Color Chords 0% Opacity rationale

I think I understand correctly that sources plugged into layer 1, 2, 3 will always be visible even when the fader is all the way down. Why can’t it go to 0% opacity so it can function like a standard mixer? Or can it? I have an RGB source coming in through the BG inputs but don’t have enough opacity control to slightly bring in mono sources.

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Whatever you plug in the background will go straight to the output.
The fader is not an ‘opacity’ fader. In its ‘down’ position the signal adds to the output, in its ‘up’ position the signal will be subtracted from the output.
You could use a passage or any other attenuator as an ‘opacity’ control. I use either koma electronic’s attenuator cable, passage, fonitronik cascade or thonk at-at-at.

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yess! attenuator cables are great for this and feedback applications!

An examination of the Color Chords block diagram shows that this isn’t how it works.

The opacity slider subtracts the channel’s signal from all of the higher numbered (i.e. to the left) channels:

I suspect the OP’s module might have an issue since my Color Chords acts like s straight mixer with all the sliders down.

The opacity slider is not a level control. The level controls are the red, green and blue knobs for each channel (turn them all down if you want to null your input.) The opacity control is like a transition between additive and alpha channel blending. With opacity at zero, everything is additive (like a normal matrix mixer.) That is, layered inputs will stack on top of each other, each one adding to the brightness of the channel. With opacity at 100%, the related input mono source is subtracted from the lower channel mono sources before a 0V clipping circuit that is between the mono input and the RGB gain controls. It’s a bit of analog math to allow you to segment and transpose shapes before colorization.

So think of Color Chords like an odd duck sitting somewhere between a colorizer, matrix mixer, and analog computing functions. It’s meant to be fed a bunch of overlapping patterns and shapes. Marble Index is what you want, if you want a full RGB compositing environment with voltage controlled opacity and masking.


Hi Guys,

Thanks for all your help. None of my faders were working at all. Reseating the power cable seems to have fixed the issue. But, I also now understand the unit much better because you took the time to answer my initial question.

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In the very first production run of this module, a troublesome -5V regulator was installed that causes a problem with the module failing to start up on powerup. It needs to be replaced with the right part, but sometimes the issue is fixed with a quick power cycle of your case. If its a recurring problem, definitely submit a repair request on our website and we’ll get that fixed for you.


Thank you. I will definitely keep an eye on it.

I did pick up a MI though. Between that and the VBM I am in RGB mixer heaven.