Question about Arduino processing Eurorack modular signal

Hi,

I’m looking for some advice for my Master’s thesis project.

I am planning to build a system that uses Eurorack signal to control reactive computer-generated visuals. Specifically, I am looking to use 4-8 control voltage sources from a Eurorack modular system.

My current plan is to use an Arduino but I am in the process of considering the right kind of microcontroller to use for these signals.

Regarding the system interaction inside the computer, I will most likely be using Serial or OSC to communicate with a programme generating the visuals (likely Processing or Jitter).

Does anybody have any experience with similar projects? I am pretty new to all of this tech, so any advice is welcome.

Can anybody advise any particular Arduino models? Any Arduino externals? Is Arduino the best option for this?

Happy to provide any other info that may be helpful

TIA

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Hello and welcome.
While reading the forum instructions please consider how to explain your project much better, there might be people here who could offer help but won't, like me, know what some of the terminology you used means. For example:

What is a Eurorack signal?
What is a Eurorack modular system?
What is OSC?
I've heard of Processing, never used it.
Jitter means the random variation in timing of signal, if it means something different to you please explain.
Explain 'computer generated visuals'.
Explain how you think an Arduino or any micro-controller might fit into this.

Eurorack is a standard for audio processing - it is very popular among musicians, particularly for electronic and noise genres. Lots of modular components that use analog "control voltages" as inputs and outputs, being combined to produce sounds - this is done with actual hardware and tons of patch cables (it is an incredibly expensive hobby), though there are also digital simulations of this available, as well as self-contained hardware that uses muxers to achieve the same thing. These signals can also be used to control other devices based on the sounds you're generating - since the signals are coming from the middle of the pipeline that generates the sound, you can make lights or computer-generated visuals that depend on the music you're making - without having to try to extract the information you want from the final audio signal (which is hard, and is why most general purpose music visualization software (milkdrop for winamp, for example) struggle to generate output that feels really connected to the music).

"Jitter" is also the name of a piece of software used in music visualization circles.

Computer generated visuals, as in, pretty video that is generated based on input from the music (again, think milkdrop, electric sheep, etc). My guess would be that he performs live music generated from his eurorack contraption, blasting from a wall of speakers, and will have this video projected onto a large screen in front of a dance floor filled with drug-crazed lunatics - they call it "electronic dance music", it's what "raves" evolved into.

But to do that, he needs to get these control voltages into the computer - that is, he's going to use the microcontroller's analog inputs and then transmit that to the computer over serial to feed it to the program generating the visualizations. Basically just using the arduino as an ADC.

Anyway - this is not a weird thing to do, and like, I question the value of that block of questions when people well-placed to answer this already have that background knowledge.

Back to OP's questions, while I haven't done this sort of thing, I suspect that some careful googling would pick up a lot of information posted by others who have done this. Lots of people do this.

From a technical perspective, your biggest concerns are how many inputs you need to read, and what sampling frequency you need. That will dictate what boards would be appropriate.

++Karma; // Thanks for the explanation.

Anyway - this is not a weird thing to do, and like, I question the value of that block of questions when people well-placed to answer this already have that background knowledge.

Because this was posted in microcontrollers with no hint to those of us that don't have an interest in that kind of thing that those terms were related to anything to do with music. I suggest that had it been posted in Audio then the people who recognise those terms would have seen it and maybe replied. I wouldn't have seen it, or if I had I would have recognised that it was probably music related and something I know little about. Thus my time and yours has been wasted by a poor choice of forum. Now I now it's about music I will ask the mods to move it.

PerryBebbington:
Hello and welcome.
While reading the forum instructions please consider how to explain your project much better, there might be people here who could offer help but won’t, like me, know what some of the terminology you used means. For example:

What is a Eurorack signal?
What is a Eurorack modular system?
What is OSC?
I’ve heard of Processing, never used it.
Jitter means the random variation in timing of signal, if it means something different to you please explain.
Explain ‘computer generated visuals’.
Explain how you think an Arduino or any micro-controller might fit into this.

So before I were to launch into answering this list of questions, I would possibly guess from the tone that this might be the wrong place to post a question like this?

berdono:
So before I were to launch into answering this list of questions, I would possibly guess from the tone that this might be the wrong place to post a question like this?

In my opinion posting in the microcontrollers' forum was the wrong place. I have since asked a moderator to move it to audio now I know that this is an audio related project. In my opinion, and the moderator who moved it seems to agree, audio is the right place.

From the comprehensive and helpful explanation DrAzzy gave I now know enough about your project to know I have nothing helpful to offer, sorry.

I do not and have not worked in any industry related to audio processing* and entertainment, which seems to be at the core of your project. I have not encountered any of those terms either professionally or as an electronics hobbyist, or on these fora. I thought that if they meant nothing to me they probably would not mean anything to many other people. There was always the possibility that if I knew what the terms meant I might have something helpful to offer, that might also be true for someone else.

I realise that choosing the right forum isn't always easy and sometimes there are 2 or more that a question might fit into. There's also the problem of working out how much detail to give. Dr Azzy is correct to suggest that the people who might be able to help will know what those terms mean, but it is also the case that maybe someone who doesn't know what they mean might also have something helpful to offer. For this reason always consider including in your question something explanatory to those who might know about electronics and micro controllers but not know about your specialism.

It still might be the case that more information could yield help from someone.

Good luck with your thesis.

*I have always worked in telecoms, while telecoms obviously involves some degree of audio processing I think it is very far removed from the kind of thing you are asking about.

DrAzzy:
Eurorack is a standard for audio processing - it is very popular among musicians, particularly for electronic and noise genres. Lots of modular components that use analog "control voltages" as inputs and outputs, being combined to produce sounds - this is done with actual hardware and tons of patch cables (it is an incredibly expensive hobby), though there are also digital simulations of this available, as well as self-contained hardware that uses muxers to achieve the same thing. These signals can also be used to control other devices based on the sounds you're generating - since the signals are coming from the middle of the pipeline that generates the sound, you can make lights or computer-generated visuals that depend on the music you're making - without having to try to extract the information you want from the final audio signal (which is hard, and is why most general purpose music visualization software (milkdrop for winamp, for example) struggle to generate output that feels really connected to the music).

"Jitter" is also the name of a piece of software used in music visualization circles.

Computer generated visuals, as in, pretty video that is generated based on input from the music (again, think milkdrop, electric sheep, etc). My guess would be that he performs live music generated from his eurorack contraption, blasting from a wall of speakers, and will have this video projected onto a large screen in front of a dance floor filled with drug-crazed lunatics - they call it "electronic dance music", it's what "raves" evolved into.

But to do that, he needs to get these control voltages into the computer - that is, he's going to use the microcontroller's analog inputs and then transmit that to the computer over serial to feed it to the program generating the visualizations. Basically just using the arduino as an ADC.

Anyway - this is not a weird thing to do, and like, I question the value of that block of questions when people well-placed to answer this already have that background knowledge.

Back to OP's questions, while I haven't done this sort of thing, I suspect that some careful googling would pick up a lot of information posted by others who have done this. Lots of people do this.

From a technical perspective, your biggest concerns are how many inputs you need to read, and what sampling frequency you need. That will dictate what boards would be appropriate.

This is really great advice that I'm just sifting through now. Thanks DrAzzy!

All you had to do in your original posting is link to relevant resources, rather than explain them yourself,
ie Eurorack - Wikipedia
Max (software) - Wikipedia
Open Sound Control - Wikipedia

This is how to communicate about complex technical systems, you cannot assume people know all these things, but the links will be able to answer this stuff for you (you can then concentrate on the actual problem you want to solve, rather than write an essay on modular synth tech!!)

I presume you have several analog voltage inputs you want to monitor and then combine in software to do various things with the visualization stuff.

What we want to know is:

Voltage of signals
Bandwidth of signals,
What sort of update rate / latency is acceptable,
How complex the processing (concrete examples are great here),

Then we can figure out what sort of microcontroller grunt is needed, and how much
interfacing hardware