Tag Archives: divider

A novel and affordable MIDI to clock design - Erica Synths - Midi to Clock V2 is here

In the beginning it was dark… I was using an MSY2 from Doepfer to sync my QCD with my Electribe MIDI sequencer which is in charge of controlling my Vermona DRM1. Now I could replace it with something monstrous from Erica Synths. The new version of the MIDI to Clock module is out now!
midiclk
Erica Synths – Midi to Clock V2

I used to set the divisions of the MIDI clock with DIP switches on the Doepfer MSY2 which are cost-effective, yet it needs no proof to see that those were not designed for daily use and are obviously less durable. But now the MIDI to Clock deals with that on the front panel with enough immediate divisions at hand. Setting different divisions is no big deal with deeper MIDI-CV interfaces  like Yarns from Mutable or the Shuttle Control from Endoprhines. However this new module has an ultimate winning point: it has both MIDI in and out mode.

What does this mean? You are able to control your MIDI device with clocks coming from anywhere in your modular system (LFO’s, clock modules, stepped random voltage generators, etc.). Forget “setting up and playing”, say hello to “setting up while playing”. Want async or div/mult changes based on your Midi devices or analog clocks (which are more easily bouncing and with a little modulation can have more life which is hard to emulate digitally) at any time with ease? There we have it for a really good price and with great ease: as the module can be switched to “MIDI out mode”! How amazing would it be to send some “analog storms” towards your previously calm and straightforward MIDI-devices?

It is also worth mentioning that the module is very slim (can be housed in skiff cases!), and ivery low current (25mA altogether on the +12V rail).

The built-in Start/Stop function is also available in both modes (It used to be pretty frustrating that with plenty of modules you just had a clock signal which stayed there forever.).
So it is no doubt that it was worth waiting for a gamechanger in live performance and studio routing!

5x4=20 - 4ms is 20 years old! A thank-you with personal highlights

4ms Company might be a maker that all of us should be proud of thanks to their innovative aim. Even if we were not that interested in the “maths” in general, it would bring new life into your sounds’ temporal dimensions. Their latest sound processors are of a different generation, however, I do see the effort of them getting to a novel aim. The company’s recent 20 year anniversary being still around, I thought I would show you my personal highlights from 4ms.  
New dimensions in rhythms and beats

In my opinion, the 4ms Company products that have redefined modular synthesis and have saved it from the lovely but obviously limited linearity of sequencer-based “Berlin school” types of electronic music are still their clock modules…

Let’s recap. Take a clock divider. Give it a master clock, e.g. an LFO. The divider will spit out divisions that were set by the outputs. Like on the A-160-2 Doepfer Clock Divider:

a-160-2-clock-behaviour
The scheme of the A-160-2 clock divider

a-160-2


So far, this is just a very badly designed “snake game” in which the snake cannot be navigated through the wall. What you would really want is to maneuver your snake through the walls, because this way you earn your points rcdmore easily yet with more variety.  Now this is exactly

4ms Shuffling Clock Multiplier

what the Rotating Clock Divider and the Shuffling Clock Multiplier modules do. They rotate the output signals, so each divided clock signal appears on a different output as soon as you add an input signal to the Rotate input. So your kick suddenly starts trilling, your hihats suddenly slow down, claps start to rattle, envelopes go mad, etc. It may sound mathematical and generative, yet it still pleases your senses. You can even fine tune these and get new modes with their expanders (SCM Breakout), (RCD Breakout).

The clock divisions can be rotated on the 4ms RCD
The clock divisions can be rotated on the 4ms RCD

I would never say something stupid that “this had not been done before by anybody”. Obviously, if you patch the Doepfer outputs into an A-151 Quad Sequential Switch, something similar would already be happening. But honestly, how many times would you hear that compared to the relatively linear maybe ratcheting ways of clock dividers in the electronic music of the last 20 years?

Another thing I really like in this aim is addressing and challenging simplicity. Clock signals can be conceptualised in such a narrow way: saying “on and off” + “the time between these” would cover most of it, however with enough humbleness you can in fact reshape even this basic idea. Thanks to these modules, clock signals now – literally – add new dimensions to your rhythmic patterns, changing the topology of your timing in your system. Not to mention, that at audio rates they can function as sub-octave or sub-interval generators as well. Imagine crunchy chords, that can become really lush when you process them with a filter…

qcd_final_frontcfqcd_exp_final_frontdcAfter the RCD and the SCM modules, let me praise the mighty king of clocks, the Quad Clock Distributor – and its expander. The QCD’s 4 independently resettable, CV controllable clock divider/multiplier sub-units powered up with the expansion module  will provide you with enough rhythmic patterns till the end of civilisation. I have had it for 2 years, and I still find it really wonderfully inviting to work on new settings, not to even mention that I have mostly OR combined them… and yes, I wish you would forget anybody’s word being concerned about the width of the QCD expander. I would not even say that its an expander, it must be the end of the module’s story that is trying to tell you. Thanks to the pulse-width modulation, gate and trigger delay possibilities of the clocks and the attenuators, you will get the most delicate swings and accentuations in your music that you were dreaming about. Seriously.  Listen to this.

Or that one.

Maybe even that one. 

Last but not least, I would also love to thank them for the QPLFO and the PEG, which also expanded and colored the concepts of LFO’s and envelopes (slope generators in this case). However, you must have realised which my favourite modules are. And who would not dream about the spaceship-style interface of the VCA Matrix?

Clean power for everyone

Despite being tempted to start criticising for the price ROW POWER (30 and 40) is the way to go.

First of all, no power module gives you enough on the +5V rail except this module. I have seen systems freezing or failing enough times in eurorack cases packed with enough power-hungry modules, but not with the black ROW POWER 40. So here you have an ever-cool (even on its front panel you would hardly feel much of warmth), super slim power supply module with clean sounding and plenty of power! I said it right when I said clean sounding! I definitely felt that even my audio modules sounded more “powerful” (a thing which I hesitated to believe when I was reading up about it at a forum topic). 

Innovative digital audio processors

Don’t get me wrong: I have no bad things to say on the later generation of 4ms products. As concepts they are carving out the new digital realms and powers of eurorack. So I can only say that I still have a lack of enough personal experience with these modules: I have not even tried the Dual Looping Delay, and I am still new to the Spectral Multiband Resonator – it has been installed in one of the racks at the Analogue Zone showroom now, and has already got much use from the team and the guests. But as for audio, it must be a really subjective story. I have always liked different kinds of rhtyhms but I have always been picky – as everyone else – on sound. The SMR has to be used with the right kind of audio input and I would definitely spice it up to get rid of the somewhat recogniseable resonance tones. Think about something like the Trogotronic Tube VCA, the Erica Fusion Tube Mixer or the Kasleder Acid Fuzz, and you are on a really good way to get back to organic tones. Check out Divkid’s video on it – or check it out AGAIN if you already have:

One last thing… I have to say that the generally I have seen this company’s aims towards the customers. 4ms has always been reasonable with pricing, and they even offer some of their projects as kits as much more affordable products. And as I said, they are letting you sorting it out: they are not forcing a fixed musical concept from a certain era – which would be no offence for me, as I am also following a tradition of electronic music – they are saying do whatever sounds, whatever rhythms, at ease. because we have been able to give the space and opportunity for all these. Long live 4ms!
 
4ms Company might be a maker that all of us should be proud of thanks to their innovative aim. Even if we were not that interested in the “maths” in general, it would . Their latest sound processors are of a different generation, however, I do see the effort of them getting to a novel aim. The company’s recent 20 year anniversary being still around, I thought I would show you my personal highlights from 4ms.  
New dimensions in rhythms and beats

In my opinion, the 4ms Company products that have redefined modular synthesis and have saved it from the lovely but obviously limited linearity of sequencer-based “Berlin school” types of electronic music are still their clock modules…

Let’s recap. Take a clock divider. Give it a master clock, e.g. an LFO. The divider will spit out divisions that were set by the outputs. Like on the A-160-2 Doepfer Clock Divider:

a-160-2-clock-behaviour
The scheme of the A-160-2 clock divider

a-160-2

 


So far, this is just a very badly designed “snake game” in which the snake cannot be navigated through the wall. What you would really want is to maneuver your snake through the walls, because this way you earn your points rcdmore easily yet with more variety.  Now this is exactly

4ms Shuffling Clock Multiplier

what the Rotating Clock Divider and the Shuffling Clock Multiplier modules do. They rotate the output signals, so each divided clock signal appears on a different output as soon as you add an input signal to the Rotate input. So your kick suddenly starts trilling, your hihats suddenly slow down, claps start to rattle, envelopes go mad, etc. It may sound mathematical and generative, yet it still pleases your senses. You can even fine tune these and get new modes with their expanders (SCM Breakout), (RCD Breakout).

 

The clock divisions can be rotated on the 4ms RCD
The clock divisions can be rotated on the 4ms RCD

I would never say something stupid that “this had not been done before by anybody”. Obviously, if you patch the Doepfer outputs into an A-151 Quad Sequential Switch, something similar would already be happening. But honestly, how many times would you hear that compared to the relatively linear maybe ratcheting ways of clock dividers in the electronic music of the last 20 years?

Another thing I really like in this aim is addressing and challenging simplicity. Clock signals can be conceptualised in such a narrow way: saying “on and off” + “the time between these” would cover most of it, however with enough humbleness you can in fact reshape even this basic idea. Thanks to these modules, clock signals now – literally – add new dimensions to your rhythmic patterns, changing the topology of your timing in your system. Not to mention, that at audio rates they can function as sub-octave or sub-interval generators as well. Imagine crunchy chords, that can become really lush when you process them with a filter…

qcd_final_frontcf qcd_exp_final_frontdcAfter the RCD and the SCM modules, let me praise the mighty king of clocks, the Quad Clock Distributor – and its expander. The QCD’s 4 independently resettable, CV controllable clock divider/multiplier sub-units powered up with the expansion module  will provide you with enough rhythmic patterns till the end of civilisation. I have had it for 2 years, and I still find it really wonderfully inviting to work on new settings, not to even mention that I have mostly OR combined them… and yes, I wish you would forget anybody’s word being concerned about the width of the QCD expander. I would not even say that its an expander, it must be the end of the module’s story that is trying to tell you. Thanks to the pulse-width modulation, gate and trigger delay possibilities of the clocks and the attenuators, you will get the most delicate swings and accentuations in your music that you were dreaming about. Seriously.  Listen to this.

Or that one.

Maybe even that one. 

Last but not least, I would also love to thank them for the QPLFO and the PEG, which also expanded and colored the concepts of LFO’s and envelopes (slope generators in this case). However, you must have realised which my favourite modules are. And who would not dream about the spaceship-style interface of the VCA Matrix?

Clean power for everyone

Despite being tempted to start criticising for the price ROW POWER (30 and 40) is the way to go.

First of all, no power module gives you enough on the +5V rail except this module. I have seen systems freezing or failing enough times in eurorack cases packed with enough power-hungry modules, but not with the black ROW POWER 40. So here you have an ever-cool (even on its front panel you would hardly feel much of warmth), super slim power supply module with clean sounding and plenty of power! I said it right when I said clean sounding! I definitely felt that even my audio modules sounded more “powerful” (a thing which I hesitated to believe when I was reading up about it at a forum topic). 

Innovative digital audio processors

Don’t get me wrong: I have no bad things to say on the later generation of 4ms products. As concepts they are carving out the new digital realms and powers of eurorack. So I can only say that I still have a lack of enough personal experience with these modules: I have not even tried the Dual Looping Delay, and I am still new to the Spectral Multiband Resonator – it has been installed in one of the racks at the Analogue Zone showroom now, and has already got much use from the team and the guests. But as for audio, it must be a really subjective story. I have always liked different kinds of rhtyhms but I have always been picky – as everyone else – on sound. The SMR has to be used with the right kind of audio input and I would definitely spice it up to get rid of the somewhat recogniseable resonance tones. Think about something like the Trogotronic Tube VCA, the Erica Fusion Tube Mixer or the Kasleder Acid Fuzz, and you are on a really good way to get back to organic tones. Check out Divkid’s video on it – or check it out AGAIN if you already have:

One last thing… I have to say that the generally I have seen this company’s aims towards the customers. 4ms has always been reasonable with pricing, and they even offer some of their projects as kits as much more affordable products. And as I said, they are letting you sorting it out: they are not forcing a fixed musical concept from a certain era – which would be no offence for me, as I am also following a tradition of electronic music – they are saying do whatever sounds, whatever rhythms, at ease, because we have been able to give ourselves the space and opportunity for all these. Long live 4ms!