The fun begins …

My EMM has turned up … and is now in my development’ rack. Some interesting pairings to come :wink:

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Eheh!! Fun times :wink: Congrats

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Nice! I’m still on the fence, so I’d be very interested in hearing your opinion after you’ve had some time with it. :slight_smile:

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yeah, Ive been on the fence about the EMM ever since it was released.

my main motivation now is I want to dive into the new ‘overlay synths’, and its going to take a little longer for the Osmose to get the required firmware.
(as this requires EE to do so changes to their firmware to get it working)


as for the EMM… its still early days, but some initial impressions,
(as I’ve seen little online about how useful it actually is)

cons

ok, lets get the cons/negatives out of the way first… though, many are pretty ‘obvious’.

a) external midi.
driving the EM (on any instrument) via midi, frankly, can, initially, be a bit of a faff, and this is the primarily way to drive the EMM as you don’t have a surface.
(e.g. I had all sorts of ‘oddities’ when I tried to drive the EMM from my Osmose, not plug n’ play!) )

however, its ok, once you have figured it out with the rest of your setup etc.

b) processing power (2x)
the EMM uses the 2x dsp, like the continuumini, so its possible to overload it with some patches with higher poly count - unlike the Osmose, which uses the more powerful (4x) dsp.
in fairness, my main issue here was using patches not designed for the 2x, and having to use editor to reduce poly count… so really its a ‘non-issue’
really, just stood out, as its just never an issue with the Osmose.

c) UI is ‘compact’
there are a lot of button combos to fully utilise the module… but they are well thought out, and the day to day ones are obvious.
I will also say for a module of this price the tiny click buttons are a ‘cheap move’, the kind of buttons you expect on a $50 diy synth :frowning: but they do work fine.
(also the tiny recessed switches for i2c/output level… why?)

d) 0-5v on input (except x)
again, a price point bit here… really this should have had a minimum of +/-5v , ideally +/-10v. ok, the offset feature ‘helps’ but it really its a workaround.
ideally, we’d have had +/- 5v (min), and then had scale/offset for each parameter (via UI).

thats the pain points, however, you can see none of the above (for me) are deal breakers, all can be worked around. it just feels like you have to ‘get to know’ and work with the limitations - which is ‘ok’.

pros

now for the pros/positives.

its al really compact module, and for me, having audio processing inside my eurorack is great. esp. since the Osmose lacks audio input .

driving w/x/y/z via cv - this is way more fun than it should be :laughing:
the EM has so many beautiful sounds driving these from a eurorack sequencer is great.
… at its most trivial, its like having rings/elements with a huge array of presets.

driving macros I-iv, nice to drive these eurorack modulators.

also whilst playing via cv, you can also use midi to play from another surface or sequence.
this can be mpe or plain ol’ midi. (I used Erae Touch)

sequencing it… because the EMM does not have a surface, I found myself far more tempted to sequence it. my Hermod+ has TRS midi out, so just a small cable to connect it to the EMM. similarly, its tempting to sequence from your daw (via usb)

its another EM device that I can use for my Eigenharp/Erae Touch, whilst my Osmose can be played (with another voice)

summary

this is the oddity that is the EMM…
it adds a few things over my Osmose (*) main thing for me is audio in.
as even the CV in, I could ‘workaround’ by using a midi->cv (e.g. via my hermod)

however…
being in the Rack, and not having a surface, Ive found myself using it very differently.
sure I could do most of this with the Osmose, but it’d be a faff… here its trivial to just connect things to it.

its a small module, and putting it in a small eurorack case is ideal…so you can move it around your studio, so you can use it flexibility in different places.

so, it complements my Osmose really well,
the thing I love about my Osmose is just to play it, having the EMM leaves it free for this purpose. sequence something on the EMM, and play along to it on the Osmose :slight_smile:

overall, it does what it says on the tin…
being a module in my rack, means Ive been using it differently to how I would something outside the rack.

anyway, lots of plans… and I do want to mess around with the audio processing (input) a but more, but Im happy so far.


( *) or if you have a continuum/continuumini.

disclaimers/context:
I have always loved the physical modelling sounds, and the EM in particular, so more of that , was always going to be good.
its also a natural fit to my rack, which is focused on these sounds - MI elements, rings, beads.
Ive not issue with digital modules, that have a ‘compact UI’, nor connecting to a computer to configure etc… this is not a hands-on eurorack module :laughing:

I think the above, really frames why the EMM is good for ME… but others might not like it at all!

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Imho the biggest overlook is the lack of a USB host port. There are so many controllers available by now that act as USB midi clients. Always having to put a host in between makes things unnecessarily complicated. But otherwise it looks interesting!

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There are a lot of USB Midi host options available. I think Haken Audio deliberately chose not to reinvent that wheel.

I agree with @NothanUmber, it really should have a USB host port.
a good % of users will want to use the EMM with a MPE controller, and the commonly use usb. also its handy for many if the module can provide power.

its not an issue for me, as I have many devices/modules that provide usb host and device (hapax, hermod, percussa ssp/xmx).
however, its not good that haken force a reliance on another piece of hardware for what is a very common use-case.

as I alluded to above…
whilst I love Haken for the Eagan Matrix, and I also love the Continuum surface.
I think in recent years the ‘UI’ design is not really up to scratch/modern standards.

I understood Lippold’s original idea that the continuum should not have a display that would distract from the performance element.

But I think, once that idea was ‘dropped’, then newer LED dot display, with poor buttons etc were just a horrible half way house. also one that limits the EM in many ways, and provides a pretty poor/outdated user experience.

I think the Osmose shows how much value a decent display and set of controls enhances the instrument.
also frankly, the new ‘Overlay Synths’ are going to showcase that ever more, as EE will have the opportunity to add some very nice controls on synth front panel. and the Continuum etc with will have to resort to 3rd party controllers etc for this.

unfortunately, I think also the way the EMM uses 0…5v and then offsets, micro usb jacks, lack of usb host etc are all symptoms of this.
its a bit baffling to me… missed opportunities.

I do recognise their approach was simpler to implement, but generally the Haken products are ‘premium’ , and I think this transition from ‘display less’ to displays could have been done better, and still with some style/class.

HOWEVER…
I love the EM, its design, its sound and I also think the Continuum has one of (if not the) best surfaces out there… and as discussed above, I think the EMM bring some new and very interesting to Eurorack esp. if you are already in the EM ecosystem.

so despite these ‘shortcomings’ Id still recommend all the haken products.

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I’ve been pondering a project to create the “missing screen” for EM devices, but practically speaking it’s a large project and I’d need a partner with the hardware expertise, and I’m not looking for a job.

It will be interesting to see how far Richard Kram gets on implementing on the Electra One. It looks like the E1 might be a good base to build such a device from. The firmware is open source, so it would be possible to create more UI widgets than the bare-bones ones it currently has (assuming sufficient processor power and memory).

Much of this has to do with simply the capacity of the team. The Haken Audio team (until Lippold retired from teaching last year), is all part-time, and Lippold had hoped to keep the workload to part-time even then. Haken Audio a break-even project of love. They have hired a couple of interns to develop the new C++ editor.

Expressive E has more resources (including capital investment), so it will be interesting to see where they take it.

yeah, I’m planning to write something for the Electra One, as Ive previously created firmware for it, so very familiar with it - so it’ll be one of my target platforms. I think it’ll make a nice ‘side kick’ for the continuums.
(whilst the electra one is not cheap, it is a fantastic controller/platform, and since it supports usb device/host and din… it’ll have zero issue connecting to these directly)

Im also considering putting a UI on the percussa xmx and ssp that you can see in the picture. (again ‘just’ another platform target)

so there are options, but for many users, theres no doubting they would have prefer this things ‘on the instrument’ rather than another external box.
alas, I think the best for now, is to provide as many options as possible in the hope, that each user will find one that suits them.


actually its not so much an issue with the EMM, its pretty common to want controllers outside the rack due to limited space…
that said, if you look at the XMX next to the EMM, its pretty noticeable how much better the ui could be on the EMM.

Would be great, E 1 and Haken, great instruments, have already this combo on the table.