tracking and gate scaling utility - i will.

    cheers

    sowari
     
  8. gabrielrodrigues

    gabrielrodrigues Member

    Messages:
    35
    Hey Sowari,

    I'm happy to help :D

    We just linked to this thread from the AM104 product page, there seems to be a lot of doubt on this subject, so I'm glad to answer questions.

    Cheers!
    Gabriel Rodrigues,
    Amazing Machines
     
  9. Aaron McPherson

    Aaron McPherson Member

    Messages:
    82
    So, if I'm understanding all this, there's no reason to buy this module if you don't have external modular hardware to connect via control voltages? I bought Reaktor Blocks as an alternative to Eurorack, not as a way to connect to it.
     
  10. sowari

    sowari Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    28,400
    did you watch the promo video above in the first post? that shows an example within a Reaktor Ensemble just using Blocks.

    sowari
     
  11. Aaron McPherson

    Aaron McPherson Member

    Messages:
    82
    OK, thanks, but I'm still not seeing what this does that is different from the Util CV Mix block, besides allowing you to mute the CV inputs.
     
  12. gabrielrodrigues

    gabrielrodrigues Member

    Messages:
    35
    Hey Aaron,

    As Sowari has pointed out, you can use any of our Blocks within Reaktor Blocks, the ability to properly accommodate Analog Control Voltages is only an extra feature. So, here are the advantages of the AM104 compared to the Util CV Mix, regarding their use within the Blocks Environment:

    - AM104 is an 8 Channel CV Mixer while the Util CV Mix is a 4 Channel CV Mixer
    - AM104 allows for precise adjustment of the Input and Output Levels using the Value Display
    - AM104 has Pre-Fader Metering on Inputs 1, 2, 3 and 4
    - AM104 has a dBFS Peak Display which allows you to keep the Sum of all channels in Range with other Block Modules, specially with the Amazing Machines Oscillators because you can adjust the Level of their Pitch Modulation Inputs in Semitones or Cents

    Cheers!
    Gabriel Rodrigues,
    Amazing Machines
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1

Share This Page