Setting up a system

so I’ve just moved my system around and thought it would be nice to write up some general ideas on it as I get it set back up as it may be helpful to someone

System overview

the setup at its simplest is a mixer running into the visual cortex with lots of feedback

Signal flow without pictures

Signal flow with pictures

Full system picture

visual cortex outputs to various TVs


(video signals into v4)

  1. Feedback, S-video from Visual cortex

  2. Video playback, composite from Andor 1

  3. Color output, composite from Vidiot

  4. Feedback, composite from V4

Andor 1
  1. Composite output to V4
  2. Turn sync off in the settings or the video will stop and restart every minute or so
  3. I use different USB drives for
  • Full movies

  • short found and created clips

  • video output from the LZX system

Composite => Component
  1. S-video out from V4 into Ambery composite to component box

  2. Switch on the side of the unit set to YCbCr

  3. Component out from ambery box into visual cortex

  4. Once the unit is powered on it is necessary for me to press the button on top otherwise the visual cortex doesn’t see it. The light on the unit will flash red instead of being green.


Top Row
2hp passive mult
polar fringe
color chords
marble index
visual cortex

Bottom Row
BSO video soup
cadet scaler (5v => 1v)
Prismatic ray
Prismatic ray

  1. Visual cortex is the Main sync signal (in a vessel case)

  2. Visual cortex => navigator => vessel case RCA output => Vidiot RCA video input

  • Vidiot loop through RCA output => Esher sketch => Memory Palace in a secondary case

the sync is terminated there for now

both my prismatic rays are pre RCA sync on the PCB so they just happily use the CV bus in order to get their sync


here I’ll list different kinds of software I’m using to Capture and others I’m using as Sources



with OBS you can do a good deal of keying (chroma and Luma) to an incoming signal
you can also create feedback by doing a display capture and then centering the window over the workspace
video looping is as easy as drag and dropping then setting the loop
it can also be used for streaming and recording inputs from syphon or otherwise

OBS feedback


This application is a lot of fun to hook up any random MIDI controller to and start playing
it uses three oscillators at its heart for the XYZ of the resulting image
you get three layers of this shape creation
then you can assign A/b channel and mix from to taste
there are some neat simulation effects that you can play with in the preferences
this is a great little synth even for those who aren’t going to buy a laser

Where to find
Demo 1
Demo 2
Demo 2
I haven’t tried processing any of this output video through the LZX system yet
I don’t see any syphon support but with TBC2 coming I would imagine it wouldn’t be hard to integrate the video output into the system directly
this also supports driving lasers through specific DACs which can be hooked up to the computer

  1. phosphortron
  2. lumen
Tx modular

A funny thing happened recently
someone (on the lines forum ) contacted me about a piece of software that I had spoken about a long time ago
back when the lines forum was still the monome forum I suspect

the software is called Ripple (this is where the software used to live )

he was hoping that I had a copy of the program somewhere as he couldn’t find it online anymore

I couldn’t find it
however there was a program called TX modular I used about a year ago that reminded me a bit of Ripple
both programs are built around supercollider and they just had a similar feel

since that time TX modular has grown considerably it seems
while this post ultimately isn’t about audio synthesis this is a proper free modular synthesizer and if you gel with the layout/channel scheme it is loads of fun to play with

I’ve just noticed something new or at least I never noticed it before


there is a module called “animate code” which gives a video output with a lot of modulation inputs

I’ll try to get some video up running some modulation into it
just thought I’d share

  1. OBS
  2. Black magic media express
  3. Quicktime player | file > new movie recording > drop down next to record button > black magic device | haven’t gotten this to work yet
Black syphon + Syphon recorder
  1. Install software listed below
  2. Open black syphon
  3. Black syphon settings
  4. Open syphon recorder
  5. Syphon recorder settings
  6. Record/Snapshot

I have been messing around with different software recording setups starting with a Blackmagic intensity shuttle thunderbolt going into a macbook pro 10.10.5

previously I was using BM media express which my computer doesn’t really like (had to find an old version to work on my setup)

here I used black syphon for getting the BM device in syphon world

then syphon recorder

this also shows up reliably in OBS as a syphon stream now

this was honestly my biggest issue with my capture stuff before I couldn’t figure out what magic I had done in order to get the stream into OBS. It worked a couple times then no more. So now I can record lightweight playback with the black syphon=>syphon recorder setup or get something a little more complex with capturing to OBS.

when capturing to BM media express I was getting like 2G file sizes for a minutes worth of video and couldn’t seem to curb that down to something more reasonable. This little clip which is the cheapest output from syphon record ended up at 997k

this means I’ll be able to get a streaming setup going

LZX feedback system

this video was the older capture method

Syphon record LZX test

this video is using the newer capture method with the lowest quality settings

Passive utilities
  1. Boredbrain Splix 2:1 mixing or 1:2 splitting
  2. Koma Attenuator cable inline attenuation for taming feedback mostly
  3. passive switches in 1u and DIY for switching between modulation sources and A B comparing video effects
  4. UTL-1 lowgain electronics for interfacing ciat-lonbarde synths with the system

  1. Camera audio
  2. Andor1
  3. LZX feedback

  1. composite or component output (component cables are cheaply available)
  • if composite output into V4

  • if component out directly into Visual Cortex

  1. udraw studios

different kinds of canvas


I’ve been thinking about trying to use the switch as a capable drawing pad in combination with the LZX setup via recapture, extron box scaling or v440HD

Coloring book

the only app that looked right was one called coloring book (free with in game purchases) but as far as I read it just provided pre dawn coloring book pages with no “blank canvas” type option

I thought that was pretty lame but maybe it would be worth downloading it just to mess around with since it is free

so I did and it looks like there has been a whiteboard option added to the free version!

I’m looking forward to plugging it into a TV at some point

also it is multiplayer… so there is that

only 1 “canvas” at a time unless you pay 1.99

Hardware capture
Black magic intensity shuttle

so I found a crazy good deal on black magic intensity thunderbolt shuttles on ebay and bought one

I’m using mac 10.10.5

I downloaded the software here
for reference my download was 10.11.4

the shuttle immediately showed up in the desktop video software panel when plugged in via thunderbolt

the black magic media express software doesn’t seem to want to open on my operating system (from the download 10.11.4 os is 10.10.5) so I was going to try quicktime for capture as a short term solution

then I tried the closest powered video source which happened to be a nintendo switch

so I plugged the HDMI output from the switch into the HDMI input on the shuttle

I changed the input to HDMI on the blackmagic desktop software panel

I opened up quicktime and went to file>new movie recording and selected the shuttle as the input via the selector next to the record button

the switch via didn’t show up at first
then I powered the switch on and and by pressing the home button and then it showed up on my computer screen!
I recorded some donkey kong with quicktime
so naturally I went to plug in the component output from the LZX system next

and nothing showed up like it did for the switch

I tried messing around with a bunch of setting and no such luck

so this morning I went back to the link I posted earlier and downloaded and older version of the video desktop software bundle
I looked for my operating system 10.10.5

and found a couple that I ended up downloading
within one of these versions (possibly all three I don’t remember) was a version of the media express application that worked on my system! yay

so during all my testing with these older versions apparently I had my cable plugged in incorrectly (thunderbolt) so the shuttle didn’t show up in the black magic panel when I had versions .4, .5, or .7 installed. This was because of my cable orientation though

I know that because when I reinstalled the original version i had downloaded to begin with (10.11.4) I flipped the cable and it showed up immediately :man_facepalming:

but that left me with the newest (again 10.11.4) version of the blackmagic desktop video software and also ( only because I preemptively copied it onto my desktop ) a working version of the media express software

so far in my short time with it this morning it seems like as long as I have the video input set correctly (via the blackmagic desktop video panel) and media express software preferences set to the same resolution of the video coming in then it shows up and captures perfectly

New capture

this is the output from media express into a 1080p frame in final cut
I think I’m starting to get this figured out

I’m got a lot more testing of various cameras and equipment directly plugged into the shuttle

I’ll get some pictures of the whole setup including setting when I get back home

Hyperdeck shuttle

so I’ve just received a hyperdeck shuttle!

at first I tried simply sending it a feed from my switch via an ambery vga/component => HDMI transcoder (I don’t believe it is being sold anymore can’t find any info)

no luck :frowning: well some luck as you can see the whole image is green

at this point some of you probably already know what the issue was

so I tried the component out from the LZX rig through the ambery transcoder again just a green version of the lament configuration

I did some research and found that the hyperdeck is expecting the HDMI source to be YUV video not RGB so I had to start looking at all the manuals of my devices to see what would allow for going from RGB component to HDMI YUV

my first thought was to use the BMD intensity shuttle
while it isn’t a practical setup unless I was wanting redundant video recording (one to computer and one to SSD) I still wanted to see if it would work

and it did good news! (the source this time from a VHS player into a V440 mixer out via the s-video program output)

ultimately I’d like to be able to record to send video out from computer (intensity shuttle) and record straight onto a SSD (hyperdeck shuttle)

so I have a couple extron scaling boxes I bought for around $20 each off ebay and while looking back through the manual one stood out as it would happily change the colorspace from RGB to YUV via its on screen menu system

the one I ended up using first worked so I didn’t end up trying the others yet extron RGB-HDMI 300 A (i think “a” allows for 1/8 stereo audio input alongside the component/VGA input and even has some audio delay built in for proper lip syncing!)

so I went out with component from the LZX rig => a component to VGA adapter => the extron 300 HDMI box => the hyperdeck shuttle => the viewing monitor

I know this is a big rambly but I’m hoping that somebody will find it useful


thanks for sharing! Nice info to design future workflows


{moved to the original post}


Thank you for all the details! A great read!