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Erica Synths Matrix Mixer lets you patch your modular like an Etch A Sketch

·Managing Editor
·2 min read

Erica Synths' SYNTRX is an undeniably interesting instrument. But one of the most unique things about it is definitely the patching matrix. It's a digital reimagining of the pin-based patching system found on classic the classic EMS Synthi. People were apparently so enamored with the matrix that the company is now offering it as a standalone product called the Matrix Mixer.

As you'd expect the Matrix Mixer is, a mixer. It has 16 3.5mm ins and 16 3.5mm outs along the X and Y axes which you can use to combine either audio or control voltage signals. The actual interface for combining them is the same as the SYNTRX: a 16x16 grid of LEDs that you navigate using a pair of knobs just like you were drawing on an Etch A Sketch. Pressing down on the encoders enables a connection, and then you can cycle through different levels of attenuation, from 100-, to 70- and then 30-percent.

This makes it quick and easy to connect a bunch of different modules and synths without a rats nest of cables. You can even connect multiple sources or destination to the same patch point without special stacking cables.

Before this desktop version of the Matrix Mixer, and even before the SYNTRX, Erica Synths made a Eurorack Module called the Matrix Mixer. The core idea was the same, but it had less inputs and outputs, relied on a tiny touchscreen for controls and was limited to Eurorack connections. This new version easily integrates other sources like a guitar or synthesizer using the 1/4-inch in and outs on the back. You can even patch a Buchla Music Easel in using special adapter cards.

The Matrix Mixer can even store presets, allowing you to quickly recall particular patches, though you will have to manually set all the parameters on your modules. 

Erica Synths has brought one of the best features of the SYNTRX to a wider audience and expanded it flexibility. But, it doesn't come cheap. It's currently available for preorder for €490 or $599 and is expected to star shipping on July 26.