Decision time...Chromagnon, Cortex, alt? with MP

I’m totally new to the video side of modular, with a few audio modules that I own and love. My interest in video synthesis has grown and I’ve been gathering funds to fuel it. I would like to slave video from audio, but mainly just for time sync.

I’m at a bit of a crossroads and feel like it’s time to ask for any input from the community.

I have pre-ordered the Memory Palace, but have every interest in using cameras for input, too. My intention was to pick up the Visual Cortex for this as a core for the system, but based on the idea that the Memory Palace is meant to be at the ‘end of the chain’ of modules (and the VC has been discontinued, though there are a couple left for grabs), should I be waiting or the Chromagnon or maybe the TBC2? It seems like these could well be the better option than the VC, moving forward…or maybe I’ve missed something completely, that I should be looking at instead?

Memory Palace, Chromagnon & TBC2 as a trio is a hell of spend, so realistically I would only be looking at two of those modules for now.

I’ve read that the Chromagnon can deal with more forms of video input, but doesn’t replace the VC functionality-wise…I don’t fully understand the main advantages of the Chromagnon over the VC apart from this (based on the idea that it just has different functionality in general).

I read the post about ‘Starter Systems’ which was helpful, but obviously doesn’t include the new range, or show a system based on the Memory Palace, and progressions from there.

Other modules that seem like obvious choices with any of these are Staircase & Bridge, which I will pickup for sure.

Is the Chromagnon worth waiting for, for what I’m looking to do? Or will I regret not picking up a VC whilst there are a couple left around? Any suggestions or advice is massively appreciated!

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If you have the money right now and you only want 1 camera/ external input get a vc if you can, if you want more than 1 camera input get a tbc2, but there’s a reasonable chance that at least the first batch is totally sold out on pre-order (or very nearly) so they may be difficult to source when they ship (any day now I guess) plus you’ll probably find you want a compositing/rgb mixing module - which will mean a wait for a new one of those
Chromagnon hasn’t been finalized yet from why I can see, but appears to have more basic functionality, but looses the mixer

Do you already have a camera? If so what format does it use for output? ( component, composite, s video or none of these)
Try to match camera output to module inputs as there are restrictions - vc won’t do color from composite, chromagnon looks like it can’t use component (but that may not be true)

Personally I have a vc which I like and will almost definitely order a chromagnon when they are available for pre-order
I don’t have a memory palace but I can do a lot of similar stuff on my mbp in lumen and praxis_live (especially with midi control from the modular via a doepfer a192-2)
For audio-reactivity you’ll probably also want either a sensory translator or a diver or both

If I were you right now I’d go for a vc if you can get one
You can always add a tbc2 or a chromagnon in the future
I’d also get a few cheap attenuator modules (2hp trim for example) as these can be used for scaling

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@Agawell thanks for your suggestions

I don’t currently have a camera, but as this (seems to) be a much cheaper aspect of the system, it’s something I thought I would look for once I know what the requirements are.
I wasn’t aware that Chromagnon couldn’t do component…that seems odd to me?
The more I read and speak to people, most say they will use both VC and Chromagnon, none seem to be viewing the Chromagnon as a replacement.

Diver seems like a great option, thanks for the heads up about this and the suggestion of attenuator modules. It’s things like these I know i’m missing and wouldn’t think of to look at unless suggested before hand (or exploring once I start fiddling with an actual module!)

If you already have Memory Palace on order, then I highly recommend complementing it with TBC2 and Diver (and using the 12V barrel distribution module, which is nearly ready). This setup gives you the most powerful and flexible input option, a pattern generating module that pairs perfectly with your audio modules, and the Memory Palace’s insanity at the output. If you want to add analog processing and pattern generating to the mix at the end of March, then Chromagnon will be there for you.
LZX has sold out of TBC2, but several dealers will have the module available. Shipping for TBC2 is still 10-14 days away, after the holiday slow down.


I like Z0NK0UT’s suggestion. The Chromagnon feature list isn’t completed yet, so it’s not clear if component in will be included or not. At this point, I wouldn’t bank on it one way or the other. TBC2 will give you the most flexibility with external inputs (anything can go into the system in full color), moreso than either VC or Chromagnon could, and it will have its own slew of buffer delay effects that I can only imagine would look sick when stacked on MP’s buffer. Diver also will allow you a level of audio reactivity within its ramp generator (turns sound waves into ramps), which you can freeze in place for a stable pattern to mess with in MP if you want.

At this point, I personally feel like unless you know exactly what you want to do with VC (or have a big interest in majority analog processing), it should be skipped in favor of one of the newer modules if you’re just diving into this.

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@Z0NK0UT & @tylerm Thanks for you suggestions, it seems like TBC2 & MP might will be the way…though I feel i’ve confused my brain even more now…

Out of curiosity; apart from the VC & Chromagnon, are there other modules I could also be considering/comparing for pattern generation and analogue processing?

Also, if I did go the TBC & MP route, realistically i’d be considering a TBC2 much further down the line just due to the price. So, in your opinions, would modules like Staircase, Colour Chords, still be a complimentary/worthwhile modules at this point?

Thanks again

Not to complicate things, but… If you can find a used one at a reasonable price, I still think Vidiot by far gives the most bang for your buck. Video input, two oscillators, some image processing, some colorizing, some audio reactivity, noise, etc. Will pair well with an MP.

If you end up building a big system, you’ll likely replace almost all of its capabilities with more fully-featured modules eventually, but it will kickstart so many possibilities. And, when you get to the point when you don’t need it anymore, you’re almost guaranteed to quickly find a buyer since it is a standalone device.

TBC2 price is the same as Visual Cortex (- $50), Vidiot, and Chromagnon. If you’re going to wait at all, perhaps you should wait for Chromagnon. In the meantime you can process and modulate stills within Memory Palace. Sensory Translator, Escher Sketch, Bridge, and Pendulum might be the only useful modules to add until you have a video input or pattern generation module.

MP/Diver configuration allows you to take patterns/ramps from Diver and process them in MP AND MP can mix those with stills you load into MP via internal storage or SD card (and will later [soon?] support scrubbing and looping playback of several stills at a time and -maybe- short video clips). Diver and MP can both serve as your video sources until TBC2, which will allow you to use cameras/VCRs/whatever else.

That said, you need to consider roughly what you want your signal chain to look like (where your inputs and outputs will be) and let that guide you to other modules. staircase nor color chords generate any signal of their own, they are intended to process incoming signals. Modules like Diver, Sensory Translator (audio in to frequency band outputs), Pendulum (video rate LFO), Bridge (attenuverter for audio modules/sources), or Escher Sketch (CV sampler AND Memory Palace paint mode controller) would probably serve you better as modulation sources for your Memory Palace voltage controlled inputs to help automate those parameters.

Thanks for elaborating, @tylerm.
With Diver + MP you would still need a good sync source core, like TBC2, Cortex, or Chromagnon. The internal sync strength coming out of Memory Palace isn’t quite enough for Diver (at least with current firmware it isn’t).

@tylerm massive help, thanks for explaining more thoroughly.
After looking at Diver in more detail (as everyone here has recommended) I think it’s definitely a must!

@Z0NK0UT when you say not quite enough, what problems will occur? Will it be the same as having no sync whatsoever?

With current firmware in Diver and Memory Palace there are sync inconsistencies that many users are not happy with. This can cause occasional jitter/flickering in the image. When using Memory Palace with other modules that require sync, TBC2, Cortex, Chromagnon, or external sync is recommended.

@Z0NK0UT, so just to confirm: as long as one of those (core) modules are used for sync, there will be no sync inconsistencies with any of the other modules that require sync, with the MP?

Thanks all for your comments and suggestions, has been a huge help!

TBC2 is literally built for that, so that’s a solid yes. With VC (not sure about Chromagnon), it works under most circumstances, but I’ve had random issues here and there with mine when trying to use some external video sources. If your external video going into the VC decoder is 480i, then it should be good. Otherwise, ymmv. You can always get an external TBC, like the old rackmount studio ones (way cheap on ebay or maybe at a local junk store), to establish a master sync signal for your system.

TBC2 is designed to solve any sync inconsistencies that may occur with other modules–though it should always be noted that LZX is an experimental format that continues to grow and improve (usually in response to your feedback).

Chromagnon will retain the benefits gleaned from TBC2 development.

Sometimes it’s hard to control your desires when great visuals are being constructed.

or when you aren’t 100% sure what you are trying to make

I know that has been the very expensive and long question for me!
I’m just finally getting my head around stuff enough to know what is fitting into my workflow
and what isn’t

A few thoughts:
I’m a big fan of the Visual Cortex if you think you will be getting many modules. It is extremely flexible. It can sync to an outside source like a camera (required), it is an output module (when you don’t want everything to run through Memory Palace) with composite and component, it has ramps, and a boatload of effects built into all those switches. It is also a two channel RGB mixer and that just doesn’t really exist anywhere else right now. Having the ability to mix two channels (or patches) together is super helpful.
My understanding is that Chromagnon is a single channel device. Maybe thats enough for you to start.
If you are dead set on using the MP as your output source you could go the TBC2 + MP route and could of course add a couple Passages, the upcoming VBM, or a not-in-production Marble Index between the two devices to open your system up some more.

At the end of the day, once you settle on a sync source, have the system inputs (you mentioned camera) and outputs you need, there are no bad choices.

from what Lars has posted on facebook, I get the impression that the chromagnon will take a RGB signal input and use that as a background - so there’s some form of mixing - Lars was suggesting stacking them (and other Automata Instruments as they will/may be the same or similar)
I’ve got a Visual Cortex and it does the job perfectly for me - but I just ordered a Chromagnon too!!!
intending to use it as an integrated part of a bigger system - adding an extra external feed and tbc, a secondary monitor out, and all the functionality in between - don’t really expect to use it as end of chain at all - or for ilda either - but who knows!

Thank you all for your input and comments. Truly super helpful and opened many avenues to continue exploring to see what best fits!
To update: Another member advertised a Cortex at a very fair price on here, so I decided to go ahead with this, with the intention of picking up a TBC2 further down the line once i’ve explored/understand more about the range.

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