After listening to discussions about pros and cons of AE's jumper lead patching system, and doing a gig in a dimply-lit venue without my glasses on, I'm thinking about ways to better manage patching in a live situation. I'd like to be able to re-patch a few things on the fly over the course of a live set but I don't want to go all-out and convert my AE modules into bulkier Jack or Banana plug systems.
I loved the VCS3's pin matrix and am thinking how to emulate that in miniature form for the AE. That led me to thinking that a grid of tiny push-button or toggle switches might be the answer. Toggles have the advantage of showing their state without needing LEDs etc. so could be completely passive.
That, in turn got me to think about a more space-saving approach and I found these neat little 8 position rotary switches.
They are about 16mm across so, a 2unit module could accomodate 8 of them with an option to buffer them as well (although, in the latter case, I'd probably do the switching with chips as well).
Each unit would switch between 8 different inputs and feed to one output. 8 of them would give a matrix where it is not possible to connect two inputs to the same output.
A 1unit module could fit 4, possibly 5 of them.
This would allow you to wire up a few different configurations in advance then switch between them on-the-fly while performing or recording.
I think this would be the cheapest way to get this much flexibility in this little space - and only 128 connections to solder (including the headers). It could be all panel-based with wire and no circuit-board (spaghetti hell) or a nice printed circuit board with no wires anywhere.
Great idea! That reminds me of a similar project of mine for my Klangbau Köln Eurorack synth:
I designed a 19” rack panel with eight attenuators (four of them with additional mute switches), multiples (switchable between 5 and 10 sockets), four jack converters and two three-way switches (to mute and route a signal between two ins/outs).
Klangbau helped me with the panel so that it came in the same style as their steel modules.
Now that you mentioned your project, rodney, I think I’ll create myself a manual switch and attenuator performance module too!
Matrix mixer? Yeah, count me in as well...gets my thumbs-up.
Doesn't have to be all that complex, either. Take the example of the Pro-One...it has its version of a modulation matrix, quite simple, and yet that one bit unlocks a whole WORLD of crazy. Shouldn't be too much of a stretch to do an implementation along the same lines for the AE.
I'm talking to people in Shenzhen (from whence all goodness flows) but this item seems to be out of stock everywhere. It may have just been a limited run but I'm trying to track down something similar. Adafruit had the same item but is listed as out of stock, so I guess they have the same problem. Sending Adafruit requests about it might motivate them to get a batch made, if enough people are interested.
I may go with a purely electronic switching setup after all, maybe 8 x CD405xB-Q1 chips , 8x8 grid of LEDs and either 8 x rotary encoders to fill the role of the selectors or 16 little pushbuttons to select along the edges of the grid.
The latter setup could also be voltage-controllable without too much extra fuss.
This would be an excuse for me to do a proper circuit-board design and get my feet wet with SMT chips etc.
... but, I'm hoping for a totally passive thing though, if these neat little switches re-appear.
While I wait, I'll concentrate on another project.
I definitely want to make this though, if the bits are available again.