Help me make them talk: Op-Z, Op-1 F, Polyend Tracker and Volca FM2

Hi guys, I just signed up and this is my first post.

I’ve been making music on computers for around 20 years on and off. Mostly just jam sessions with mates but done some live gigs as well.

I recently jumped on the “dawless” bandwagon and are looking for some recommendations on how to complete my setup.

I currently have the Op-1F and Op-Z hooked up via Usb-C and this works great. Just a single cable and everything works.

I have however a Polyend Tracker as well as a Volca FM2 on order and are desperately looking for the best way to hook it all up.

My idea was a 1010Music bluebox or a TX-6.

With these, do I still need a midi hub?
Is there any advantage getting the tx-6 (Bluetooth midi?) if I won’t use it’s synth / battery features?

Thanks for your help :pray:

A MIDI hub is really a good idea, IMO.
MIO4 is not that expensive second hand, and makes everything so simple…
Add a keyboard such as the Keystep37, or an Elektron machine, or a friend’s gear that needs MIDI cables, you don’t mind: everything get synchronized easily.
:slight_smile:

You can grab a Line Module for the OP-Z, and use the TRS midi jacks to connect to the Volca and Polyend.

If you use a trs splitter (a plain headphone splitter adapter), then you should be able to send to both from one output, just use different MIDI channels.

You will also be able to send the OP-1 Field’s midi to them, vis the OP-Z.

The Line Module is a tiny wonder.

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Just my two cents on splitting MIDI TRS signals, I had issues with the OP-Z powering down when I tried to send the MIDI out from the Oplab module to two devices via a simple TRS splitter at the same time - based on my research the MIDI standard does not support this use case (hence MIDI Thru is a thing) due to electrical issues (grounding?). It works however with a dedicated MIDI splitter box via MIDI DIN.
And yes, the Line Module is a good investment, no doubt.

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Just one word of caution, though… you CAN link all of these devices together, but I find myself too many times building complicated setups like these and then chasing issues instead of making sounds… I rather prefer little islands now, maximum 2 or 3 boxes… both the op-z and op-1 (polyend too, I‘m sure) are incredibly deep rabbit holes that keep you busy for years… my brain hurts when I imagine these interacting :joy:

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I’m exactly the same. OP-1 and OP-Z together, and that’s usually it. Or the OP-1 and something to sample, like a guitar.

Otherwise, like you, I find it gets frustrating and distracting very fast.

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This is interesting, would I be able to use incoming midi signal from the Polyend via the Op-Z line module to the Op-1f this way?
I presume that’s what normally midi- thru is for?
I was reading about midi echo on the Op-Z, don’t know if this feature helps.

Makes a lot of sense. This is the whole reason I stepped away from the computer.

Midi echo is what you want, I believe. You can also use midi wirelessly between the OPs. Connect a keyboard to the OP-Z, and use it to control the OP-1 over Bluetooth.

Yeah spot on. I’ve just tried it out using my iPhone and a Bluetooth midi app. Seems to work well with midi echo, playing notes on the iPhone to the Op-Z, echoing through to the Op-1f.

The Polyend hasn’t arrived yet but I think I will be sending Midi from the Polyend and/or the Op-Z, triggering notes on the Op-1f and the Volca.

Assume I can make the same setup with the Bluetooth midi adapters like one of those CME Widi ones. Hopefully won’t need a midi hub in that case.

Now I just need to figure out whether I still need a mixer… really want to keep it simple as possible!

The OP-Z Line Module will give you an extra Stereo input and an extra Stereo Output (the output can be fed from different tracks than the main out). You will still be able to use the USB and Headset inputs along with it, but all inputs will share the same level control. I had success using the stereo-in on the line module and (by using an iRig) the headset-in at the same time. I still purchased a Behringer Flow 8 recently and I love it, as it adds more flexibility (and probably more headroom, too). Would love to have a TX-6 but for me the price is hard to justify.

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Ok guys, I have received the Polyend Tracker and have played with the 3 devices a bit now and have decided that it’s not an ideal setup:

  • Loose too many tracks MIDI syncing 3 devices from the Tracker
  • Complex switching mindsets between the Tracker and the Op-Z sequencing
  • Generally too much messing around

So for now I’m going to get the Line-module for the Op-Z / Op-1 / Volca FM combo and will strive to finish songs on the DAW. No need for an external mixer either with the Line module!

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Check this business out, it’s so rad:

One thing you may not be aware of, is apparently the Tracker uses TRS MIDI Type-B, and almost everything else uses Type-A, so an adapter would be necessary.

25 years ago I had a nice 8 track studio in my house. I’d stay up to 4 in the morning sometimes messing with rack gear, MIDI sync to tape, and so on being a “gear head” until, one day, I realized I wasn’t making much music any more. I switched to making (multi) tracks that didn’t need complex setups and this worked out great for me. Always, YMMV.

But today there are so many great synths and synth toys and its tempting to “wire it all together”. I fell into that. I haven’t recorded much in the last couple years (went back to acoustic instruments), but when I return to electronics again, I am going to make tracks in a DAW where its possible to “layer up” without trying to do everything at once. For me, “all at once” is for jamming and live performance. I’m more of a “record it” guy. Again, YMMV. I love jams, too, but for me, that’s a different vibe.

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