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Nebulae 2 vs Er301


#1

Hi all. I had my finger on the buy button for the Nebulae2 this morning then I realized I probably already had it within the Er301. Do you guys think it would be possible to get the same results?


#2

While it might seem rudimentary to look at the two modules by looking at their hardware specs first, but they are both DSP units and this gives us some facts, before we drudge into the subjective.

The Nebulae appears to have 2 inputs and 2 outputs, as well as a host of inputs used to control or modulate the front panel controls.

The ER-301 has all of this and more, in terms of I/O.

The Nebulae appears to have a 5 minute buffer for recording and a 75 meg buffer for playback, with USB the method of storage.

The ER-301 works off a sample pool for playback and it is currently makes 479 megs available. It uses a microSD card for storage. (USB or microSD is irrelevant as the same storage capabilities are presented in either format. The material take away is playback memory size.) As far as I know, your max recording time is limited to firmware you are using (48 or 96kHz) and available space on your card. I’m seeing about 6 hours and 12+ minutes on mine running at 48kHz.

The Nebulae uses a 48kHz/24 bit ADC and DAC (speculating as they don’t specify. It could be that the ADC is 48kHz/24 bit but the DAC is something else.).

The ER-301 uses a 16 bit ADC and 24 bit DAC. I assume they run at the same rate as the firmware used. (48 or 96kHz)

The last thing to consider is the interface. This is a subjective one. However, the ER-301 has 2 displays that allow visual depictions of what is going on. While the Nebulae has front panel controls and the ER-301 really does not as it’s controls are meant to interact with the firmware, the 301 does permit the use of anything plugged into it’s inputs to be used as control surfaces for the chains you have running on the 301. In this way you can actually make an interface with the 301 that far surpasses the Nebula. This requires using more than one module though, which is something to consider.

Lastly, my guess on the actual CPU behind the Nebulae is that the Er-301 is either 10 or double as powerful. 99% sure it is 10 times as powerful just because of the cost of the Nebula.

So in terms of which module can do that job, and do it better, the answer will be hands down the 301, provided a configuration and features already permit it. I haven’t messed with granular portion of the 301 yet, but what I’ve heard has been impressive. I do know that in terms of sampling, the 301 would appear superior in just about every way, provided you don’t mind the disparity between the ADC and DAC sample rates.

My opinion: If you own a 301, there is very little you will gain from any other DSP based module unless you are already maxing the 301 out for your particular needs or the DSP module in question is more powerful, OR you just find the interface of the Nebula intuitive and really like the way you can work with it.

From a purely how they inner workings and what they do behind the scenes perspective, no question the 301 is better; It’s a lot better. (this means more streams of audio, and potentially higher fidelity.)


#3

i don’t think a straight comparison of such technical specs is really telling the whole story though.

in my opinion, one of the biggest weaknesses of granular stuff on 301 is not really having any control over the envelope of the grains.

just taking a glance at the Nebulae manual and the explanation of the “window” control:

Window
Changes the window shape of the grains being generated.
This control blends through each of the following hammer shapes in this order.

  1. Gaussian .
  2. Blackman-Harris .
  3. Down.
  4. Bartlett .
  5. Up.
  6. Hamming.
  7. Square.
    CV input responds to +/- 5V, and is added to the knob position.

I don’t know what all of those mean, but these are certainly options that aren’t currently found in Manual Grains, so if that kind of control is important to you, maybe its worth consideration?

I think there is a lot to be said for the immediacy of a well-designed dedicated interface, which is why I have and love a morphagene and wouldn’t care to try and re-create something similar in the 301.


#4

Certainly! Control is one of those subjective things that can make up a big amount of your view on a module.

However, because this is DSP we are talking about, and while this might be the case with the 301 now, there is nothing preventing O|D from adding it in the future, or someone making a custom unit for that.


#5

That’s a fair point, but the big take away here, is that you could, and because of this amorphous nature you could even potentially create something even better. Granted not immediate to begin with, but from then on, it is just a load away.


#6

UI is everything imho!

I keep thinking of making very specific control panels for various setups, I mean something with well laid out knobs and labels for patches in the ER-301.

For example, if you build an FM synth, why not build an FM synth panel to go with it?

Whether I actually do this or not remains to be seen, I am definitely not going to commit to something like this before we reach a stable version of the OS for the ER-301.


#7

FYI, the squash parameter in Manual Grains lets you continuously morph from a sine window to a square window.

I think the Nebulae is great by the way. :wink:


#8

besides the questions whether the 301 is capable of substitute the nebulae2 sonically
and/or UI-wise i like to suggest to consider a pragmatic approach to all
the possible roles the 301 can/should play in your overall setup, too.

Depending on

  • what you want to achieve artistically
  • which signal sources the rest of your setup is offering (audio- and modulation sources)
  • which work-flows you are used to and/or are interested in…

…the 301 is obviously capable of playing a wast of different roles.

At least in my case, the I/O aspect turned out to be crucial…
Translated to your case this would mean the following to me:
If you want to have an elaborate solution for granular synthesis in your system…
a) If the 301 would play that role (at least) similar to the new nebulae, then
that would require a lot of external “knobs+buttons+Others” that would also take up
most of the I/Os on the 301. It is obvious that this would diminish the flexibility of
controlling other non granular parameters in the 301 independently.

  • Keep in mind that you still
    can modulate those non granular parameters with the very same cv-sources you are feeding in for the
    granular sysnthesis! If you are low on audio/mod-sources in your system and/or you decide
    to work with only few of them (e.g. only one sine lfo is modulating most/all cv adresses)
    then this aspect (one- or few-to-many connections) seems not that important. You take that few sources
    and just route it to any parameter you want. the nebulae would require lots of multiples to do this.
    b) Deliberately working with many to many connections in your overall system (e.g. 10 LFOs to 100 CV-ins)
    the I/O “issue” with the 301 becomes more and more crucial and problematic the more your intended system gains
    in complexity.

In my personal case I do have lots of sources in the studio. Thus, and despite the fact that the 301 can “substitute” my other delays and reverbs (and what not…) in my system to some (astonishingly big) extent, I intentionally cling on to all of them
because I like to play with both approaches:

  • minimalistic few-to-many routings
  • as well as overwhelmingly
    complex (and prone to failure) many-to-many connections.
  • To strengthen UI-arguments: I also like to grab specific knobs on specific modules/hardware to alter states of whatever.
    Nevertheless, i am looking forward to extend the CV-ins of the 301 by something along this line:

you’ll find more on this forum by searching for ‘faderbank’.
And especially with the faderbank freeing up cv-i/os on the 301 one
aspect becomes more and more true:

Finally, i’d like to share some personal experiences which might or might not inform all your perspectives on
whether the 301 could and/or should replace particular external solutions.

  • Initially, i bought the 301 for the main purpose of being a universal sampling solution
    in my overall setup (that also includes external and also MIDI hardware).
  • Though my sampling intentions included granular as well as the maximum of experi-mental flavours
    i also wanted to be able to translate more old school work flows to the modular.
  • and seriously, i just can’t stretch enough how gratefull i am to @odevices but also to all the other @s (!):
    the development of contemporary and historic sampling techniques on the 301
    has gone far beyond my wildest dreams!
  • Furthermore, my 301 now plays a particular role in my
    mobile setup: (though not intended when i bought it!) it became the main mixing hub in a carry-on-case
    taking up some of the I/Os for mixing related parameters and in the meantime leaving fewer I/Os for other
    purposes when working with the above mentioned many-to-many approach. I created several and specifically tailored quicksaves for the role as a main mixing hub in mobile situations.
  • Other quicksaves are focusing on different roles: e.g. deep sampling hubs, deep multi fx hubs, 6 track recording, …

Coming back to my initial suggestion,
(i.e. to take into account possible and intended role(s) of the 301 in a particular overall system)
these two threads seem to me good starting points by beeing informative and inspirational at the same time:



@TyroneShoelacez:
Depending on the intended role of your 301, an additional nebulae will make more or less sense.

  • If granular synthesis is your “everyday job” (like sampling, delay and reverb does in my case) you probably
    should go for a dedicated granular module/instrument.
  • If you’re “just interested” in granular synthesis i’d encourage you take some time to evaluate the possibilities
    of the 301 first (and before you spend money on a dedicated instrument). I’m pretty sure you’ll be surprised
    about what you can achieve with granular techniques inside the 301 and there’s plenty of information about it
    scattered allover this forum, too.

#9

Great post - very well explained!!

But it really sounds like you need a Teletype @mopoco :wink:


#10

thanks…
i’d love to know what gave you the impression of me needing a teletype,
but if your explanation goes too far beyond the scope of the
celebrity granular-synths deathmatch in this thread you might consider to adress
my needs in some adequate teletype-type thread instead…:wink:


#11

Hehe - I like your style :slight_smile:

Teletype offers 100 CV and 100 Gate connections over i2c directly into the heart of the ER-301, you have 8 trigger inputs that can each trigger scripts that do things. These ‘things’ can be almost anything.

It’s super tough to explain what it does, because it is so nebulous, but I am loving mine and I believe there are many folk around here that enjoy this pairing very much too!

See:

and:

https://monome.org/docs/modular/teletype/manual/

Warning (or awesome information depending on your perspective): this rabbit hole is even deeper than the ER-301!


#12

You deserve a like just for the amount of content you shared. Thanks for putting so much time into your response! :+1:

Sometimes I think it would be great to have a thread dedicated solely to us explaining our setups and how we arrived there. All are reasoning, justifications, and discoveries. I think it would be a great thread, and I think the responses we would get here specifically at the O|D forums would be great.


#13

So I have both a ER-301 and a 4ms Stereo Triggered Sampler (which I would parallel on the spectrum of Morphagene, Nebulae 2, 4ms STS) and the reason I have both (besides being obsessed with samplers) is that the er-301 is more of the catch all do anything I want it to be IF I spend time setting it up correctly to do so, whereas the 4ms STS is immediately playable in a different confined way. Both are super useful and work well together. So in any case, I’d get both :wink: unless you’re HP constrained.


#14

I wish I could answer that with any degree of certainty, but the reality is that I ‘patch different’ pretty much every time I set the gear up - I don’t have a permanent setup, I get the gear out of it’s boxes, set up, play, and then break it all down again a few hours later. If I said something it would be out of date an hour or two later… to me this is the most compelling aspect of modular synths, they are by their very nature amorphous and only crystallise when I make decisions in the moment.

I understand some people have very specific setups that are always patched one way, and that’s cool - always happy to hear about these things :slight_smile:


#15

I’m not talking about a specific patch, hahaha! I meant how your rack is setup. Why you have the modules you do, why they are in your system the way they are, etc.


#16

Crumbs… yeah, don’t have time for that, why I have the modules I do would take days and days to write out fully - it would be a thesis :open_mouth:

p.s. I’ve just spent an awful lot of time talking with Joe, 10 pages worth of discussion in a forum, about why I chose the Teletype - that’s just one module - hundreds of posts between us and we’ve still not coveted all the ground, just getting started really :wink:


#17

It would be very long for all of us but that is also why it would be a great thread and very useful. Hahaha!


#18

Maybe in a month or two when I have some freedom again from the mountain of work I have to do to comply with GDPR - it’s super depressing for someone like me who works doing the things I do as a sole trader, the end of an era! I mean it’s good in principle, but really not fun in reality!


#19

Thanks to all of you for your input. I agree with having a single box to just plug in and start moving knobs around and I already have a Morphagene. I was hoping maybe it would be a simple patch in the 301 to get kind of close to what the Nebulae does but I guess not. I doubt I’ll buy it just yet as I still haven’t figure out Morphagene 100 percent yet… Nor the Er301…


#20

Owning all 3, I will say that the Nebulae is the easiest to grasp. Its currently taking the place of Morphagene in my case. They aren’t exactly the same, but having Morphagene, Nebulae, and the 301 seems a little redundant in a moderate size case.