Review on Expert Sleepers ES-9
- Illuminated jack sockets
- Panel width: 8HP
- Module depth: 50mm
- Input connection: optical, ADAT Lightpipe standard
- D/A conversion: 24 bit, 113dB SNR typical
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The Review on Expert Sleepers ES-9
There is a time for most modular synth users when the mixer module feels like it just isn’t quite enough, or when the need for more than one mixer becomes all too apparent so you can get your music on the computer on a way that allows recording.
A mixer is a possible option, but falls short in many ways, especially for multitrack recording, where the mix is non-destructive. Or where you want to further shape the sound, but not globally.
This is where Expert Sleepers come in, with the ES-9 module, which can be a game changer for many, playing more than one role. One stop shop
Physically it’s quite modest, with a simple set of I/Os on the front panel, along with a single volume pot for the headphone output. What you will find is an assortment of jackets; eight 3.5mm outputs and 14 3.5mm inputs, a pair of TRS jacks perfect for transmitting to a PA or external monitoring, as well as a pair of SPDIF ports.
In addition, you can add extensions for MIDI connectivity or a further set of I/O via the ES-5. The last port is a USB-C port that allows connection to your Mac or PC.
It has plenty of I/O ports on the front, but for those with particularly shallow skiffs, keep in mind it’s thicker at the back, at 50mm, as dictated by so much connectivity. Performance and verdict
We see this as a one stop shop for using Eurorack with Logic (other DAWs are available) and have a set up a preset template for recording my modular, which changed the way we interact and record.
There’s something really special about being able to send audio to your modular so easily, without the need to bounce samples, fidget with memory cards
The ES-9 is an audio interface on heart, with a huge range of channels to get audio into Logic, where I can balance, shape, remix and add effects to tracks globally or locally, spending what I’m in the ES-9 patch. Not only is it perfectly suited for this purpose, but eight of the ports are DC coupled meaning you also have a connection for CV. Ableton and VCV rack users rejoice!
There’s something really special about being able to send audio to your modular so easily, without the need to bounce samples, play with memory cards – assuming you even have a sample player.
None of this would be so useful if the fidelity weren’t there, so it’s good to have 24-bit sample depth and up up to 96 kHz bit rate, delivering audio that is true to the source. Having USB-C means that lag isn’t an issue either.
On top of all this functionality, it is possible to use the ES-9 as a mixer and stereo output, allowing you to take your case live or to another studio and still get audio in a different setup, via the TRS outputs.
Given its 16 horsepower rack space and simple layout, the ES-9 offers a ton of top-quality interfaces. The robust module cleans up physical and mental clutter so you can interact with your music the way you want. It’s easy to work with, driverless, works well live and in the studio, and doesn’t compromise on sound quality. It may not make beeps and bloops, but is still worth a place on any rack.
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