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Orthogonal Devices ER-101 / ER-102 Modular Synthesizers
Old 2nd April 2019
  #1
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ArtFluids's Avatar
Orthogonal Devices ER-101 / ER-102

I couldn't find a thread about this sequencer. I have a couple questions:

When clocking it externally how can it possibly make proper time divisions from a clock that just started? Or is there a slight delay while it waits for several ticks before actually starting?

I just don't understand how it has enough information to divide a signal until it has seen at least a couple ticks to infer where the divisions would properly go.

Can it handle really high-density clock signals like FSK or DIN-SYNC?

I'm mostly just wondering if it can actually handle basically being a drop-in replacement for the old Roland MC-4.

I figure the MC-4 had a decent enough PPQN (I'm pretty sure it was variable though) to do swing and stuff properly, but the ER-101's PPQN seems to be entirely dependent on what clock you feed it and how you decide to divide or multiply that clock.

If the clock is just a straightforward basic clock like the Volca's output (for example) then there's not enough ticks in there for swing because on the ER-101 and the MC-4 swing is entirely a manual process of subtracting length and and adding length to every other note, which I think is awesome and allows for interesting sequences. So it would have to be divided enough from 16th notes to allow micro adjustments to the note timing right?

But that means with something like a Volca if you want something finer than 16th notes then it couldn't possibly play in time with it the moment you hit play right?

And look, I have a Cirklon so why would I want an ER-101? Because I think it seems like a really cool workflow and would be a lot more 'Vince Clarke' and maybe even more snappy and precise than the Cirklon. Sometimes the Cirklon can't send out those CV signals fast enough for me especially if they're coming from the AUX tracks, I can hear an audible delay of the signal not changing fast enough.

I'm not saying I want to sell my Cirklon and use that to build a rig around ER-101's but I can't say it hasn't crossed my mind. I would just lose my ability to sequence MIDI equipment and that would be a bummer.

I guess I just wish Orthogonal Devices would just make one with a clock inside that you can override if you want to. Perhaps if OD made a standalone ER-101/102 and beefed it up to 12 or 16 tracks that would be just awesome. But that's comically excessive and I could do that by just buying like four and clocking them together (Melody A, Melody B, Percussion A, Percussion B).

Also not to mention I like that the ER-101 sequence files are just stored in XML format so it would be trivially easy for me to write a software program to make ER-101 compositions if I wanted to. Every competent programming language has libraries for reading and writing XML. It would be a lot of fun to write some generative sequence software in Java or C++.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #2
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void23's Avatar
Like most modular sequencers, it's a step per click and starts immediately. If your clock is all over the place (sometimes something one does intentionally), the ER-101 will follow whatever mess you send it. It doesn't guess or calculate a tempo. If you think about it, it doesn't even know or care what tempo is. Where this becomes useful is that with a good CV processor like Maths, it's really easy to add swing or variability to a sequence by adding subtle delays to your clock signal.

You also program it to whatever PPQN you want ... Each event is has a start and a gate length based on clock ticks. If you're doing standard 4PPQN, then your program quarter notes as 4 ticks. If you want to do 24PPQN, then you program it as 24 ticks for a quarter note.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #3
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ModularOverkill's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtFluids View Post
And look, I have a Cirklon so why would I want an ER-101? Because I think it seems like a really cool workflow and would be a lot more 'Vince Clarke' and maybe even more snappy and precise than the Cirklon. Sometimes the Cirklon can't send out those CV signals fast enough for me especially if they're coming from the AUX tracks, I can hear an audible delay of the signal not changing fast enough.
The Cirklon thing sounds like a bug -- have you posted to forums or the FB page?

For more "Vince Clarke" you really want a multichannel step sequencer such as an A-156, Oberkorn, or similar.
Old 4th April 2019
  #4
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ArtFluids's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ModularOverkill View Post
For more "Vince Clarke" you really want a multichannel step sequencer such as an A-156, Oberkorn, or similar.
Well I want something like the MC-4 specifically because that's what Vince Clarke used for my favorite albums he did. Chorus and I Say, I Say, I Say.
Old 5th April 2019
  #5
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x2mirko's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtFluids View Post
When clocking it externally how can it possibly make proper time divisions from a clock that just started? Or is there a slight delay while it waits for several ticks before actually starting?

I just don't understand how it has enough information to divide a signal until it has seen at least a couple ticks to infer where the divisions would properly go.
Division in modular is generally trivial: You just leave out clock pulses. If you set the divider to be 4, you advance a step on the first clock pulse, then don't do anything on the next 3 pulses and then advance a step on the next again.

The tricky thing to do properly is multiplication, as properly multiplying a clock on the first pulse would require knowledge about future pulses that you cannot possibly have. The ER-101 has a very good and stable implementation for clock multiplication, but it will still require a few pulses before it is at the proper tempo. The manual has a section in which the implementation as well as the important takeaways are explained. Most notably, the synthesized (multiplied) clock is always in phase with the incoming clock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtFluids View Post
Can it handle really high-density clock signals like FSK or DIN-SYNC?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtFluids View Post
If the clock is just a straightforward basic clock like the Volca's output (for example) then there's not enough ticks in there for swing because on the ER-101 and the MC-4 swing is entirely a manual process of subtracting length and and adding length to every other note, which I think is awesome and allows for interesting sequences. So it would have to be divided enough from 16th notes to allow micro adjustments to the note timing right?
You can always multiply the clock up internally. As long as your low-resolution clock is stable, multiplication is not an issue and allows you to do proper swing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtFluids View Post
But that means with something like a Volca if you want something finer than 16th notes then it couldn't possibly play in time with it the moment you hit play right?
Again, have a look at the manual section on multiplication. You are right that it doesn't stay in time for a few pulses, but it quickly "catches up".
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