Matrix

Modular and other sound devices from BugBrand.

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BugBrand
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Matrix

Post by BugBrand »

I don't usually post too much for discussion during development, but thought I could see what people think this time. Maybe I'm unsure on demand, maybe I realise already there should be some changes, maybe I just want to experiment with discussion..

First off, just to be clear - this project isn't really a main focus for me at the moment - I've bandied around ideas of Matrix Mixers for several years (there was the 4x4 in the modular line and I almost got going on a very big mixer collaboration project a few years back..). So, don't yet count on this actually ever reaching fruition - and anything will likely be some way off anyways. (did I kill the buzz enough already?!). As I said, partly I'm interested to see if people are interested!

I've seen a few PASSIVE Matrix Mixers appearing of late. But for proper fidelity and control, I really think ACTIVE is the only way - just as with regular mixers.
How big? Well, you'll almost always want more inputs than outputs (so some can be used as effects returns most likely).
Does a 6 x 4 provide enough, but not too much?

This initial iteration has:
- input preamps for line level signals (fine with modular though AC coupled, of course) + simple clip level leds (at this stage, keeping it simple)
- 24 knob matrix
- output buffer / level controls

Having tried this, I do feel already there is need for:
- improved signal level indication - 2 or more leds per input and maybe the same for each output.
- still doubtful about whether phase and/or boost/pad switches may be good
- maybe impedance balance the outputs.
- scribble space (white rectangles) on the panel to note input/outputs.

One other thought would be to treat the lower two rows differently - change one row to PAN and the other to LEVEL. Saying that, same could be done for the upper two rows too. It is a subtle but perhaps useful difference.

Oh and I haven't yet tried any form of zener/diode level limiting - something I've used a bit of in recent designs & which could well be useful here - - definitely something for me to try in the next stage.

The build size is twice the length of my current standalones (ie. 6 FracWidth) with internal DCDC power conversion. Decent, but not over-the-top-$$$ opamps inside.

I don't think anything really exists along these lines at present?

(sorry for the slightly shitty picture)
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flippantminister
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Post by flippantminister »

i would definitely be interested in an active matrix mixer. i had a passive one for a while and it didnt work for me. 6x4 would be sufficient. signal level leds would be a rad bonus. and having all this in bugbrand blue would be a major selling point.
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Post by numan7 »

:tu: sounds very, very interesting to me!

:hmm: 6 x 4 means i can patch it as 4 x 2 with 2 channels of feedback (that can be routed through a pair of vcas, for example). that should be sufficient for my purposes, although i wouldn't if there were another pair of inputs.

i would be really keen on mute switches, for each input-output pairing.

and i am curious about how having one row of level pots and another row of pan pots would work - does it become a 6 x 2 mixer then?

cheers
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dadek
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Post by dadek »

super-interested. i have a matrix, and would much rather deal with an active mixer.
i'd love a way to link, for a 12x4 or just a bigger one.
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Post by Zeitdehner »

8_)
:hmm:

6x4 seems like a sensible size for the matrix, the same as the Hordijk one I use.
Would be cool though to be able to input DC signals as well as AC signals, and to have bi-polar level control over the nodes (matrix intersections)...must be technically feasible, I think ( maybe the cost would get kind of prohibitive...)
Oh, and double up inputs and outputs with bananas and 1/4" jacks (or 1/8" jacks) to be able to crosspatch banana modulars, jack modulars and outboard gear ... that's what I'm gonna do by modding a passive matrix mixer :mrgreen:

Also, it feels more natural to me to have input level controls at the "bottom" of the unit...but this is just a matter of getting used to...

:tu:
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Post by pugix »

I wonder if 6 inputs is too many. I recently built some DIY active matrix mixers. (I color coded the jacks according to BugBrand!)

http://pugix.com/synth/the-blue-panel/

I considered a 6 by 4, but then asked myself how often I would want to actually mix 6 signals together. I ended up making a 4 x 4 and a 4 x 2. That gave me 8 inputs and 6 outputs and seemed more flexible (not to mention that it fit my panel space well). I think in stand-alone I would prefer to have two 4 x 4, rather than a 6 x 4.

I do like the idea of master input and output level controls (your yellow and green knobs) for the columns and rows, although I think the master input level controls might be the more useful of the two, if I had to limit panel space.
Richard
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Post by BugBrand »

Choice of 6 ins / 4 outs well..
I was seeing that as 3 or 4 mono sources, 2 effects sends/returns and stereo output. (maybe I'm thinking too boring though..)

As I say (replying to Richard/Pugix) - I do think you tend to need more inputs due to effects returns.

The PAN idea mentioned - no, doesn't make it a 6 x 2 - works like on a 2-buss mixer, for example -- so pan to LEFT for channel 1, pan to right for channel 2. This'd make the lower 2 channels more easily useable for standard stereo setup. (perhaps?!)

Linking -- yeah, dunno... I'm generally liking thinking in self-contained approaches at the moment.
Mute Switches -- yes, maybe..

AC/DC -- DC doesn't really make sense when you have preamps etc - this is designed for line signals - modular AUDIO signals will work fine, but modular CV signals don't make sense for it. (passive matrix is fine for that, actually)

Cheers so far.
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tIB
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Post by tIB »

Mute switches and ouput blinknelights would make me happy.

I wonder if a lesser specced/slimmer CV matrix mixer might be a useful thing to have in the standalone format? (perhaps even just a couple of a similar design to the dual DC mixer)

Anyway, interested to see where this ends up... I hope to be in for one.
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Post by otoskope »

6x4 is a good size. I'm a bit hesitant about making the lower 2 output tracks a stereo track by having Level+Pan instead of two levels. In theory you can do the same things, but you interact with it differently. Maybe it would be good, allowing it to be used as a normal mixer with two sends, ans you say, Tom. Maybe it complicates the more wild matrix-specific uses.

Bananas+jacks would certainly be a plus for us bananaheads. I'd love to have a mixer like this as the output stage on my modular...

You could add a bus connector for a flat cable on the PCB to allow for channel expansion. Shouldn't complicate the circuit too much (but I'm no expert).

Regarding zener limiting - might be a nice feature, but a bit off target. I think high headroom is more important.

/Palle
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Post by cebec »

otoskope wrote:
Bananas+jacks would certainly be a plus for us bananaheads. I'd love to have a mixer like this as the output stage on my modular...

/Palle
I second that!
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Post by ear ear »

This would be great! :) Yes to banana and 1/4", balanced outs, and some scope for inversion/feedback.
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Post by KNYST »

Don't know if it's just the photo, but those nanas look extra colourful... What brand are those, and where did you buy 'em?
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Post by pugix »

Johnson/Emerson banana jacks from Mouser. Green part #530-1080904-1. Photoshop enhanced. :mrgreen:
Richard
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Post by KNYST »

^
Johnson/Emersons? Now that's some serious Photoshopping :hihi:

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Post by soup »

Yes please.
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Post by numan7 »

BugBrand wrote:Mute Switches -- yes, maybe..
:party::hail: hooray, tho i would also be just fine with the original design shown on p1 (esp if items such as click/thud-free operation of the switches adds signiciantly to product cost and development time - knowing :bugbrand: tho, i think i can solidly hope for clever solutions).

cheers
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Post by BugBrand »

Funny - I was just thinking on the bus back to Bristol today that I'd not progressed at all with the matrix ideas and wondered if anyone would notice sometime.. !!
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Post by opsysbug »

I'm still in love with the Matrix Mixer!

Happy Xmas Tom!
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Post by numan7 »

:tu: i actually woke up thinking about the :bugbrand: matrix this morning (i believe it came in at the end of a dream concerning ciat-lonbarde instruments, where i had too many outputs that i wanted to mix).... anyways, happy winter holidays all!

cheers
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Post by slow_riot »

matrix mixing is great. imo it works best with level control on the inputs and using switches to add an input onto a specified output rather than a bank of pots. becomes a very usable calculator in that instance!

my Hinton SwitchMix is very well designed. I use the Trimmer module before hand, and each input is automatically daisychained to the the input below it. There are also switches to invert these inputs.
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Post by wednesdayayay »

I'm looking for a matrix mixer solution currently for my ciat lonbarde setup. I love your current standalone solutions I'll have to watch your site :bacon:
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Post by diasporos »

wednesdayayay wrote:I'm looking for a matrix mixer solution currently for my ciat lonbarde setup. I love your current standalone solutions I'll have to watch your site :bacon:
Have you checked out the Repeater Electronics matrices? Passive 4x4. I have two and they are great for CL gear though some amplification after the signal helps.
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Post by wednesdayayay »

what do you use to amp?
sh is the sound of data
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Post by Kalerne »

Dear Bug,

Do you still have plan to work on this matrix mixer ?
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BugBrand
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Post by BugBrand »

Unfortunately it seems to be an area I only occasionally come back to - I did have another bash at ideas over the summer, but still no real progress. (I have far too many such ideas stuck in early-stage limbo..)
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