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Reaktor met Eurorack, and you won’t believe what happened next

Written by Site Update on September 21st, 2015

Reaktor Blocks Love Eurorack from listentoaheartbeat on Vimeo.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. Can you combine computer software with analog hardware? Can you route control signal from computer software to hardware? Can you combine something accessible with a grid (like a drum machine) with more advanced, open-ended machines with wires? Yes, yes, and yes.

Does all modular synthesis stuff sound like indecipherable noodling? Do you have to make a religious decision between analog and digital, hardware and computer? Do all modular setups have to be sprawling rigs that eat up all your money and home? No, no, and no.

Make what you want.

Here’s a lovely jam as Reaktor 6 (itself applying good Eurorack design lessons to software) meets up with a reasonably compact hardware setup. What I think they have in common: an investment of time in getting expressive with good software or hardware can be long-lasting.

Oh, yeah, and I found myself bobbing around to this, which is always a nice feeling.

Description:

A bunch of Bento Box 8 Steps sequencers disturbing each other and controlling a Eurorack modular synthesizer. All sequencing and modulation coming from Reaktor Blocks, except for some humble human interaction. Maschine joins the party with bass drum, hi-hats, and rim shot.
All control signals from Reaktor Blocks are directly routed to the Eurorack modular synthesizer via DC-coupled converters (Expert Sleepers ES-3).
No quantization used on the hardware side. The pitch scaling in Reaktor Blocks (value of 0.1/oct) plays nicely with the ES-3. Since its output voltage range is roughly ±10 V you get approximately 1 V/oct. Obviously tracking is not perfectly accurate without calibration — in my case it was off 1 semitone over 4 oct.

Now, as it happens, the strong NI presence there is because this comes from inside NI. (That’s actually reassuring, as they’ve had more access to Reaktor 6 than most people, which gives them additional time to work this up!)

There are more notes. The main thing is that you find some audio interface with DC-coupled converters, or — as they did here — use add-on hardware to do the trick. Once you’ve got that, your computer is part of your analog setup thanks to its audio interface.

All signals from Reaktor Blocks are directly fed to the Eurorack modules via DC-coupled converters (Expert Sleepers ES-3).
No quantization used on the hardware side. The pitch scaling in Reaktor Blocks (value of 0.1/oct) plays nicely with the ES-3. Since its output voltage range is roughly ±10 V you get approximately 1 V/oct. Obviously tracking is not perfectly accurate without calibration — in my case it was off 1 semitone over 4 oct.
In Reaktor, five Bento Box 8 Steps sequencers send their pitch, gate, and velocity signals out to the Eurorack synth via the ES-3, and additionally disturb each other in interesting ways by cross-modulation of the the global sequencer parameters (DIRECTION, STEPS, OFFSET).
The sequencers are clocked and reset from three Util Note In Blocks (we didn’t have the clock divider ready when I shot this video).
A Bento Box Env is providing additional modulation via the ES-3.
Voice 1: e350 going into an Optodist and a Toppobrillo Multifilter, with some broken echo added by a Phonogene. Pitch and wavetable position controlled by 8 Steps sequencers. The Bento Box Env is controlling the Gain on the Optodist.
Voice 2: Res-4 pinged directly from 8 Steps sequencer (its variable gate length is handy for this). Pitch and glide are provided by another sequencer.
Voice 3: Cyclebox II in mode 0000, going into two chained channels on the QMMG, struck by an 8 Steps sequencer (again, its variable gate length comes in handy). Pitch and IFM index controlled by 8 Steps sequencers.

Last comment: I love that the people who work in this industry are also really fine musicians. Balancing work and music is a challenge for a lot of us, so it’s an inspiration. The times when you said “don’t quit your day job” are over — people with day jobs make great music. And you can catch main(void) live at about blank next weekend. I have to say, I can’t imagine any city in the world where you can spot the engineers making the tools behind decks and live sets more or less every week.

Previously:
Here’s a visual tour of what’s new in Reaktor 6

The post Reaktor met Eurorack, and you won’t believe what happened next appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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