Alternative to Color Chords

I’ve recently jumped into video synthesis with both feet and have put together a system composed of most of the Expedition series modules. I’ve been unable to find Color Chords for sale anywhere, and I’m wondering what alternatives exist today. I’m aware that the Automata RGB instrument and VBM mk2 is coming at some point, but I’d like to know what else is possible.

Aside from the hard to obtain Color Chords and VBM, what is out there for color mixing? I know there is the Afterlife Labs Video Calculator, which is similar to VBM. Perhaps something is also possible via Cadet and Castle modules? What functionality from Color Chords are lacking with these options?

Apologies if these seem like obvious questions, but I’m still learning how a lot of this works. I’m really impressed by the community around LZX! It reminds me of some of the better open-source software communities I’ve worked with.

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reverselandfill’s DIY Matrix Mixer is a good alternative if you’re primarily after RGB color mixing. It doesn’t have the 4th RGB input or the ability to subtract one layer from another in a particular order like Color Chords. It does have an inverted input and with a simple mod, the ability to independently change between regular gain and a soft key mode for the 3 inputs and 1 inverted input by adding a few resistors on a switch. You can also add three potentiometers to have a level control over each column.

The Afterlife Labs Video Calculator looks solid for matrix mixing but I haven’t used one. This is probably the closest you’ll get to VBM right now.

It would take way more Cadet Processors to patch together a matrix mixer than it’s probably worth although they’re endlessly useful modules.

If you want to go down the reverselandfill Matrix Mixer route and don’t DIY, I’m sure Martijn or any builders on the forum would be willing to work something out.


A potential option would be to use three cascaded Passages. You end up with same features but with expanded input possibilities and control. What you give up in rack space you gain by having these for other purposes when not being used to emulate Color Chords. This could also be done with nine Cadet VII Processors and a lot more patch cables.


It would look like this or the OUT to THRU would also be another option.


I used to patch something like this up with Processors and summing mixers. One of the reasons to make a dedicated module!
->> Too many patchcables, multiples (or stackables) & knob settings <<-
(I don’t have the Passage module, so I don’t know if this was the same as the patch above)

note: the 3x MOD points on my Matrixmixer are for adding overall gain control of the outputs.

note2: A matrixmixer is not only for color mixing. You can add CV for movement, do feedback patches and combine shapes on different levels.


Keep looking for a Color Chords, one will come around. The opacity function is really cool and can’t be readily duplicated by gangs of Passages or Cadet VIIs.

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I’m trying to wrap my head around how this would work like a matrix mixer but I’m just not getting it… Are the cables on the left the inputs and the cables on the right the outputs? And if so, how do you get a signal from input channel 1 to output channel 3? Isn’t the first channel only connected to the first channel in all three modules, since the cables in all those jacks break the normals to the lower jacks?

I don’t yet have a Passage, so maybe I’m misunderstanding how the Passage works?


Thanks for all of the suggestions! I ordered an Afterlife Labs Video Calculator, which conveniently just came back in stock. I’ll probably keep an eye out for a Color Chords (or two!) as well.

I don’t have a Passage yet, but I’ve been planning to pick up two when the next batch is available.

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Picture above is not how I would do it.
Output and thru input are RGB, input 1 mults to all 3 outputs with separate gains for setting color. Then you can cascade outs to thrus to get more inputs with more modules.
Even one Passage lets you mix RGB and one signal that you can set the color of.

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