Expert Sleepers t-shirts now available

Many thanks to lowacid on Muff’s for the design.

Buy now from the store page!

Two new modular stores

Expert Sleepers modules are now available from two brand new retailers:

* Clock Face Modular in Japan

* Muff Wiggler in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Expert Sleepers workshop at London Modular

On December 7th Expert Sleepers conducted a workshop at the London Modular showroom.

We videoed it, but sadly this is a single static camera pointed at the presenter - no close-up view of the modular or screencast from the laptop. Still, if you want a general spoken overview of the Expert Sleepers software and hardware, as a change from reading specs or reviews, you could do worse than watch some of this.

Part 1 covers most aspects of the Silent Way software that do not specifically require Expert Sleepers hardware. A MOTU Ultralite audio interface is used to drive the modular for all the demos in this video.

Part 2 moves on to cover the Expert Sleepers hardware.

Glow-in-the-dark patch cables back in stock

Our glow-in-the-dark patch cables are back in stock, including new 15cm and 65cm lengths.

Expert Sleepers Workshop at Rough Trade East

On June 1st Expert Sleepers conducted a workshop at the Schneidersladen Testsalon (in the Rough Trade East music store in East London).

We videoed it, but sadly this is a single static camera pointed at the presenter - no view of the modular or screencast from the laptop. Still, if you want a general spoken overview of the Expert Sleepers software and hardware, as a change from reading specs or reviews, you could do worse than watch some of this.

Part 1. Subjects covered include:
- Basic software usage with a DC-coupled interface.
- Use of the ES-3 for audio.
- Use of the Voice Controller plug-in with the ES-3 module.
- Silent Way LFO and Step LFO plug-ins.
- Silent Way Quantizer & calibration files.

Part 2. Subjects covered include:
- The expander modules (ES-5, ESX-8GT, ESX-4CV).
- Using the expanders to trigger drum modules.
- Silent Way Sync.
- The input modules (ES-6 & 7).
- Recording and processing CVs in the computer.
- Polyphony.
- Max/MSP externals.

XFadeLooperCM feature in Computer Music

XFadeLooperCM, the free version of Crossfade Loop Synth exclusive to Computer Music Magazine, is the subject of a multi-page feature in issue 191. The tips and tutorials apply equally well to the full version of Crossfade Loop Synth, so do check it out if you own that plug-in.

The feature also includes a (heavily edited!) interview with your truly. For the record, here’s the full text that I submitted:

- what inspired Crossfade Loop Synth?

Back in 2002, I was transitioning my mostly hardware studio setup to a more software-based one (something I've since mostly reversed - but that's another story). Time-stretching & granular resynthesis was all the rage at the time - things the new-fangled software instruments could do which traditional hardware generally couldn't. As a result, finding a sampler instrument that actually did work like an old hardware unit seemed surprisingly hard.

At the same time, Apple had not long released Mac OS X, and with it Project Builder (which later became Xcode). Previously, software development on Macs involved buying a development environment; now it was available for free. So there was no longer a reason not to dabble.

So, to satisfy my own musical needs, and enabled by the new software ecosystem of OS X, I decided to have a crack at writing a plug-in.

The result, Crossfade Loop Synth 0.1b, was released in December 2002.

- what challenges were involved in its creation?

Despite being a reasonably experienced developer at the time, I'd never before worked on a Mac, so that was all new. Also, for reasons that aren't completely clear in retrospect, I decided to do it as an Audio Unit (buying the whole Apple shebang hook line & sinker, I guess), and the AU SDK was very immature at the time. Fortunately some AU pioneers had put their work up online so I was able to learn from example.

Crossfade Loop Synth v2 (2004) was the second (I think?) plug-in of mine to use my new graphical UI framework, originally created for my additive synthesis instrument Minky Starshine. There was still lots of learning going on at that time.

Crossfade Loop Synth v3 (2007) was the real challenge. Applying analogue VCO concepts like pulse width modulation and hard sync to sampled material was great fun, if your idea of fun involves lots of hard work and head-scratching. And the effect version - being able to record into the sample buffer while playing notes (at any speed, in either/both directions) - was the real head-f***.

- what do you think of other software samplers?

The only one I've ever used much is VSamp ( That's what I use if I want a traditional multi-sample of something vaguely realistic - it comes with a nice free library of orchestral staples. I mean, it's a tiny tiny thing compared to modern multi-GB romplers, but it works well for what I do. Otherwise, I just use Crossfade Loop Synth. Or a Live drum rack I guess would be the only other time I use a sample instrument.

It strikes me that there's very little emphasis on actual sampling in modern instruments. Just on playing samples back.

- do you have a favourite hardware sampler?

Roland S-330. A fantastic bit of kit - I used one for years back in the 90s. Its 'alternating' loop mode was the inspiration for the feature of the same name in Crossfade Loop Synth v2, and really the reason I wanted to create a sampler instrument in the first place. I used that all the time. It really was a unique thing at the time - a 1U rack box but you could plug in a mouse and a monitor, and see your stuff up on a screen. No editing through a tiny LCD window on the box itself. Really revolutionary.

- do you have any tips for readers using the instrument?

Buy the full version! :)

Do try the 'alternating' loop mode, especially on pads.

If you have a volume dip at the loop point, try the different Crossfade Types (Equal Gain/Equal Power).

Go nuts with Hard Sync.

Overall - the sample is just fodder for the instrument to create sound from. Don't just play it back, pure and simple. See what else you can make with it!

ES-7 CV To MIDI demo

Video: Silent Way Soundplane

Expert Sleepers Silent Way and Madrona Labs Soundplane on Vimeo.

Demo of using a Madrona Labs Soundplane instrument with Expert Sleepers Silent Way and a modular synthesizer.

Video: new OSC features in Silent Way v2

Silent Way v2 beta 5 OSC demo on Vimeo.

A demo of the new OSC features in Silent Way v2 beta 5.

Module Overview page added

We’ve added a ‘Module Overview’ page to the site, to give a quick comparison of the various Expert Sleepers CV interface modules. If you’re unsure which is the right choice for you, this would be a good place to start.

Expert Sleepers modules now in stock at

The ES-1 and ES-2-2 modules are now in stock at

More Silent Way user videos

YouTube user noisythang has posted three videos showing Silent Way and the ES-1 module controlling various Moogerfooger pedals, and the Metasonix R-54 module.

ES-1 coming soon to Analogue Haven

The ES-1 module will soon be available (in limited quantities initially) from Analogue Haven.

Silent Way gets a high profile user

What can I say but... w00t.

New Silent Way tutorial for Digital Performer

The Silent Way tutorials page has been updated with a new video explaining setup in Digital Performer.

New Silent Way tutorial for Logic Pro

The Silent Way tutorials page has been updated with a new video explaining setup in Logic Pro.

New Silent Way tutorial for Ableton Live

The Silent Way tutorials page has been updated with a new video explaining setup in Ableton Live.

New Silent Way tutorial for Cubase

The Silent Way tutorials page has been updated with a new video explaining setup in Cubase.

Video: CV Generator iPhone app and EMS Synthi

This video just posted by ‘waveshaper’ shows the Expert Sleepers CV Generator iPhone app controlling an EMS Synthi.

Tiptop Z8000 as oscillator

This video by wetterberg shows Silent Way controlling a Tiptop Audio Z8000 Matrix Sequencer and using it as an oscillator.

This is a pretty unconventional usage but it proves the point that as long as the Silent Way Voice Controller can send out a CV and get a waveform back, it can calibrate it, and doesn’t really care how that waveform was generated or controlled by the CV.

More details are here.

Video from Silent Way user: SH-101, Dark Energy

phono1337’ has posted a video on YouTube showing his Silent Way setup. Other gear in the video includes:
- Roland SH-101
- Dopefer A-111-5 (Dark Energy)
- Dopefer A-137-2 Wave multiplier II
- Roland MC-202

Silent Way AC Encoder video

Silent Way CV Input and CV To OSC video

Flamed Raw: Modular Synth Controlling KYMA from bar|none on Vimeo.

Video/tutorial: Silent Way and Numerology

The wonderful Five12 have posted a tutorial on using Silent Way in their application Numerology.

The tutorial is here. An excerpt follows:

This video shows how to use Expert Sleeper's Silent Way Voice Controller with Numerology. The Silent Way group of plugins allows you to use a "DC capable" audio interface as a CV control source for analog synthesizers. There are a number of advantages to this approach:

  • Easy, reliable oscillator calibration for better tuning overall.

  • When generating CV values for automation, you are no longer limited to the 127 steps of MIDI CC messages. This allows you to generate very smooth and accurate control values.

  • You do not have to worry about "saturating" a hardware MIDI interface by sending it too many messages at once.

As of version 2.2, Numerology provides integrated support for Silent Way by including direct hardware audio input and output routing in the module. This makes setup very quick, as you don't have to create separate I/O channels to route audio around, as you do in some other hosts.

Using Numerology with Silent Way VC from Five12 on Vimeo.

Video shows Silent Way with MOTM/homebrew synth

Adam Schabtach (of plug-in developers Audio Damage) has posted a great video showing Silent Way in use with his modular synth. Synth modules in the video are an MOTM-300 VCO, an MOTM-440 four-pole LPF (both by Synthesis Technology), a CGS Wave Multiplier, and a custom-built VCA.

Also of interest in this video is the audio interface, which is a Frontier Design Tango modified by Adam himself for DC-coupled operation. He’s documented the mod here.

Analogue Bundle available

In addition to the previously mentioned bundles, the ‘Analogue Bundle’ is now available from the store.

The Analogue Bundle combines the analogue synth controller Silent Way with two analogue-sounding delays, Augustus Loop and Little Spacey.

The bundle is priced at $90, saving $37 on the price of the plug-ins bought separately.

A summary of all the currently available bundles and pricing is here.

Product bundles and holiday discounts

We're happy to announce that most Expert Sleepers plug-ins are now available in money-saving bundles. Moreover, from now until 6th January 2010, these bundles are available at massively discounted prices.

The bundles are as follows:

Ultimate Bundle
Includes Augustus Loop v2, Crossfade Loop Synth v3, Little Spacey v1, Meringue v2, Minky Starshine v1, Oomingmak v1, and Warbler v1.
Regular price: $140 (37% saving), Holiday price $100 (55% saving)

Delay Effects Bundle
Includes Augustus Loop v2, Little Spacey v1, and Meringue v2.
Regular price: $65 (33% saving), Holiday price $50 (48% saving)

Instruments Bundle
Includes Crossfade Loop Synth v3, and Minky Starshine v1.
Regular price: $55 (29% saving), Holiday price $40 (49% saving)

Creative Effects Bundle
Includes Oomingmak v1, and Warbler v1.
Regular price: $35 (27% saving), Holiday price $25 (48% saving)

These bundles may be purchased via the Web Store or using the Licence Manager. Note that if you buy a bundle via the Licence Manager it will not automatically update & activate the individual products in the bundle (which is its normal behaviour for single product purchases). You'll need to wait for the order confirmation email and then enter the serial numbers manually.

Silent Way sample Live sets updated

The sample Ableton Live sets on the Silent Way Tutorials page were woefully out of date. They have been updated.

Silent Way mentions on other sites

Silent Way has received mentions on some other blogs recently:

* OSCulator blog - In A Silent Way
* Navs Modular Lab - three posts, here

Thanks to Camille and Navs.
PotD - Analog Heart, Digital Mind by navs

More Silent Way demo videos - CV Input and CV To OSC

Some new videos of Silent Way CV Input and Silent Way CV To OSC, now with the final released versions (the previous videos used early prototypes).

The final one is particularly fun - driving software on an iPhone from a modular synth CV.

Further Silent Way compatibility updates

More additions to the Silent Way device compatibility page, including the interesting news that the Behringer ADA8000 ADAT expander appears to work - adding a low-cost option for those with non-MOTU interfaces looking to get hooked up to their synths.

Edit: oops, false positive - the ADA8000 does not work after all. Sorry if you were getting excited.

More modules added to Silent Way compatibility page

Thanks to 'Navs' on the forum for testing a number of modules with Silent Way. Read the list here.

Oomingmak audio demos posted

I've been sitting on these for some time, and now I don't remember why, so I've posted them on the Oomingmak page.

Silent Way polyphonic setup demo videos

Some videos have been added to the tutorials page showing polyphonic setup in Live 8, Logic 9 and DP 6.

Silent Way working with Yamaha CS-30 (Hz/V)

Another video from Captain Proton, this time showing Silent Way controlling a Yamaha CS-30 synth. This is using the new Hz/V calibration mode added in v1.1.0.

Silent Way Digital Performer tutorial video added

See the tutorials page.

New video shows Silent Way, Cubase, Pro-One, ARP Odyssey

Thanks to Captain Proton for this one.

Expert Sleepers Running Sequential Pro-1 and Arp Odyssey in Cubase 5

Follow Expert Sleepers on Twitter

I've decided to make a bit more effort to engage with Twitter.

Follow me @expertsleepers

Silent Way working with Alesis IO/26 and SH-101

Brandon Daniel has posted a video of Silent Way working with his Alesis IO/26 interface and his Roland SH-101 synth.

Silent Way Cubase tutorial added

See the tutorials page.

Silent Way compatibility chart updated

The Silent Way compatibility chart has been expanded with some classic old synths including the Minimoog Model-D and EMS VCS3, courtesy of Scot Solida.

Update: also added TipTop Z3000, Plan B Model 15 and Doepfer A-111, courtesy of KVR user deastman.

Update 2: added Sequential Circuits Pro-One, courtesy of KVR user WMP.

Example Live sets added to the Silent Way tutorials page

See the tutorials page.

Silent Way works with Doepfer A-110

justin3am has posted another video showing Silent Way working with a Doepfer A-110 VCO.

Silent Way is running from within Ableton Live to control the pitch of my Doepfer A-110 oscillator and trigger my Doepfer A-140 ADSR via a Motu 828. The pattern at the end is generated by Numerology.

Silent Way works with Livewire AFG and MOTU 828

justin3am has posted a video showing Silent Way working with his Livewire AFG oscillator and MOTU 828 (original version) interface.

Silent Way is running from within Ableton Live to control the pitch of my Livewire AFG oscillator and trigger my Doepfer A-140 ADSR via a Motu 828. The pattern at the end is generated by Numerology.

Rolled AL: another Augustus Loop script

Stephen Band has posted an Augustus Loop script in the spirit of the original multilooper example script and Axel's recent post.

Read about and download it here.

Extensive Augustus Loop/FCB1010 looping tutorial published

Axel Baesler, the author of the aforementioned script for Augustus Loop, has published his tutorial on how he's set up his (almost) dream looping environment. Read it here. Extract:

Ever since I figured out how to remote control clip recording in Ableton Live 7 over midi, which was about a year ago, I’ve been trying to build the “ultimate computer based loop station”. I’ve built increasingly more complex Live Sets utilized all sorts of routing tricks and midi conversion scripts and always ended up sort of discontent, because my setups could not be operated effectively with just the 10 switches and two pedals my Behringer FCB1010 midi controller provided. No matter what I tried, I always seemed to end up staring confusedly at the floor board wondering where the hell I was while my potentially brilliant musical idea vanished into thin air.

Then I stumbled over Expert Sleepers Augustus Loop 2 which provided a completely programmable midi control environment and I knew this would give me all I needed to come up with a controlling setup I could use to actually control my loops. The main remaining problem now was that if I used more than one loop the FCB1010 out of the box wouldn’t give me any feedback on what loop I was operating on. Then I found out about the unofficial Uno firmware upgrade ( I had a friend burn the downloaded image file on an eeprom chip and was now able to operate the unit in “stompbox mode”. In short, this makes it possible to have one row of buttons on the FCB1010 act as pedals that operate independently of the selected patches in the other row. Now, I can select a loop to control by stepping on one of the buttons in the lower row and the LED on this button stays on even when I press buttons in the upper row to manipulate the loop.

I have written my own lua midi script and gui for Augustus which I’ve been able to extend even further since Os, its ever helpful developer, has built in some event timing support. So, for the first time since I discovered the joys of live looping I’m very content with my setup. That’s why I’m making it public here. Maybe someone finds it useful, too. And hopefully I’ll get to making more actual music now instead of working on my setup (well, one can dream).

Mystery visitors

Like many website owners, I use Google Analytics to track my traffic, which I routinely check. I noticed something quite unusual this morning - this site saw a huge spike in visitors on September 23 & 24. Interestingly, these were "direct hits" i.e. rather than following a link, these visitors had simply typed "" into their web browser. This leads me to suspect a print publication - except that these visitors come from all over the globe. Which means we're dealing with a) a print publication with outstanding international distribution, or b) an online publication which doesn't hyperlink sites it references, or c) some other kind of media e.g. radio, tv, or a podcast.
Can anyone enlighten me? What was published on September 23 that referenced Expert Sleepers? Post a comment on the blog, or email me, if you know.

Blog now supports comments

I've enabled comments in the blog, so if anyone's actually reading this and feels like leaving a comment on these posts they can do so. Fortunately RapidWeaver makes this very simple, taking advantage of the free service offered by Haloscan.

Welcome to the new Expert Sleepers website

Welcome to the new-look Expert Sleepers website (built with RapidWeaver, if anyone's interested).

As well as looking nicer, this one has an important new feature - a blog (with RSS feed) for news and product updates. If you use any Expert Sleepers plug-ins, I recommend subscribing.

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