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This Master module description is for the one supplied until December 2019, the replacement is the same, except for having an extra switch to change the midi channel from 1 or Omni to some of the others available.
The Master module has 2 jobs, bringing power to the AE Modular, and being a Midi/CV converter. It is possible to have an AE modular without a Master, you just need a suitable 5V supply (the Master module converts the 9V supplied to 5V for internal use). There is a 1 unit module in the Tangible Waves shop for precisely this purpose.
There are various synths and keyboards/ sequencers available with Gate/CV outs but you will need to keep an eye on the maximum voltage they send; the AE modular will be damaged if provided with more than 5 volts, (or negative voltage). This problem can be avoided by use of the 4 I/O module, or a Midi synth/keyboard/ sequencer and the Master module.
The Master module also supplies the various bus CVs available on many modules, all are derived from the Midi information received. These bus CVs mean a lot less patch cables are needed in many cases.
The descriptions here are for the current Master module, the original Kickstarter systems had a more primitive Master module which ideally needs to be replaced by this one.
Module power consumption: 30 mA
Anything marked I/O can be an input or output.
9V input for PSU, (provided with starter systems, or available in the Tangible Waves shop).
- Midi - Needs a Midi breakout cable (provided with starter systems, or available in the Tangible Waves shop).
- Audio 1 I/O - This socket connects with the AE patchbay sockets labelled A1 listed below.
- Audio 2 I/O - This socket connects with the AE patchbay socket labelled A2 listed below.
- CTRL 1 I/O - This socket connects with the AE patchbay sockets labelled 1 listed below.
- CRTL 2 I/O - This socket connects with the AE patchbay socket labelled 2 listed below
The difference between the audio and Ctrl inputs are the latter is meant for CVs, the former is the usual connection for your AE Modular to the external mixer/sound system etc.
- A1/ CTRL 1 I/O - the left socket is connect to the audio 1 I/O listed above. The right socket is connected to the Crtl 1 socket listed above.
- A2/ CTRL 2 I/O - the left socket is connect to the audio 2 I/O listed above. The right socket is connected to the Crtl 2 socket listed above.
- Bus CV (2) - a CV derived from the midi note number from attached device.
- Bus Gate (2) - +5 volts when a key is pressed/held on attached midi device.
- Bus CTRL (2) - a CV controlled by Midi CC20
- +5V (2) - what it says!
- B. Clock - the midi clock (if provided by attached device)
- B. Start - +5V pulse when start button is pressed on attached Midi device.
- GND - zero volts, can be useful to control hum in certain circumstances.
- B. Stop - +5V pulse when stop button is pressed on attached Midi device.
Also see items marked I/O above, as can be inputs or outputs.
The most obvious use of the Master module is the midi (bus) CV being used to control the pitch of the oscillators. The Bus CV needs to go to the CV in on your VCO, this can be done on the Oscillator module itself rather than a patch lead trailing across from the Master module.
For the starter systems, the Master module will be your audio out, feeding the output from the last module in your patch to the AE patchbay A1 or A2, then the equivalent mini jack socket having the lead going to your external equipment. the 4 I/O module can do the same job which can make patching tidier.
The Bus clock, start and stop can be used to control the AE Modular's sequencer modules but, again, this can often be patched on the sequencer modules themselves rather than from the Master module. If using the Midi clock to control tempo you will need a divider module to reduce the number of pulses per quarter note.
The use of a Midi controller such as the Arturia Keystep, Beatstep (pro) or synth with sequencer built in is highly recommended to control the AE Modular as the Master module provides a lot of options and the system is geared to work this really well with, for instance, the bus CVs.