The discouragingly named Expert Sleepers have released a USB audio interface in the shape of a Eurorack module. This very smartly provides and audio and CV connection between your DAW or sequencing software and your Eurorack hardware.
The ES-8 offers 4 analogue inputs and 8 analogue outputs, plus ADAT optical giving a total of 12 in and 16 out. All the I/O can be used for either audio or as CV. This is more unusual as it sounds as it requires the audio I/O to be DC-coupled. This is a direct signal connection without the capacitors normally used to smooth and regulate the current. DC-coupling provides the flexibility required by CV but can potentially introduce drift in the bias, low frequency rumble and distortion. But if Expert Sleepers have done their job right then it should all be groovy.
In true modular fashion the USB port is accessible directly in the front panel with the USB cable dragging all over the place to your computer. Currently it has only a class compliant driver and so will work with iOS and Mac, not Windows.
Computer to modular and back again
The beauty of this not particularly good looking module is the ability to take virtual CV from your software and make it a reality in your Eurorack. Software such as Reaktor Blocks, Silent Way, Max or zMors can start integrating with your hardware in a meaningful way. Taking a CV patch from your software sequencer to trigger hardware synth voice. Taking the LFO from a module and patching it directly onto a filter block in Reaktor. This is genius.
It’s also an audio interface so you can record all your synths on separate tracks through it. Or microphones and instruments via a preamp. You can use the ADAT to a line of mic preamps or perhaps to their own ES-3 module giving you 8 more CV inputs or outputs.
It’s all very simple, elegant and devastatingly useful.
Expert Sleepers plan to launch the ES-8 at the Synthfest in Leeds on the 1st October. I plan to go along – you should too. More Synthfest information here.
The price is yet to be announced but you can find all the information about it on the Expert Sleepers website.