Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

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DomIndus
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Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by DomIndus »

Hey girls and boys,
"Matrix mixer" is a worsd I read often associated with the "Oh woman/man, this opens me a new world of wonders" reaction.
Then I decided to go this road myself but before diving into it and buy 5 matrixes because you'll end up to advise "buy both/all", I want to hear more about your usage of this kind of module and their differences.

From what I understand, there's:
- pin matrix, (ex: FSS MTX9 Pin Matrix)which is designed exlusively for routing. They usually have a lots of in and outs but no controls which means that attenuation if desired has to be taken by another module
- matrix mixer (ex: doepfer 138m, NLC clump) which are big mixers. Fewer ins/outs than the pin but integrated attenuverter/attenuators and even for some CV controllable
- bastard matrix (ex: Instruo Lion, Livestock Electronics Maze) which have special features (Lion send and return) and / or pratical but maybe not so practical feature (Attenuators in Maze...)

What's your preferenhces for what kind of usage. Examples could be great to help to figure out the thing.

I own a Dopefer A-138m since few days and for now, the only thiong I've experimented in to plug 4 lfo in inputs and produce 4 mix of these lfo as outputs with different level, one of them goinf back into the rate CV on a lfo.

Thanks in advance
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NoGuitars
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by NoGuitars »

I have a Doepfer A-138M and used it almost exclusively for CV mixing.

A possible patch would be VCO to HPF to LPF to VCA to... another VCA


To the A138-M:
Sequence 1 (main sequence, sends V/oct to VCO) sends gates to EG to input 1
Sequence 2 sends gates to EG2 to input 2
Sequence 3 sends raw CV to input 3
A free cycling Function generator to input 4

From the A138-M:
Out 1 to HPF FM
Out 2 to LPF FM
Out 3 to VCA1 CV
Out 4 to VCA2 CV

The whole idea is then to "play" the matrix mixer together with playing the sequencers and envelopes/function generators and find (often polymetric) grooves. Dynamic grooves with accented notes.
The 2 VCAs in series allow to have a busy pattern (VCA 1), which then gets tamed down by the 2nd VCA.



To be honest, lately my A-138M gets little use as I got a Frap Tools Falistri, which is a dual Function Generator with a bunch of CV outs (max out, multiplied out, attenuverted outs, uni- and bipolar outs) and thus reduces the need to mix elsewhere.
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fitzgreyve
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by fitzgreyve »

Moog 984 (in euro): built from AMSynths PCB.
Audio only mixer - 2 output channels for main mix output, 2 output channels for effects send (then back into 1 or two of the inputs).
Under developement:
- CV2MIDI
- Euro Moog 912 Envelope Follower
- Euro Moog 1125 Sample and Hold
- 1630 Frequency Shifter (possibly!).
---------------------------------------
https://fitzgreyve2.blogspot.com/
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studio460
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by studio460 »

Been eyeing the A-138m for a while but hesitate only due its large footprint. My application is an audio-only mixer because I have a ton of sources which work well when used concurrently, but in differing proportions. I would be able to send four different mixes to my effects-chain or wherever they need to go since they're like "voices in a crowd," which they literally are—mostly playback devices, buffer/recorders, all typically spewing synthetic-speech or formant-sounds.

I have two WMD Performance Mixers plus the requisite Doepfer slimline quad-LFOs and FrapTools' 321s needed to automate panning/fading, but I do need more sub-mixing capability. Maybe there's a more sophisticated or novel approach to the matrix-mixer which would help me bridge the gap between simple sub-mixers and my full-blown WMD mixers.
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metamorphmuses
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by metamorphmuses »

I am using a Herbs & Stones Pathways matrix mixer. It is not a Eurorack module, but it is Eurorack compatible.

It's 4 in and 4 out, with a modest but very convenient set of patchable (with 3.5mm jacks) on-board modulation utilities, and an input jack (also 3.5mm) for voltage control with associated attenuator on every junction. So, you've essentially got 16 VCAs to plug in envelopes, function generators or LFOs.

I was about to get an NLC Cluster or Clump, and weighing those two against the Low-Gain Electronics 4U Matrix Mixer with 3.5mm jacks, but then I was swayed by a combination of features of the Pathways: (1) it has the on-board modulation utilities; (2) I can use it with either Eurorack or standalone line-level gear, or both; (3) I don't need to find a case for it, because it comes in its own enclosure.

I really appreciate the VCAs at every junction, because then I can use CV to modulate and semi-automate a mix.
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Net
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by Net »

My experience of Eurorack matrices covers the following.

— Alyseum Matrix II
A tool (mainly) for small, highly refined, and above all preset-focused systems. I expected it to be a game-changer, and in the right context it is one. It just turned out Eurorack presets weren't for me after all - I found all the pre-patched system spaghetti messy, inefficient and sadly never fun.

— Doepfer A-138m
A clear all-round winner in size, cost, ergonomics, features. I love it and regret selling it.

— Future Sound Systems MTX9A
Also great. Pin patching is massive fun. But the 9x9 grid left me always in doubt about my patch choices. I'd like to try it in a very small system where no useful potential connection is excluded.

— NLC Clump
Personal favourite. Never not wonderful to use. Currently trying to figure out how to fit it back in.

To anyone considering a matrix, I at least have found it especially important to consider a) immediate access to nodes, which usually rules out any matrix with multiple functions per knob/button, b) a clear grid-based node layout (Alyseum's patchbay lacks this and consequently it was laborious to set up) and c) mixing/summing ability, which not all of them have - it may or may not be desirable depending on your purposes.
Last edited by Net on Fri Aug 26, 2022 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Garnoth
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by Garnoth »

I own a Doepfer a-138m and use it all the time. It can function as 4 simple attenuators or 3 attenuators with offsets in the worst case. Or as a simple mixer.

In the best case you can use it as modulation hub, mixing and feeding back CV. It’s just great for feedback patches and what sets it apart is the unipolar-bipolar switches and the ability to use channel 1 as offsets.
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by frenchcustard »

matrix mixers also work as a mixer with an effects send (or 2 or 3)
if it doesn't involve sonics, my interest in any module is in the 0% ballpark
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corex
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by corex »

I use an A-138m, usually for CV.

One typical patch would be to send pitch CV, velocity, aftertouch, and an LFO to the four inputs, and then use the different channels to create mixes for filters, VCA etc. Then you can dial in more pitch tracking here, more velocity there.
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by etckla »

Net wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 9:38 am
— Happy Nerding 2xSAM
Technically a 4-in, 2-out matrix mixer although without independent attenuation of each node. As it's AC coupled I use it exclusively for audio feedback patches (e.g. delays).
Tangent maybe but I don't get how this module can "technically" count as a matrix mixer. I dont know the technical definition but I'd expect a matrix mixer to have at least 2 independent mix outs that can provide different mixes of the same set of inputs :confused:
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Net
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by Net »

etckla wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 11:18 am
Net wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 9:38 am
— Happy Nerding 2xSAM
Technically a 4-in, 2-out matrix mixer although without independent attenuation of each node. As it's AC coupled I use it exclusively for audio feedback patches (e.g. delays).
Tangent maybe but I don't get how this module can "technically" count as a matrix mixer. I dont know the technical definition but I'd expect a matrix mixer to have at least 2 independent mix outs that can provide different mixes of the same set of inputs :confused:
Now you mention it, that's a detail I don't think occurred to me. The LR input normalisation doesn't amount to equivalent functionality. :doh: I'll edit the post - and ensure I know 'technically' what I'm talking about next time.
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by pelang »

ADDAC 807 5x3 stereo matrix (5 stereo channels x 3 stereo AUX channels)
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etckla
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by etckla »

Net wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 11:34 am
etckla wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 11:18 am
Net wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 9:38 am
— Happy Nerding 2xSAM
Technically a 4-in, 2-out matrix mixer although without independent attenuation of each node. As it's AC coupled I use it exclusively for audio feedback patches (e.g. delays).
Tangent maybe but I don't get how this module can "technically" count as a matrix mixer. I dont know the technical definition but I'd expect a matrix mixer to have at least 2 independent mix outs that can provide different mixes of the same set of inputs :confused:
Now you mention it, that's a detail I don't think occurred to me. The LR input normalisation doesn't amount to equivalent functionality. :doh: I'll edit the post - and ensure I know 'technically' what I'm talking about next time.
hah no worries. I like to call Noise Engineering Sinc Defero a 1x4 matrix mixer - it's a buffered mult with attentuators on each output. I have no idea if the definition technically holds though!
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by psirca »

CV mixing here too, LFos & Rnds into ins, outs to various mod ins or to quantizer and V/Oct.
Not A138m but a slightly cheaper/narrower version from Bear Modules
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/bearmodules-matrix-mixer
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mandarinpile
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by mandarinpile »

corex wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 11:07 am I use an A-138m, usually for CV.

One typical patch would be to send pitch CV, velocity, aftertouch, and an LFO to the four inputs, and then use the different channels to create mixes for filters, VCA etc. Then you can dial in more pitch tracking here, more velocity there.
This is a great tip for preparing a performance patch.
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closedLoop
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by closedLoop »

The 4ms VCA Matrix is worth a mention. It can operate just like a Matrix mixer, but has CV inputs to control the levels at any input point to the matrix. It also has soft mutes on each point in the matrix, which is great for performative use.

There a quite a few in Eurorack. I also have the Instruo Lion, Bear Matrix Mixer, Bragi Wyrd matrix mixer. The Bear matrix is very similar in functionality to the Doepfer, but with less hp.
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fastlanestranger
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by fastlanestranger »

Net wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 9:38 am
— NLC Clump
Personal favourite. Never not wonderful to use. Currently trying to figure out how to fit it back in.
After reading your take on this one, I looked it up and now have ordered one. This looks quite awesome!
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studio460
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by studio460 »

studio460 wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 5:18 am . . . Maybe there's a more sophisticated or novel approach to the matrix-mixer which would help me bridge the gap between simple sub-mixers and my full-blown WMD mixers.
I said that, then you posted this:
closedLoop wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 1:15 pm The 4ms VCA Matrix is worth a mention. It can operate just like a Matrix mixer, but has CV inputs to control the levels at any input point to the matrix. It also has soft mutes on each point in the matrix, which is great for performative use . . .
Yeah . . . that's what I am talking about! Thanks for reminding me about that one—was looking for a bit of CV-control. I also find push-button mutes to be particularly handy for what I do (e.g., PM Mutes for the WMD). But at over twice the price of the A-138m (albeit with a lot more functionality), I'm a bit gun-shy. Still, looks like I would like this one a lot.
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nios
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by nios »

If the 4ms VCA matrix counts (as it's technically also a ton of VCAs), that's what I use. I'm surprised there aren't more things like the 4ms one out there as it's a logical step up I'd think and it's capable of a lot more interesting things, particularly so in this day and age when you have things like the Ochd out there specifically designed to modulate a ton of stuff without just multing the same couple envs/LFOs. Otherwise these things seem generally more oriented towards tying together layers for performance.
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closedLoop
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by closedLoop »

studio460 wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 2:34 pm Yeah . . . that's what I am talking about! Thanks for reminding me about that one—was looking for a bit of CV-control. I also find push-button mutes to be particularly handy for what I do (e.g., PM Mutes for the WMD). But at over twice the price of the A-138m (albeit with a lot more functionality), I'm a bit gun-shy. Still, looks like I would like this one a lot.
The 4ms matrix is a serious piece of hp real estate with a whole bunch of functionality beyond the basic matrix mixer. It's definitely more oriented toward the matrix mixer geek crowd, if there is one. Including it in a case is a serious bit of commitment.

NLC's Clump and Cluster are similar, but without the mute matrix.
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by jsu »

4ms VCA Matrix. Offers additional patching and expansion on the back. Mutes, LED visuals, Pot control + CV control across the board.

Advantage of NLC Clump is it can attenuvert.
Last edited by jsu on Fri Aug 26, 2022 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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far
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by far »

Bear Matrix and St Modular Matrico

Bear Matrix is perfect imo.

I just use them for mixing my various cv for subtle variations and attenuation. The plan was to have one of them as a audio feedback matrix mixer, but that hasn't eventuated yet. Maybe next patch.

They are a game changer for me, adding a touch of chaos to a lfo for eg. it's like adding spices to cooking
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everythingcontinues
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by everythingcontinues »

I went for the CVilization u-he in my jam case. In addition to the space savings the digital interface provides, I really like that it can also be used for quick muting.

I'm using it to handle and few different mix / routing configurations without ever having to re-patch (I have this case like 80% perma-patched), and it's accomplishing more and doing a better job of it in 10 hp than when I was using a combination--everything fully patched--of Frap 333, 3x VCA and Intellijel Quadratt (all great and useful modules in their own right) and a bunch of splitter cables. It was cool being able to do what I needed to with stuff I had on hand, but this is so much more flexible and efficient.
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by Kosmikos »

AI Synthesis 4x3 matrix mixer:
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/ai-synthe ... ixer-black
I like it so much that I got a second one. It’s very easy to DIY, and I’ve enlarged the panel holes to fit some really nice alpha pots and aluminium knobs.
They are really useful for send/receive to effects, and mixing various sources. The only downside to this module is that the inputs and outputs don’t follow the same row/column pattern as the pots, which makes it slightly less intuitive to use than it should be.

I’ve also just got a WMD Sequential Switch Matrix:
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/wmd-seque ... trix-black
This hasn’t got attenuators, so is more like a pin matrix mixer. But you can animate the selection with CV, a bit like like a step sequencer. I have read lots of good things about it.
Kosmikos’ tracks on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-254876270
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Re: Matrix mixers: Types, usages. What's yours?

Post by BananaPlug »

In my main setup I use a 5x5 matrix as an audio mixer. 5 inputs. 5 buses. The first bus is a dry mix. the others go to effects. Then I use a conventional mixer to combine the dry mix and effect returns. This is all mono.

Another system, under construction, is less regular and uses a 6x4 matrix. One source is patched straight through to dedicated effects. The others may have something dedicated (maybe a filter) but share three effects via the other three buses of the matrix. Again, everything sums up in a conventional mixer. That one is a Happy Nerding PanMix which can receive a couple stereo sources and all the sources can be panned.
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