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Removing the irritants

I was listening to a Meet the Composer podcast (thanks @tomk) with Paul Simon as the guest. On the topic of his process, Paul describes how his “ears always go to the irritants”. He goes on to say that instead of perfecting a piece, he finds himself spending his efforts on removing the irritants.

So I thought it would be interesting and useful to ask:

When using the ER-301, what irritants are grabbing your attention away from the rest of the experience?

(*) This is a judgement-free zone.
(**) I may or may not agree with you :wink: but I will definitely appreciate your taking the time to form your thoughts into the written word.


Certain repetitive tasks. Assigning v/oct and gate to units is the biggest for me - a shortcut would be fantastic.

Maybe even a setting where you press a few keys on your midi keyboard or send a few notes from your sequencer and the 301 detects where the gate is and where the v/oct change is? Just dreaming… :crazy_face:

If the Paul Simon episode has inspired you to ask this question, I can’t wait for you to work through more of the series :slight_smile:

Contextual switching
If we’re talking about the 301 operation, I’m still feeling that the contextual view using the Enter key is the wrong button (maybe because it’s not apparent that enter should do something here … or maybe because it’s used for more functions that need a final confirmation or commitment to make something happen. Perhaps tapping ‘shift’ as it’s shifting the view to something else? A little more literal?

Dub/Feedback Looper Input Monitoring
The dub and feedback loopers: I find the input monitoring to be a bit fiddly using dub and wet controls to reliably dial in what the recording balance that ‘goes to tape’ will be while also getting a good playback balance vs input … and doing this quickly.

unrelated feature idea: What if the output of sample players / loopers / grains / sound generators were also available in the input assign area: either in Globals or maybe a new category called Units? Would be great to tap from some of these especially if they’re not within a global… but I’m not sure if you’re still doing a send/return type process so maybe this idea is moot anyway!

Unit insert on same page
I also feel like using the big knob to move the cursor to somewhere on the same screen page to insert a unit (vs. units off in space to the left or right) is micro-mildly cumbersome. For situations like this, I’d gladly welcome a hot key that replaces the need to use the encoder.

i.e.: if you had two units who’s boundaries were between M4 and M5, I’d love to be able to press M4 and M5 simultaneously and take me right to the insert unit select screen.

File Browser
I really miss this from the earliest versions. Even something simple for general housekeeping (rename/delete/move/new folders etc). Having to bring the card to the computer for these functions is literally taking me away from the 301 experience.

I really wish the scopes would reflect CV and stay lit if there’s something there vs. acting like an audio-style meter. I frequently have to double check things either via the LEDS or the CV source when a lot is going on, as a fixed voltage source will still show up momentarily and then disappear on the scope. Maybe Ax and Gx are suitable as they are and ABCD should behave in a CV hold mode? (or a global pref to choose the meter ballistics?)

In that case… additional irritants are myself as well as my cat in no particular order.

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Love the approach…
First thing came to my mind:

  • when I dive into a chain and its guts to set up something at some point I have to turn my attention to a different module external to the er301.
    Later Returning back to work with the er301 I often find myself wondering which place in the topography of the current patch the screens are representing. Often I have to then go several levels up to see
    At which level I had left the er301. The only way to escape this irritation is to spend a great deal of time for renaming ALL units in a clear way.
    Obviously this renaming business can be distracting from more musical tasks.

I am wondering whether units that sit within other units could and should inherit some of the naming of their parents automatically.

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oo this would be good - or even a momentary thing like holding M1 to see a path or map or similar…



Even though it may be obvious, I feel like I should preface my response with that I find the ER-301 a joy to work with. It’s very obvious that you’ve labored not only over quality and a rich feature set, but user experience as well.

Let’s say I select a parameter for adjustment and I move the encoder. I’m “cranking it up” to its max value from the min. When I reach the desired value at the top and take my hand off the encoder, I often find that instead of staying at the max value, it jumps back to one value less. The same type of thing happens scrolling quickly through chains. It doesn’t stay quite where I wanted it to when I take my hand off the encoder. I’m not sure, this could be just something I’m doing with my fingers but I haven’t quite compensated for it in a year of using it. Would be interested if others experience this or if it’s just me… If I’m rotating the encoder slowly, it seems less likely to happen.

Since I’ve been spending lots of hours in the middle layer recently, moving the card back and forth to test and debug is getting kind of painful. I know that’s on your list though.

I have problems with “you are here” and I also have problems getting an overview of the entire map. Even more of a problem with other people’s patches or my own after some time away.

I’m really fond of the two-dimensional nature of the unit chooser and I wonder if a similar approach could make navigation through nested structures more fluid. The visual similarities between various levels of nesting inhibit spatial metaphors that would assist with way finding.

Just want to offer that I’m a UI designer by day, and I’d be thrilled with an opportunity to trade sketches (or just continue this conversation, which I’m super grateful to you for opening).

In general I have more praise than criticism for the ER-301 UI!

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I can confirm this observation

me too

My personal irritant is never having enough quality time to spend with all my modules :frowning:


As more of a starting point for discussion than a direct suggestion, is it perhaps time to bundle a selection of good custom units with each release (including necessary samples) so those of us with limited time can just dial up some instant awesomeness?

I wanted to collect all the custom units from the forum to play with, but thought maybe some of them could be “officialized”.


This is a great suggestion. I downloaded all 30something to try and only 3 of them worked right away. I’m sure in many cases there was additional setup I failed to do, but I don’t really have a lot of time for testing WIP patches that may or may not contribute to my workflow.

honestly, i think about this often, and never want to say it. but since you ask, the delays. i want a tape delay that works with multiplication and division in a more intuitive way. i just never can make a good delay on my 301.
my way around has always been loopers synced up with my varigate.

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+1 for this suggestion, although it would probably deserve its own thread, since it’s not so much a device ‘irritant’ but rather a community effort request (in line with @Joe’s idea to build a sort of ER-301 community sample collection (what’s the thread again Joe? I can’t find it right now). I’m all for it I must say, also for little utility patches that ER-301 pioneers and adventurers use for building bigger units. That is an irritant for me at least: having a great idea and getting stuck at something silly like: I need some sort of a ‘toggle’ switch to turn this feature on or off, how do I build this? Or a clock sync’ed square wave and so forth. Well, it’s part of the charm and the freedom of this module, but sometimes frustrating. I’m sure we could come up with a list of unit candidates in different categories like: full synth voices, FX, utilities, and so forth.


+1. Also, having to scroll parameters to precisely 1 could be easier.

about “scrolling parameters precisely”, one thing i’ve found myself missing recently, was some sort of mini “hold mode”, ie scroll the parameter and only then commit the value.
Of course it’s workaroundable via an external offset + grid quantization, but would nevertheless be practical for quick patches (for exemple to change sample speed and delay times to harmonic/rythmic multiples).

Also for some reason when starting blank i always plug the IN1+2 jacks first, thinking they are outputs :upside_down_face:

Sometimes I wish I had more inputs. I can resolve this to some degree with Teletype integration, but an expander could be interesting. I also find myself wanting DC-coupled outs on occasion, for sending CV to other modules (but then, if I had that, I’d want quite a few more outputs, so it’s also an expander idea).

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But aren’t we getting off-topic? :policeman: Wishes already get lots of screen time here. Irritants on the other hand not so much. Probably because people don’t want to come across as overly negative.


Yes, I wasn’t sure of the topicality, but running out of I/O can definitely be irritating!